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Slanderous Negative Websites About Eikaiwa

It's a slow news day at ELT News:

Language school owner condemns websites that allow anonymous posting

March 01, 2009

Kevin Burns, who runs the greenlist of schools in Japan, a list of English schools that come up to certain standards and are considered good to work for, has condemned forums and websites that allow anonymous postings. Kevin says, 'I think if people are going to publish negative reports about schools, they should be willing to stand by what they say. They should have the guts to publish their real name.'

He went on to say that, 'If they (hide behind a pseudonym), then it is just slander and websites that allow that slander are not worth your time. In fact, they really should be sued,' and added, 'I think it is time for many websites to mature and have some integrity about what they will allow...I suppose this will occur after some school goes after and sues a website.'

Kevin has been fighting to present language schools in Japan in a more positive light for some years, arguing that most are family-run businesses with conscientious owners.

You can see the full text of Kevin Burns' statement on his greenlist blog.

Not this shit again. We've been down this road before.

What forums and websites is Kevin condemning? What websites is he calling on to mature and why? Kevin might gain some credibility if he had the "guts" to give his readers some actual information instead of randomly poopooing some people out there...somewhere...who have websites that he doesn't like.


I've worked for three different schools and have been done over in various different ways by all of them. All have been family owned/run. (The one I'm working for now is the least worst out of the three and has actually turned out to be OK in the end) I also know loads of other people who have been done over by other family owned/run schools.

If I want to complain about the way I've been treated and warm other people off then I'm god damn going to say it. Of course people aren't going put out their real names. From what experienced these schools can be absolutely ruthless and it would be far too much of a risk.

By the way, a little childish but - FIRST BITCHES!!

Wanker - make that second bitches

The greenlist is pretty weak. It's just a list of schools that he thinks are good. Free advertising for the schools I guess. His only criteria seems to be "I know the guy" or "So and so says it's good." No criteria for evaluation or analysis. His list about the Big Schools is laughable. No mention of the labor dispute with Berlitz or problems at or problems with Interac. Amazingly, Smith's is also on the list. I've read nothing but bad things about this franchise.

The loser also includes GABA probably one of the worst shit holes to work for now-a-days.

I enjoyed reading his dissertation entitled "Do Unions do more harm than good?", if only he would have answered that question somewhere along the line.....

he owes me for the time I wasted reading his bullswaggle!

Oh the irony! He actually suggests that it's the teacher's fault for seeking help and advice from a union:

The unions will tell you there are hundreds of complaints about
English schools every year. How many are valid? What percentage?
What percentage is simply whining?

What percentage of these people are suited to be English teachers?

What percentage complained about their employers back home?

about Japanese food? about Japanese people? about the weather?

What percentage of these complaints is from teachers who are suffering
from culture shock?

-from partial nervous breakdowns? (as happened with a teacher I know).

Then he goes and cites an anonymous writer in Metropolis (!) to help make his case. Thanks for the laugh.

Mature response there Shawn, Bravo!

I don't agree with Kevin either, and I appreciate the support that this website offered during the NOVA bankruptcy. The information provided enabled me to stand up for myself when working for NOVA and it might have saved my life.

But here you're just throwing any credibility this site could have out the window.

As has been pointed out, if people use their own name they will fired and potentially blacklisted from working at other schools. I remember one guy used his real name in the 'End of Nova' thread and was promptly asked to resign from his job. It's not a smart thing to do.

He loses any argument by calling GABA a decent place to work at as well.

It might have saved my life!

Im gonna kill myself! Im gonna kill myself!

dude..if Nova..or Japan..has ANYTHING that woulda made you die..or do yourself are well and truly the biggest pussy that ever walked Gods Green Earth.

Shut Up.


Sad, sad insecurity complex here. Who would work for a person who seems so backed into a corner, so clueless about public relations, that he feels the need to lash out at websites that allow anonymous commenting?

Do no wrong and no wrong visits you - when business owners protest in such a sad way one can only assume that they have done the wrong to deserve the criticism. And, with such bad arguments, one can assume that they cannot afford a PR consulting firm, which says a lot about their financial standing.

"Do no wrong and no wrong visits you"

This guy got it well and truly in the ***, despite being a terrific fella.

Please carry on....

Are they still in business?

That place had the highest turnover in Japanese staff that I have EVER seen!

I wonder why...

I have to agree with you there. People who stay in eikaiwa long-term usually end up going, at best, weird, and at worst, raving lunatic alcoholics. Ive known several people who have basically lost the plot after 10-15 years of it and have ended up living in their own weird world.

There are those who do it, like you said, to supplement other things they do in Japan. I knew one guy who was studying/researching at Uni and basically used Nova to help pay the bills. Those sorts of long-termers have a focus in their life and consequently stay on the straight and narrow.

Ernie, seriously, I wouldn't worry about the guy. He's just winding you up, and doesn't really mean it.

No, Thorn, that is not what I was saying. I was simply stating the obvious, which was that you are presenting your opinion as fact. You have done it time and time again and it is getting annoying. How can you possibly state that "Eikawa, like no other industry, (is) so overwhelmingly haunted by anonymous posters who can't stand it?" I seriously doubt that you have bothered to check many of the other industries' blogs.
As an opinion/assumption, I could let your comment slide. But don't go around trying to tell us that this is a well-researched fact!

As for the second comment about Nova long termers, I guess you are agreeing with me that it is not only Nova that has a few. But even in that case, you can't find it in yourself to admit you were hasty in your remark, and that you made a bit of a mistake, can you?

Can this Thorn guy even read??

You have changed your original comment from stating that Eikawa was the MOST complained about industry, to "ONE OF the most notoriously complained about industries". Thank you. This is what I had hoped you would admit to. I am in no way supporting Eikawa. Try to find where I mentioned that.

