SEA Rugby Odyssey 23/24 Part 3: Gaijin Galore – A Hanoi Hiccup & Heroes Tale
May 14, 2024
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Tokyo Gaijin’s 3peat Tambo @ Fukuchiyama, Kyoto

By: Ron Joseph Guatlo 

On a mid-May evening, the Tokyo Gaijins are bonding over an open campfire with beers preparing for an epic battle in the trenches of the mud soaked tambo fields of Kyoto for the annual Fukushiyama Tambo Rugby Tournament.

After the team BBQ earlier that day, in the quiet night of the countryside we decide the teams for each player – Chicken Legs or Benchwarmers. With the teams set, we bond through the night with drinks and card games eager for what’s to come.

The day of the event saw murky clouds and slight rain but the Tokyo Gaijins were facing new foes, old friends, and even some famous faces. Through grit and grind and big splashes of mud each Gaijin team won their group stage games.

After a quick lunch intermission with wonderful food prepared by the local highschool we were off to the tournament brackets. Battling strong competition, both Tokyo Gaijin teams managed to secure a Gaijin vs. Gaijin battle for the finals!

Facing familiar faces both sides knew there was only one outcome in this winner takes all full- contact match, the right to be called the best! The absolute slug fest saw muddied faces, lost tabi shoes, and orifices filled with mud. The benchwarmers came out with an early lead with a missed tackle (specifically from myself) and never looked back. The Chicken Legs fought valiantly and were able to score a try near the end to ensure no shutout but quick play from the opposition and friendly fire (also specifically from me) led to their downfall. Ultimately the victors were the Benchwarmers with Damien Naughton named as tournament MVP!

Though the outcome isn’t what some of us wanted, it was great fun nonetheless and we look forward to coming back next year and still finding mud in random places weeks later!

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