By Ohashi Jozu,TOKYO – Eileen Fuchenzie couldn’t wait to come to Japan. The 22 year-old Canadian philosophy major at York University spent months packing and re-packing die-hard Canadian staples like Kraft Dinner macaroni and cheese, ampules of maple syrup, and her treasured first edition of shock rocker Avril Lavigne’s tell-all memoir “Who Do I Think I Am?” into an old blue Canadian flag-decorated backpack.
When the time came to finally board the Air Canada 707 to Tokyo “I almost peed my pants,” the typically outspoken Canuck confessed on her Facebook homepage, “I mean, I was was just so excited.”
Yet Ms Fuchenzie’s heady Japanese dream appears to have come to a tragic end as Tokyo medical examiners announced the discovery Friday afternoon of the mummified remains of Fuchenzie and eighteen other foreign teachers of what is commonly called “Conversational English” in Japan.
Although found mummified, forensic tests show the teachers were buried alive.
The mummified foreign teachers all worked for Japan’s largest Conversational English teaching chain- Nova.
Nova closed its doors two weeks ago after a corruption scandal sent heads rolling during turbulent operating months in October and early November.
Relatives of foreign teachers complained shortly after the school closings that they had not received any correspondence or had any contact whatsoever with their children.
Some parents, like Dale Houston of Adelaide, Australia immediately had dark forebodings:
“Australians study Japanese culture in high school, and I’ll never forget the lecture of my Japanese teacher Mr Ken Taro, when he told us that during the ’80’s Japanese corporate officers just walled up the offices of companies that didn’t succeed and buried the occupants alive within.”
When Mr Houston’s son Daniel, a Nova teacher in Tochigi, a province close to Tokyo, didn’t return calls made to Japan last Sunday, Houston called a private detective.
Luckily, Daniel was found in a local pub where he had spent the evening with a local prostitute.
Others were not so lucky.
So far mummified remains of teachers from Canada, Great Britain, the US, and Baffin Island have been found in closed schools around Japan.
In answer to the complaints of the teachers’ parents Nova legal counsel has made several attempts to smooth things over.
“Of course, it is regrettable that many teachers enjoyed long hours of relaxation activities when otherwise they should have been working and engaged in attracting more business to the schools,” said Nova attorney Matsumoto Hiroyuki, Thursday.
Relatives and media representatives appeared not to understand Mr Matsumoto’s statement.
“Most likely the misunderstanding had occurred because Mr Matsumoto is a different person from those in the audience, and thus was not able to transfer directly the data which is in his head into the head of another (person),” Mai Kurihama, Mr Matsumoto’s personal assistant offered, when asked to clarify his remarks.
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