You have also been swayed from your original comment about Nova long termers. You now seem to admit that it is all Eikawa in general. My first comment has made you see the error of your ways, which is all I had hoped to do. I don't disagree that Eikawa sucks, nor that there are very few long termers. I just wanted to make sure that you realized you were making broad generalizations and assumptions. Your most recent posts have been more in line with reality. Thank you.

I usually pride myself on my spelling. It hurts to get busted by Thorn. At least I didn't make errors
with any of the actual English words. Thorn put his apostrophe in the wrong place "Kurts' Semantics", and I think "May be" should be one word in his case.

And I wasn't arguing over semantics!! He said the fact Nova had few long termers was somehow proof that it was a bad place to work. Not semantics, just plain wrong!

And he said
that Eikaiwa was the MOST complained about industry! Not semantics, just plain wrong again!!

I probably hate Eikaiwa more than you!! Never did I say that I supported them in any way. Show me where I said that. Wasn't supporting them at all, just criticizing you.

"Now I finally get it Ernie. You have been stalking me all this while, because you want to point out there is nothing unique in pointing out that eikaiwa is shyster-ville central"

Correct, so far.....

"and that we should all just shut up, and follow Ernie's lead. "

Uh, I don't think I said that.

"Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Yeah, right. Actually, you are just psychotically obsessed"


"because you did not like my dear mum and dad post"

You're the one whose obsessed. I'd forgotten all about it.

"and since then, you have been on this crazed eikaiwa screw loose, fruit loop mission"

Yeah, like totally. You know I'm simply eating, drinking, the whole Eikaiwa opera. Unlike you.

I'm not stalking you. I'm just calling you out, for the bullshit that you write, which happens to appear in everything you post. Start writing objectively, with a lot less self importance, and stop thinking you are not obsessed with Eikaiwa, while everyone else is (your posts PROVE that the opposite is true, because you continuously screech on about Eikaiwa obsession), and I'll have the good manners to back off.

I know you're hurting, but I just don't like your posts. You seem like a truly horrible person, and I feel the need to call you out, for your self righteousness, hypocrisy, lack of humility, lack of humor, and just the sheer ludicrousness that you exude.

Your turn....

"Can this Thorn guy even read??"

No. Plus the fact that his posts are tiresome and empty. I used to enjoy occasionally visiting here, until he turned it into his own personal day care center.

People, I'd advise leaving this Thorn person alone. I've seen him on other forums end up in long, bickering and ultimately futile slanging matches with people. Seriously, don't waste your time on it.

If you have worked for an Eikaiwa for more than 2 weeks you must realize that you don't have a job that is going to produce any type of career skills beyond being a pre-school teacher. You have simply found an escape for the responsibilities of an adult in your homeland. This is escape is much less lucrative than it used to be. You better not bank on this being a sustainable career and whatever you do, don't get married or have children and expect to support a family on this sorry excuse of job. If you want to be a well paid bum it a decent country and are willing to trade in 8 hours of mind numbing boredom for minimum responsibility, opportunity for great leisure and the chance to pull ass that would be way out of your league back home, than that’s fine. But don’t try to convince yourself or anyone else on these forums that your job is not a complete joke. We know it, the staff at you school knows it, your students know it and so do you.

I'm overwhelmed, by the dozen or so posts, that appear on here, every week, which are all variants of the same theme. Ergo Eikaiwa's not a real job, if you stay there for more than 15 minutes you're a loser, the money's crap, get a life, and go home, etc.

Thankyou, for your originality. True as what you say may be, you're not revealing some great, undiscovered truth. So there are only so many times it needs to be said. You're just re-re-re-repeating a general truism, that Eikaiwa's a bit of an iffy career choice.

Personally though, I sincerely believe most people who post stuff like that actually still work in Eikaiwa, and are trying to put off any better looking, better skilled young go getters from coming to Japan, and cramping their style. I'm totally convinced, in fact, because I've seen it countless times - the fearful old career long loser, saying to the fresh faced and keen young intern: "what's a dynamic young stud like you doing in a crummy joint like this?"

I don't think getting paid a take home salary of two thousand pounds a month, working mainly with lovely young Japanese women, dating several of them, having lots of free time, virtually no responsibility would cause my mates, down the pub, when I go back to England to look down their noses in contempt. I think a more suitable description would be envy. That Thorn must be some kind of masochist if he thinks an office job in London, N.Y. or Sydney trumps this experience.

Anyway, back to the grindstone....oh woe is me.

Getting laid is a big draw card for English men, since Enlglish men are viewed by most women, including English women, as being in most cases entirely sexless, and extremely unattractive. Japan does form quite a novelty, for English men, who otherwise struggle to get their ends in, even when they are capable of getting their ends in.

english man will always be grateful. Thankyou Japan

"I don't think getting paid a take home salary of two thousand pounds a month, working mainly with lovely young Japanese women, dating several of them, having lots of free time, virtually no responsibility would cause my mates, down the pub, when I go back to England to look down their noses in contempt."

Fair enough. You see it for what it is. I’m referring to those with delusions of grandeur who post about the lack of respect, insufficient benefits, lack of security and exploitation that so many Eikaiwa teachers post about.

Well, this is an interesting site. Now let's see if things can swing back on topic.

First I know Kevin Burns personally and well. I think he really tries to give his students and workers a fair shake. He also lives and works in a nice quiet countryside area with his family. It makes things look a little 1950's-ish. A little purish of mind. So he does want to promote the eikaiwa system to better itself from where it is now. He tries to be positive in comparison to here which is sorta whack-a-mole with responses to its topics. You can make an arguement that revolution is a better response than hug-and-makeup from Kev but where is the constructive criticism.

To the guys who bash GABA and everyone else, yeah, I think they deserve it. But I've actually met some who liked schools people bash here for different reasons. I know it defies logic, but some people don't care and release themselves when they accept this.

