Monday, June 24, 2013
"Deaf bartender raises game to thrive in Ginza"
Photo and text borrowed from The Japan Times, 6/13/13.
Dai Igarashi is a bartender in Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza entertainment district, attending to customers like any barkeep but with one difference — he is totally deaf.
As the manager of Bell Sign, which caters to hearing-impaired people, Igarashi communicates in sign language. But since people with normal hearing also visit the bar, he keeps writing boards on the counter to communicate or resorts to lip-reading and speaking.
Igarashi, 31, was born deaf and attended a school for the hearing-impaired until he was 21. Part of his education was learning oralism — a method that teaches lip-reading and breathing patterns used in speech to communicate through oral means — in junior high school.
Oralism teaches people how to interpret and mimic mouth shapes, but it isn’t perfect. For example, words that evoke similar lip movements, such as “tabako” (cigarette) and “tamago” (egg), or “gomi” (garbage) and “kopi” (copy), are often difficult to distinguish by the deaf.
In high school, Igarashi learned sign language, which made him feel happy because “I could express myself,” he said. He mastered it in two months.
This helped him become more active.
Read the whole article: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/06/13/national/deaf-bartender-raises-game-to-thrive-in-ginza/#.UcTi3evU5FR