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New silent cafe opens in Japan, where talking and music are not allowed

7 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

It can be said that there are no disabilities, just disabling environments, and here to remind us of that fact is a new cafe in Osaka’s Nakazakicho that focuses on silence.

Called Shojo, this new 16-seater cafe wants its customers to “enjoy the silence” by eliminating chatter and background music. This allows for ambient sounds that are usually drowned out, such as people’s footsteps, the gurgle of matcha brewing, and the pitter-patter of rain, to take centre stage.

It’s not just for the benefit of customers, though, as the majority of the staff here are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and the cafe creates a space where we can experience the world from their point of view.

Though customers are asked to refrain from speaking to each other, it’s not designed to be a restrictive environment, instead opening our minds to new ways of communicating. In an environment where all people are equal, disabilities don’t exist, and it’s a mindset that can change the way we view equality and accessibility outside of the cafe too.

▼ Shojo is run by Possible, an association that aims to “create places free of disabilities.”

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Despite the lack of verbal communication, staff are keen to interact with customers and take orders via written notes or menu-pointing, and they’re happy to share sign language tips to those who are interested.

Customers are likely to find that the silence inside the cafe helps to heighten other senses so that things like taste and color become more pronounced. This creates an ideal environment for truly appreciating the beauty and flavor of green tea, which is perfect for the cafe’s Matcha Experience, where customers can live out their dreams of being a tea master by whisking their own matcha.

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Matcha is traditionally served with a sweet, and the ones provided at the cafe come from an esteemed sweets maker in Kanazawa, with varieties changing monthly.

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After the cafe closes, staff offer hour-long one-on-one sign language classes with a side of matcha on a reservation basis, for 2,000 yen. Rather than being a formal lesson, it’s a relaxed experience where you can learn basic phrases such as “hello” and “thank you”, to familiarise youself with sign language so it doesn’t feel like something from a distant world.

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With no verbal communication required, the cafe is particularly attuned to the needs of foreign customers, who may not be able to speak the local language, and they employ some of the most welcoming staff around. The employee introductions make us want to be best friends with them all straight away.

Japan can be a busy place full of bright lights and big sounds, so a quiet spot like this will be godsend for many visitors. Whether you’re interested in supporting a good cause or experiencing a new side of Japan not shown in guidebooks, the cafe aims to open your sensibilities and clear your mind, and it’s ready to welcome you into its world.

Cafe information

Shojo Cafe / 清浄カフェ

Address: Osaka, Kita-ku, Nakazaki Nishi 1-10-13

大阪府大阪市北区中崎西1-10-13

Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. every day

Website (Instagram)

Source, images: PR Times

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© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

7 Comments
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A sign of the times.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Looks incredibly dull and I find green tea to be vile.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

I spend time in libraries, and take my own coffee.

I wish this business well. The sign languages classes are a unique selling point.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

No squeaky pencils then? Just the music of tinnitus. :-)

Sounds OK to me.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Let's encourage more introvertism to the already introverts Japanese people. I'm surprised then don't require full masks too, to complete this weirdness nonsense.

If I want to drink coffee in total silence, I can do it for free home, thank you very much.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I was interested to see in the light of -- "It can be said that there are no disabilities, just disabling environments" that although it looks like a member of staff who is taking an order from her wheel chair, it perhaps brings home that there's still one too many steps / pedestals which clients and staff alike cannot negotiate ....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You mean I can't talk to myself ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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