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Open Thread: Rumours About GEOS and Two Years After NOVA's Collapse

Let's start an open thread for kicks. I won't call it an End of GEOS thread, but if you have have something to add, comment on it here.

Today is also notable as it marks two years since Nova went bankrupt. Although Nova is a shell of its former self, it's collapse has left its mark on eikaiwa. The final chapter has yet to be written as Sahashi appeals his conviction while trying to avoid hotel visits from gangsters.

What's on your mind?


(Continuing GEOS thread)
Even if Saturday is the end of the month, they still have to pay you BEFORE the end of the month, not on Monday November 2. That's the law!
So if you don't get paid by Satuday, it is a REALLY bad sign and they have broken the law!

the nails not need be ready for GEOS' coffin just yet... nor the state of English study overall. The demise of NOVA flooded the market with teachers left to scavange for remains. That meant a lot of poaching for private students and private group lessons. With the ease of finding public classroom space and the distrust of big Eikaiwa, it is not such a big surprise that any of the big three are in more trouble during the slump time before the April campaigns. Geos has a lot of dead wood it can trim and still be viable.

The trouble is GEOS's practice of selling contracts so far in advance makes it very hard for them to trim down. GEOS has many schools which are losing large numbers of students and frequently fail to cover their basic overheads but these schools still have a significant chunk of students left with a lot of time on their contracts.

While the students bound to the failing schools remain their branches can't be shut down without paying cancellation fees. If a some hardcore students in failing schools have been conned into buying homestays this makes shutting their schools down an even greater hassle.

I worked for GEOS before and after the NOVA crash and when it became obvious they wouldn't be able to swoop down like vultures and feast on the rabbit's carcass they started leaving schools with declining student numbers to die, but die slowly. Instead of moving schools to the new shopping center in town they have been left in half vacant buildings. Schools in quiet areas have had their managers transferred away, or left unreplaced. "Experienced" teachers are transferred to the more resilient schools while any new flesh is shipped off to the dead zone. In a year or so then they can close the failed school down but by then it may be too late, can the company afford to be shitting money left, right and centre when the few schools in more affluent or trendy areas are struggling to find students?

The rumor-mongering about Geos is interesting (or scary, if you work for Geos), but it's being made out to sound worse than it really is. The same situation which is occurring now (late pay for J-staff) happened last year at this time as well. No foreign teachers were late receiving their pay, though the silver week holiday last month delayed the printing/delivery of the pay slips. Pay slips for October have been delivered, and indicate that pay will be deposited on Oct. 30th, so no law-breaking is occurring (at least for the moment).

Business is slow at Geos, but then business is slow throughout Japan at the moment. Many companies have closed down, others have cut staff, while those who still have jobs have had to deal with hours and pay reductions. Not a pretty picture, but it shows that the situation at Geos is not unique. There are only a handful of companies in Japan which will earn a profit for 2009.

Geos has spent the last year cutting off much of the deadwood, and trying to improve efficiency. I think they could do more, as the lion's share of the schools' monthly goals go to pay middle and upper management. The schools themselves are earning more than enough to meet their own overhead (for the most part). The problem with keeping managers at the smaller schools has been disastrous, and is the primary cause of Geos' problems. This year Geos finally shifted their approach, and began a drive to get managers in each and every school. An attempt was made to hire managers who live in the area where the schools were located, and at the moment, more schools have managers than have had them at any time in recent memory.

I don't see Geos actually going out of business anytime soon. Many Geos students have their lessons subsidized by the Japanese government, and it's likely the government is keeping a close eye, and will step in with assistance if things get too bad. For those who are working at Geos, don't listen too much to the rumors going around. It might be tempting to jump ship and try to find work elsewhere, but it would be wiser to stay where you are. Even if the worst were to happen, and Geos were actually to fold, current employees would be eligible for government assistance, and would get to remain in their current apartment at least until the end of their employment contract.

To the poster above: be careful posting facts, some people around here don't like them.

Plus, wild speculations and random accusations of "containment" are much more fun.

Re: GEOS Far from Dead

Dear GEOS stooge, your little lie infested story does little to quiet the minds of GEOS teachers and staff. (1) You said, pay-slips were printed and sent to the schools and everyone will get paid?? Well, I recall when old NOVA was in business, they printed out pay slips as well, just didnt pay the staff and teachers....I know that, because I was at old NOVA. We got our payslips alright....we just didnt get our salaries!!

(2) You say GEOS teachers can stay in their apartments until the end of their contracts should GEOS fold?? WHY??? Do you think the landlord or apartment manager is going to be understanding and honor a contract between a bankrupt and out-of-business GEOS and an unemployed teacher?? NOPE!! If a teacher living in GEOS accomodations (Leo-Palace) when GEOS goes under, the unemployed teacher will be the one fighting Leo-Palace on their fxckig own!!! GEOS will certianly NOT give a FXCK about a teachers apartment!! Saw that again with the old NOVA....Nice try GEOS stooge.
What GEOS teachers need to look out for is the old switch-a-roo. GEOS will deduct the payment to Leo-Palace, but they wont pay Leo-Palace...they will keep the fxcking money! The teacher will be out on his ass no matter what happens. GEOS teachers....when GEOS does go under, Leo-Palace will serve you with an eviction notice or an option to pay them directly.....yes, you can stay in your apartment for up to 6 months all the while going through the legal manuvering you at your expensive and time, whille enduring locks on your door, threatening letters and maybe a late-night visit by couple of real nasty fellows threatening to kick your ass if you dont move out. Dont, believe me?? Saw it with my own eyes 2 years ago.