Finally, let me bash. I was did eikaiwa and hated it. Monotonous work for ECC and all the petty squabbles. But years down the road I got roped by a friend into starting a school. Man did I have some dumb asses for workers. You couldn't even get some guys to do a simple job. One fellow couldn't get himself out of bed to walk 10 minutes to his work to start his classes on time at 10:30. I paid well too but that didn't do anything so if I'd paid shit it'd be the same.

So yeah, some eikaiwa's are shit. They are McDonalds having to deal with whiny winging customers who change their minds at the drop of the hat. So unstable income! Then you have the gaijin of which some are fine but so many are losers from their home countries. If you paid them well or paid them slave wages you'd get the same shit from them. So where's the motivator for the eikaiwas?

Interesting point. I think you're right in that it's difficult to find reliable eikaiwa instructors. It's the old supply vs demand thing, plus the lack of skills needed to do the job means that any Tom, Dick and Harry can do it.

Not only that but people with some skills and potential aren't going to hang around in eikaiwa long, they're going to build a more worthwhile career than working for, and with, "dumb asses".

As for the motivation for doing eikaiwa, I can't see one myself, for the reasons I've just mentioned. The only genuine motivation I can see for it is to fund another activity in Japan, like doing a course or degree. Other than that, the only "motivation" I can see in it now is that you've got absolutely nothing else you can do, and/or you're too useless and lazy to be bothered to do anything else - and that's generally the type of people eikaiwa attracts. Or, of course, you're stuck in it from the bubble years.

Hello. This is a public announcement from Smithwatch, Bearcat, and myself. In the past we had a campaign of hate towards Mark Smith and his organization Smith's School of English based on lies and jealously.
The url above no longer exists. It was a site we spent hundreds of hours making and sacrificing so much, including time away from our families because of our 'important' cause. But it was more of an obsession, an addiction, if you will, that manifested into one of the biggest rants of falsehoods in history.
A few points:
Our main source is a diagnosed schizophrenic so is afraid for his life from Mark Smith. Look at all his rants that begin from here:
And you can see his hallucination episodes here:
"Mark John Smith.
This is addressed to you.
Last night I left my apartment at 8pm walking to my friends house. I live (as you know) in a small, quiet place in Kobe.
As I left my apartment and turned immediate left, there was a car that started and followed me at walking pace.
Not unusual, I thought. The streets are amazingly narrow where I live and normally only small cars exist around there.
This same car was behind me for 3 totally haphazard corners that I took after I noticed it was following. It was a black, recent model Mercedes Benz sedan with Osaka plates. (Osaka xx xx) as I recall. The windows were heavily tinted.
After the 3rd corner I decided to put between myself and this car as much physical distance as possible. I did, and thought that would be the last of it as I egressed through the streets that cars can't use.
10 minutes later, and about 500metres away on a fairly busy main road, I came across the same Black, tinted Benz with Osaka plates (same rego) stopped at a Traffic Signal I had to cross.
I crossed in front of the car and off into the next streets. There was no-one that I could see through the tinting.
The car raced off at the lights thereafter, turning immediate right and to the south in the same direction I had just egressed.
Again more distance making which worked better this time for me.
That was the end of the night. I informed my friends who already know of this situation and today went to the authorities.
This is now the second time this 'kind' of incident has happened Mark. The first was when you sent 2 goons to my Morinomiya Apartment at 2pm on Feb 15th 2004.
What are you trying to do? Must you continue to threaten and scare your 'ex-customer/s' such that they never tell the truth about your activities?
The strangest thing about a black, new, tinted Osaka Plate Mercedes Benz being on a tiny, narrow Kobe street is why, and who would send it to such a place."
His extreme paranoia here on the next page from the one mentioned above:
"p.s. where's my 2,600,000 yen? I've been waiting 2 and a half years, and put up with now two sendings of goons to encourage my silence.
If I'm found floating down the Yodogawa, everyone that I know and trust know that there's only one person who wants me silenced.
You. Just you. Mark John Smith of Smiths School of English Japan."
But they are all lies.
Some say Mark Smith quit school at the age of 13 and all his credentials are a lie. But that is another point of slandering from Bearcat and I. Look at the last page for proof.
"Smith's School of English in Japan - thread now closed
This thread has been discussed at length and the quality of information / facts presented can no longer be held as the truth.
We are sorry to report that several posters in this thread have made multiple false statements against Smith's School of English. In a face to face meeting with Smith's School of English, indisputable documentary evidence spanning over 30 years of history has been provided. Those documents have never been made public until this meeting and prove emphatically that the biography of Mr Mark Smith as stated on the Smith's website is true in every detail. Education, business experience and family facts as stated on Smith's site are all true and correct. His biography may be seen at Smiths School of English Head Office Team.
On this site and others, false witness against Smith and his school has been made. It is now very clear these are merely lies and nothing more.
This persistent and scurrilous attack on Smith and his school by these few people on this website and others is unprecedented within the English teaching business. I trust we never see another as bad as this. The whole idea of an ESL Blacklist is to warn future teachers of scam schools and not to lower the reputation of an English school that tries hard to do the right thing.
I wish further to inform that although Smith has been angered and embarrassed by these attacks, he has conducted his dealings with AAC in an understanding, honourable and business like manner. In closing we wish to compliment Smith's School of English on the campaign to have the lies told about Smith's exposed, we regret that AAC was chosen as a platform for this attack on Smith.
This thread is now closed.
Thank you."
As you can see this verifies the integrity of Mark Smith and that he is a truthful man.
Due to jealousy and,personal scores to settle, as well as mental illness people such as myself, Bearcat, Smithwatch, and others have made false accusations against Smith and Bearcat, Smithwatch, and I are trying to do the right thing in our actions by removing the site with these lies.
We had a false report of scores and scores of people losing their shirts to Mark Smith in the famouns "revolving door" scam. But this was a big lie built on names we randomly pulled out of the NYC white pages. As proof you can check and verify that every one of those names can be found there.
Other ridiculous lies against Mark Smith:
He as been married 5 times and has 12 illegitimate children.
The main office is a front for smuggling weapons and narcotics.
Connections to Sokka Gakkai
Involvement in prostitution (school locations are used to dispatch hookers)
Is wanted in 9 different country on Interpole
Cannot go back to Australia because he would be arrested for various crimes.
And many others.
We are happy to report that the main source of false information toward Mark Smith is successfully undergoing treatment with Zyprexa and is doing well.

