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The Japanese Way

Comedy gold!

Page launched an unfair dismissal claim against GEOS, which comes under the umbrella of the GEOS Corporation founded by Japanese businessman Tsuneo Kusunoki.

But the company responded by claiming that Page "accepted understanding of the 'Japanese way' of doing business". They went on to say he was used to Kusunoki "ranting", "berating" and "humiliating" people "so this was nothing new".

But the Employment Relations Authority said the company's failings were "fundamental and profound".

"Ranting," "berating," "humiliating," "nothing new." Man loses job because he didn't make enough money for the company, so GEOS counters with he was used to abusive behavior so that makes it OK. That's so pathetic it's laughable. One of the biggest failures of the large schools is their inability to properly educate, inform, and train their employees. Orientation generally consists of lots of don'ts--don't bother the manager, don't be late, don't cause trouble. Just show up and teach. Despite the instructors being the product the schools are selling, they are treated with contempt and expected to obey without question orders from head office. Instructors may be employees, but they are transient ones, whose only use to help line the pockets of the school they work for.

This dispute in New Zealand gets to the heart of the shake up in eikaiwa: the rot in management. There are two things that have characterized eikaiwa for a long time. One is the bicycle business model where the company must keep pedaling (collecting revenue) or else it will fall over. It worked for Nova and GEOS, but the moment that cash flow is interrupted, things go downhill very quickly. Then there are the autocratic owner/presidents. With Nozomu Sahashi, there was his plush penthouse-cum-office that would make Hugh Heffner jealous, plus his continued assertions that he did nothing wrong when he pilfered an employee. Kusunoki was more of the same, constantly demanding more and more from his staff and berating them for not meeting their monthly targets. When GEOS' Australia schools closed, he issued a half-assed apology that the closures there wouldn't affect operations in Japan. GEOS went bankrupt shortly after that announcement.

To use "the Japanese way" as an excuse just discredits eikaiwa even more. Dishonesty and bullying are the Japanese way? No wonder the major schools are in trouble. They can't fail fast enough. The major eikaiwas have never been about learning a language; they've always been about making money for their owners.

Japan: 

Comments

"The major eikaiwas have never been about learning a language; they've always been about making money for their owners"

It is more than just about just making money for the owners – the owners know full well, the basic business model is flawed, in that it depends on a market that must eternally expand, for the business to remain profitable (since individual lessons are sold in bulk, at a rate, if all lessons sold are “consumed”, that results, to the full knowledge of the owners, in operating at a net loss). In essence, you have to keep selling lessons in advance, at a rate that exceeds the lessons being consumed, for it to be profitable.

The owners thus know the shelf life of any eikaiwa outfit, that gears itself like Nova or Geos did, is ephemeral.

There is thus due incentive, from the outset, to launder as much money as possible, and to engage in other illicit business practices, so that, once market saturation point is reached, students fees paid in advance, to the public eye, have vanished, and are untraceable.

Eikaiwa business models, like those of Nova and GEOS, mean that Eikaiwa is not a legitimate business, in that, the only way to make money, is basically to steal it – to march it out the door, knowing the doors are sooner or later, going to close.

They collect money from students in advance, knowing, sooner or later, a percentage of students will lose their hard earned money, when the company ultimately folds, which, it naturally has to, since the market is finite, and they know it.

The name of the game in Eikaiwa is to get as much money out of the door and into the pockets of the owners, in the early days of expansion.

It is like a pyramid scheme – sooner or later it collapses, and the last cabs on the rank (the last of the advance fee paying students), go down with the ship.

Japanese authorities, need to outlaw the basic Eikaiwa business model, in the interests of protecting Japanese consumers, let alone for other reasons.

I really like Davey's comment, but for the life of me I just can't wrap my head around how this works: "since individual lessons are sold in bulk, at a rate, if all lessons sold are “consumed”, that results, to the full knowledge of the owners, in operating at a net loss" and also "the market that must eternally expand"

If anyone would care to elaborate on this, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks

Probably worth a second post...

