Children turned out in their droves in anticipation to watch their beloved mentors compete against their fathers, as the "Superman" vs the Tokyo Gaijin match kicked off at an unsuspecting venue... on top of a water treatment plant on the outskirts of town. Contrary to rumours spread around the rugby club however, the opposition team named "Superman" does not in fact boast a line-up of superheroes. Nonetheless the TGRFC knew that this would be a serious test for them.
Feb 21, 2009: The Tokyo Gaijin fielded a squad with well over a dozen forwards but no back reserves to face a largely unknown Setagaya (champions of their name-sake league). The weather was warm and sunny with a bit of wind and the Gaijin were confident of a solid result. A few new faces arrived including hooker Barry Amos-Yeo from the UK, Mike Crafton from the US who is in Japan temporarily and Saiki #2 the Fijian hooker who was borrowing someones ill-fitting boots. Two sets of props was more than enough and a plethora of loose forwards meant a bundle of energy available for the entire match, or so we expected.
Jo Iwasaki injured his shoulder in a friendly against Akanegahama. Jo had an operation the following Wednesday to get a bolt put in his shoulder joint and have the ligaments between the collarbone and shoulder bones sown back together. When visited in hospital he had a little piece of bone in a small bottle that the doctor had found floating in his shoulder from a previous injury. Jo vaguely remembers having a sore shoulder for a while when he first started playing for the Gaijin 7 years ago. It looks like Shino will be doing baby duties by herself for a while. Jo remains upbeat though, aiming to be back in action at the Sugadaira 10`s in July.
In the same game big Argentinian Mauro Sauco broke a rib, Gaz Dalrymple injured ankle ligaments and Toru Kanamori chipped a tooth. It was fascinating watching Toru dig the chipped off part from his mouth guard after the match.
On Saturday the 28th of February, 2009 the TGRFC met for their Annual General Meeting at the Black Lion in Meguro, to discuss ways to meet the oncoming year of rugby and administration. In order to discuss and analyse the all important functions of the team for the year, we would need to go through a rigorous process of re-hydration, voting, vouching for someones ability to do a job you don't want, sipping beer, discussing plays, drinking, talking about grand schemes for the team, tasting some more liquids and finish it up by making some promises of a new approach to the game that would not be recalled in the morning. This was seen to be the best way to get an effective turn out at the meeting and is in no way related to the usual Japanese standard of attending important meetings drunk.