"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A different kind of private lesson

When I worked for NOVA, it was pretty clear that the way the company made money was by lending students the money to buy lesson packages from the school at usurious rates of interest. There were always rumors that the company president, when he and his brother parted company over their first language-teaching firm, had gone to the Yakuza for the money to start up what became NOVA. I'm guessing that might have been more than just a rumor and that maybe the teachers and students weren't the only ones who got stung.

2 gangsters held over holding of ex-Nova boss

Two members of the Yamaguchi-gumi crime syndicate were arrested on the spot Monday on suspicion of confining the former president of the failed language school chain Nova Corp. inside a Tokyo hotel, police said.

According to senior police officials, the two men confined Nozomu Sahashi, 58, who has been sentenced to 3-1/2 years' imprisonment for professional embezzlement, inside a room of a hotel in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, from about 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.

On the same day at about 3 p.m., investigators rescued Sahashi and arrested the two men. Sahashi, who is currently appealing the ruling, did not suffer any injury.

(Sep. 30, 2009)
If the mobsters had only had the presence of mind to sell tickets to former teachers for their little chat with Mr. Sahashi, they could have gotten back all their money in one fell swoop by selling out Toyko Dome at 500 yen a seat. (I'm sure there are still a few veterans who remember being paid, in cash, the first and only bonus NOVA ever paid its teachers - a nice, shiny 500 yen coin to mark the new millenium - I think I bought a beer and pack of cigarettes with mine)

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