Asia Tour Part One: Tokyo, Japan

Andy Barrow speaking at the British Embassy in Tokyo

We arrived in Tokyo on Saturday evening, exhausted, as you can imagine! We dumped our bags in our apartment and headed to the nearest restaurant for some food before collapsing into bed.

It was the first time in Japan for both Ali and me, so we were grateful for a couple of days’ sightseeing before getting to work on Tuesday morning.

A 6.45am taxi greeted us and took us to the British Council’s breakfast meeting at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel where I would be speaking alongside British Paralympic Association’s CEO, Tim Hollingsworth.

Opportunities around Tokyo 2020

Tim addressed the businesses in the audience about the many commercial benefits of hosting a Paralympic Games. I then took to the stage to speak about my personal experiences of London 2012.

I demonstrated how corporate organisations can get behind athletes and embrace this once-in-a-lifetime experience, just like my sponsor, Chaucer, did while I was still competing.

It was fantastic to see so many businesses looking forward to the upcoming Rugby World Cup and Tokyo 2020 coming to their country and got me even more excited with what’s to come!

We then headed to British School in Tokyo, where I spoke to students, teachers and parents about my career. I also spoke with sports science students about drug testing in sport, their current topic of discussion in class.

It was a pleasure speaking to everyone involved and, like everyone else in Tokyo, they’re very excited about the Games.

I also had a great chat with three middle school students. They asked me some incredibly insightful questions for an article they were writing. Read it here.

My final appointment here was a slightly more unique one. I had been speaking with the British Embassy for a while about speaking to their employees. Luckily for us, the location for the session was the British Ambassador’s beautiful residence!

The Wheelabout returns!

I gave a quick background about myself, before holding a frank Q&A about perceptions towards disability in Asia. Both were attended by Ambassador Paul Madden and his wife, Sarah.

We then took some employees on one of my favourite workshops, the “wheelabout”; where they all have a chance get in a wheelchair and push through some everyday obstacles! Check out our gallery.

We then had one day left to explore Tokyo some more. Unfortunately that was nowhere near enough time to see this incredible city, so we’ll definitely be back! Thanks to everyone who helped make this trip such a success. We’re putting plans in place now to make sure we see you all again soon!

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