Smith's School of English is a great business and you should not miss out. Hurry! Locations are going fast.

That is one of the strangest posts I have ever read...

ETA: Wow, nuttier and nuttier. If anyone has the time to kill, try doing a search for Smith's English School on google and looking at how the discussions on different message boards devolve into the guy who just posted above making weirder and weirder comments whenever anyone says anything bad about the franchising system.

Such an obvious scam going on there. It looks like some guileless people could pretty easily be taken for a lot of money by purchasing one of those franchises. How is this guy still allowed to operate?

Hello all. I feel I should throw my hat into the ring, and set the record straight. I've recently decided to write about Smith's school of English, a system of franchised English conversation schools located in Japan. After working within and closely observing the company for a few years I feel I have a pretty consistent idea of what they stand for and what they're trying to accomplish, both as an English school and as a franchise system. As I have a lot to say, I plan to update this page with new content as I have time to add it. For the most part I'd like to discuss the human and business aspects of this group; how it operates as a franchise. Even more specifically I'd like to examine how it acts as a business and franchised English school here in Japan.

A franchise system is often thought of as being a safety net. One benefit they are intended to provide is assistance in an emergency. This is the same reason people buy insurance. Chances are nothing will go wrong. Perhaps you could start your own business and remain healthy and safe for the duration, but not everyone is so lucky. Who's responsibility is it to call an ambulance should something dire occur? It seems Smith's takes this responsibility very seriously.

In one instance a teacher/school owner actually suddenly collapsed, completely debilitated by a serious disorder, right in the middle of a lesson. The student, shocked, called the free dial number to the head office. Smith's head office staff mobilized immediately to get help. While one secretary arranged for emergency medical pick-up, another was already calling each student scheduled for lessons that day to explain the situation and reassure them that their lessons could be rescheduled at their convenience. They also explained that their teacher was getting the proper care he needed and not to worry. It's my understanding that students reacted favorably and expressed their concern for their teacher, rather than lost lessons. From a business point of view this is really important to me. In the case of an independent teacher, this could have led to a string of students showing up to a school with no teacher and them not knowing why. Would they come back next week, hear the explanation and forgive the teacher? Probably. Might at least one student become angry and quit without ever coming back, never knowing the gravity of the situation? It's possible. Smith's knew about this and took steps to protect the school owner.

Another instance happened outside normal business hours. It was late night, I don't remember what time exactly but head office had closed so it was after 10PM anyway. A school owner was at home, but had become ill and needed take be taken to hospital. Now, what do you do when you need to go to the hospital? Do you call an ambulance yourself? Imagine not being able to understand the operator on the other end. What now? Call a family member? This school owner's family was all far away back in his home country. One of the biggest challenges of moving to and living in a foreign country can be the complete loss of your social network and support from family and friends. At that time, the school owner had no one to call for help, he was lucky a student happened by and drove him to the hospital. She then called the franchise head office and they went into full support mode. Smith's is of such a structure that franchise owners have direct access to the franchise founder Mark Smith. Mark assisted by another office staff member drove directly there and ensured in person that the hospital was appropriate, that insurance was in place, that the hospital administrator was aware of all the financial arrangements. Furthermore they remained there and assisted with language until such time as they were assured that the school owner's insurance was in order and taken care of. Meanwhile they were in touch with head office staff who were running defence on lessons and preparing a substitute teacher. "Nice to have someone you can count on," probably doesn't accurately describe the gratitude that the school owner was feeling at the time, but I think you probably get my meaning.

More recently a school owner came into big trouble of a more financial nature. She had entered into a franchise agreement in cooperation with a foreigner. It was understood that they would build the school together, but that relationship suddenly ended... and the foreigner was no longer in the picture. Now the owner of the school was stuck. She had paid her money and used a great deal of the initial investment in setting up the school. She couldn't teach lessons herself and had no means of paying a teacher to hold open lessons while she promoted to gather students. The school was dead before it even had a chance to begin. One thing about Smith's that strikes me as unique is its tendency to help the underdog. School owners walking out of schools aren't technically the franchiser's problem. But instead of shaking hands, telling the school owner "tough luck", handing back the unused investment money (at a huge loss to the school owner) and closing the book, Smith's said "Hang on a sec.... Let's try and make this work." Smith's head office arranged for not only a teacher to teach classes on the fly for the initial students coming in, but to support the school's local promotion as well. The owner was able to protect her investment. She was ready to walk away, but Smith's said she didn't have to. Now she can choose when she wants to sell that investment, rather than throw it away at a loss.

Do you see what I mean about taking responsibility? None of the instances above were done with the interest of turning a profit. One could argue that somewhere down the road, Smith's stands to profit from any of these good deeds... yeah, ok, but I could make the same argument for any good deed. That's how a Cynic thinks. I see these acts rather as a genuine concern for the person that is part of the franchise group. It seems like a rare attitude for a company. I'm glad to see it here.

Now you may wish to ask, did all this extra service cost the school owners? Not a penny, the company did it using their own human and financial resources simply because they wanted to.

Contrary to all the crap out there; Smith's School of English is a Franchise System for true Eikaiwa professionals such as myself, people who want to "make a real go of it" and become valued and respected members of their Japanese communities.

The car raced off at the lights thereafter, turning immediate right and to the south in the same direction I had just egressed.

What does "egressed" mean? Isn't it the name of a bird of some sort? Man, I feel like less of an english teaching professional now.....

"That is one of the strangest posts I have ever read...

