Chatty Upates

Conscious of the fact that I told a few people Chatty Cafe would be starting in April I have done a few things this week.

On Tuesday I bought a some melamine trays, napkins and some cake boxes. Lots of my friends have wanted to take home pieces of cake in the past so I guess I'll encourage the Chatters to do so as well. I may or may not charge them! It'll save me eating too much of the sweet stuff myself if they take it.

This morning I made chocolate chip biscuits with Little Guy. I froze half a batch of dough so I can pull that out in a hurry if necessary once the cafe gets underway. I ordered a few boxes of Brownie mix and some herb teas from Foreign Buyers Club earlier this week as well. Of course Blooming normally bakes from scratch but when the pressure is on Ghirardelli makes a mean brownie.

Lastly today I told my Friday student about my plans knowing that his wife would be keen. I was right, he practically signed her up without even asking her. They are traveling to the USA this summer so I expect a bit of real-life practice will be great for her. She's a lovely woman and just the type of person I would want in my cafe.

It's starting to come together! I think I am going to need a website soon to keep track of all these business ventures.


  1. This sort of situation is already in the works in some cafés in Tokyo. One of my husband's students gave it a try for casual practice outside of the lesson and it didn't go well for her. A big part of the problem is that aggressive students can monopolize the conversation while passive ones sit back and get little from it. Also, time limits need to be imposed (in Tokyo, it's 1000 yen for a two hour limit).

    For you, the main risk will be that, as time goes by, the novelty can wear off and fewer people will come. That isn't in any way a reflection on you as a person or teacher but just the fact that a lot of people who aren't in absolute need of improving their skills are chatting for the novelty value. If too few people come, your time won't be adequately compensated for the amount of effort and preparation.

    I wish you well and will be looking forward to seeing how this pans out for you in the long term.

  2. I think this is a great idea! You are so sociable and warm that I think you can pull it off. I do agree with Shari however, in that you have to be very careful about the dynamics of the group.

    I am currently teaching an English class that is a lot like a "Chatty Cafe" except that it`s the 4 Japanese ladies who host and prepare the snacks for the lesson. It is a lot of fun and a nice change from a conference room/desk type setting.

    Good Luck!!!

  3. Thanks Shari and TigerMama.

    While I was working this morning I had a reservation come in, woo hoo.

    Thanks for raising those issues Shari. I'll bear them in mind.

    Mainly I am doing this because I get so many people approaching me asking for lessons. I KNOW it'll be short-lived, more out of curiosity and a little bit of novelty. That's great for me too since I am pretty busy with other stuff. I get sick of it too to be honest.

    I am not going to have to prepare lessons, buy textbooks or work out contracts with anyone. I'll get to do what I enjoy, eating cake and chatting over coffee. So far I have outlaid a very minimal amount. It'll be recovered after one session.

    What I will have to make sure is that I stick with my minimum number of people and within the time allotted.

    So I have two for next week!

  4. I think it is a great idea too. If it doesn't work out long term for some reason - people lose interest or whatever - it will have been fun while it lasted and you won't have been out anything much really. You won't know unless you give it a go.

    I am not sure about your area, but I suspect there aren't as many English teachers/speakers roaming the neighborhoods as there are there are in the Tokyo area so your location might be a big benefit with this sort of thing. Also, all those kindy moms you know from Biggie's kindy days and the new ones you will meet with Little Guy love that sort of thing since it is something they can do during school hours and won't require any time or effort outside of the chat times.

  5. That's exactly how I feel Sherry, it'll be fun while it lasts. I have officially filled the first "session" with two friends and they are each bringing two referral "customers".

    I'm still expecting one other friend to want to come but I will tell her I am full or I may get her to come and be in charge of Little Guy.

    It will be fun.I am looking forward to baking something delicious and getting my nice dishes out.

    Long term - I am planning Mee a Bee to be more long term than this, I'd prefer not to have to 'teach'.


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