(3) You said GEOS teachers can get public assistance from the government??? Yeah...saw that amounted to almost nothing. Not to mention the hassle of paperwork, shxt load of time, and a pitiful payment. Why were NOVA teachers evicted from their apartments and working in parks for food if they got government assistance??

(4) You said, that many GEOS students have their contracts subsidized by the government?? Thats true. BUT SO DID NOVA!!! Old Nova had subsidized contracts for job-training, impoverished folk, losers, and drug addicts. Nova had ALOT more subsidized contracts than GEOS...but as we all know the government didnt do shxt about it!!!

So, GEOS stooge...who the fxck are you trying to fool?? You really believe yourself?? You might be able to fool the newbies...but not the folks who have been for awhile. Your post is full of bullshxt!!

GEOS IS FAR FROM DEAD poster is a paid GEOS stooge.

Dear AntiGeos Stooge,

"GEOS IS FAR FROM DEAD poster is a paid GEOS stooge."

Key point is PAID!

An earlier post put it best:
"Those that know, are not talking. Those that are talking, don't know"

Re: AntiGEOS stooge......havent heard any counter arguments from you???? You are ALL talk and full of SHXT GEOS stooge.

We dont need information from you...I work for GEOS in the CHUBU manger has been spilling the beans and printing out confidential GEOS emails left and right, plans to make it public and take GEOS to court. My manager doesnt give a fxck either, told the students point blank not to renew...because GEOS will go bankrupt.

Those who do know ARE TALKING stooge!! I have seen the COMPANY emails and had them translated by the MANAGER!! Everyone who works in CHUBU knows Brxce (former HR manager for CHUBU) just up and quit on short notice, worked at GEOS for almost 10 years, said he wants to a master degree....code word for GET THE FXCK OUT!!

My school has NO money to pay rent, salaries, or ANYTHING!!! My manager doesnt give a fxck about CS....she wants the company to go under and isnt ashamed to tell everyone about it!!

So....wanna counter argue my previous post about YOUR BULLSHXT??!!? Im PAID by GEOS too!!! Im gonna spill every FXCKING piece of information I get to the students and to the fxcking world STOOGE!!!!

NOVA and GEOS are both English Conversation Schools... but the similarities end there.

You posted a lot of facts about NOVA and then implied that GEOS is the same. Learn a little more about the differences in the two companies and then perhaps someone will listen to your ridiculous rant. Until then, you've got nothing but half-truths and a lot of misleading tripe.

What the "GEOS stooge" posted is far more reasonable, if for no other reason than you come off like a bitter Eikaiwa-hater who has nothing better to do with your time than to try and ruin everybody's day. If you have something to say, fine, but don't be a jackass.

Will GEOS collapse? Maybe, but within all of these rumors it's now impossible to see what the truth actually is. My feeling is, when we are all paid on Friday (Yes, I do work for GEOS, yes I do like the job, and no, I don't care what you think about that) then I'll be back on here saying "Surprise, surprise".

If I don't get paid, well then, like most of the other teachers I know, I'm out. But as GEOS, the head office staff, and my coworkers have always treated me decently, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt until that day comes.

You obviously didn't know Bruce. He was telling teachers months ago that he was leaving. I barely know the guy and I heard about it.

And those confidential emails? Do you really think that the company is sending out that stuff to all the schools? They aren't sending anything to all schools that they don't want every manager to see. You are off your face if you think your manager knows something about the GEOS financial situation. If he/she says she does, it's probably the same old line that head office has used on managers for ages.

You think you're being clever, but you're not.

After reading these posts, I do not think either "side" here really has a clue (or I am just too stupid to figure out what side does). If Geos late this month, the writing will be on the wall. If not, then it will still be a matter of time before we see another big school go down. Just will not know which one yet.

It was interesting watching Nova go down though. Well see some fireworks again if it happens to Geos!

Those that know aren't talking.

That was the case with Nova. Those that knew always kept secrets until it was time to hit the teachers with the next big pile of bullshit. When the end came, however. those that knew, turned out not to know anything after all. After years, running a company from a bunker, they were completely clueless about what to do.

Those that don't know do all the talking. Is there anything wrong with people who are used to being kept in the dark pooling what information they have? I don't think so.

For those who are working at Geos, don't listen too much to the rumors going around. It might be tempting to jump ship and try to find work elsewhere, but it would be wiser to stay where you are. Even if the worst were to happen, and Geos were actually to fold, current employees would be eligible for government assistance, and would get to remain in their current apartment at least until the end of their employment contract.

