Saturday, October 27, 2007

The End...Continued

There's no denying that the company is on its last legs, but it's not going to die easily. Here's a run through of what's been happening since I last updated.

Tuesday: As previously written, I was sent down to Oita City at the last minute to cover some classes because all the other instructors had quit or called in.

Back in our little branch in Nakatsu all the teachers have been dutifully coming into work everyday despite all the continuing bad news, amazingly enough. We may well be the only branch in Japan with this track record, I'm not sure. And if so, it is in no small part to the small town community atmosphere, and the fact that we are regard the Japanese staff as friends instead of adversaries (as it is in some branches) and often socialize together.

But it couldn't last forever. This week a discussion arouse amongst ourselves. If our pay (which was now promised for Thursday, after having been delayed twice) does not come again, should we even bother coming to work on Friday?

The discussion started out at the beginning of the week, and the lines were drawn clearly on Wednesday. (Amy and I were out sight seeing that day, but we participated via cell phone and text messaging).

Last week, after the confusion over whether I was planning to strike or not, I had promised the staff that if I ever did reach a point where I thought it wasn't worthwhile to come to work anymore, I would give them at least 3 days advance notice. The number of 3 days was something I had completely pulled out of the air, and yet nonetheless I began regarding it as some sort of moral axiom and tried to urge all my co-workers to do likewise.

In the end everyone else gave 2 days notice (close enough I guess) except for me and one other guy.

(Amy writes in her blog that she later had a change of heart and apologized to our manager and agreed to work Friday, at which point the manager had a minor breakdown. I wasn't there but I take her word for it. It's been a stressful couple weeks for her.)

Ultimately all of this hand-wringing proved to be pretty pointless because on Friday morning, before I left for work, I received a call from our manager letting me know that the company was shut down until further notice.

Amy writes her take on all this here. As she says information changes so fast its difficult to give any accurate updates. (For more up to date info is usually pretty good.) The situation as of now is that the company has filed for protection against creditor status, sort of an intermediary step before bankruptcy. Between now and November 5th the company will be looking for someone to buy them out. We won't be seeing our money from September or October anytime soon (as the company is now officially protected from it's creditors, meaning in part employees apparently) and a higher up told me the best advice he could give people was to call home for money.

Fortunately I can do one better. I've got a girlfriend with a steady job, and lots of money saved up in our joint back account. Not all teachers are so lucky, and there are already stories circulating about teachers really hard up for cash to even get food. Several people I know have been already been kicked out of their apartments (which was supposed to be paid by the company, but apparently they haven't been paying rent for the past 4 months). Again I'm fortunate because Shoko and I have our own accommodations separate from the company.

Anyway, one thing is for sure between now and November 5th I'm going to have some free time on my hands.

Link of the Day
Video of Noam Chomsky debating Richard Perle. (Actually audio recording with pictures).

I know I've been going to the Chomsky well a lot with this blog lately, but this is really interesting. The only time I've ever heard Chomsky actually debate someone from the inner circles of the US government.
Fair play to Richard Perle for being willing to debate Chomsky, although it has to be said that Chomsky absolutely cleans the floor with him (as Perle himself all but admits at a couple points in the debate). Perle obviously didn't know what he was getting himself into.
Chomsky is absolutely amazing. The amount of data he has stored in his head for rapid recall on any given subject is astonishing. And to think I can barely remember where I'm going when I leave the house in the morning.

Because this video is on youtube, you need to click on to the next part every 8 minutes or so. A bit annoying if you have it on in the background while doing other things (like I did) but well worth the effort.

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