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bar news and views

538: Pool party
Keep your cool this summer with a visit to one of Tokyo’s many pools. Metropolis shows you where to take the plunge.
536: Don't sweat it
With the hot and humid months upon us, Cristy Burne share some tips on staying cool.
534: Swept away
Put away your broomsticks—all you really need to soar through the clouds is an armful of nylon and a good gust. Cristy Burne checks out the air up there.
532: Tee time
Can’t keep it on the fairway? The ‘yips’ invaded your game? Rob Smaal finds a few experienced golf pros who can work out your kinks on the links.
530: Balancing act
An ancient science is helping modern men and women find peace, health and the always elusive “balance.” Tama M. Lung takes a closer look at ayurveda.
528: Kicking on
Former K-1 Japan champion Nicholas Pettas shares his love of martial arts at the new Spirit Gym in Nogizaka. Chris Betros goes along to watch.
526: On call
A revolutionary daily disease self-management system is making life easier for diabetics. Chris Betros finds out about Lifewatcher.
524: Team spirit
From rugby to roller hockey, Tokyo is teeming with sports clubs for the expat athlete. Rob Smaal shows you how to get in the game.
522: Type casting
Second-generation blood-type expert Toshitaka Nomi looks at the links between blood classifications and health. Mick Corliss reports.
520: Like a rock
Climbing instructor Luke Kearns gets a grip on Tokyo's best indoor climbing gyms.
516: The personal touch
Madonna and Matsui aren't the only ones who need help staying fit. Hanna Kite pumps it up with the top personal trainers in Tokyo.
514: From here to maternity
Kavitha Rao turns to a handful of Tokyo experts to track down baby basics for nervous expat mothers-to-be.
502: Tour de Morton, part deux
Don Morton gets back on two wheels for a leisurely ride out toward Haneda Airport.


Team spirit

From rugby to roller hockey, Tokyo is teeming with sports clubs for the expat athlete. Rob Smaal shows you how to get in the game.

The Tokyo Crusaders have been battling it out across Japan and Asia for 13 years

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to dig your old baseball cleats out of the closet, strap on the roller-blades, or maybe dust off the ten-speed and get out for a ride. No matter your sport of choice, you can be sure that Tokyo has a club, group or team that will cater to your athletic needs.

Of course, there are many golf courses that have become more foreigner-friendly of late, and there are activities such as tennis, water skiing and river rafting readily available, but for now we’ll focus on some of the team sports that welcome non-Japanese participants.

Here, then, are just a few of the activities you might want to take a crack at this summer, along with contact information to put you in touch with like-minded individuals and groups. If, by chance, your sport is not mentioned here, be sure to check out section 14.3 in the classified ads at the back of the magazine.


Batter up
The Tokyo International Softball League has been providing expats living in Japan with their weekend slo-pitch fix for about 30 years now. Many of the teams are stocked with weekend warriors from all across North America, with a few Japanese teams thrown into the mix and even an Aussie or South African dotting the rosters here and there. The action takes place at Tama Hills, a US military recreational facility about 30-40 minutes (depending on traffic, of course) west of central Tokyo by car. The nearest train station is Minami-Tama on the JR Nambu Line.

The season runs from March to late October, so anyone interested in getting on a team—or even forming a team for next season—should contact league commissioner Marc Fuoti at or Mike Faas (tel: 090-9802-5641, email

Another venerable club, the Tokyo Eagles baseball squad celebrates its 20th anniversary this season

Another ball club that welcomes overseas players is the Tokyo Eagles, a team made up of Americans, Canadians, Japanese…just about anybody who’s game for a game. These guys play a more traditional form of baseball, the biggest difference being that they use a restricted-flight rubber ball instead of a regulation hardball. Make no mistake, though: it still hurts when you get hit by a pitch. The Eagles play throughout the Tokyo area on weekends and national holidays, primarily against Japanese company teams.