ETA: Wow, nuttier and nuttier. "


This is the same nut who has had tons of aliases removed on Gaijinpot,, and other websites trying to imitate myself or the other contributors of the Smithwatch website.

I can give contact information for GP and usingenglish mod/owner for confirmation of this, though you can see one of their deleted aliases quoted in a post of someone else in this thread on GP:

Their alias was smith_watch and quoted in the post by the person known as The Price on that page.
You can also see their having been deleted for similar doppleganger posting on usingenglish's site comments here at the bottom of the page:

On there, the guy was posting from kanagawa who tried not once but twice to pretend he was affiliated with the Smithwatch site.

And here on the TEFL Black list site you can also see they've had comments deleted over the years too:

By the way. Smith has won the last two years running for Worst Franchise in the site's Black List Oscars. Only award I know of Smith has won :p

As for the Smithwatch site being down:

The Smithwatch website uses php related code and would get daily spam bot attacks trying to use exploits in php to take over the site for sending out spam mail. The guys who maintain the tech side of the site have managed to keep the spambotters filtered from causing problems since the site came up in 2005 with no problems.

According to the tech I spoke with for the site last week, an exploit got through and managed to send out 4TB of spam in the first 24 hours prompting (of course) for them to shut it down. The spam botter has nothing to do with Smith either. Smith and his cronies aren't that smart. :P

So the techs just have to go through and scrub the malicious code from the site. Its simple yet tedious enough. The issue at the moment is that the techs maintain the site for free and as a favor so it is in their spare time that they can get to it.

I and the others who have helped make that site aren't worried. The site and the reputation over the years have spoken for themselves with regards to Smith's schemes.
They have had, since the site went up in 2005, less people suckered into franchises, less schools with less people involved with said schools and thus more people who have left his "proven system".

Also, please check out this site. It's the best site about Smith's

The above is the best site about Smith's. I guarantee you will not be dissapointed.

Seems like Mark Smith's English School is what everyone is talking about here! Perhaps picking up the Eikaiwa slack where the now dead Nova left off?
Has anyone worked for the Mark Smith eikaiwa? Anyone know a ballpark salary figure and what the hours are? There are no chains yet where I live, but with all this talk, it's only a matter of time before Mark Smith's English is at a train station near you...

Other ridiculous lies against Mark Smith:
He as been married 5 times and has 12 illegitimate children.
The main office is a front for smuggling weapons and narcotics.
Connections to Sokka Gakkai
Involvement in prostitution (school locations are used to dispatch hookers)
Is wanted in 9 different country on Interpole
Cannot go back to Australia because he would be arrested for various crimes.
And many others.

Dunno about the authenticity of any of those claims. But, I also heard a rumour in Osaka that Mark Smith was involved in the manufacture and distribution of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

One absolute fact that I know, however, is that Mark Smith and his colleagues have no dress sense. Check these pics out:

I know times are tough right now guys, bit I'm happy to post a few used y-shirts to your franchises for your staff to replace the ones you picked up in op-shops for 50 yen.

All the Best!

Some people really do lose the plot in Japan.

Kevin Burn's "green list" will never have any merit whilst endorsing sse-franchise ie. Smith's School of English.

You don't even feign ignorance of the group's wrong doings and allow it to be listed there. You know of its infamous reputation.

For any that are not familiar they can check here:
(sorry it's down now but it will be up soon. I promise)

By the way, wasn't it this same time last year KB that you came on ELT News with another alias spamming articles you'd "written" with less than stellar merit?

Is wanted in 9 different country on Interpole

It's Interpol you idiot. You must be one of the famous smithtards

Bearcat is my friend and he asked me to respond to this so I am responding.

I find this absolutely fucking amazing that some fucking idiot is actually claiming, not only a 'nano crew', but that they 'own' the website. What a dumbass.

I'm sorry to say this, but I, and me alone, own the domain and server that the smithwatch site is hosted on. I am also the 'tech' that the Bearcat has spoken to about the website.

No, it is not deleted. Yes, it is down.

Yes, a php exploit caused by the backend PHP system was breached by some fucking asshole and caused massive amounts of spam to be sent out. No, the website was not deleted.

There is no "nanocrew" (where the fuck did that term come from? Must have been from one of those people Bearcat always refers to as Smithtards). Bearcat is the only one who manages the content on the and he is my best friend. There is also Smithwatch. Bearcat talks about him but I have never met Smithwatch in person. But again Bearcat talks about him a lot so he must exist.

And no, I am not affiliated with 'smithwatch' or anything like that; I am just doing a favor for Bearcat because he is me friend and hosting his site. But I do find it quite funny that someone is claiming to be 'me' here and I have nothing to do with any of this. Considering I truly, and honestly, don't really care about this whole problem since I am not affiliated with it at all. I mean Mark Smith took money from Bearcat and not me.

When I get some free time, I will re-instate the site and I will let the owner of the subdomain (smithwatch) who is Bearcat. He will let you all know, in turn, when the site has been returned to its original status.

So stay tuned the nanobit website will be back and Bearcat promise that you will not be dissapointed.

Good Day,

"Yes, a php exploit caused by the backend PHP system was breached by some fucking asshole and caused massive amounts of spam to be sent out. No, the website was not deleted."

The same has happened to me, recently, when I've visited letsjapan. Get literally 100 pop ups per minute, and have to switch off my computer. It may be the same jerk.

Beware of Mark Smith. The eagle has landed with the evidence necessary to probably shut this guy down if not get him put in prison for deceptive business practices. He uses Mike and Deana to help him make his new sales with false information about materials and etc. He also threatens Japanese wives and tries to get money for work that amounts to nothing or is being poorly done by his office girls who are incompetent. If your thinking about investing with Smith don't are go through the hell we've been through and if you are currently in this cult get out and if you have to leave mark holding thebag on your school. mark must be stopped and this new and vital information confirming much of the past comments will prove a deceptive business practice on Mark's part against the japanese wives of franchisees.

Let's unite and meet to bring Mark down and get him jailed before he leaves the country.