I think the best thing for people to do is to wait and see if you get paid this Friday. If you don't, then start looking for other work immediately, especially as there'll be more teachers looking for work. In that situation, I'd advise against simply staying where you are and getting government assistance.

- you think you're emailing a company stooge and you told them that you and your manager are interfering with the company's revenue AND you told them where you work ?

how many schools are there in Chubu ? 20? 30?
how hard would it be to find you ?

Re: Chubu Guy

How hard is it for a company stooge to find a teacher or staff member working in chubu writing truthful information about GEOS? Pretty tough when there are bunch losers running around at head office. Right now, as I write there are head office managers running all over chubu to schools where teachers and managers just walked off. Everyday teachers and managers walk off in chubu, and the head off retards have to scamble to cover the mess. They dont have time or the resources to do an active investigation. GEOS has no internal coordination, everything is so disjointed in the company it would be impossible to believe they can mount a witch hunt, let alone a investigation. Just take look at the managers they have working for the company, utter incompetence running the schools. Even head office people dont give a fart. Everyone in GEOS is covering their asses at this point and holding their breath for tomorrows salary. So, you GEOS teachers, staff, and students, dont be afraid to come on here and share what you know. GEOS is too busy trying to survive and does NOT have the time or resources to hunt you down.
You can practically give away senesitive information on here and nobody at GEOS will do anything about it, except send a few stooges to the forum for damage containment.

well mate - you know; cover your arse and all that.
good luck with it.

Shut down as of October 31st, 2009. No lie.

Berlitz Closed???

Don't get confused between Berlitz franchises and Berlitz Japan. 2 Berlitz franchises are closing on Oct 31. One in Kyushu and the other in Hokkaido. Also they aren't actually bankrupt but doing poor business and are therefore closing their doors.

Two franchises.
Nothing to see here.
Continue the bashing of Geos employees.

only 2 schools closing nationally? stinks of deceit!

Of course they would never dream of shutting their shinjuku school.

It is what it is. A low-down, dirty shame!


Do you have any more information about that? Are all the branches shutting, or just the ones in Kyushu and Hokkaido? The Tokyo Nambu website says ELS teachers were paid late in September.

"it's likely the government is keeping a close eye" A "closed" eye is more like it! After seeing the fiasco / debacle of Nova crashing and burning it's clear that NO ONE in government cares about ANYTHING that happens in the floating world of eikaiwa! After Nova went down the drain someone in government noticed a little pile of stink on the floor and had it swept up. That's all it is to them and don't kid yourself about your own importance.

The government interfering (rightly so) in NOVAs was the main reason they crashed (ban on new students, no subsidised courses) - That's why G-com got their arm twisted to take the reins - why else would they have taken over in company in such ridiculous debt?

I do like the idea of regulations - but how would you do it? I hear that China are transitioning to only ESL-qualified teachers (CELTA etc, but that's a totally unconfirmed rumor) - would that work in Japan? There are so many unqualified ALTS and Eikaiwa teachers there would suddenly be a huge gap in the market... Maybe I should start a new topic on another board. Or maybe there is one -

Hey all, My best mate works at Geos. He has an upfront manager. This was the info he gave me:

i read the reports a while ago when you had sent me that link [To], and a few of the comments that were posted on the main page of the site. they were generally correct. the first month that managers and japanese staff were paid late was bc geos closed too many schools at once and had to give too many refunds so they ran out of money. usually they just borrow money from the study abroad company that is another geos susidiary, but they also didn't have any money. they found enough money to pay the japanese staff after a few days. teachers were paid on time.
the 2nd time, last month, they said they were moving the accounting from tokushima to tokyo in an effort to save money and the system screwed up, so they had to manually deposit into everyone's account. they did the teachers first, and i was paid on time, and everyone i knew was. but managers were paid about 4 days late.
alot of the negative comments from students i'd guess are because people are pissed off that they are closing the schools, altohugh i haven't really read any of the comments.
about 2 years ago geos had 550 school across the world, 50 overseas and 500 in japan. when i started [x] year[s] ago there were 450 in the world, 50 overseas and 400 in japan. now they are down to 51 overseas and 171 in japan. they closed a huge number in a short space of time. and the refunds almost drove them bankrupt, kind of. i'm guessing that they won't be closing any more schools as only the good ones are open still. my manager is kinda high up in the hiearchy so he knows alot about what's going on. but he doesn't tell us alot. geos is trying to get into a partnership with a food company i heard, i guess similar to what nova did.

[removed identifiable comments]

ELS Japan is declaring bankruptcy. ELS Japan owns two Berlitz branches (Fukuoka and Sapporo). Those branches are closing, as they are owned by ELS Japan.

If I were Berlitz, I would be making a lot more effort to publicize the difference between ELS Japan and Berlitz, because if that distinction isn't made clearly, more students will flock out of Berlitz and they will be the next ones in trouble...

Thanks for the update, Drake. Your friend's comment clarifies things. It sounds like GEOS took a big hit in closing some schools.


