This is the column where you find out what is happening with your team. Read on to find out about the comings and goings from your team, the rumours and innuendo, with a few sprinkles of real news to top it off. This is the first Around the Traps for three months and the first of 2012 so HAPPY NEW YEAR to all Tokyo Gaijin members and their families.

Odds and Ends

* On the 4th of December, the Shuto League Select played against the Tama League Select for the NZ Ambassador's Cup - that's the best of the Shuto League versus the best of the Tama League. Despite the Gaijin winning all their games and most by 20 points or more only two players were selected in the starting team for the A squad. I'm happy to report that Nik Pavesic at lock and Joe Nawaqavanua at wing didn't disappoint and helped the team to a handsome 31 v 17 win. Tsukasa Takasugi and Hitoshi Chihara came on from the Reserves bench to help clinch the win. The Gaijin representatives in the B Team were Takeshi Koba, Toshi Miyano, Moses Rarasea and Ken Goto. Unfortunately they went down to their Tama League counterparts 38 v 31. Apisai Bati, Joffa Harris and Gaz Dalrymple helped the Shuto OB's to a very big win over the Tama boys to the tune of 71 v 5.

* On 17th December the Phoenix RFC Old Boys (over 35's) had their Year End Party and Awards Night.  Tokyo Gaijin members Apisai Bati, Joffa Harris, Toru Kanamori, Jo Iwasaki, Rick Bales, Toshi Miyano, Tsukasa Takasugi & Yamagen have played for the team over the past year. Joffa Harris was awarded the MVP for 2011 and received a lovely, if not gay, Toulon rugby jersey.

* Takeshi Ochiai was spotted at the first TGRFC game for 2012 after a 6 month hiatus busy with work and volunteering for the tsunami struck Tohoku region of Japan. Angga Wirastomo also made an appearance at the first training run for the year after 6 months out studying. Rick Bales was at the 2012 AGM. Not spotted since the Manila Tour in March, 2011, he seemed to be in good health and not suffering from some disease he picked up in the Philippines as rumoured. Hopefully we'll see more of the boys at games and practice this year.

The Expanding Gaijin Family

* Canadian Eugene Bouthot, TGRFC Captain circa 2000-2001, and his partner had a baby boy, Eugene IV 6 months ago.

* Riki & Mikako Pitter had a baby boy Rick (Riku) on October 4th, 2011.

* Charles Joffre and his wife Masaki, now back in France, had a baby girl, Noi, on January 6th. By all reports she doesn't look anything like Chabal. Thank God!

* Lonnie "No Longer" Childress & his partner had a baby girl, Tamara, on the 24th January, 2012.

* Many other Gaijin are said to be practicing because remember 'Practice makes perfect'.

Comings and Goings

It has been a busy couple of months for the Gaijin with a few guys leaving and quite a few newcomers.

Goings:

* Kiwi Aaron Nutsford has been transferred to Vietnam. We wish him and his family all the best. Maybe he can link up with two other ex-TGRFC players down there in Tristan O'Connor and Mark Scott. Incidentally, Mark Scott's Dive Shop was voted the best in Nha Trang.

* Brothers Rod and Stuart McDonald left these shores in late November to travel around Thailand before heading back to Canada. They will be missed as from memory Rod scored 7 tries in 4 games and his brother got a couple.

We wish all these guys the best in their chosen futures and hope to see them all again soon!

Comings:

* Outside back Ken Goto joined the club in November and was an instant hit with his pace and swerve. He even picked up a game in the NZ Ambassadors Cup B Team. Tatsuma Muto, who just happened to be in the area, also joined on the same day. Though a leaguie by trade, he also shows a lot of raw talent for a little fella.

* At the first training run of 2012 (Jan 15th) we welcomed two new American recruits: John 'Viking' Herger and John Simpson. The former is a prop (Yay! Three Cheers!) and the latter is a lock. Both guys show a lot of early promise.

* South African Phillip Ferreira and American Sean Hannon joined the team at the second training run of 2012 (Jan 29th) along with a guesting Mandara prop. The Mandara prop wants to leave his team and apparently is deciding whether to join us. With a big game coming up against Mandara one hopes that he wasn't just a spy. The other two look like backs although Sean is new to the game of rugby.

Rumours:

* Daisuke Ikegami has retired from rugby and is now a fulltime Pachinko player.

* Nik Pavesic is looking for a marriage partner in a real hurry so that he doesn't get deported.

* Murray Clarke and Stirling Mortlock are related.