Eagle after the mouse or snake (Mark)

My Japanese wife and I are the proud owners of a Smith school and would like to sell immediately because of what we recently learned about Mark in these sites. Most of what is said about Mark and his deception we personally experienced with Mark. Mark is a person definitely exhibiting two personalities or a drinker and he does try to drive wedges between a married couple. Mark is also extremelynegative about Japanese wives of franchisees and their causing his system trouble when husbands learn the truth about how simple it is to divorce themselves from the Smith system and Mark and not their wives. We need to unite in these blogs and see that Mark goes to prison where he belongs and my wife and I have proof we think will put him there. He has used goons against me and whores and high school girls. He used Yakuza terminology when he threatened my wife for filing our own tax returns and discussing matters with Japanese tax authorities who helped us file our returns at no cost to us as opposed to Yuka doing it for 40000 Yen when it took ten minutes of work. But I personally know Yakuza and know Mark can't be Yakuza because he got beat up by franchisees in the past and the Yakuza didn't retaliate. I myself threatened to beat him should he ever threaten my wife again using those profane Yakuza terms and conveyed the message to him through Gavin and mark backed off. Who wants to help the eagle (united franchisees) devour the mouse (Mark).

Join this thread and we have what it takes now to bring Mark down and put him in jail within his own corrupt system.

If you're immediately trying to get out and sell, who would buy it knowing what Smith is and does? And as well Smith watches this site and others and most likely will try to prevent you from successfully getting out now that ou've stated what you have.

However, if your serious about things and getting the word out, Contact the Smithwatch site's admin at to give your story for the site.

Recently a long running thread about Smith was locked on AACircle with the admin there stating that Smith gave him a face to face meeting stating that 100% of the information on the Smithwatch site and other sites about his was false.

Email AACircle or post a private message to the admin there with your or other people's stories to help show that the admin on AACircle has been similarly duped.

Enough already with all the Mark Smith comments. He is just a failed Australian english "teacher" who wears bad Hawaiian shirts in class. As for him being Yakuza, yeah right, the yaks must have fallen on pretty hard times if they are getting bloody Aussie english teachers on board! What's he gonna do...hit the rival gang members over the head with a Side x Side illustrated picture dictionary? Stab someone with a pen from his top pocket?

Next up will be accounts of his proven connections with Bin Laden.

Gimme a break!

I recommend having absolutely nothing to do with Smith's, they are just bad news.

One example (among MANY) is the "Smith's coach of communicative confidence" teacher's course they offer. It is absolutely the biggest rip off in the world. For about 1,000 dollars US they give you a 3 day course in teaching the Mark Smith way (Mark Smith doesn't even have a university degree, let alone any actual teaching credentials). They advertise it as if it were the most prestigious certificate in the world, yet as someone who has spent several years in the English teaching business I can assure you that it isn't worth the paper its printed on. Compared to the Cambridge certificate course that lasts several months, is internationally recognized and taught by highly qualified instructors for not much more money it is just the most insanely overpriced thing I've ever seen. Obviously it is just a scam to rip off newcomers to Japan.

That is just one example, just about every aspect of their business is a scam from what I can tell. Bear in mind that I have never had any dealings with them and don't have any axe to grind here, I just did a little research on them a few years back and was totally shocked by it all. The English teaching websites used to be full of horror stories about them, but unfortunately since Mr. Smith started taking out advertising on those sites any threads warning people about his shady business practices get pulled down.

Well, I've been watching this thread and others on the topic of Smiths School of English Japan for over a year.

I live in Kansai, and have my own school where I teach English to kids.

Prior to that, I looked and enquired to the franchise school systems that exist in the area. Namely Smiths, Modern, and out of curiosity Shanes and Chocolate English. I wanted to check if there was any worth (of course in my opinion only) in buying from an established school franchise system.

Smiths was obviously the biggest and best set-up. I was taken by Mark to a number of schools to have a look at the system.

Modern was a little smaller, but based on the same system, including pricing.

Shanes isn't as simple, and is owned by Saxon-Court which is a large, international company.

Chocolate English is a 10,000yen 'franchise system' owned by David Norton and has a Cafe Franchising system.

The good, bad and ugly of all these companies is written on the blogs by various people. It's advisable to read to filter your information before you buy anything.

The incident with Smiths was very interesting. After 15,000USD initially advertised as his 'offering price' he dropped it to 5,000USD within 1hour of negotiation.

After I compared that, with the fact that there is 100's of pages written by ex-customers on the internet after only 10yrs of business it started to smell ever stranger.

Then he told me about his 'lay away' plan to put down payments of 10% and then pay the rest off with a 2 year contract.

Did he really do what other claim about him on this thread? Bearcat obviously has a lot of info on him.

I Bought a franchise then once inside found out from some of the older members what it was really about.

Never directly threatened by Mark but for sure he was always telling stories designed to intimidate. Would recommend staying away from this guy. I was kind of pushed out of the system when I voiced disatisfaction and never received any money from the sale of my school. Lesson learned I guess. Nice guys finished last. Better give no more details. Thanks B!

Hello, does anyone know about any assfucking going on among the Smith's bashers. I mean there is some serious conversation about gay sex. Please check here:

"BioteQ Mike 2009-02-17 delete
Hello, I'm not gay or bi. I'm a straight man who wants to have sex with another man(as a bottom)/ Like the movie Bareback Mountain.

Good Day!
BioteQ Mike

Mike [a-t] nanobit [d-o-t] net
That means my real email is to avoid spam.I'm
Bioteq Mike 2009-02-14 delete
Me and nanocrew working hard to fix the damage Mark Smith did to nanopage. When I finish as a reward I'm looking forward to Smithwatch's dick in my a$$hole. Ready for a little wiggly Smithwatch? he he

Good Day! BioteQ Mike
my page:
Bioteq Mike 2009-01-12 delete
My name is BioteQ Mike. Please visit my webpage at As you can see it will be ready soon with lots of new updates by Bearcat and Smithwatch. You won't be dissapointed. Bearcat is my friend and Smithwatch is Bearcat's
Smithwatch 2007-09-26 delete
Hey Perfect! What's up Bearcat? How you doing Sexy? Looking forward to this weekend with you baby!