I did some work for ELS a while back. They actually froze teachers' wages last year, then reduced them 20% this April and ended their guaranteed hours of 20 classes a week. Apparently teachers were paid late in September. Familiar pattern. It was only 2 years ago that they seemed to be flying high. Some of the teachers were making in the region of 500k a month.

How times change.

I have well placed contacts in GEOS management who tell me the company is struggling but is not in the last throes yet by any stretch. With some careful cost cutting and management they should be fine. There may be a wave of layoffs as they consolidate operations so expect a lot of teachers to get the axe soon, but overall the company is solid. Sorry to rain on your parade haters!!

Though a lot of the drones may get sacked, so I'd recommend if you're a newbie to consider looking for a new job.

Flute Salad, you are probably right. I have seen signs school managers are starting confidential teacher evaluations with the students (without teacher knowledge) to determine what teachers stay and what teachers go. But there are are on average about 1.2 native teachers per school in my I have no idea how they are going to cut much further, wth exception of closing more schools. Either way this company is some trouble and Im on the ground floor working the trenches and its not good at all.

Once the students got whiff of the late payments to j-staff last month its been a deluge of cancellations and refund requests. I dont know how GEOS can stem the tide.
Im leaving no mater what happens. Too much secrecy from the top and too many lies. They are messing with peoples lives here and Im looking out after my own ass.

I just want to get paid today and move on.

With some careful cost cutting and management they should be fine. There may be a wave of layoffs as they consolidate operations so expect a lot of teachers to get the axe soon, but overall the company is solid.

Sorry, but I think there's a lot of wishful thinking in your post. According to a post on the End of Geos thread on here, another "well-placed source" said that the first salary payment delay to J-staff 2 months ago was due to Geos closing too many branches too quickly, and having a lot of student refunds to pay off. I wouldn't call that careful cost-cutting and management.

And if your well-placed source says there MAY be lay-offs, take that to mean WILL be lay-offs.

Finally, the fact that they've been late in paying J-staff at least twice in a row, and the overall number of schools has diminished two-thirds over the last couple of years, doesn't give the impression that it's a solid company.

If they've paid the J-staff late, then where the f*ck in the government? It's illegal to do that, and GEOS should be in the sh*t for it. Are they not aware what's happening at GEOS, or is there some reason why they're not involved yet that I don't know about?

It's Japan.

I used to use this phrase jokingly for all the amazing things that happen in Japan that you wouldn't find anywhere else. Staff working passed midnight when they were only paid until 6, people asking permission to quit etc but now I unjokingly use it for much more. The government has clear employment laws but they are so slack at enforcing any of it that they might as well not have any at all.

GEOS can't lay off teachers. Most schools only have one native teacher now, so it's either close the school or nothing. Closing schools is expensive, so that seems impossible. Even when there are more than one teacher, the contracts make it impossible to move the classes to another teacher. That's one reason why it's hard for a company like GEOS to trim down.

No way will there be layoffs... unless they are at the head office level.

I am not following this clearly. Did they pay the j staff today?

If they paid late again, then there is no way they can survive without massive changes. Just think about it. if you were a Japanese student about to fork over a lot of hard-earned cash, would you give it to a school that was not paying any of its employees on time?

There are of course some people with more money than sense, but something like that would have to be a massive blow to public trust-especially after Nova etc..

Everyone due to get paid today was. At least everyone I spoke to. My manager told me that there were no delay notices from head office and that all her manager friends were paid on time. All the teachers I talked to were paid as well.

Much ado about nothing.

Some Chubu teachers not paid yet. Pay was usually deposited at midnight. Don't say "all" when you don't know what you are talking about.

"At least everyone I talked to."

Much ado about nothing.

Nothing to see here. Move along. GEOS is rock solid. It doesn't matter if the Japanese staff have been paid late - it's full steam ahead for the good ship GEOS and it's gaijin crew! Smooth sailing ahead...

You are not going to get far just saying that it sounds like scaremongering - all the indications are everyone, even the managers have been paid. Proof? Every other board, on this site and others.
Where's yours?

What excuse did head office give?
When is pay expected?
Did your manager get paid?
You know, questions I'm sure you asked before posting here.

I remember that Friday night two years ago when everything went down. After a long day of scrambling and trying to figure out all the details of what really was going on, my roommate and I were sitting at the table in our apartment watching the NHK broadcast. As we were watching it, we heard the metallic clang of the mailbox attached to our front door. It was the eviction letter from our landlord. In the end, after weeks of negotiating with all of the entities involved (NOVA, the landlord, friends who were helping us), we finally got to keep the apartment (and our jobs; we stayed on with G-Comm, but I left Japan to return to my home country that February). We then realized that we had it a lot better than some people we knew in our area (Chiba), and much much better than some who living in other parts of Japan (those who became homeless). Let's not forget about the students either. We all know what became of them.

How is ECC doing?

Much ado about nothing.

