No One’s Perfect

No One’s Perfect
Hirotada Ototake

Cover of No One's PerfectIn Japan, everything has to be just perfect, so there are rules for everything: How deep to bow, how to answer the phone, how to dress, in short, how to live. Everything has to be just so, and not any other way, and if you dare to be different, you practically make yourself an outcast.

Hiro is most certainly not perfect. He was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a gene-defect that left him without arms and legs. But he is no outcast. The first thing his mother says to him when she first sees him – three weeks after his birth and hitherto unaware of his condition – is “He’s adorable”, and Hiro takes it from there.

He visits normal schools and tries to do what other kids do, and his favourite subject is PE, where he signs up for basket ball, runs laps, and takes part in the sport meetings like all the other kids. He is always outspoken about what he wants and often ends up as the leader of various groups. Only when at university, he decides to do what no one else can do: campaign for a barrier-free world. And this is what he is still doing today.

Hirotada Ototake was born in 1976 in Japan, only one of seven people worldwide with tetra-amelia syndrome. Throughout his life he insisted on leading a normal life as much as possible despite his handicap. He worked as a schoolteacher, TV presenter, speaker, writer, and presently lives in Tokyo.

This book is a fascinating read, because Hiro focuses on what he can do instead of what he cannot do. It is very uplifting to see him so determined, so positive throughout his life. Only a single chapter of the book deals with the difficulties he must be facing every single day, like not having wheelchair access, or not being able to buy a coffee from a vending machine. But he seems to take all this in his stride, and when you read the book you have the impression he lives a life as perfect as can be…

A very inspiring and uplifting book, available on Amazon.