Carbine Club of Tokyo Completes a Banner Second Year
The Carbine Club of Tokyo went from strength to strength in 2019. In our second year, we celebrated Super Rugby, what proved to be an immensely successful Rugby World Cup, and the Melbourne Cup with heavily attended luncheons.
The action kicked off with a 130-seat event on May 22 to preview a Super Rugby matchup between Japan’s Sunwolves and the Melbourne Rebels. The luncheon was the brainchild of Tokyo club member Darrin Hartshorn, who had noted the Rebels’ strong contributions to rugby union in Japan. Andrew Cox, the Tokyo club president and rugby fanatic, leaped at the opportunity to make this luncheon a celebration of all that is great with this sport.
Darrin and Andrew soon secured the backing and enthusiasm of both teams for the event. Rebels attendees included Chief Executive Officer Baden Stephenson and Head Coach Dave Wessels. The Sunwolves representatives included Chief Executive Yuji Watase and Chris Webb, who manages the high-performance programs of the Sunwolves and the Brave Blossoms, Japan’s national team. British journalist Rich Freeman, a long-time writer about the Japan scene, emceed a panel discussion in which these special guests explored all aspects of professional rugby. Joining them was Robbie Deans, a former All Black and the most successful coach in Super Rugby. New member Emily Downey starred in the charity auction by paying a huge premium for a signed Sunwolves jersey and delighting in her new acquisition.
With this thoroughly enjoyable event complete, we soon switched attention to what Andrew and fellow member and Treasury Wine Estates wine supplier Travis Brown would bill Super Saturday. This event was to seat hundreds of sports fans at Tokyo’s esteemed Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa. It would preview a Rugby World Cup clash between Australia and Wales and present Tokyo’s largest live streaming of the AFL Grand Final.
The event was our largest and most successful to date. It attracted a respectable complement of around 400 diners eager to sample the sumptuous fare. Attendees at this event included a table of members and friends of the Carbine Club of New South Wales and two tables representing the Carbine Club of Papua New Guinea. The New South Welshmen were resplendent in their floral RWC 2019 tour shirts. We wish to thank Peter Kerr from the NSW club for organizing his contingent, and were saddened that he was unable to attend owing to illness. Thanks also to Glenn Maitland and Tony Westaway from the PNG club. We are also indebted to Carbiner magazine producer Merv Hill for publicizing Super Saturday.
Attendees were treated to a spellbinding panel discussion hosted by none other than the Voice of Rugby, Gordon Bray, a member of the NSW club. He has covered every Rugby World Cup, and called the game between Australia and Wales on the following day. Gordon mesmerized the crowd with a collection of witty pre-panel stories and then set to work getting the most out of our rugby legend panelists from Australia and Wales: Stirling Mortlock, James Holbeck, Ian Williams, Rupert Moon, and Gareth Jenkins. This session was considerably longer than planned, much to the satisfaction of attendees. It was several minutes into the AFL Grand Final clash between the Richmond Tigers and GWS Giants that Gordon wrapped things up and the audio went on for the live feed on twin jumbo projector screens.
The final gathering of 2019 was the Melbourne Cup on November 5. We took over this perennially popular event at the behest of the Australia Society of Tokyo. Carbine Club of Tokyo member Patrick Sullivan oversaw this luncheon, performing a very creditable job. Almost 100 ladies attended this 120-seat gala event at the Roppongi Hills Club. In keeping with the best traditions of the Melbourne Cup, they dressed up to the nines and sported some stunning headgear. Before the big race, each table engaged in a Calcutta auction, raising significant amounts of money for charity in the process. Throughout, diners were able to view races live on multiple screens at the venue.
Our three luncheons for 2019 raised an aggregate 2 million yen (almost A$27,000 at this writing) for Rugby World Cup charity partner ChildFund Pass it Back and NADIA, the prime recipient of our donations. We thank all diners, special guests and Ambassador Richard Court, our patron, for their commitment to great causes, and look forward to their continued generosity in 2020.
With 2019’s events behind us, we gathered in early December to review progress and begin planning luncheons and charity targets for 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Andrew announced that he would step down in February in view of his relocation to Singapore the New Year as Meat & Livestock Australia’s General Manager for International Markets. He hopes to attend Carbine Club events in Singapore. We salute his dedication and inspiring leadership, and are grateful that he will remain in touch with us in Tokyo as an overseas member and advisor.
We look forward to inviting members of Carbine Club community from around the world to join us in what we hope will be our best year yet.