Canadian born man with cerebral palsy helps to create an Accessible Japan

Written with extracts From Yomiuri Online

April 6th 2018

Barry Josh Grisdale (37) who is originally from Canada and works at a welfare facility in Edogawa Ward, has a popular Internet site that summarizes the barrier-free situation of sightseeing spots throughout the country.

Grisdale uses a wheelchair since he has cerebral palsy, In May, he will participate in an event of the same district where we talk about town planning and will give a lecture from the viewpoint of people with disabilities.

Grisdale hdeveloped cerebral palsy in 6 months after birth, so that both hands and both feet cannot move, and since about 4 years He started to use electric wheelchairs. He was interested in Japan as a result of meeting a Japanese teacher at a Canadian high school. He watched films directed by Kurosawa Akira and dramas that Takuya Kimura appeared.

He came to Japan for the first time in 2000 and visited the Asakusa Temple in Taito Ward. When the staff of the subway was in trouble without being able to go down, the stationer said, “Are you OK?” The ladder raised the electric wheelchair with more than 100 kilometers with six people. “I was very happy to receive hospitality unique to Japan.”

He started living in Edogawa Ward from 2007, working for the welfare facility “Azerie Edogawa” in the same district from 12 years with acquaintance introduction, and is in charge of the management of the homepage. I visited tourist destinations in various places on holidays, but I felt that there are few English sites providing information for people with disabilities, and opened “accessible Japan” in 15 years.

About 50 places such as Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, Tokyo Sky Tree, etc., in addition to sights, I wrote in detail the location of the toilet for the disabled and the subway exit where the elevator can be used. As for the hotel, it also provides information that disabled people need such as the size of the toilet.

People with disabilities overseas who saw the site say that they are receiving voice such as “I was anxious about going to Japan because of my legs, but I got courage.”

Edogawa Ward focused on these activities and urged participation as a guest at the civic conference “Ergagawa Edo Period Evangelism Conference” to discuss about town planning. He said he will give a lecture at the same meeting in May.

Grisdale is thinking of further enhancing the site for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. “I am willing to repay Japanese charm to overseas disabled people and I would like to give back the benefits that were helped by Japanese people.”

Accessible Japan is website can be found here

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