On Saturday (25/3/17), our second group (Emily and Shajara) explored Chatswood for data collection. The demographic that we observed was largely Chinese, Korean and Japanese, as well as many other nationalities. We observed three cafes; the first two, Pishon Cafe and Gloria Jean’s Coffee, were franchises, and the third was independently owned. We also noted, for reference, that the first two cafes were located in the main shopping area (Chatswood Mall), while the third was more secluded, hidden away in a block of professional practices off the main road.

The first cafe, Pishon Cafe, was a Korean-owned cafe. The original store from which it was franchised had begun trading in Eastwood in 2009. Since the cafe was located across from the Chatswood station exit, there was a lot of traffic. Our first interviewee was a Korean student who had lived in Sydney since he was in high school. Despite being at a cafe where the staff used Korean as their default language as well as talking to the staff in Korean, he told us that he preferred to use English as much as he could, mainly to improve his speaking abilities.

Pishon Cafe, Chatswood

We next went to Gloria Jean’s Coffee, located in a more high traffic area in Chatswood Mall. Our next set of interviewees were an Anglo-Saxon mother and daughter who are from the Central Coast. The insight that they offered as monolinguals navigating bilingual places showed that they wouldn’t really be observant of the bilingualism present, unless it was specifically pointed out to them.

Gloria Jean’s Coffee, Chatswood

Our final stop was Chattie’s Komachi, a cafe specialising in Japanese cuisine. The cafe is owned by one of Emily’s friends, Mai, who is of Japanese ethnicity. During our interview with Mai, she told us that when hiring, she would post the job position on a forum in only Japanese, on gumtree.com.au in only English, and outside the front of the cafe in both Japanese and English. She informed us that as long as the applicant was able to communicate to a fair extent in Japanese and English, it was fine with her.

We also talked to two of her employees, one of whom was of Chinese descent. He told us that he had better command of the Japanese language (having learnt it throughout high school and continuing to practise thereafter) than Mandarin Chinese, even though it was his first language, as he had moved to Australia at the age of six. The second employee, who was of Japanese descent, but born in Australia, informed us that being able to work in a place where she could use Japanese outside of a home setting helped her connect with her identity. Furthermore, she also explained the isolation she felt when she would hear monolingual Japanese people talk about things she wasn’t able to relate to.

Chattie’s Komachi, Chatswood