The Yahoo report on David Page and the Employment Tribunal has more details than the NZ Herald. And guess who appears as a star performer??? Yup, it's our old mate, Mr M from Perth, Australia.

"Company ordered to pay sacked man more than $190,000NZPA "
http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/mp/7308054/company-ordered-to-pay-sacked-ma...
May 28, 2010, 1:46 pm

A man sacked by a company running an international group of English language schools has been awarded more than $190,000 after he was found to have been unjustifiably sacked.

A determination by the Employment Relations Authority said that David Page had been unjustifiably disadvantaged and then dismissed by GEOS (NZ) Ltd.

The company had counter-claimed that Mr Page had breached his good faith obligations and questioned whether he had charged non-work related expenses to his company credit card, but authority member Denis Asher did not accept those claims.

He said the company had not provided evidence of the credit card use claim and the credibility of the company's witnesses' claims was undermined by the company's gross conduct toward Mr Page.

Mr Page started with the company as general manager/principal for GEOS Gold Coast, Australia, in July 1999. That school was part of the GEOS Corporation owned by Tsuneo Kusunoki, who established English schools throughout Japan and a large number of countries.

In March 2006 Mr Page became regional director for GEOS New Zealand.

He was replaced in November 2008 at a regional conference in Thailand where Mr Kusunoki announced, without prior notification or consultation, that Gary Maserow was to be managing director of GEO International and GEOS New Zealand managers were to report to him.

Mr Page's regional director role was removed and Mr Kusunoki said Mr Page's position was now that of Auckland language centre principal.

In February last year Mr Page received an email from Mr Maserow warning that if the Auckland language centre was not in profit by the end of May his employment would be terminated.

Mr Maserow said the warning was sent after an offer from Mr Page that he be given "one last chance".

Mr Page filed an application with the authority, but proceedings were suspended after the parties advised they had agreed to attend mediation.

But the mediation did not happen and a disciplinary meeting was held on April 14 without Mr Page or his representative present.

On April 17 Mr Maserow told Mr Page by email that he was summarily dismissed.

Mr Asher found that Mr Page's demotion showed a complete absence of due process.

"The failings were fundamental and profound," he said.

He described Mr Maserow's final warning as "an unscrupulous exploitation of the earlier, unlawful demotion".

The dismissal was also lacking in due process, and the sequence of unlawful events preceding it supported a conclusion that Mr Page's dismissal was predetermined.

Mr Asher ordered that Mr Page be paid a total of $192,099.80, which included compensation for lost remuneration, hurt and humiliation, superannuation, holiday pay, incentive bonuses and long service leave."

It will be interesting to observe how Mr Page chases his entitlements.

WAKE UP! For those of you who have been in and around the eikaiwas, and other Japanese businesses too, you should now by now that bullying and dishonesty ARE the "Japanese way!" Sorry, but them's the bald truth. How ya like them bananas?

Hmmm. Come to think of it, it's also the way of the world, is it not?

Well, if that means we should all take it lying down, then maybe we should go back to sleep again. No?

Fantastic. GEOS finally admits that "ranting", "berating" and "humiliating" people is how they do their business, and is entirely acceptable. I'm almost dumbstruck with admiration and respect that a big eikaiwa finally owns up to that.

Get the news out there!

You posit a theory, however, payment in advance is a symptom not a cause of the eikaiwa demise. Bad management, poor product and poor execution of the product are the real killers here. There is nothing inherently wrong with the payment in advance in business. if you think about it, don't we do this every day? We go to Mickey Dees and pay beforewe can eat our quarter pounder and potato fries. When we fly, we pay well in advance of the time that we board the plane. Can you imagine a burger business allowing the consumer to consume before he pays? Can you imagine an airline that allows a passenger to disembark at his destination prior to paying for the ticket?

I think he means the BIG payments in advance, 6 months+ worth of lessons. People just aren't going to sign up on that basis any more, partly because of the recession and belt-tightening, and also because of the widely-publicised unscrupulousness of English schools. I agree though, poor management, poor product and poor customer service causes these places to collapse. Demanding massive payments from customers is the final nail in the coffin. It just isn't viable any more.

