So, for a long time I have had the feeling that the Japanese have done a lot to make life better for people with physical limitations. All of the traffic lights are audible and practically every train station or other place has a wheelchair ramp or elevator. As with many major cities, some museums here have recreated many famous art works in 3d relief, so that they can be enjoyed by visually impared patrons.
The blind, I thought, had fared the best of all. Everwhere in the city, on every sidewalk, in every public buiding and in every train station, there are strips of raised material - lines for directions to walk in, and dots/bumps to indicate some sort of change, such as a door or a step... or even the edge of the train platform (which has its own unique pattern at many stations)... its really brilliant - I saw a blind woman using her cane to follow the lines... directions are easy... (eg - how many more entrances before I turn left?)
My feelings about the way some Japanese folk care for the disabled took two hits recently... one was a news article, the gist of which was this:
A brand new hotel included (as is mandatory) a number of wheelchair accessable parking spaces near the entrance. They called in the inspectors, and received their permit. Later, it was discovered that, with the permit safely secured, the hotel went along with its original plan: expanding the lobby. So where does this expansion go? why, on top of the wheelchair parking, of course! And re-paint the lines... pshaw. who uses them anyway? Nobody...right guys??
See... the next one, mind you, is better seen than written.
(especially since I've received muchos flack for not having enough photos from a certain son of abraham, who shall remain nameless.... *TALL*, Richmond-Hill-Living, and nameless.)
Have fun finding your way to the elevator in our store, you silly blind people!!