Please everyone look at our new site about Smith
bearcat 2006-02-24 delete
This group is a scam. They've been cheating people in Japan for years.

This site explains in detail what they've done:

If you value your money and your peace of mind, avoid this group at all costs."

And also, here are Bearcat and Smithwatch. they made a club called glas (gay lovers againist smith). You have to be gay and have a gay lover and hate smith. But wow! check, it's an online guide about gay sex: Please look:

You should re-check who is responsible for the PHP issue.

I have visited this site and start work from my home and i got extra income. I'll work online in my free time.

work from home

Wowza! Those were some interesting posts about Smith's School of English. It would appear that that obvious intent is to blur the lines of who is credible and who is possibly insane! ha a former franchise owner I will go ahead and throw my two cents into the ring here. Its been a few years since I left Japan so I feel I can now offer a fairly objective opinion about my experience (would not have been the case at the time!) First off, as to the credibility of Bearcat and the Smithwatch crew, I'll go ahead and relate this little story. About a week after I opened my school I received a rather ominous note under the door (this was a few years ago so bear with me on the fine details) basically saying that I had just purchased a scam and that Mark Smith was not to be trusted. I e-mailed back and forth with the anonymous note writer a few times trying to get the full story. The author basically claimed that Mr. Smith had taken him for a bunch of cash. Mark Smith had lied, cheated, threatened and was generally an unpleasant dude all around. I was never able to acertain the specifics of the alleged trangression, and the note's author refused to give specific details about Mr. Smith's evil doings. I'm going to make the assumption here that the note's author was either Bearcat or the Smithwatch guy. Since he never gave any specifics it was impossible for me to verify his story, so I pretty much cut contact and moved on. However is it worth noting that whatever happened between Mr. Smith and this Bearcat/Smithwatch character, it was terrible enough to inspire Mr. Bearcat to make it his life's work to destroy the franchise. All I'm saying is that something bad must have went down.

So on to my own story....I'll go ahead and give the conclusion up front. Do NOT under ANY circumstances ever even consider buying one of these franchises. You'd be way better off taking that money to Vegas and putting it all on least you'd have a better time. This scam is set up to attract gullible, delusional, narcissistic, horny fools into parting with thier hard earned cash in exchange for basically nada (yes, I fell into every one of those categories at the time). This is what you get in return for your 10K (USD) franchise fee:
1) 3 days of training on how to teach, pass out flyers and pay your monthly fees to the "corporate" office on time. I left said training no smarter than when I arrived.
2) You also get corporate office support. They field calls, make appointments, and take care of admin details for you. I'd say they did an adequate job and this was by far the best service provided (but more on this later).
3) Additionally you get "nationwide" advertising that supposedly generates students for you. During our approximately one year of operation...we got exactly one. Now I wasn't expecting to just open my doors and wait for clients to appear...but 1! Seriously!!!
4) Lastly, you get the famous "Smith's English School in a Box". Wherein lies (hypothetically at least) all you need to own and operate a first rate english school. That fact that this box was the size of a milk crate should have been my first tipoff. But I was still so convinced that my charm and good looks would make the school a sucess...I went ahead with the purchase (turns out I wasn't nearly as charming or good looking as I had thought). The teaching materials were laughable...a bunch of flashcards that looked like somebody had printed a bunch of old clip art and ran them through a laminating machine. Also some lesson plans that made absolutely no sense whatsoever, and a bunch of flyers. And there you have it...all for the price of 10K.

I wont go through all the details of our year in operation as it would bore you to tears. So I will skip straight to the lessons learned from this whole sorry experience:

1) Do not start your own English school in Japan (franchise or otherwise). There was a time in the late 80s and 90s when you could hang a sign on your apartment door, buy an English text book and start making bucketloads of cash. Those days are long gone. Japan's economy is not what it once was and the whole "learning English" fad has gone the way of the dodo. If you are a young lad looking to see Japan, drink a lot of beer, and date a lot of Japanese girls...get a job at one of the big English schools (Nova, Berlitz...etc) and go have fun for a year. If you're still doing this past the age of 23 you need to take a hard look at your direction in life.

2) Smith's School of English is a scam. No doubt about it. I don't have nearly the amount of angst against Mr. Smith that some of the other former school owners have. Actually I kind of respect a good scam. This isn't a take your money and disappear kind of's more of a take your money and blame your poor results on you kind of scam. If you are dead set on starting an English school in Japan, you would be way better off buying a couple of text books, printing up some flyers, and saving the 10K (I got by far the most clients through other English teaching websites).

3) to the really pissed off Bearcats/smithwatch guys...get over it already! I learned my lesson and moved on. I don't blame Mark Smith, I blame myself for being a gullible idiot. I got exactly what I deserved. I learned from it and bounced back. Now I have a great job and a loving family. All I can do is look back and laugh at my own expense.

whew!!! That was way more than I wanted to type but I kind of got rolling there. Good luck everyone!

All you need to succeed with eikaiwa is to get yourself a Japanese wife. You don't need Mark Smith and you don't need Smith's School of English. I first worked for NOVA and had a pretty good job there. But I wanted to strike out on my own. But I had one problem. How can I get a visa. Well, I just got myself a Japanese wife and it took care of that. She is my visa provider and my secretary. She is my little money maker and the best financial decision I have ever had. There are many Japanese women sick of Japanese men and would just love to settle down and strike it rich with a non-Japanese. Other things you can get your Japanese wife for your school:

Plan your schedule
Serve coffee
Clean the school's toilet
In case you teach in your house she can inspect the teaching room for pubic hairs.
Plan advertising

Lots and lots and lots of things your Japanese wife can do.

