Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Demise of NOVA

(photos courtesy of random walking around in Hiroshima)

If you were ever interested in teaching English in Japan, you know, the country that takes people with no teaching credentials and most likely no desire to teach, then you surely know about NOVA.

NOVA was the leading ekiwa, English conversation school, in Japan. Not just leading, it was a towering behemoth of mammoth proportions. Imagine getting off a train... anywhere. You see the neon lights of NOVA. When you tell someone you work for a English conversation school, by default they ask if it's NOVA.

The NOVA business plan was, in a nutshell, get a lot of money from students up front, then spend all that money opening new schools. This led to an explosion. Like a wildfire, NOVA schools sprung up everywhere. Stock prices soared. Then slowly fell.

Imagine a company where all the cash went into new schools. Then throw in some shady business practices and a government ban on new sign ups. It led to the inevitable, the company is done. Roughly 4000 foreign teachers as well as countless Japanese are out of work and homeless. It's fucked up all around.

If you want the nitty gritty details, spend a few hours reading this guys blog. Not only is he a great writer and photographer, but he goes into great deal about all the aspects of NOVA that went wrong. Skip the podcast, though, unless you want to hear someone bashing on Americans for 30 minutes at a time.

If you live in Japan, you have most likely met a few NOVA teachers. They may or may not have been cool. They may or may not have been drunk. They may or may not have been in jail.

They may or may not be some of the coolest guys you've hung out with in the last year.

1 comment:

SmellsLikeCrayons said...

Those photographs are gorgeous!

I came here from your CS profile.