Ototake Hirotada is a best-selling author, former sports journalist, and school teacher. A graduate of Japan’s prestigious Waseda University, his first book, published in English as “Nobody’s Perfect” [Japanese title: “Gotai fumanzoku”] was an unexpected hit; it became the third best selling book in Japan since WW2 just a year after its publication, and has since been turned into a feature film starring Ototake himself.
But Ototake’s rise through Japanese society has not been an easy one: he suffers from a rare genetic syndrome, which meant that he was born without limbs, and has been confined to a wheelchair for most of his life. Still, his positive attitude and refusal to accept limitations imposed upon him by others have changed the way that disabled people are viewed in Japan.
So when Ototake was refused entry to a high-class Italian trattoria in Tokyo’s Ginza district because they claimed they were unable to admit wheelchairs, he did not stay silent. Rather, he revealed the restaurant’s name on Twitter. And with over 600,000 followers, he’s a social networking force to be reckoned with. His tweets prompted thousands of supportive comments, as well as over 10,000 retweets.
Ototake Names Restaurant That Refused Him Entry In A Wheelchair
@h_ototake Today I should have been having dinner in Ginza. An Italian restaurant, “TRATTORIA GANZO”, seemed to have a pretty good reputation, so I’d excitedly made a reservation. But, upon arrival, I was refused entry because I’m in a wheelchair. “If you use a wheelchair, it’s common sense to tell a place beforehand”, “It causes bother to other customers” — First time I’ve ever had this experience.
The restaurant is on the second floor of a building. There is an elevator, but it’s apparently set up so that it doesn’t stop at the 2nd floor. “That’s also written on our website” the owner told me abruptly.
“Could someone possibly come out and carry me up…?”
“No, that’s impossible, we’re busy”,
“This is just how we do things”.
And that was it, my humiliation in Ginza.
Comments from 2ch.net:
Best to say something when he made the reservation.
Isn’t this just too selfish?
This is just horrible, a restaurant like that deserves to go under.
Isn’t it common sense to assume that you will have wheelchair users coming to your restaurant? Or do I just have no common sense…?
If someone makes a reservation under the name “Ototake Hirotada” you should know they’re going to be in a wheelchair!
The restaurant owner’s reply: 高田晋一 ( Ganzo) [email protected] 2分
Mr. Ototake, my name is Takada Shinichi, the owner of GANZO. I am so sorry for having offended you today due to my own incompetence.
Our restaurant operates with very few staff, and although it is inexcusable, we cannot accommodate customers who use wheelchairs unless they contact us prior to their arrival.
マーブルキャット(関西・北陸)：[in response to above]
If this is how the restaurant owner spoke, then that’s hardly good customer service, but Ototake is also a bit much…
If you look at the restaurant owner’s Twitter account, it seems like he’s the kind of guy who picks fights with his customers…
The restaurant can’t defend itself on this one.
Ah, this restaurant is done for.
Scary. This restaurant will be condemned.
Confirm whether the restaurant is barrier free, or whether it has space to admit wheelchairs before you go there!
If it’s a classy Italian place, then some have elaborate interiors and no space for wheelchairs.
It’s just the worst to make your followers criticize a place on Twitter if you’re refused after having tried to barge in suddenly.
So even the posh restaurants in Ginza can’t deal with disabled customers? Or is it perhaps because it’s Ginza that they won’t deal with them?
I kind of get what they restaurant owner is saying though.
He’s got a lot of nerve telling them to carry him up to the restaurant.
This kind of thing is pretty common.
Stuff like restaurants not allowing guide dogs entry.
I mean, I guess it’s better to let them know when you book, but still.
Hold on, isn’t the problem one of responsibility, like if they got him all the way to the top of the stairs and then dropped him? Scary.
I think that Otake should have mentioned this when he booked, and that Takada, the restaurant owner, should have taken more care with his words.
But then hindsight is 20/20.