I wouldn't say that. The Japanese staff posting on the kuchikomi message board are extremely pissed off and worried about the situation, with one comment wondering whether the company is headed for bankruptcy. Understandable when you've been paid late 2 or 3 times.

Been there, done that.

Even though everyone's been paid on time this month, it doesn't mean that "everything's fine" with the company, despite what your managers might say. The Japanese staff have been paid late 3 times, two-thirds of schools have closed in the past 2 or 3 years, and a "well-placed source" has apparently said there'll probably be a wave of lay-offs and more closures, with more than a few schools running on one teacher.

GEOS is far from being a "solid" company.

Look GEOS shouldn't have paid their managers late - but where are you people living?
I'm living in japan, where companies routinely -
* make employees do hours, i mean HOURS of unpaid over-time
* bully their employee to "motivate" them
* where women are still discriminated against for being a working mother (and woman for that matter)
* where we are all discriminated against on a daily basis for being foreign
Boo-hoo, the GEOS managers got paid at lunch time and not at 9am.
get a grip people.

How's ECC?

Better than Geos or Aeon...

Nobody's being paid late, and no major school closings - 1 or 2 schools closed due to bad locations - like the Shinsaibashi school way at the far end of the arcade.

But not as good as 4-5 years ago. Pay raises are dead. We used to get around 100+ yen/hour and this contract's biggest raise was 20 yen...

They overhired in the spring - at least one overseas training group was unhired this year and there's only been one come thru this fall...

"I have well placed contacts in GEOS management who tell me the company is struggling but is not in the last throes yet by any stretch."

Hah. I remember my AAM at NOVA saying something very similar in Spring 2006 and we all know what happened a year or so later.

Shawn - glad I could help. Ill try and suss out any more info. Given thats from his manager, I would add grains of salt as required...

Just out of curiosity, how many ex nova teachers open up their own crappy little schools after Nova went bust? and I wonder how many more crappy little illegal schools will open after GEOS goes down?

But if you mean have 5 or 6 "private" students, probably everyone.
The start up costs (rent etc) for commercial properties are crazy.

Just what exactly is "illegal" about opening up a language school? As far as I know, there are no license requirements to open an Eikaiwa. The crappy part, you may have something there for many places, though.

I run my own school, and we started in a rental house before purchasing our own property a few years ago. There are very few legal requirements outside of tax issues. Commercial space is very expensive though. I recommend starting in a residential space to people thinking about striking it out on their own. I think the majority of all types of business failures in Japan are partially due to ridiculously high rents, and I live in a medium sized city.

So what will all these people predicting doom and gloom do or say when Geos dosnt colaps in the next 6 months. Will the apologise for being wrong, will they apologise for inciting people to quite their jobs? Will they even acnolage their mistake or simply crawl back in their hate filled holes?

If you have a paying job at the moment you are lucky. There are far too many of us eating through our meager savings or surviving off of the ocasional private. All of you people who talk about having survived the fall of Nova forget how many people did not. People with families and morgages has to leave this contry with nothing.

If the day comes when your company can't pay you then by all means leave and try to sort your life out, but if you are lucky enough to have a job now then you should be thankful. If you have a job in Geos then you better grit your teeth through the rumors and do what you can to contribute because your sitting at work and winging means that you put everyone else at work at risk.

This industy is hurting no doubt about it, but why would you want to contribute to it's demise by turning students and teachers agains the industry itself? If you don't like uncertainty then go home and make room for the people who want to work.

The Eikiawa industry is not hurting. Overpriced eki-mae schools that charge for a year (or more) of lessons up front and use fresh off the boat foreigners are hurting and rightfully so. These school need to charge so much because they spend the majority of their money on rent and advertising.

The heyday of the 80s and 90s are over. The advent of the internet means that students can do a bit of research about whatever product or service they are ponying up for and less and less people are getting suckered in by high pressure sales techniques whether it be eikaiwa, buying a car or other things.

At my school, when a prospective student comes, we do our pitch and then say "Thanks for coming, if you have any questions please contact us." Many are quite surprised that we let them out of our school without going for a sign-up. We often get people who call right after they get home to sign-up, or even come back in from the parking lot. Since our approach is no-pressure, people don't hesitate to recommend us to their friends.

I cant understand how you would think it is good for these Eikaiwa to be hurting. These companies employ thousands of foreign and Japanese people. I don't know what school you work for, but I have a hard time believing you can absorb the market and the staff that another collapse would cause.

When Nova went under there was no surge in business for the other Eikaiwa these students just stopped studying English. You might think your business model is better than others, but delighting in the demise of a portion of the industry helps no one.

I used to work for ELS in the States and the structure is a bit complicated.

Basically, ELS USA is a pre-academic Intensive English Program (IEP) on university campuses. They market their services to US universities as a way of reduce their (the universities) costs by replacing the university's IEP. However, ELS' overseas branches were franchises not owned by ELS and depending on the country moderately to actively supervised by ELS, meaning some of them were IEPs and some of them were more like EIKAIWAs. I don't which ELS Japan was/is.

