The village aims to give people, mainly youths, with more international experiences through English-only communication and without leaving Japan. The location will include educational facilities, restaurants, shops, and theatres. All staffs are to be English-speaking foreigners.
Many Japanese students will go abroad to experience different cultures and study English, but this requires a lot of money and time. The “English Village” program will help those who are in Japan to get that global perspective many students are searching for.
However, Japan isn’t the first country to develop such a village.
Korea did a similar project called the Gyeonggi English Village where people can use English and experience what English-speaking cultures are like. The institute has various programs that last from one day to six months.
As another example, Akita International University in Japan plans to offer junior high and high school students English village camps where they study in an English-only environment in January 2015.
The university has attracted great attention by teaching all of its courses in English and was selected as one of the 37 designated “Super Global Universities” by the Japanese government.
What all of these places have in common is an educational goal to help younger generations get an international leg up by increasing their English fluency. However, this village will also be a chance for many English businesses to expose their brands to young minds in Japan.
So here at Nikkei Voice, we wondered what Canadian brands – seeing how we’re going to be a big competitor at the Games – would show off the best sides of Canadiana to Japan.
Tim Hortons, or Timmies, is the largest food service operator in Canada. Recently, Tim Hortons successfully merged with Burger King, a chain that is quite popular among younger people in Japan. People would learn just how sweet a Double-Double is and get a taste of a true Canadian original at the same time.
The Hudson’s Bay Company is a Canadian institutions being founded in 1670. In 2014, it’s an internationally known brand and also Canada’s official Olympic partner for apparel. The company’s clothing would be a great fit for an outlet to show off not only their clothing, but also some of the history of Canadian pioneers who helped establish the nation.
Smoke’s Poutinerie was founded in 2008 and has opened 60 shops in 4 years all around Canada. Poutine is a Canadian comfort food, which would make Japanese people feel satisfied. In December 2014, Smoke’s Poutinerie opened up its first shop in the United States. It’s already on the way to be an international restaurant, so why not open a chain in Japan?
Japan may have one of the most developed technology sectors in the world, but a small Canadian startup has made waves internationally with its smartwatches. Established in 2013, the little devices can do everything from bringing up your phone’s notifications, play your music, and monitor your health. It’d be a great way for the True North to show off its technological prowess.
Swiss Chalet is a Canadian casual dining chain founded in Toronto in 1954 and offers take-out and delivery as well as eat-in dining. The roasted chicken leg or breast with signature “Chalet Sauce” would excite food junkies, although there might be a little confusion as people might think it’s a Swiss brand.
The Japanese government hopes to open parts of the village by 2017 and 2018, and plans to have it open entirely to the public after the Olympic games in 2020.