April 12, 2012
The "Silent Cafe" opened in the public hall annex in Mitaka-shi, Tokyo in July, 2011 to promote the barrier-free communication between a Deaf person and a hearing person.
It became the center of attention as a unique social venture from the beginning with many visitors from the whole country. However, it had to be closed temporarily in December of the same year because of the public hall annex reconstruction work.
The cafe moved to Kichijoji in Tokyo on February 5, 2012, and two months passed now. There are 15 seats in all in the cafe. Nine people currently work in turn; Watanabe, a manager, three Deaf part-timers, four Deaf volunteers, and a hearing volunteer.
For the communication with the customer, a magnet card with an illustration, writing and sign language are used. When to order, the visual order sheet and the magnet card are used. Menus are banana milk, crepe, and a lunch plate for now.
Watanabe explains: "Since the staff is inexperienced in catering business, the cafe is only open in the afternoon during the weekend.
I hope through our cafe, an understanding of the Deaf community and the sign language is spread in the whole town of Kichijoji, more companies and stores consider to employ a Deaf person, so Kichijoji will be the town where sign language is always available."
Japanese original article: