News: Toyota Industries Shuttles Rugby Team visit Torii Station
Story by Charles Steitz
TORII STATION, Japan – When soldiers assigned to U.S. Army Japan went to the gym Nov. 5 and 7, players from the Toyota Industries Shuttles Rugby Team greeted them and worked out side by side with soldiers, family members and DA civilians working out in the gym.
The idea came about during a meeting with the Yomitan Mayor Denjitsu Ishimine, a former rugby player and a fan of the sport when he met with Col. Sheila Bryant, commander, 10th Regional Support Group earlier in October.
U.S. Army Garrison Torii Station gladly supported the request to open the post to the Shuttles Nov. 5 and 7 for rugby training sessions, a meet and greet with the soldiers at the gym and a friendship luncheon. These events were done in hopes of building an awareness of the sport amongst the soldiers and to build a positive and lasting relationship with the Toyota Industries Shuttles Rugby Team and the U.S. Army stationed at Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan.
This visit improved the morale and the cultural understanding for the soldiers assigned to Torii Station.
“It is not often that we get to meet and interact with athletes of that caliber, especially while being stationed overseas,” said Bryant.
These types of visits serve to enhance the bilateral relationships between the U.S. soldiers, family members as well as American and Japanese employees through sporting initiatives like rugby. The Torii Station athletic facility offers state-of-the-art exercise and heavy lifting equipment not available at other facilities within Yomitan Village.
Rugby is a free-flowing game that features a combination of strength, speed and strategy to move a ball into an opponent’s territory. Rugby is a full-contact sport yet players wear little-or no protective gear. Rugby evolved from football (i.e. soccer) and is often called the "game played in heaven."
The Tokyo Shuttles were established in 1984 and recently were recognized as one of the leading rugby teams in Japan. Their home base is Kariya City in Japan.