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Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007

BLOG-WATCH

Nova gets the Web talking


Staff writer

Ah, the wonderful world of blogging, where people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe find a forum to have their voices heard. This week, let's take a peek into the goings on of Nova, Japan's largest English school company, which has recently found itself in a big onsen tub of hot water.

Let's Japan

For the lowdown on Nova, this is possibly the most comprehensive blog out there. All the hot Nova topics you'll find scattered around on other blogs are rolled into one at Let's Japan: Nova's report to JASDAQ, teachers going on strike on Monday due to unpaid salaries, Nova President Nozomu Sahashi's alleged shady dealings to help keep the company afloat, and much more. The blog also provides links to several related newspaper stories.

With blog posts titled "Nova Losing Control," "Nova in Flames" and "What's That Smell?" one can clearly get a taste of the bitterness inspired by Nova's whole situation. Or take, for example, an entry Friday that reads, "Teachers didn't get paid today. Sahashi's word really means nothing now. The man cannot be believed. . . . Sadly, the only person who seems to know what is going with Nova and its pay is Sahashi, and he is nowhere to be found."

Japan Economy News & Blog

Ken Worsley has for the past several months been providing strong and in-depth analysis of Nova's financial situation, its causes and its potential consequences. Just type "Nova" into the keyword search and you'll soon be faced with a blog that offers some scary news for Nova teachers and fuels the fires of those who want the company to go up in flames.

In his latest Nova post (Oct. 19), Worsley announces that Nova has sent to JASDAQ its latest report, in which it explains its plan to "strengthen its business and its public disclosure systems." And Worsley's conclusion: "Japan Economy News has reviewed the report and rejects it. No word yet from JASDAQ."

If you browse through back-postings of Worsley's blog, you'll run into various little tidbits of information. One particularly interesting post (on Aug. 8) pertained to "Nova's plan for business improvement," which was to "Increase the number of teachers by 98 in August, 527 in September and 686 in October," despite a sharp decline in new student enrollments. Worsley does well by digging up the economic dirt and laying it out for all to see.

Japan Probe

Japan Probe covers topics not seen on most other related blogs. On the whole, it takes a look at many funny and freakish things in Japan, as well as covering top news stories on a wide array of topics.

Cruising around the various links on Japan Probe, you can read all about how Nova instructors claimed they were "forced to teach retarded and mentally disabled" students and how "reports of stalking of teachers, threats, assaults and various odd and abnormal behavior from students has many wondering what sort of operation is/was Nova running." On other postings you can take a gander at various speculations on Nova's demise. The blog ties together newspaper stories with teachers' experiences to give a well-rounded look at just how bad the situation is.



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