More restaurants welcome persons with disabilities for dinner

Participants enjoy dinner while Moribe Azuma (right) asks the Deaf woman how to sign some food in the restaurant in Osaka.

January 6, 2013

Iwanaga Ayumu san, 38, who owns a bread shop in Osaka, has a daughter with a serious disability. He wanted to start a store that people with disabilities visit freely. In response to his wish, restaurant/eatery owners in Kansai region formed a non-profit organization called "essence" in May, 2012.

Weeknight in December 2012 saw the dinner party hosted by the NPO at Sicilian restaurant  "Il Pisutakkio" in Ibaraki-shi, Osaka Prefecture.

Moribe Azuma san, 38, an NPO member, interpreted in sign language for Danjo Chie san, 45, a Deaf woman, when the restaurant owner Himori Seitaro san, 38, explained the menu.

Danjo san, who lives in Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo Prefecture, said, "Because I do not understand what is explained about the menu and wine, I hardly dine out at any restaurant. This time I understand the story of cuisine in sign language and indeed enjoy it."

Himori san said, "I want to continue to be challenging to make people happy."

Once a month, a cooking class and dinner will be held at some of the restaurants, aiming to make the restaurant owners think how to welcome persons with disabilities in a restaurant.

The staff will support to prepare a menu with an explanation to the Deaf, and come to support the person with disability immediately when they come in.

There are more than 30 shops and restaurants sharing the aim of NPO "essence", and various initiatives are moving.

Iwanaga san says, "People with disabilities and business people refrain from each other, which would remain far distance. We want to create an opportunity to interact with each other."

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