August 20, 2012
The "Sign Language Cafe," located in Nada-ku, Kobe-shi in Hyogo Prefecture, has promoted exchange by sign language while Deaf and hearing visitors have a cup of tea, etc. on the third Wednesday since August, 2006. This year saw the sixth anniversary after opening.
The cafe offers a place where people get not only an understanding to deafness, but also learn sign language from one another.
The cafe is owned and managed by a group called the "Hyogo Deaf Network." They hope to continue to manage the cafe as a place that people can gather happily.
The members of the network volunteer as a waiter, and all orders are made in sign language.
These days, a total of 50-60 persons, mainly in the 30's-70's, visit the cafe each time. Some persons visit from Osaka.
A Deaf 70-years-old man came to the cafe for the first time in April. Although he was puzzled with hearing persons sitting around him at first, he talked with them by sign language and got used. "This cafe is a comfortable place for strangers to become friendly at once. We need more places like this cafe."
A hearing housewife (62), who started learning sign language three years ago, said: "When you are in a sign language circle, you would get nervous or tense, but here in this cafe you don't have to be. You can repeat to ask anyone a question about sign language. I would love to come here as often as possible."
Business hours: 11:30 a.m. -- 8:00 p.m.
Menus: coffee or tea (300 yen), curry (500 yen), etc. (Profits will go to the institutions for the Deaf within the prefecture)
Tel: 81-78-362-5250 (only in spoken Japanese)
Japanese original article: