Silent Cafe in Japan – a new trend ?
Silent Cafe in Japan – a new trend in Japan? : サイレント·カフェ(silent cafe) is a new trend in Japan. Service personnel who are “deaf” (including true deaf (聴覚障害者ちょうかくしょうがいしゃ ) and those who are not deaf (健聴者けんちょうしゃ) come here serves as they are deaf: D). The original purpose of this silent café (opened in around 2011) is removing the barriers between ordinary people and the hearing impaired (person with hearing difficulties). First silent Cafe was opened in Hokkaidō prefecture, and then cafes silent is step by step introduced in Kyotou, Kobe, Tokyo … Before becoming the current trend, many silent cafe had to be closed for some months (from 12/2011), then back to active (再オープン) in March 2012.
During the work of the shop, every customer in the shop are prohibited from talking. The space in the restaurant is not totally silent, some instrumental music (jazz songs from the 60s, 70s) can be played with a moderate volume. When you need to communicate (利用客とのコミュニケーション) to the staff. You should use paper or body language (手話しゅわ : use hands and fingers to speak to the deaf) to communicate. Customers will order via order – card illustrated by pictures (視覚的なオーダーシートshikakutekina o-da-shi-to) and magnetic cards (マグネット·カード). There are about 135 options (カスタマイズ : customize) has been installed.
Each shop has only about 15 seats (including seats at small tables テ ー ブ ル 席 and seats at the counter カ ウ ン タ ー 席), in case the number of passengers exceeds the number of seats available in the restaurant, the counter area will be utilized to a standing style (ス タ ン デ ィ ン グ 形式). Staffs in the shop (ス タ ッ フ – 店員 て ん い ん) include 3 deaf people (with part-time mode), 3 Deaf volunteer, a volunteer who is not deaf and the manager.
On the menu (メ ニ ュ ー), we can refer to one of dishes such as : bananas milk (バ ナ ナ ミ ル ク) with prices fluctuating between 350 yen to 420 yen, sweet crepe (甘 い ク レ ー プ) for about 400 yen. light meal crepe (軽 食 ク レ ー プ keishoku) for around 650 円, lunch dish (ラ ン チ プ レ ー ト lunch plate) for 850 円. Crepe are served to mid-April (4 月 中旬), then will be replaced by cream (ア イ ス ク リ ー ム).
Visitors coming to the silent coffe is mostly at 20 year old to 30 year old. They are young people who are looking for there truly quiet space, with themsefves, or who want to escape from noisy area in cities. And of course, some of them are said to be the young Japanese people who don’t want social communication. Visitors come here to enjoy coffee, to read a book, to listen to music, or to work …
Evaluating the impact of the silent cafe, Watanabe – the shop manager shared that: the staffs working at the shop say that the work in shops very interesting (仕事 が 楽 し い), it was great that there are customers come to see us (私 た ち に 会 い に 来 て く れ る お 客 さ ん が い る こ と が う れ し い), I’ve really changed since coming to the cafe silent. Visitors of coffee silent say : “Seeing the staff in the restaurant, dispire that they are hearing impaired, they work very hard. Looking at them, i could have more motivation and determination (勇 気 づ けら れ た). For parents who have children with hearing disabilities : “we see the future of the children, hoping to achieve more consistent success” (ぜ ひ 成功 し て ほ し い).