Q. Who can join the Tokyo Gaijin?
A. Anyone! We are proud of the fact that we welcome anyone who wants to be involved with us. As a result, our club is a diverse mix of people with a shared passion for rugby. Our men's side welcomes players of all different sizes, ages and ability levels. Unfortunately, we do not currently have enough numbers to run a women's or children's side yet. For those who want to be involved but are not sure about playing, we are always looking for more helpers and you can pull on a jersey anytime. Club membership in 2008 was roughly 30% Japanese national with foreigners coming from the United Kingdom, United States, Western Europe, South East Asia, South America, the Pacific Islands, Africa and Australasia. Players come from all walks of life and work in import/export, IT, retail, service, finance, legal, teaching and other industries.
Q. When do you play/train?
A. Sundays. We meet most Sundays of the year for either a match or training. There is a 3-4 week break for summer and 2-3 weeks off in the winter around the holiday season but we basically play/train all year round. Fitness is important so members are encouraged to train and exercise in their own time, either individually or as groups.
Q. Where do you play/train?
A. We play all over the greater Tokyo area (Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo and Kanagawa) as well as the occasional tour (overseas and domestic). We train on the baseball outfields next to the Tamagawa River. The meeting point for training is Futoko-Shinchi Station (Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line, 15 minutes from Shibuya. This link should help: http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/). The normal meeting time for training is 10:45 am (practice starts at 11:15 am sharp). Training typically lasts around 2 to 2.5 hours and normally covers fitness, some drills, some unit skills and then a team run and some touch rugby. During summer, training of often followed by BBQ and beverages. Check this link for the location: http://diddlefinger.com/?ll=35.609127,139.62194&z=8&t=m. Or, this link in Japanese: http://www.mapion.co.jp/c/f?uc=1&scl=25000&grp=all&nl=35.603933&el=139.625719
Q. Are you social or serious?
A. Both. We have a core group of players who play the game to win, we have players who are purely there to enjoy the comaraderie (and beers) and the majority are there for both. While winning on the field makes the post-match environment a lot more fun, our primary goals are to enjoy the game and social aspects that come with that. That means keeping "reasonably" fit but taking the chance to enjoy ourselves at post-game drinks or post-training BBQ's. On the field we compete in the 2nd Division of the Tokyo Cup, one of Tokyo's main competitions (and only a step down from the division where teams train fanatically), as well as in the 1st Division of the Shuto League, a newer league that is becoming increasingly competitive.
Q. What is your recruiting policy?
A. As above, we welcome anyone who wants to get involved. However, please note that we are a 100% amateur club and as such are not able to recruit players outside of Japan. We cannot organize visas, employment or accommodation for potential players, although if you are already based in Japan then we can try to assist you in finding a job. If you are in Japan and keen to play rugby, meet people and enjoy a social atmostphere, then please come along.
Q. Are you looking for Sponsors?
A. Is the Pope Catholic? As with all amateur sports clubs, Tokyo Gaijin RFC can always do with more sponsorship. We do our sponsors proud with positive (on and off field) exposure at overseas tours, local tours and domestic competitions. If you are open to sponsoring a rugby club that is a leading member of Tokyo's domestic competition and a touring party to Asian destinations, then please contact us. We would be happy to provide further information on the type of exposure we can provide.
Q. I am new to Tokyo. Where can I buy my kit?
A. One cheaper place to buy equipment (gumshield, jersey, socks, boots, pads, etc) is Suzuki Sports in Yoyogi (Oedo-line or JR Yamanote). You can also go to the Canterbury Store near Chichibunomiya Stadium. For those looking to find large size footwear (shoes, sandals, etc not boots), you may also be interested in Kutsu-no-Hikari located in Gotanda (JR Yamanote), Shinjuku, Okachimachi (JR Yamanote) and Kawasaki.
Q. Actually, I am completely new to rugby. Can you recommend some sites to get basic information on the rules?
A. Here are a couple of sites that are useful. You-tube is obviously a great place to find loas of good rugby videos on the laws, training, playing and other info. Here is a lesson on Rugby 101 for starters. It is actually from a video game but is useful for an intro to the real thing. For Americans (or people used to American Football), this site is also useful as it offers some comparison to American Football.
Q. I am a Tokyo Gaijin Old Boy and now live back home. Is there a way for me to get team kit for old time's sake?
A. Stay tuned. We are looking at getting a range of T-shirts and training gear made, though if you are after some of the Tour Kit, usually there is someone willing to make a trade.