After the grueling flight, we got to our Tokyo hotel with ourselves and the wheelchair etc intact. After checking in at 2pm Japan time (and missed a nights sleep while flying), we planned to have a short nap, go out for dinner and climatise to our new time zone. Instead, waking up at all was impossible and we slept through to 5.30am.
This meant we were even more adjusted and more fresh too.
The first day of the 2 week conference started at 9am. Writing now at the end of day 2 (Thursday 27th February) we haven’t stopped. There’s been welcome speeches and welcome receptions. Voluntary sector organisation visits and group seminar discussions.
Whilst this may sound negative, its only my tiredness creeping out. In general, this is such an amazing experience! The access is going fine, as are my disability equipment items that have been rented in. They’ve sorted hoists, adapted the shower, arranged buses and taxis. I’m even managing with the food, and you know how fussy I am. Everyone is so friendly and accommodating.
It has become apparent that the Japanese government have flown us delegates from UK, Denmark and New Zealand to exchange knowledge on ‘Not for Profit Organisations’ in youth, elderly people and disabled people fields of social work.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday are also filled up. We’re in groups with Japanese delegates discussing ‘building volunteer networks’ and organisation collaboration. They love the innovation of Disability Horizons already.
Monday is a day off and I’m meeting my school friend Haruka. He will show me Tokyo. We haven’t caught up for 16 years.
Then, next Tuesday to Sunday is a local visit in Hiroshima. This is for visiting disability organisations and having seminars on this subject. I’m also staying with a family who have a disabled child. We’re off to watch a football match! 🙂
On Monday 10th we conclude the program. Finally on Tuesday 11th we fly the 13 hours home.
I’ll try to update as much as possible but you can see how arduous this will be for me without writing everything up in real time. However the stories will last forever and I’ll happily share more when home. I’ll be on whatsapp with wifi too. I got stung first night for £30 in roaming charges.
Keep an eye on my tweets @martynsibley and share your input with the seminar on #disabilityabroad