The cake shop Rapport, meaning the bond of the human hearts, has proved a big success at JR’s Tokyo and Yurakucho stations. The shops, set up by the East Japan Railway Retail Net, is staffed by 8 women who are all deaf.
When a customer approaches the shop to order a cake, one of the women will points to a board which says ” The staff in this shop are deaf, please be understanding”
Customers can order cakes using either a touch panel or by writing on paper.
Until JRRN initiated this project, many of the staff worked in jobs such as stock control etc.
Nobuko Okazaki, one of the shop’s saleswomen, says ” I always want to make our shop friendly by smiling”
The saleswomen communicate with each other in sign language and with HQ by fax and email.