Some normal type schools, universities etc. will take payment in advance of one semester or one year. However, they don't go out and immediately spend that money starting up another university down the road like eikaiwa shops do. So if that's what you mean then the problem is more fiscal irresponsibility than a payment in advance system.

However, No real unis or schools that I have heard of push for a 3 year in advance payment the way that Nova did, with lots of discounts for doing so. It might happen, but I haven't come across it. Rule of thumb: if an educational service has a payment system that makes it look like a telephone company with lots of weird gimmikey stuff in it, then the education offered will probably be Mickey Mouse as well.

When you buy a burger from Mickey Dees, there are enough burgers (cooked or uncooked) there for you to get your burger, and you don’t buy six months of burgers in advance. When you buy your airline ticket, in most cases, there are enough seats on the plane for you to get a seat.

It is not the case in Eikaiwa. In the basic Eikaiwa model, if ALL students who buy lessons turn up, there is not enough space in the classrooms to teach them, and in addition, the school would run at a loss, without the bottom line being topped up by additional OVER selling of space in advance.

The “loss” is covered up by cancellation fees, making refunds next to impossible (forcing legal action), and by selling more and more and more lessons. The basic Eikaiwa model depends on (a) Students not turning up (b) those students not getting an easy refund, if at all and (c) over-selling lessons (selling more lessons than the school can actually teach, IF all students who bought lessons turned up).

The mirage of profitability is literally maintained by selling bulk lessons in advance.

For example, operating costs for one month, plus sales covering six months (since the money for those sales comes in, in advance), equals a massive profit for that month (and boy, do they get that money out the door as fast as they can - they usually do that, by setting up sister companies, for example, a computer company, who sells products/services to the mother company, at grossly inflated prices).

It does not equal a profit over six months, however, IF all students turn up, and refunds are awarded for those who want out. It equals a loss, and the operators of Eikaiwa know that from the outset.

The Eikaiwa mirage of profitability all comes crashing down, when, for whatever reason, new sales prove to be difficult, and there is a RUSH on getting refunds, and students, who increasingly what value for their yen, actually start turning up regularly. Full classrooms, which you would think suggest the school should be fine, in many cases, mean the complete opposite. The only thing that matters in Eikaiwa, is new sales of bulk lessons, paid for in advance, but not immediately consumed, and as a matter of fact, despite all the acting and sales crap that goes along with it, the owners of Eikaiwa hope the purchasers do not consume their purchase at all, or at the very least, only partially, while forfeiting their rights to a refund, or not being bothered trying to get a refund.

The basic Eikaiwa model depends on selling lessons over and above actual capacity (should all students turn up), making getting a refund extremely difficult, and having a market where new sales, no matter what, can be made.

In essence, the basic Eikaiwa model is fundamentally flawed, from the outset, since the market is finite, especially during times where luxury/careless/carefree spending by consumers is reduced, making forward sales, where consumers hopefully don't actually consume or only partially consume what they purchase, which the viability of Eikaiwa depends on, extremely difficult.

Eikaiwa is from many perspectives, a grand scam. Lessons are sold for, at face value, for a loss, and from that point, it is a game of cat and mouse, money shuffling, and bullshit.

Well said, Davey Jones. You seem to have a grasp on what happens. Seen it happen more than once and with little twists thrown (low-balling, bait-and-switch of classes, excuses galore when students demand what is rightfully theirs).

Look forward to more of your posts. What experience did you have at GEOS?

The problems with the eikaiwa industry you mention are for the most part only problems for the dying (and dead) giants.
While they are dying, most of us smaller schools and independents are experience uninterrupted growth. Mostly because we're in the industry because we care about what we are doing (giving the gift of a second/third/etc. language) and our policies, practices and staff reflect that.
I myself am operating at near capacity and have started turning away and cutting questionable students, those who don't show commitment and are regularly absent from class or that we feel wont continue for more than a few months.
And bear in mind, the big 4 + Berlitz only accounted for 25% of the eikaiwa industry. Now two of the big 4 are gone, AEON is working on it's CR policies and ECC is a damned good company, genuinely focussed on education rather than profiteering.