You can learn more about the Eagles at their website (, and the team can be contacted through Steve Harrell by email at


Dash with the Hash
The Hash House Harriers bill themselves as “the world’s most eccentric running club.” Seeing as their members bear nicknames like Master Shafter and Dripping Wet Muscle, we’ll take their word for it._@The “drinking club with a running problem” was initially formed back in 1938 by a British accountant in Kuala Lumpur as a means of getting over hangovers…and then creating new ones. Since then, the basic aim of the club has remained the same, but the HHH has ballooned in size to about 1,700 groups in more than 180 countries worldwide. The Tokyo branch of the Hash House Harriers has several runs a week, all with varying themes and routes. The common thread, however, seems to be having a good time. All levels and ages are welcome, and for more information on upcoming runs, check out the group’s website (


Getting your kicks
If soccer—or football, as the purists like to point out—is more your style, there’s no shortage of teams well stocked with gaijin in the Tokyo area. The British Football Club is one of the most well-known and established expat soccer teams in Tokyo, having been formed back in 1980. The BFC actually fields two teams now, with some of the “veterans” having moved on to the BFC Vagabonds squad.

The BFC teams take part in the recently formed Tokyo Metropolis League, which also features sides stocked with Dutch, Scottish, French and Swiss players. If you’d like more info on the British Football Club, go to the team’s website (

For news on the league and links to the various teams, check out


Roughing it
If rugby is more your bag, baby, you might want to hook up with the Tokyo Crusaders. The team was established 13 years ago by a group of rugby-mad expats, and includes everyone from traders to teachers, from Kiwis to Canucks. According to the team’s website (, “The Cru welcome new players of all sizes, shapes and IQs.”

The Crusaders counterparts include the Tokyo Gaijin Rugby Football Club and Tokyo Goannas
Kyoko Obayashi

The Crusaders play in both the Shuto League and the Spring Construction League in the Tokyo area, but they also travel extensively throughout Japan and the rest of Asia taking part in friendly exhibitions and tournaments. For more on the Cru, contact Tim Openshaw at 03-5640-0637 or 090-2745-7150, or by email at

Other expat rugby teams in the Kanto area include the Tokyo Gaijin Rugby Football Club (website; contact and the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club, whose tours have taken the squad to South America and Africa. For more information on the YCAC rugby team, contact Fraser Jamieson at 03-3769-5511, or by email at

If you prefer your football in tank tops and tight shorts, then maybe the Tokyo Goannas are for you. The Goannas—and their female counterparts, the Tokyo Geckos—play a brand of football commonly known as Aussie Rules (although if you’ve ever seen these guys wallop each other, you might get the impression it should be Very Few Rules). The Goannas are members of the Japan Australian Football League, and you can learn more about the team at their website ( or by contacting them directly by email at


The Gaien Chiefs keep in-line hockey buffs rolling in the city
Courtesy of Gaien Chiefs Hockey Club

Blade runners…
There are a few places to play in-line hockey (otherwise known as roller hockey) in the Tokyo area, ranging from informal pickup games to well-organized leagues and tournaments. If you’re just out for a casual game and a little weekend exercise, you can hook up with a group of foreign and Japanese players who get together Sunday afternoons at 2pm in the Jingu-Gaienmae area. The game takes place on Icho-namiki Dori, which is blocked off to traffic on Sundays.

Other informal games take place in Komazawa Park (look for the Chuo Hiroba area near the outdoor swimming pool next to Komazawa Dori) weekends after 4pm and Tuesday and Wednesday evenings after 5pm. A higher level of play can be found near the Narimasu Danchi apartment complex (a 10-minute bus ride from Narimasu Station on the Tobu-Tojo Line), where the action takes place on an outdoor skating rink in Dai-ichi Park. Games usually start around 2pm on most weekends. For more serious competition, check out (mostly in Japanese).


… and just plain runners
The Tokyo Street Hockey Association ( is an informal group of hockey lovers who basically play roller hockey, only without the roller blades. (Remember Wayne and Garth back in the Wayne’s World days?) They take to the streets (well, the parks anyway) Sunday afternoons all year round (weather permitting), tossing their sticks into the pot and dividing up into teams. All you really need is a hockey stick, a good pair of sneakers, a lot of energy…and a good pair of gloves wouldn’t hurt either. Check out their website for more details and contact information.

The ultimate workout
A cross between touch football and a Grateful Dead concert, ultimate Frisbee has grown from a fringe activity to a sport with its own governing federation and world rankings in the past few years. If you think you might have been a German shepherd in a previous life, then join the disc-chasers who gather on the banks of the Tama River on Sunday afternoons. The nearest station is Futako Tamagawa, which can be accessed via the Denentoshi (Hanzomon) and Oimachi lines. Head down to the river and look for the flying objects. Bring your own granola bar.

Discuss this article with metropolis readers at