70+ members, WAGS, friends and kiddies gathered at the Beer Station in Ebisu for the annual awards dinner of the Tokyo Gaijin Rugby Football Club. The night went off without a hitch and all were in festive spirits after a very memorable year; both good and bad, and people even filed outside between 10:30 and 11:40 to witness a lunar eclipse that was pre-organised for the event.
This year the Tokyo Gaijin are celebrating 20 years since the club was established. This is quite an achievement when one considers the transient nature of the 'Gaijin' in Japan. Along the way many people have worked hard to make this club what it is. In celebration of 20 years of existence in Tokyo we take a look at some of those people who have made playing for the club a fond memory for Gaijin passing through Japan, the long term Gaijin resident and our Japanese members alike. In many cases their tireless work off the field or long-term commitment on the field has made this club stronger and we would be all the poorer without them.
We kick off the series with Jo & Shino Iwasaki who joined the team in 2002. Jo has played various positions during that time and is considered the most senior backline player. He has also filled in in the second row and flanker and will also tell you about the time he filled in at prop when one of the big men went down with an injury.
The Tokyo Gaijin RFC turned up at Yanokuchi Field with victory the only thing on their mind as they aimed to go through the Autumn season undefeated for the first time in their 20 year history. They had wrapped up the Shuto League the week before and gone through undefeated putting over 20 points on most of the teams and now all eyes were on the even bigger prize.
It was a November afternoon one often dreams of – blue skies with bright sunshine, crisp air but still warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt, and a full days rugby played on green grass, surrounded by trees and a small grandstand. The TGRFC had already won the Shuto League as they strolled onto the field to face Tentomushi... the last game of the league campaign.