This morning in the shower I was struck by an interesting question which I think is worth exploring: could I trundle around Tokyo as I trundle around London? To answer that, I need to first explain what I mean by ‘trundle’. Here in London, I often go out in my powerchair, usually in the afternoon, on fairly long, leisurely walks. I basically follow my nose. If I have somewhere specific I want or need to go, of course I’ll head there, but if not I try to explore the city, following roads and paths I haven’t been down before.
I can do this because London is fairly open and accessible, or at least the borough of Greenwich is: it’s low-rise and not very dense, with wide, well maintained streets and lots of green, pleasant parks. I find I can go around in my chair fairly easily. I can’t help but wonder, though, could I do the same in Tokyo? If I was living there rather than London, could I have the same leisurely, exploratory trundles? What are the paths and pavements like, and how accessible is it? Judging from the images coming from the olympics, Tokyo is a far denser, more compact city than London: what does that mean for accessibility? Would I be able to get around? Would I find as many parks and open spaces as I do here in London? I do not know, but I’d be fascinated to go there to find out.