And if you're being treated with contempt by any employer or co-worker in Japan, chances are it's because you've been showing contempt for them.
Whether or not it's your services being sold, you're a guest here (sadly regardless of visa status or how long you've been here).

HAHA, lolololol! really?

I sometimes do Sunday gigs for ECC junior. ECC Junior usually is Japanses teachers teaching kids out of their home or on property classrooms. A few times a year they have parties or "conversation tests" at local community centers where the kids come for an hour of fun with the gaijin (parties) or about 2-3 each min with a gaijin for a conversation test. These events cost about 2000 yen each and when I do it, it is about 6 hours of work paired with another foreign teacher and 2-4 ECC junior staff members.

These are strictly profit making events. About 200-300 kids come rolling through in a single day. You can do the math on how much they bring in. The parties are minimally English related, more like showing off the dancing bear gaijin. The conversation tests are a farce, every kid scores at least 25 out of 30 points even if they can barely say their name. There is no negative feedback ever.

Why do I do it ya ask? Well, they pay me 20,000 plus lunch plus travel, so it is a good deal for me.

But please don't tell me they are not looking for a profit...

"they pay me 20,000 plus lunch plus travel, so it is a good deal for me"

Don't give me that shit. You get a high out of being the dancing bear don't you. Just admit to it.

They are a corporation, not an NPO, of course they're want to make a profit.
The difference is they also want to provide good quality service, hence the large number of Japanese teachers rather than relying solely on half arsed dancing bears.

C'mon...turning away students..if your wife finds out, you are dead! That money means survival and, maybe, a decent holiday next year. Turning away students, in your dreams!

If Rod says that's what he's doing, I have no reason to doubt him. However, how representative his situation is of the average small eikaiwa operation is another matter.

I agree that EEC has invested far more into genuine educational development than any other eikaiwa, so they are not completely shameless profiteers and the fact that they went that way in an otherwise shoddy business environment deserves credit. However, they are very much tuned into the money. They take a HUGE percentage of the revenues of the Japanese teachers' revenues in franchise duties. All of the costs of development and a lot more are in effect paid for by the teachers. I know a couple of EEC teachers who have about 50 kids students, but when you hear what kind of money they are getting out of the whole deal - its sad.

Obviously I can't speak for every small owner out there but the ones I do have links with in the community are in the same boat. As in most business the turning point is around the five year mark when your reputation and brand are established and have built a solid student base (by this time most are also well past the point of survival and if not, you're doing it wrong).
At that point you can start being more picky about who you accept into your school.

Evidently the president of ECC founded it to help bring the world together, or something like that.

And they do dick around the employees a little less than other eikaiwa. So that's a plus. And being big keeps them in check to a certain degree. Another plus.

But you can't deny that they're in it to make money just like everyone else. Which is why they should stop opening new schools and should spend that money updating their damn books. But I digress.

There is nothing wrong with making money, and language teaching outfits are entitled to do so, as are teachers, but HOW one (whether a company or an individual) goes about it, is the question.

With regards to the business that this blog is dedicated to, in most cases, the front to stealing money, is that the business is about operating language schools, and the way the money is made, for the owners, is arguably (and many say blatantly, not arguably) criminal and highly deceitful.

(a) Unlawful sales contracts / treatment of customers
(b) Money laundering of fees paid in advance through “Sister Companies” – interim monthly “super profits”, during periods where forward sales are plentiful, marched out the door of the mother company as quickly as possible. There are also tax evasion implications with regards to this kind of activity.
(c) Unlawful employment contracts / treatment of staff
(d) Book cooking
(e) Unlawful intimidation of staff and instructors
(f) All the other crap I have forgotten to mention

Some Eikaiwa are more ethical than others, but if you have ever wondered why the “quality control” is little more than a band aid / front in many places, in terms of the product delivered, that’s because the “schools” real focus is sales, and collecting fees in advance, and little else. Advance fee fraud comes to mind.

