You might have read about the collapse of Japan’s largest English-teaching school, Nova. From the Wall Street Journal:
…more than 4,000 foreign-language teachers working for Nova [were] slammed by the biggest scandal in Japan’s foreign community in years. The company, renowned in Japan for the hip-shaking pink bunny in its commercials, had been on a hiring binge, setting up recruitment offices in the U.S. and the United Kingdom and prowling college campuses offering jobs.
This sucks for the thousands of Americans, Australians and Brits teaching there:
Now, the Nova teachers are jobless and those who have lived from paycheck to paycheck are stuck in Japan. Some have been threatened with eviction from their apartments because Nova, which had provided housing and deducted the rent from teachers’ salaries, stopped paying rent months ago. In the past week, 300 Nova teachers have swarmed the usually orderly employment agency office in western Tokyo, called Hello Work, seeking jobs.
Surely you’ve heard teaching English in Japan is lucrative work that requires not much more than the ability to speak.
English-conversation schools are a big business in Japan. Millions of Japanese dream of speaking English. But the six years of language classes given in middle and high schools focus on grammar, not conversation, so few children learn to speak English well. The $3.5-billion-a-year foreign-language-education industry teems with more than 1,100 companies catering to about two million students, according to the Japan Association for the Promotion of Foreign Language Education.
Fear not, Japanese friends. Who needs Nova when we have muggers? This video is an excellent teaching tool for young Japanese ladies who wish to travel overseas but know they will be robbed by two white men wielding a butter knife. And why just learn another language when one can combine the tutorial with upper-body muscle toning? Just do as the automatons in the aerobics uniforms do, and soon you’ll be warding off your attackers fluently and attractively! (Thanks to my colleague Sora Song, who apparently spends her office hours trolling YouTube for weird clips from Japan.)