For most the day after Christmas is usually known for finding ways to work off the heavy eating and drinking that came the day before. For the Tokyo Gaijin, this year the opportunity came to get out and run around Setagaya's Kinuta Park with a bunch of kids.
The day was organized by Shino Iwaski through an invitation from an NPO that is supporting kids from Fukushima to get active in Tokyo. Since the three-way ordeal of dealing with an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster back in 2011, children in Fukushima still do not go outdoors anywhere near as much as they used to. Not only has the environment been stressful for them but they are not getting the health benefits that come with running and playing outdoors.
The kids were in Tokyo for a week and got through a lot of different activities and on the 26th of December it was our turn to give them a go at rugby.
Being holidays and all, we had a lot of interest from the team and Roy Touch, Jeremy Burns, Yoshihiro Sato, Paul Bertier, Gorka Gerediaga, Daniel Barnett, Jo Iwasaki, Yoichi Ohira, Takashi Muto, Ryogo Takemura, Paul de Berrizabal and Murray Clarke all showed up to run the kids through some basic drills and some touch footy.
Judging by the big smiles and laughter the activities were a hit and even some of the parents got involved when the game was on. Feedback from the NPO was very positive and we gave the kids a big sendoff afterwards. A huge thanks go out from the team to both Shino-san and Yoshihiro Sato who took the time to organize the team for a really worthy day out.
Editor's note: Well done to all the boys (and Shino) who made the effort to get out there and put a smile on the faces of those kids from Fukushima.