You instructors are just a front / a gimmick / a jingle jingle / a saleable fad, used to allure and attract consumers into the sales booths, which is where, from the owners point of view, the primary work is done, and from there, they evaporate the funds received, from the main body of the company, as quickly and as “off the radar”, as they possibly can, crawling through ever grey area and crack they can find.

Tell tale sign to look out for, with regards to a shonky operator – the presence of sister companies, under its umbrella. A straight forward language school, not engaging in the siphoning off of fees paid in advance, before / incase the roof caves in, has no need for sister companies, selling goods and services to the mother company, at inflated prices, at all.

Freedom of Choice and Free Societies I believe in. I don’t believe in extreme regulation, but how the Japanese government can just sit back, and let Eikaiwa companies get away with, by lack of regulation, what they actually get away with, is beyond me.

The Japanese government in the most part behaves like an ostrich with its head buried in the sand, almost as if they believe, because the problem is not constantly broadcast via a flashing neon light in down town Tokyo, then it does not actually exist.

That is pretty Japanese, but when will enough finally be enough? How many consumers must have their money stolen, before action is finally taken, to seriously fix that extremely thick with bullshit industry?

The big problem is that the eikaiwa industry is only one amongst a huge range of 'educational' organisations who are all doing exactly the same thing. When we move outside of that then there is a whole host of other businesses also doing the same thing. Eikaiwa are actually the least of the government's worries when it comes to business monitering (or lack of it).

The prime minister just resigned by the way, saying that we should all become 'cleaner': easy to say when you have just resigned over your inability to do anything.

The entire Japanese education system is a joke, from high schools all the way up to universities and, yes, private education institutions. All it does is spit out a conveyor belt of placid, dull, unquestioningly loyal sheeple who throw themselves willingly into the meat grinder of the Japanese working life. Education in Japan doesn't educate people it slowly lobotomises them. It's no wonder eikaiwa is as fucked as it is when you have Japanese high schools, universities and cram schools as a model.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100530x5.html

By the way, this doesn't mean I'd rate (as an example) the American education system any more highly. A shit sandwich is still a shit sandwich, no matter where you bite into it. There are many countries I'd never want to bring up my kids, Japan just happens to be one of them.

Mr Page was screwed by GEOS NZ, particularly that crooked ratbag Justin Mastoyo (who is now running the company).

I hope Mastoyo is outed sooner rather than later and the authorities prevent him from doing further damage to the reputation of NZ's education sector.

The sister companies point is interesting. I don't know if they still have them, but Interac set up two other companies called Selnate and Maxceed, recruiting ALTs often at lower salaries (200k a month) than the parent company, which usually offered about 250. My impression was that they did this to attract cheaper, non-native ALTs from places like India and the Philippines, and used Interac to recruit native speakers in NA, UK and Aus/NZ. It was a way of getting cheap labor in without denigrating the image of the parent company.

OK - easy to make allegations. Need examples or anecdotes to support your suggestion / slander that Justin M is not a fit person to be registered? So I think it is put up or shut up? Anyway as he purchased the shares he mikght have to pay the $190 000

Significant factor here is whether DP is going to chase New Zealand Language Centres for the$NZ190k. A change in ownership and a change in name in February last (from Geos NZ Ltd) is unlikely to have quarantined the corporate from its liabilities. Now whether NZLC has adequate insurance to cover such a possible liability is something that is probably troubling all the involved parties right at this moment. We will remember that GEOS Aus was reported by E&Y as not carrying Director Insurance for its officers. Did/does GNZL and NZLC follow a similar attitude to insurances??? Does NZLC have cash reserves, or the capacity to borrow, to cover any liability such as we are discussing???? Does DP have resouces to chase his claim or are there legal entities who are prepared to assist him in such a chase? Don't you love the world of GEOS!

