As some of you may know, I’m currently attending language school in Japan. There is a student dorm, but most of the housing is apartments rented out to students. When I first got here, I was a bit surprised to see that there was no elevator, but outside of being annoyed that I couldn’t get my heavy stuff up the stairs easily, I didn’t think too much about it.
But something happened a little over a month ago: a guy who lives in my building got into a car accident and is now in a wheelchair. He was told that, due to fire regulations, he could no longer live in our apartment. You see, even the first floor apartments require going up one flight of stairs and in the event of a fire that just isn’t safe. These apartments, I would like to point out, were built just last year.
And then this caused me to realize that all of the kids in the school are able-bodied. Indeed, I have the sneaking suspicion that they would reject anyone who wasn’t because of “undue hassles” (they kicked out one student who was having frequent panic attacks, but wouldn’t/couldn’t take her to the hosptial because she didn’t have Japanese insurance). My building has an elevator and therefore should be accessible, but the building that’s used for the other program as well as private lessons not only has no elevator, but the easy access is a set of pretty dangerous outside stairs. It’s supposedly going under rennovation because of the influx of students, but I’d be surprised if they added an elevator.
On the one hand, I can sort of sympathize with the school: they are becoming increasingly popular and it’s been hard to deal with the influx of students because there isn’t enough space or teachers to accomodate everyone. I’ve also heard that, in terms of buildings, getting through the planning stages is ridiculously hard. But, on the other hand, I would be surprised if this was the first time a problem like this has occurred. My friend is not the first person who I’ve known has gotten into an accident during his stay at my school.
I just… I dunno. I like my school and sympathize with their plight, but at the same time I’m not altogether thrilled with the way they handle students who have specific health needs.