Kaori Kohga

Born in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Kaori fondly remembers the mountainous landscape and fresh air. After middle school the family moved to a small town South of Obihiro for work. And again moving shortly after, completing her high school education in Obihiro.
Like most Japanese today she studied hard to pass her University entrance exams, but a tragic car accident would change that and redefine how she would want to spend the rest of her life. At the time most women would work for a short period after university because of marriage. Thinking to study so long then to only work for such a short time to be a waste, Kaori sought guidance from her favourite high school teacher whom introduced her to a work holiday program in Australia.
Kaori then decided to go to Australia, learn more about the country and maybe herself. She says “I wanted to do something. Something to make men envious of what women could accomplish in this day and age“.
However, Australia proved difficult. With money running out and no job prospects she decided to pack it in and head home. But just days before this happened she was offered a job by a Japanese supermarket company in Australia! After seeing relatives in her hometown she arrived again in Australia with a new job and a work visa. Her time there was very fruitful. Learning the ins and outs of managing a business, they wanted her to stay forever, but Kaori had other ideas. “I wanted to work with foreigners in Japan. I want to do something to bride the cape between Japan and the world“.
After returning to Japan, Kaori found a job with an English school business known across Japan as GEOS. After working around Japan, her hard work earned her the position of vice-president of Northern Japan GEOS. “It was the bubble in Japan. I would go everywhere all the time. Training and recruiting new staff. It was a busy time“. Her hard work payed off and in a short time was made president of Northern Japan GEOS. “Things became busier. I lived in Sapporo, but I would only be there a few times in a month. I was living out of a suitcase. No time to even wash my own clothes. I had to buy new clothes often!“.
After the birth of her first son, and the pressure of being in a job requiring so much travel, she and her husband decided to move on. “We wanted to do something different, not English. I felt doing something similar would look bad after all I had accomplished with GEOS“.
After starting a school it soon became apparent that they needed a bigger place. Finally settling into a location in West 18, Sapporo, she established Little Tree English School. The school will soon be celebrating their 20th birthday!
Kaori also wanted to set-up something to further build bridges between the Japanese and expat community in Hokkaido. Hokkaido Explorer was created. Initially a blog and means to widen the availability of information foe expats, Hokkaido Explorer is now a leader in providing tourist information, local guidance, and providing products to further build relationships between businesses and people in Hokkaido.

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