I worked at an ELS USA branch in 2000, and then again off and on in 2002, so my information is a bit old and I can't remember the exact date, but ELS was bought by Berlitz and became Berlitz's IEP division. At the time I remember that there was a lot of concern about the merger. Berlitz and ELS did not directly compete in the USA because Berlitz was mostly a Spanish, French, German, etc. school and ELS was an IEP. But, overseas Berlitz schools were mainly English schools and directly competed with ELS. There was a lot of concern that the overseas franchises would be closed because of this competition.

What I can't remember is if Berlitz was already owned by the Japanese company that owns them now or if that happened later.

What is the point of all this? Berlitz can't "publicize the difference" because there is no difference. ELS Japan is a franchise of ELS USA which is owned by Berlitz. I wouldn't be surprised if part of the bankruptcy of ELS Japan is because Berlitz is looking to remove some competition, but that is only speculation on my part.

The real loser in this is ELS USA because more than half of their students come from East Asia and the majority of these students are from Japan. ELS Japan acted as an agent for ELS USA and collected lesson fees, etc. which allowed students to pay locally in Yen.

That's something I've been thinking about.
I think it's the bigger businesses with out dated business models that are hurting.
EFL and ESL (don't misread that as ELS!) are booming industries overseas - in places like Australia and the UK. Admittedly, the intake of east Asian students is down, but central Asia and south america is way up.
But in japan, everything I read in these boards indicates that the industry is dying here... And actually it feels like it too...

I never saw any mention of Berlitz ELS, just ELS Japan. I think it paraded itself as a proper English school offering communicative English lessons, as opposed to just conversation, although they didn't require you to have a TEFL certificate.

They also had an Intensive program for a while. They actually opened up a special International Academy in Shinjuku, doing intensive courses for Japanese students to prepare them to go over to the US. However, they closed it down after a year or so, presumably due to lack of students. I think the costs of that contributed to their demise.

I did some part-time work for them. To be blunt, it seemed to be being run by a bunch of idiots with no leadership or direction. That also probably brought on their downfall.

To be blunt, it seemed to be being run by a bunch of idiots with no leadership or direction.

You've just described ALL Eikaiwa, brother!

It's not really possible to answer your question as to how many schools will open up. You'ld need to know

a) How many were crappy. Maybe all to some extent, but if so then how crappy?
b) How many were illegal. Not much documentation available on that, I'm afraid.

Personally, I'd be interested to know how long such schools stayed open before closing again. However, it's likely to remain an unknown for much the same reasons.

Whilst the exact numbers are impossible to know, I think its safe to assume that we are talking about very small numbers who opt for and stay in self employment in eikaiwa.

1 We know that the vast majority of ex Nova employees went home at or soon after the crash.
2 We know that of those that stayed the majority of them went home within the next year.
3 We know that of those that stayed longer most stayed at GComm or took other employment.
4 We can assume that of those that went into self employment, particularly if there was an illegal aspect, the majority would have closed down within a year, and many more at the expiration of their visa.
5 Of those that are still open, some would be run by people with moderate small business nouse who are cynical and just replicate the model of their former employer or something like it.
6 Some on the other hand would be run by people who wanted to offer something better than their former employers.

Category 5 would be the people to whom you most object. But it really has to be a very small number of the total workforce made redundant, and one has to wonder if many of those people might not have opened their own schools at some point anyway.

Delighting in the demise of a whole portion of the industry helps no one.

I agree that delight can be viewed as innappropriate. However, I disagree that the demise of some or even most of the industry is not helping anyone. The industry is flawed: anti-educational. It is therefore of benefit to anyone who wants to receive a real education, or anyone who wants to be a real educator that this industry collapse. There have been decades of opportunity for the industry to invest in serious and ongoing product improvement, as opposed to quick fix sales jobs, but these opportunities have been declined by all the major players except ECC to some extent. Geos has been particularly cynical in this regard. Sadly, and at great human cost, there is only one message that will hit home and that is complete or near complete business failure.

This is an open thread right? I'm not therefore required to stick to the NOVA/GEOS stuff so I'm throwing it in a different direction if possible. I was wondering if anyone had news about last night's protest of foreigners that took place near Shinjuku station. Basically my understanding is that every year a bunch of foreigners get costumed up, head for the Yamanote line and party the night away going round and round the city on the Yamanote train. Apparently this year about 50 or so Japanese got together and launched a protest directed at foreigners. What I'd like to know is does anyone have good pics of the protest signs? I heard some of the signs were pretty nasty - saying such things as Gaijin Scum Get the Hell Out of Japan, etc. I found a few signs here but the quality was not that great. If anyone has some better shots send me a link at


When will you people learn. You are not educators. Most people who "study" at an Eikaiwa are not there to learn. They are there for the service of having someone talk to them. This is a country where you can pay a girl to pretend to be your girlfriend minus the sex. You can pay her to watch a DVD with you or to fight with you. Eikaiwa is just another service aimed at sad bastards with no communication skills. If you look at the industry as an education then sure it sucks, but if you look at it for what it truly is, conversational prostetution, then it is actually fairly decent. These "schools" really need to start advertising properly...

