The Nova Bunny is Dead

Yes- that pink, cuddly but ultimately highly toxic bunny is a thing of the past! I have to admit to being unusually happy that Nova is ova, with all the stress they’ve caused people, myself included, with their mis-experiments in mind-control- something that effected students and teachers alike. Finally, their lies are exposed for the world to see- dark things have truly come to light. Yet, like everyone else following this, I’m really concerned about the mess they’ve left behind them. This also seems to be one of the main stories in international news- right now it’s the most popular story on Yahoo World News and on the front pages of Google and the BBC. Stories of the hardships faced by people who moved half-way around the world to work here, trusting that the job was safe and they would be too, are now spreading. Unemployment Insurance covering the owed salaries would help a lot, but it supposedly takes 3 months to kick in- and for people who just arrived and have the hardest situation, it may not arrive at all. It seems to be a system that designed for people who can get support from their families, even one that almost assumes people won’t need to use it much. All of this, despite government approving visas for these thousands of people to come here and work- not just a few people- thousands! I wonder if the Japanese government and media will prove to be as kind as the people they represent.

Which all means that the cocktail parties and sake-tasting sessions at the foreign embassies have been suddenly interrupted by the very type of situation for which they exist- helping their tax-paying citizens! Something they appear loath to do, other than posting a few phone-numbers on a website and pointing out the very obvious fact that plane fares are cheaper now than they soon will be. Luckily, Australian airline Quantas is helping it’s countrymen and women out, but still no word from British Airways or Virgin, or other country’s airlines- though it should be added that HIS is offering a reduced price flight back to the UK, which I imagine a lot of people will use.

What would make the most sense, as many say, would be some emergency assistance funds, perhaps loaned, including enough for the airfare. Then arrangements could be made between the foreign and Japanese governments to transfer the unpaid wages so people don’t feel they need to be here to collect them. I expect one reason why the embassies are being so negligent is because they are worried about setting a precedent- that whenever someone loses their job or gets let down this way, they’ll be expected to help. But if they are taking this view, they really are underestimating the situation and also how bad they’ll look if they keep trying to avoid doing anything to help. Sticking their head in the sand now is a really bad idea- if compassionate grounds don’t spur them, maybe the damage their credibility will suffer might. It’s a local issue, but it’s still an international situation- one of the ones that concerns/interests people the most right now.

Former Nova teachers– be aware the whole world is watching and cares what happens to you and I care too. You’ve suddenly become a stranger in a strange land, through no fault of your own. Your best bet, if you can’t already find a new secure job in a suddenly saturated market is to head back (if you haven’t already done this!), for now at least and make sure someone you trust can transfer your unpaid salary- best of all for this would be the Embassies, who really need to get their act together with the Japanese government on this. I hope you have family or friends who can help, too. I’ve had some difficult times in Japan when it was hard to find people to help me, especially when I had to move apartments and faced a lot of prejudice- but also some very kind people who were touchingly helpful- and I do feel for you. As for anyone who really has to stay in Japan, I hope you can find a new job soon and that all this will help schools to value their experienced teachers more, without whom English teaching here is pretty much impossible. My hopes and prayers go out to you- and to everyone else abused in the situation. The sooner we can get back to the fun of teaching in Japan, the better.

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