* Wed 19th Nov 2003 – Left England
* Thurs 20th Nov 2003 – Arrived in Japan
* Sat 22nd Nov 2003 – England beat the Aussies to win the Rugby World Cup
Can it really be three years since the above events happened? Its not so long but it sure seems like it! When I met up with some other N*va recruits at Heathrow I had no real idea what lay ahead as I had never taught anything and didn’t know too much about Japan either. Arriving late at night I was driven to my new home in Matsudo (which was in the middle of nowhere as far as i was concerned back then) in the pouring rain and must have wondered what I was letting myself in for. The following day was just about settling in and trying to navigate my way around the area and working out the train system to go a few stops away to apply for the ‘alien’ card which all foreigners have to carry in Japan. The kind of thing I take for granted now but at the time it wasn’t so simple.
The day after that was the ‘must-see’ Rugby World Cup Final for England against our sporting rivals from Australia. I saw a magazine advert for the game being screened at an Irish bar so I made my way down to Roppongi to ‘Paddy Foleys’ where I witnessed one of the great moments in English sporting history when Jonny Wilkinson slotted the winner in the dying seconds of extra-time. How things have changed since then!! Englands rugby team has been on the slide ever since and it feels like I have been here for ages but there are certainly enough times when it is not such plain sailing which keeps me on my toes and still makes it an interesting experience to live in Tokyo.
Watch Jonny’s winning drop goal (with the classic BBC Five Live commentary) here