"Hey! Will no one in their right mind speak to you? Have no friends? Socially inept? Then come to NOVA/GEOS/GABA/Etc where people have to talk to you! It's their job!"

...then at least it's honest

Eikaiwa is not an education.

I can't agree with your perspective on this at all. Eikaiwa companies pose as educational institutions, and a lot of people are sucked in. Maybe they shouldn't be, but they are. Parents of children, salarymen who want to improve their job status and so on. There is nothing decent about eikaiwa, people have woken up to that fact, and that is why it is failing. If eikaiwa schools did advertise they way you suggest, then there might be a short term uptake, but long term the results would be abysmal and for very good reason.

I agree with you. Eikaiwa is simply conversation, it's not learning English and, by itself, won't do much for your English ability.

It's basically entertainment, a fashionable and popular thing to do in your spare time, like karaoke or pachinko. There's no substance to it or long-term value in having spent time at an eikaiwa school. And now that it's been exposed for what it really is, it's never going to recover to the "heights" it was previously at.

Businesses survive long-term because there's some substance and quality in the product that they're offering, and they conduct their business and treat their customers decently, in an honourable way.

How many eikaiwa do that?

Today was pay day for Geos For Kids Teachers and as at lunchtime today 11/10 we have not been paid..Head Office said it would be there later today????? Clearly Im not 100% confident...We will see what happens!!

Hooray!!! We got payed...There is a God!!

I take it you normally get paid at midday like the rest of the teachers? Glad that you got it eventually but still, even though it was only 3 hours late, it was still late, a sign that there's still problems behind the scenes.

Both ELS and Berlitz are owned by Bennisse. It was an extremely complicated arrangement that led to the sale of Berlitz Sapporo and Fukuoka to ELS. Obviously the sale could have gone either way. I mean, ELS could have been incorporated into Berlitz Sapporo and Fukuoka but as Berlitz staff have better conditions, a viable union, including members in Sapporo and Fukuoka and etc, they decided to sell Berlitz Sapporo and Fukuoka to ELS.

Technically they were no longer part of Berlitz or ELS but were frachises owned by a guy who 1. Lost a huge amount of money when Lehman Bros went belly-up a year ago. (which was apparently in the Japanese newspaper. 2. Was a major funder of those fascists who drive around in black trucks, wearing white suits.

I believe this provides a very clear indication of the kind of person staff there were dealing with and the kind of person who would close up shop giving staff only 2 days notice even though he must have decided at least a month in advance.

I did some work at ELS for a while, and there was a definite air of gangsterism about the place, the way that the boss cut everyone's hours and hourly wages to try and sell the company. He was quite prepared to sacrifice his workforce, and both the Japanese and foreign staff seemed totally dispensible. It was all very cut-throat and I did wonder about yakuza involvement in it.

If it's true that he had connections with the black shirts, that really wouldn't surprise me.

it didn't take long for me to see, even being so young and foolish, that ELS was a racket.

One of my student told me today that (a?) the Shinjuku's Geos branch was closed, disappear...
Is it something new?

It moved.

From here:

GEOS Corporation is currently looking for enthusiastic Native English Teachers with a Bachelors degree for positions in Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba and Yamanashi. If you are interested in teaching a wide range of ages in private and group lessons, we could be what you are looking for.

The chance to teach the same students week to week means that you can monitor their development and make their experience with English an exciting one, which motivates them and gives them the comfort and freedom to express themselves in English. Our teachers are encouraged to socialize and spend time with their students, and to this end, schools often plan parties, picnics, get-togethers, and other events to make the whole experience more enjoyable for all involved.
Because we wish to provide a stable learning environment for our students, we require a minimum one-year commitment from all new teachers. All teachers are provided with a one-year renewable contract and sponsored work visa.


All applicants must be able to demonstrate native-equivalent English ability. Only applicants who have completed their entire education in English (from elementary school through university) will be considered.

Teaching experience or the formal study of Education is not necessary, although Trinity/Cambridge Certification/CELTA is an asset. Successful applicants will be outgoing, dynamic and flexible - no amount of formal education or classroom experience is a must of those attributes!

Other qualificatons include the desire to work with a derranged, sick CEO and his sick, warped daughter. GEOS translated into English means "Sinking ship on the verge of bankruptcy."

Other qualificatons include the desire to work with a derranged, sick CEO and his sick, warped daughter. GEOS translated into English means "Sinking ship on the verge of bankruptcy."

Another blurb from one of kusunoki's yes-men. Your CEO killed the company and drove out all of the good staff. Only the weak yes-men like you are left. Good luck, you'll need it.

Yeah work for GEOS if like being lied to, tricked, ripped-off, and you just absolutely enjoying working with highly incompetent and back-stabbing j-staff....then GEOS is for you!! You will be given INTENSE pressure by j-staff and the area leaders to sell students crappy, oudated `Listening no tatsujon`GEOS study materials, and you will be required to beg students to renew their contracts 6 months before their contracts expire or you will have the threat of being fired hanging over your head......BUT wait!!! When students ask the manager for a refund you might be required to bear some the financial responsibility for those refunds....but that entirely depends on the school you work at...some schools are better than others...and the manager might be decent or they might not be....since the j-staff are made to accept some financial responsibilty for student refunds, the manager just might decide you should to!