By the by, its notable that the NZ Comapnies Office web records show that the GNZL Financial Statements for year ended 30 June 2008 are the most recent ones received by the office. If you want to keep a wathching brief on NZLC the comapny number is 248543 and the NZCO address is : http://www.companies.govt.nz/cms

Also, staying in NZ, the NZ Qualifications Authority this week toughened up on Registered Private Training enterprises who haven't lodged Compliance Notices on schedule. The NZQA are threatening to cancel school registrations if CNs are not lodged within 10 days.
(Source: http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/for-providers/compliance/notices.html)

The new owners of the old NZ GEOS will not have their financial statements published as they are a NZ owned company. Only foreign-owned companies need to publish annual returns. But there is yet to be any credible evidence or anecdote to show Justin M to be somehow trustworthy. Empty accusations are easy to make. Just what did he do - embittered ex-employee? Waiting to be persuaded.........

There are good teachers at bad schools, and bad teachers at good schools. If you work for one of the "evil" eikaiwa chains it does not necessarily mean you are a bad teacher, a stupid person, or a cancer to the ESL/EFL profession.
Similarly, simply because you do NOT work for one of these language school chains does not mean you are a crackerjack teacher, the cream of the crop.
Having lived and worked here for over 15 years I have seen all kinds of teachers. There are those transient ones that sign on with the large schools simply for the security of a regular income and then proceed to do the absolute minimum, in terms of teaching or prepping or professional self-improvement, because doing more than the minimum would get in the way of their "homestay".
These teachers exist at the large language schools, the small schools, in the ALT/JET programs, or in the private teaching sector. They are here simply to enjoy Japan and they are welcome to do so, but in doing only that they do a disservice to their students, their schools, and teaching itself.
These people are no better than the teachers back home who take up the profession simply because teachers get long summer vacations.
Yes, some language schools simply pay lip service to the notion of teacher training and student care. So what ?? This is true in most companies in any sector, period. Granted, if teachers are working in true sweatshops, w/o any time for prepping, then there is difficulty in providing lessons of a quality commensurate with the fees being paid. But I have seen firsthand, teachers who work at companies/schools who do have the time to put into teaching, but choose not to, because they just do not care about actual teaching.
However, having said that, it is not fair to lump all teachers at the language schools into this category. Rant, if you must, against the whiners who seem upset at having lost the guaranteed income. Attack, if you must, the people who want to slander those teachers who do not work at language schools. But don't act as though every eikaiwa teacher is a blight. And don't put every non-eikaiwa teacher up on some pedestal. There are a number of university profs, here and back home, who are awful teachers.
If it makes you happy to shout "I told you so !" regarding what has happened to both Nova and GEOS, so be it. Some people enjoy car wrecks, train crashes, disasters and the suffering that follows. But get back to what makes these forums more useful, and that is shining light on alternatives every bit as much as turning over rocks.
You want to weed out these bad/naive/unqualified teachers that seem to enrage you so much ?? Don't worry. It seems they are being weeded out simply by what is transpiring in the industry. But don't assume that every teacher caught in the net is of the same ilk.
They aren't.
And don't be so naive yourselves to think that only the eikaiwas are dishonorable or money-grubbing. Our lofty institutions of higher learning, our mighty universities, may not ask students to pay fees 2 or 3 years in advance, but they are just as guilty of taking money with the implied promise of superior education, and maybe even future earnings based on whatever degree earned. Huge class sizes, burnt out profs, unqualified part-time instructors, and ever-increasing tuition and book costs, are all pervasive in universities everywhere. Publish or perish is much more on a prof's mind than "teaching".
The old NOVA and GEOS are dead. Move on, or at the very least, climb down from your pulpits. If you all were truly the geniuses of this profession you think yourselves to be, so much more than we other teachers ( in name only ), you would yourselves be published and lauded, Nobel laureates even. Any of you like that out there ?? Any captains of industry/commerce ?? Any Mother Teresas ??
No. Just holier-than-thou armchair quarterbacks.