Mark Smith belongs in jail. I know this because I am a trained lawyer. I first saved enough money to go to law school back in canada and worked for the prosecutor's office in Canada. But life was so good as an English teacher. I mean much better than working as a lawyer that we moved back so I can continue my lucrative and rewarding career of teaching English.

so just get yourself a Japanese wife. I did and look at where I am!!

I too had a Smith's school of English franchise...for 4 years. I know the truth. I know the scam. I have since gone on to get a CELTA certificate and learn what real teaching is about. Mark Smith knows nothing about TEFL, and his success lies in his persuasive charisma. He will say anything, and say it with conviction, to get you to fork over $15k for a school. In this post, I would like to share the truth about the Smith's curriculum:

The webpage is full of lies. They claim to have an ever-evolving curriculum. Well, that's 2 lies in one sentence. When you think of a curriculum, what images come to mind. Something well planned and researched, professional, encompassing development in all language skills, with textbooks and workbooks which address the needs of students from beginner to advanced. Well, Smith's has 6 "text books". Each "textbook" is between 12 - 16 pages, usually with a supplemental picture page or activity page. And when I say "textbook", I mean some computer print-outs stuck in a ring binder. There are no CD's, so listening skills development is non-existant. There is very little text (as in a story or article to read) so reading skills development is virtually non-existant. There is no writing skills development beyond note-taking, so writing skills development is virtually non-existant. That means 3 of the 4 English skills recognized by modern EFL methodology are NOT represented in the Smith's 80 page (+ about 110 picture pages and about 200 or so hand-laminated flash cards) curriculum. Does that sound like a curriculum to you? Do you want to pay hundreds of dollars for something that neglects 75% of language skills development?

Now, the second lie in that sentence: the "ever-evolving" curriculum. See, Smith's has no R+D department. No text-book making staff. First, Mr. Smith made his own "curriculum", which, since he has no TEFL qualification, was not based on ANY known TEFL methodology. A few years later, he paid someone to make some generic, single-grammar point lessons complete with cards and activity pages (which by the way, used the clip-art CD-ROM that came with Windows 98. I know because I have it, and all the pictures from the Smith's lesson are on it.) and he calls this the "expanded curriculum". And that's it. There is no one making new lessons. There are no plans to make new lessons. He started with his own made-up lessons, not founded in any methodology. Then he paid someone once, only once, to beef-up his ring-binder. Now tell me, does that sound "ever-evolving" to you?

The site also mentions that they don't charge students for textbooks, and that a well-kept notebook will actually become a good tool for review and development. Tell me, if you took a language course, how much would you pay for a 16-page, computer printed, clip-art-made, ring-binder "textbook"? That's why they don't charge for textbooks, because they couldn't sell them if they tried.

You'll see many posts by Smith's teachers saying what a great system it is. Look closely, it's the same 5-6 teachers every time, and their success is not an accurate portrayal of the norm at Smith's. I know for a fact that Mark Smith pays Derek Maeckelberg to post, often coaching him on what to type and how to word things. I've seen them working together on Derek's posts in the head-office. So the next time you see a post by a Smith's teacher saying how great it is, just remember it's all part of Mark's scheme to deceive people.

Every single organisation in the world, from BP to the UNHCO puts spin on what a great job they're doing, when there are always plenty of folks waiting in line to say otherwise. Once you get beyong the level of the individual, but still consider (Insert company/organisation name here) to be some kind of singular entity, you have already lost the plot.

So if you want to say how much emnity you feel towards Mark Smith, fine, but his 'organisation' is non existent. He's a con artist. You've been conned. I feel bad for you, because you've been taken for a sucker. But the good news is that your misfortune is a warning to the rest of us, so thankyou for posting, and I sure will be wary of "Smith's school of English"

Yours sincerely,

Gordon, CEO, Gordon's Cold Fusion Guaranteed big profits Venture Capital Fund, Tel 03 4598 0001

Correction, I was naive. But you are right, I was conned. And yes, his organisation is 'non-existant' in a sense, but the fact remains that he markets himself to the world as "Smith's School of English". He is very persuasive, very charismatic, and very deceptive. He is a master at using the power of words to market his lies. Words like organisation, enterprise, CEO, chairman, corporation, corporate head office, etc. He has created a fabrication of a company, when in fact, as you have pointed out, Mark Smith and Smith's School of English are one and the same. There is no board of directors, as his marketing would lead you to believe. If he wants to label himself as the CEO, he might as well label himself as the janitor, because it's all just him. Having said that, by shedding light on the scam that is Smith's School of English, I am by default shedding light on the con artist himself.

Yes, I was taken for a sucker, and I want nothing but to spare others the same disasterous misfortune I experienced.

I owned a Smith's School of English franchise for 4 years. I know the system and I know how Mark Smith thinks and operates. For the truth about Smith's, please visit my blog:

"so just get yourself a Japanese wife. I did and look at where I am!!"


Jabberwocky Prefecture?

Working out the A Bomb Dome????

How can we look where you are? You posted no picture or geographical hint.

Jeez. The Canadian legal system lost a real Superbrain there!

Want to know how communicatively debilitating the Smith's curriculum is? check out:
It's based on such outdated teaching methods, and is so small and inadequate, you'll wonder how anyone could be duped into paying thousands of dollars for it!

"It's based on such outdated teaching methods, and is so small and inadequate, you'll wonder how anyone could be duped into paying thousands of dollars for it!"

I agreee

Outdated English lessons are much much much much worse than outdated brain surgery techniques.

Don't you think?

There are two buffoons that run an English school in Mitsukyo called Spike and Ai. They go around Yokohama bullying and intimidating other foreigners, many that are not even English teachers. A full write-up, and an anonymous posting, is here:

According to this piece of shit green list, I should be sending my kids for English lessons to these psychos. They are always looking for English teachers because they are always screwing over then next guy.

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