Tokyo Tales – Day 4: Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The dry winter air caused my nose to bleed. Although it is not acute, the discomfort prompted me to start wearing masks. Each time I exhale, the warm breath, escaping from the gap between the nose and the mask, fogged up my glasses. Even so, the mask protected the chilling wind from my face. I may use nose drops if the problem persists.

We went on our first home visit to a person with disabilities practising Independent Living. Ms. Kato has cerebral palsy and communication impairment. She had lived in an institution for twenty years. It was only recently, January 10 to be exact, that she began living independently. Japan has a system of grading the severity of an impairment in order to provide the aid required. Ms. Kato is categorised at 1, the most severe degree of impairment. She has been preparing for independent living for three years and has now succeeded in realising that ambition. Her Personal Assistants (PAs) work on three shifts 24 hours a day assisting her. We left her house, awed by her fortitude in self-determination.

Our next destination was the Centre for Independent Living Hino (CIL Hino). Ms. Hiroko Akiyama was waiting to have lunch with us. We boarded a train at the Keio Seiseki-sakuragaoka Station to Takahatafudo where the CIL Hino is located. I had pasta salad, burdock and pumpkin tempura and fruit juice. It was good to be eating together with the staff of Hino CIL. Although language was a barrier, their friendliness and graciousness more than warmed our hearts on this cold day.

Ms. Kaoru Ito gave us a lecture on Support for the Empowerment of PWD. She is blind. We spent two hours with her, learning about the various tools used to empower people with disabilities. The next session, titled Overview of IL Centre – History of CIL Hino, was presented by Mr. Fuji and Ms. Akiyama. They shared with us how the CIL Hino began and the types of services they provide.

We had a group photo taken after the lecture. When we got out from the Centre, it was already dark although it was only 6.00 pm. It was cold. My hands, as usual, were freezing. It would have been difficult to hold the camera, let alone press the shutter button with gloves on. I went looking for a public phone to call Wuan but none was in sight. Those available at the train stations only accepted phone cards. I will try to look for a phone at Hachioji tomorrow.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

5 thoughts on “Tokyo Tales – Day 4: Wednesday, January 18, 2006”

  1. seems like you are enjoying yourself in tokyo. your experiences are very eye-opening, even to me that is only reading from here in m’sia. can’t wait for you to get back to penang/kl so i can kacau u to tell me more 🙂

    meantime, wishing you & wuan a happy chinese new year in advance! (i won’t have internet connection when i get back to pg for CNY)

    take care 🙂

  2. hey peter,

    hope that your nose blood stops and that u recover quickly. am glad to hear tat you are learning and experiencing lots in japan. u make a really good ambassador for malaysia. am proud of you.

    take care,

  3. Nose bleed in winter countries are common among asian’s who are not used to winter country. The advice given to us in university when I was studying in Australia … was not to sleep thru the night with the heater on full blast rather heat the room warm enuf for you to doze off and get comfortable under lots of blanket and socks. In my case, dirty laundry. Heheheh… post pictures can ?

  4. peter,

    just remembered a tip for warding off nose bleeds. like finding me said, it’s not uncommon for asians in cold country suddenly. leave a plate of water in your heated bedroom. so the air doesn’t get too dry and irritate ur nose. hope this helps.

    take care,

Comments are closed.