Photo/IllutrationBarry Grisdale (Photo by Takayuki Kakuno)

Barry Grisdale wants to destroy a misperception about Japan.

Originally from Toronto, Grisdale, 36, has set up a website in English called Accessible Japan that provides information for disabled people who want to travel around the country. The top of the site shows a picture of Grisdale in his electric wheelchair in an alley.

“I always wanted a website like this,” said Grisdale, who now lives in Tokyo.

He explained that living in Canada is not easy if you cannot drive. But in Japan, the public transport network is well organized, and station workers are consistently on hand to help wheelchair users get on and off trains, he explained.

“However, overseas, Japan is considered inaccessible and unaccommodating for disabled people,” Grisdale said.

To clear up this misunderstanding, he created the website two years ago. The site, for example, explains how to use the train and subway systems, provides advice on guide dogs in Japan, shows how to find restaurants that cater to disabled people, and guides users on locating wheelchair accessible toilets.

Many elderly people have also found the site useful, he said.

Grisdale himself said he could become truly “free” in Tokyo.

When he was 6 months old, he developed a high fever that is believed to have affected his ability to walk and use his arms. He has been using an electric wheelchair since he was 3 years old.

Grisdale studied Japanese at high school, and he fell in love with the culture, history and food of Japan when he visited the country for sightseeing.

He later found a job in Canada, but his love for Japan did not subside.

He applied for jobs in Japan and now works as a website manager for a social welfare service corporation in Tokyo.

Grisdale felt he could not become a true member of Japanese society while on a visa. So in 2016, he obtained Japanese citizenship.

“Now, Japan is my home. Please visit and see the country I fell in love with,” Grisdale said.

For more information, visit his website at (https://www.accessible-japan.com/).