I know this because I jumped ship last month after working for them a few months and got sick and tired of their BULLSHIT, high pressure, lies, and thuggery. It was the worst job I have ever had in my life...I was completley miserable everyday.

Im not surprised to know that GEOS is now hiring after a boat load of us GEOS teachers walked off the job recently and for damn good reasons.

My advice...stay the F*ck away from GEOS.

GEOS have ALWAYS begged their students to renew 6 months ahead. They were doing this 6 or 7 years ago when I worked for them. Legally they're not supposed to renew ahead of the 6 months but a lot of the managers did anyway. Same goes for selling their shitty self-produced crap. My manager and I used to keep all the sales she made to new students off the books until the start of the book sale period and then run them through one by one, week by week so it looked like we were actually doing something. Bearing responsibilty for student refunds.. that's a new one on me. But has that actually happened to anyone here, or is it idle threats by desperate managers?

It always seemed a pretty easy job to me. Keep your mouth shut and pretend like you care at the appropriate moments, appear naive but enthusiastic when asked a direct question and they tended to leave you alone. I rather enjoyed it really, especially when they used to give you a 2 or 3% cut of all the renewals you made. Wouldn't want to still be there mind, it got pretty old after a while. And I think it depends on how cool your manager is (the manager above figured out early on how to wind the clock for the timecards backwards and forwards so all the teachers could leave early.. this was back before this 29.5 hour stuff came in and everyone was supposed to be on the premises all day long).

And.. controversially... (this was a long time ago too) I never once heard of anyone getting fired or not getting their contract renewed for not getting enough sales or renewals. When my trainer left he told me that it would cost them about half a million yen to hire someone from overseas so they really didn't like getting rid of people unless new hires turned out to be absolute raving lunatics.

"Confessions of an eikaiwa teacher (or, how I found a way to extend my student days to last throughout my twenties)"

An interesting few days coming up for longer-term staff at GEOS Australia sites as they await their promised backpay prior to a new pay award coming into play on 1 January 2010. I'm cofident that the GEOS finance team has made contingency provisions for those lump sums.

Backpay? Good luck. And I wouldn't hold out any hope for the new award, it's basically identical to the old one.

"Confessions of an eikaiwa teacher (or, how I found a way to extend my student days to last throughout my twenties)"

I've heard rumors about Aeon. Can anyone at Aeon add anything to this, in order to stop the rumors spreading, and to re-assure staff? I heard they might be bankrupt in the New Year, along with Geos.

This is the first I've heard about AEON being in trouble myself; how likely do you think it is that the people you're getting these rumours from are correct? If both companies have kept the system of getting students to pay huge lump sums in advance for lessons, though, I wouldn't be surprised if they're in big trouble now.

There were rumors floating around about ECC over a year ago now, but they're still going, so who knows. Rumors are just rumors, nothing more, but they usually indicate that all is not well......

Staff end of year bonuses were cut. They only got $200. But I guess most companies are cutting back on everything these days.

Ive been the ECC Chubu area for 10yrs now and when i started it was still going pretty strong back then. gov. rebated lessons up to 80% full classes in all fields kids, adults, reg and business classes. back then there were bonuses small ones but they were there. monitary awards as well for outstanding work performance. but those where the days that pretty much ended about 5yrs ago. now you look at 3yen, raises 0 bonus, certificates that are nothing more then expensive toilet paper(dam even flowers if your lucky)
having seen all that i would say its still a pretty good place to work providing you enjoy being a shrink to students who have some form of social disorder or another, students who have been forced to take english for work, students who basicly have nothing else better to do (social disorder= no friends), students who want to impress you with their lack of ablility to speak english and the one i love mothers who just want some peace and quiet at home drop off their kid at an English Day Care. oops forgot about the ones who just want to get laid by a gaijin
anyone who as worked in this industry long enuf will agree with me. YOU ARE NOT A TEACHER YOU ARE AN ENTERTAINER/ BABYSITTER/ SHRINK/ DRINKING BUDDY=TROFFY TO SHOW OFF THEY CAN SPEAK ENGLISH AT A BAR OR CLUB (you know its like the ones who walk their dogs and there are the ones who walk their blot-belly pigs...more heads turn with the pot-bellies) doing all this while still having time to correct a few grammar, pronunciation and writing mistakes you are a "Specialist in Human Relations"
now the only gripe i have is that the fist 8yrs where great but the past 2 have been a doozy especially with change in Native Personnel. Talk about idiots check out our department. Now at first they seem warm and friendly but when you need something from them it like they cant be bothered. You dont mind having fend for yourself or dont mind being disrepected apply b/c one things for sure they will be short staffed come April hahahahaah

It's official, GEOS is dead.


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