Interesting. It's worth pointing out that some of the people you are talking about - the long term eikaiwa workers were in a distinct minority. The majority quickly figured out that it didn't actually matter how hard they worked: the system that they were working in was custom designed to fail: I'm thinking in particular about the Nova system. At first they were disheartened, then they became cynical and then they just concentrated on having a good time unitl their contract was up and went home.

The only smart way to go really.

Haha, here in NZ, we all know these guys are a bunch of bullshit artists. It comes as no surprise GEOS NZ flouted the employment laws this way and therefore that old saying "what goes around, comes around" is something they should consider when paying the $190,000 fine to Mr Page.

'Old school' not OK: ERA

BY NEIL REID - Sunday News (NZ) Last updated 05:00 06/06/2010

A LANGUAGE school tried to argue an unjustifiably demoted manager should have accepted his fate because he was used to the "Japanese way" of doing business – including putting up with his boss "ranting", "berating" and "humiliating" people.

David Page has been awarded more than $170,000 by the Employment Relations Authority over his treatment by GEOS New Zealand.

The ERA also found Page had been unjustifiably dismissed as the New Zealand regional manager of the string of Japanese-owned language schools, which now trades as the New Zealand Language Centres Ltd.

In a ruling released to Sunday News earlier this week, ERA member Denis Asher says Page's "demotion" was "without any prior notification or consultation".

It was announced by GEO owner Tsuneo Kusunoki at the company's regional conference in Thailand in November, 2008.

Page was dismissed in writing five months later, shortly after being told if GEOS' Auckland language centre did not quickly make a profit, he would be sacked.

The ERA-ordered payout to Page – who has since returned to Australia – includes $55,000 in lost remuneration, $21,000 for hurt and humiliation, $31,849.99 in long-service leave, more than $13,000 for incentive bonuses due from the 2005-06 and 2006-07 financial years and $6002 for underpayment of salary. The new management of the New Zealand Language Centres Limited has lodged an appeal.

In his ruling, Asher rubbished GEOS New Zealand's submission that the impact of the demotion on Page must be balanced by his "accepted understanding" of the "Japanese way" of doing business.

Asher noted Page was still unable to find work more than a year after being dismissed.

Page's work was in a "relatively specialised pool", and it was likely "his dismissal is well known to other language school providers throughout Oceania and in a way that would act against the applicant's prospects of finding fresh employment elsewhere".

Asher said: "The effect on Mr Page of his unjustified treatment has been profound and is ongoing."

Why haven't the 2009 financials been published online? This company has only submitted 2008 figures and didn't switch to NZ ownership until 2010. What are they hiding from the regulators?

It was interesting to read Davey's thoughts about Eikaiwa in Japan, especially since I think he might be an old friend of mine from the mid nineties. True Davey?

I have recently just closed down an English school in Canada in part because of competition from so many dishonest schools which got worse once the recession hit.

Davey, drop me a line. I would love to get back in touch with you.

Rob, what city did you have an English school?

I worked for Nova for nearly 6 years and left in 2004. Yes, it was a shit company with a ludicrous business model and packed with "teachers" only there for a party, to spend a year abroad to pad their CV, or some other reason that had nothing to do with actual teaching. I worked tons of overtime to save up money and worked at schools all around the Tokyo area and met more fuckheads than I care to remember. However, few they were, I did meet people who really loved teaching and had a long-term stake in being in Japan and accepted Nova for what it was. I can honestly say that I was always treated decently--no one ever gave me too much shit--I was able to take lots of time off, and most importantly, was generally cut a lot of slack and left alone to teach the way I wanted. Sure, the bullshit needed to be tolerated, but no more so that working for any big corporation. Maybe I was lucky that the people in higher places in my area knew I was a good teacher and actually cared about the job and the students. Who knows..

I'm not sticking up for Nova and Geos--I guess I'm just agreeing that not all eikaiwa teachers at these places were fucking puddings with no ability or interest in teaching. If you knew how to work the system and weren't a fucking whinger it wasn't so bad--and I learned (no thanks to the company) a lot about teaching.

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