Nova- It Really, Really is the End

As of yesterday, Nova has temporarily shut down all it’s branches and filed for bankruptcy. Sarahashi (often nicknamed ‘Monkey bridge’) was fired by the board of directors, allowing this to happen. Of course, this may soon free up the unpaid wages of teachers and staff, not to mention the students (in a far less urgent category, I’d say, although they do deserve refunds too)- but for the time being they are in limbo, Nova now under court protection and thus not having to make any payments. Hopefully, though, the unemployment insurance will be forthcoming very, very soon- there are people with hardly any money for food, let alone a plane ticket home. Nova not only didn’t pay about two months of salary, but also deducted rent money from it, which they kept for their own debts- leading to evictions and new rent and deposits. Of course, you can’t legally be evicted in Japan unless you don’t pay your rent for a long time- but if the Yakusa are involved, it can lead to new problems with them.

It is hard to imagine how hard it must be to be stuck here with no money- the best thing to do, if you can’t find a new job (hard, on a flooded market) would be to sign up with Hello Work for unemployment insurance and then get assistance from the embassy. It may be a sudden way for the cheese to move, but if it leads to a new and better job that otherwise wouldn’t have been imagined, it all has to be a blessing in disguise! Language schools are basically unregulated, unstable places- on a much smaller scale, these things happen a lot; a friend of mine worked for two schools that went bankrupt, including Tozai (the ‘mother of Nova’), one whilst he was there. It took 3 months for the unemployment insurance to come, but luvkily he had savings and a new job to cover him.

As for Nova itself- with all it’s massive infrastructure and name brand (despite the damage to it), it’s hard to imagine someone won’t try to get it moving again- it may even eventually earn back it’s billions of yen debt. Even I am starting to see the good things about that company- easy route to Japan, international environment, cheap lessons for students and so on. Of course right now all those benefits are pretty much hard to see and in the past. Maybe Nova’s sins were just too great and the only thing is for the company to end for ever- we’ll have to see.

In the meantime, I met old friends from there last night and we had a marvelous meal and conversation together- all of which reminded me of the good old times, when I found a social life at Nova that I had never expected to find in Japan. The fact that other decently paying jobs were so easy to find then also meant you didn’t have to stay at Nova- and few actually did. RIP, Nova.

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