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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tokyo Diving Club teaches physically challenged

Itsuki Toyama wears a wheelchair, but that doesn't keep him from doing what he wishes. Itsuki wanted to learn scuba diving. Where could he be freer than in the weightlessness of Mother Ocean?

Enter SCUBA Diving Club Manatees. The Tokyo-based club, run by Yukiko Yamazaki and Hideki Goto, not only certifies PADI divers, it also provides instruction and assistance to physically challenged would-be divers. Scuba diving stresses the buddy system. Never go diving alone. With the physically challenged, the buddy must be a qualified scuba diver and preferably a divemaster or instructor.

Yamazaki, Goto, and Itsuki Toyama traveled to the diving pool in Funabashi, about 25km from Manatees' Tokyo digs. After learning the basics of breathing with a regulator, clearing the diving mask, adjusting the floatation vest to reach neutral buoyancy, Itsuki went into the pool.

Itsuki cannot use his legs. So he had web-fingered gloves, and can move through the water with the greatest of ease. See how he seems to hang in the water? His buoyancy is neutral, so he goes up and down slightly as he breathes air in and out.

At the bottom of the pool, five meters under water, Yukiko and Itsuki gaze out the windows. What a feeling of freedom. Itsuki can do almost everything any other diver can do, unlike when he's on land.

SCUBA Diving Club Manatees
15-17 Sakamachi, Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo 160-0002 Japan
Tel: 03-5367-1277

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