There is not a Starbucks in the town I live in, but sometimes when I travel, I will get a Mocha Frappuccino at an airport or at a nearby train station. It is a popular chain in Japan. I was interested in a story about a western Tokyo store staffed by hearing impaired workers. It is raising public awareness of sign language after opening as the coffee chain's first signing store in Japan.
When I watch a news conference on the internet, I am always interested in the signers who stand next to the speakers and translate. I don't know or understand American sign language and I really don't know Japanese sign language, but still I am interested in seeing it.
Customers at this Starbucks in Kunitachi don't need to use sign language to order, but if they want to, there are simple instructions on the shop's wall. Ayaka Yamada, a spokesperson for Starbucks Coffee Japan Ltd. said, "We hope to develop the coffeehouse into a place where staff and local people can make connections while making sign language familiar to everyone." I think this is a great idea! The store has 23 full and part time workers, with 19 of the 23 having hearing impairments. It opened in June and is the fifth outlet worldwide to operate using sign language as its main mode of communication.
Do you know of any other chains offering a sign language shop? Have you ever visited one?