Akihabara Gets Global With New English Badge Campaign
Foreign travelers visiting Tokyo's electronics and pop culture mecca Akihabara will be able to find English-speaking shops, restaurants and other services more easily thanks to a new badge and poster campaign that began December 12, 2008.
The Akiba Bridge Campaign will make shopping and other transactions much easier as local students, workers and businesses display the distinctive ABC badges and posters. Visitors to Akihabara can approach the badge-wearing volunteers for help in English on the streets and in shops.
Based on a survey of foreign shoppers from 16 countries in Akihabara who voiced a need for more English-speaking staff at stores and other local establishments, the Akiba Bridge Campaign will promote international exchange. This nonprofit project is also expected to help the local economy.
Along with the badges and posters, an ABC website (http://www.akibanana.com/abc) will indicate businesses that can serve customers in English or restaurants and maid cafes with English menus.
As of today, more than 100 badges have been given out to about 30 stores who participated in the campaign, including well known landmarks Kotobukiya, Cospa Gee! Store, Asobit City, Tokyo Anime Center and Laox.
Purifies, a group of young design students at Digital Hollywood University in Akihabara, who proposed the concept, are responsible for running this campaign. They created the badges and posters and will continue to enlist more supporters and volunteers for the Akiba Bridge Campaign.
The ABC project is sponsored and organised by G.I. Jane, inc, and officially supported by
the Akihabara Tourism Promotion Association and Tokyo Anime Center.
For further information about the Akiba Bridge Campaign, visit the campaign site
About GI Jane
Akibanana's parent organization GI Jane (www.gijane.jp) is an Internet media company founded in July 2007 with the mission of spreading Akihabara's otaku subculture to the rest of the world. Their head office is located in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, just a stone's throw from the infamous "Electric Town" in Akihabara, heart of geeky otaku culture.