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October 12, 2005

G'day! English OK!

This morning's "Tokudane" wide show on Fuji TV included a feature on businesses formed by foreigners in Japan. Among them was the start-up company English OK! Based in the Suginami Ward area of Tokyo, the company sends English teachers out to businesses in the metropolitan area who want to train their staff to deal with English-speaking customers. The businesses vary from hotels and restaurants to hair salons. Once the staff have completed their course of study, they receive an "English OK!" sticker to place in their window. This enables non-Japanese to easily identify places where they can avoid the Japanese language barrier. English OK! also provides an online searchable database of businesses where customers can get by with just English.

Another of the companies is based in the Hokkaido resort town of Niseko. Several Australian entrepreneurs have established businesses in the small town, which is now a second home for a growing number of Australian tourists. And with the influx of foreign visitors comes an increasing demand for English conversation teaching. With excellent skiing in winter, unspoiled nature in summer, recently opened direct flights and no time difference, Hokkaido is ideal for those Down Under looking for a holiday destination up north.
English OK! website
Niseko Connection website
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