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May 18, 2006

Beat the Lingo!

(Japan) Stories about non-Japanese speaking foreigners experiencing; bad service, difficulty getting a decent hair cut, finding a place to live or complaints about not getting the same level of service at cafes and retail shops are numerous. Two enterprising Canadian entrepreneurs, Marc Beardsley and Dave Mori decided to address the problem. 'English OK' was created in November 2004 and is dedicated exclusively to improving cross-cultural communication in the service industry. The company offers everything from customized English classes; assisting restaurants with English menus to helping English-friendly businesses get noticed. One popular resource is the English OK Web Directory which highlights English-capable businesses in Tokyo. Prior to 2004, after experiencing difficulty in finding appropriate 'start up business resources', Mori and Beardsley also formed the Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo, a nonprofit organization supporting entrepreneurship in Japan.
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