|The "Deaf Cafe Easy Sign Language" in Osaka|
September 7, 2014
The "Deaf Cafe Enjoy Sign Language" (Deaf Cafe手話楽々) in Osaka-shi, which the non-profit organization (NPO) "Deaf Support Osaka" has operated since 2006, currently is gaining popularity in the Kansai region or the metropolitan area. Except for volunteers as an interpreter, twelve Deaf staff work.
The NPO established the cafe as a workshop for the Deaf. Because of the communication barriers faced by the Deaf, they are unsuitable to work in a restaurant or cafe which verbal communication is generally used. The place for the Deaf to work is accordingly restricted. The cafe staff after whom everyone yearns at once is a dream which seems never to come true to them.
Osaka city officials showed unwillingness to approve the opening of a Deaf Cafe at the beginning, saying "There are other places a Deaf person can work". The NPO's officials held on saying, "In order to spread sign language and to heighten the power of the Deaf, we want you to accept our project", and it was realized finally.
The customers are mainly Deaf persons and hearing people interested in sign language. Visitors are also from across Japan, such as Okinawa and Hokkaido, and even overseas. The Deaf Cafe is full during a weekend.
More office workers walk outside drop in the Deaf Cafe these days. "Although it is good that Deaf persons and people interested in sign language visit our cafe, it is best that those who are walking outside come into the cafe aimlessly. Naturally the various kinds of people live in the world, and as long as you say our cafe is new, it is not good."