Sunday, October 07, 2007

The bigger they are...

The easiest way to get to Japan and find a job is to go through an eikaiwa, or English conversation school. When I came, Ana and I got hired on with Nova, the largest of the eikaiwa, with roughly half of the private English-teaching market under its control. And while the books they used were quite outdated, and their managerial practices were absolute crap, the books and lessons got better. But because I couldn't learn or use Japanese there, I decided to leave and work in public schools.

Well, today I got clued in to this article in The Sydney Morning Herald about Nova's impending collapse. I'd known about their problems for a while, my roommate Mike works at the Nova here in Hiratsuka, and they were worried about not getting paid last month. Turns out the head teachers had their pay delayed for about a week, and the Japanese staff still haven't been paid. Now everyone's concerned if they'll be paid for September's work next week. And then there are the stories about people being evicted from their company-owned apartments for failure to pay rent (failure on Nova's part, they still deduct the rent from employees' paychecks). One story goes that a few new teachers arrived, only to be told by Nova a week later they had to move. Then after getting to the new apartment, they were evicted and Nova gave them a sheet with realtor info and told them to do it themselves. If you've ever heard my complaints about getting an apartment, you know it ain't easy

The article mentions the Fujisawa school being closed for not paying rent. That school is the largest in our area and I still know many teachers working there and at other branches. If Fujisawa went down, the others aren't far behind. Mike's looking for a job, but with so many teachers doing the same, finding one isn't going to be easy.

(image from autodafe0728)

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