Posts Tagged Keikyu Kawasaki

November 22, 2003 – The University Educated tissue guy

Japanese promotional tissues

(rewrite of original post)

I was working at Keikyu Kawasaki NOVA today with Smiling Mo and managed to get three no show lessons. As I had learned previously, when you don’t have students you are expected to find something useful to do in the office. There is usually enough busy work to cover one or two open lessons. However, Smiling Mo and I both had several no shows and completely ran out of office work to do.

We asked the staff if they had anything that we could do to help. They asked if we really meant anything. We answered yes, we really would do anything to help. Minutes later we were at Keikyu Kawasaki station handing out NOVA tissues.

Free promotional tissues are commonly found near all train stations. They are simply a package of tissues with information on a business in the wrapper. The tissues are usually handed out by part time workers or junior employees. On this day I got to join the illustrious ranks of the tissue givers.

While handing out tissues I was approached by one of my regular students. He was a fun guy from Peru who was in Japan for construction work. When he saw me handing out tissues he laughed and then asked me if I was being punished for doing something wrong. At this point I started to question the value of my Bachelor of Commerce Degree (with honours) and the choices that brought me to that situation. I was a smart, educated guy. How did I possibly end up handing out free tissues at a train station?

Then I looked over at Smiling Mo, who was absolutely having a great time. He was a charismatic, outgoing person and was using the tissues as an excuse to talk to strangers, especially groups of attractive female students. Smiling Mo’s enjoyment helped me to realize that I wasn’t just doing a menial task, I was getting paid good money to do a menial task in JAPAN, far away from the frozen tundra of Winnipeg. With this realization, I started to actually have a bit of fun handing out NOVA tissues.

If you are half way around the world for a limited time, you might as well enjoy everything that the experience has to offer.

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November 1, 2003 – Keikyu Kawasaki Nova

Keikyu Kawasaki station

Original Post

I got to work at Keikyu Kawasaki today. It is a satellite branch of Kawasaki NOVA. It was very calm and relaxed, and I was done early. I get to work here every Friday and Saturday in November, and hopefully longer!

2013 Update

In 2003 NOVA was working on a massive expansion. Some of their advertising material included the slogan “learn English near the station”, so they decided to have an English school closer to a train station than any of their major competitors.

JR Kawasaki station is a major train station on the Nanbu, Keihin Tohoku and Tokaido lines. It servies 185,000 passengers per day. The station is connected to a large, sprawling underground shopping centre. Having a large English school near Kawasaki station makes a lot of sense. Kawasaki NOVA usually had a roster of 22+ teachers and featured many classrooms, a voice room and two fully stocked kids classrooms.

Keikyu Kawasaki station is a smaller station on the private Keikyu line. It serves about 58,500 passengers per day. It is not connected to the underground shopping area and is only 500 meters away from Kawasaki station. Since one of the competitors opened an English school close to Keikyu Kawasaki station, NOVA decided to open a small branch slightly closer to the station. Keikyu Kawasaki NOVA usually had 3 teachers (rotated in from Kawasaki NOVA), and had one shared voice / kids classroom.

Kawasaki NOVA had extra capacity and facilities, so there was no good busines reason to have another branch 500 meters away. NOVA’s “I’m closer to the station than you are” expansion policy in a country with extremely expensive real estate was likely one of the main contibuting factors to their eventual bankruptcy. That and gross mismanagement from the CEO, but that’s another story.

As a teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed shifts at Keikyu Kawasaki NOVA, which provided a break from the fast pace and chaos of Kawasaki NOVA.

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