2019 New Year Event Tokyo Rugby Caravan
Ran-G and friends visit places around Tokyo in a decorated bus for the Tokyo Rugby Caravan
The Rugby World Cup 2019 (or RWC2019) had its first ticket sales on January 19th, 2019 as well as the Tokyo Rugby Caravan as New Year Events. The RWC2019 official mascot Renji and friends (event ambassadors and guests) traveled around to 6 places in Tokyo by bus and landrover. They stopped by: Nipponseinenkan (Shinjuku ward), Machida City, Fuchu City, Mitaka City, Musashino City, and Chofu City. The event’s success was thanks to the many visitors and fans who attended!
The opening ceremony was held at 10 AM in Shinjuku Ward in front of Nipponseinenkan. Former Japan Rugby Union player and RWC2019 ambassador Tsutomu Matsuda, Japan Rugby Union Player Takashi Kikutani, Bronze medalist of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in Women’s Volleyball and RWC2019 Dream Supporter Yoko Zetterlund, RWC2019 Organizing Committee Director Akira Shimazu and Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Yuriko Koike attended the event.
Governor Yuriko Koike passionately started things off with「Last World Cup, Japan had an excellent showing so we are looking forward to see what they can do this year. Let’s enjoy and have a successful event this year.」Other members also shared their anticipations and expectations for the RWC2019.
Governor Yuriko Koike hands over a rugby ball to Tsutomu Matsuda, symbolizing a baton pass and thus officially starting the Tokyo Rugby Caravan. With Governor Koike seeing off the 3 guests Tsutomu Matsuda, Takashi Kikutani and Yoko Zetterlund, they take off in a Landrover decorated for the RWC2019. At the same time, Renji get on a decorated City Bus as those attending see them off from the sidewalks. Off to the next venue!
At 11:50 AM, the caravan stops in Machida City, home of the Namibia National Team camp. Tsutomu Matsuda, Takashi Kikutana, Yoko Zetterlund along with mascot Ren arrive. Many attendees are there to greet them. The MC of the event asks「Who has their tickets for the RWC2019!?」and many of the attendees raised their hands.
At 1:25 PM, the caravan arrived at Fuchu City, where the French and English teams have their camps. Tsutomu Matsuda, Takashi Kikutani, Yoko Zetterlund, and mascot Ji arrive as Norio Takano, Fuchu City Governor, rushes to the event. Tsutomu Matsuda and Takashi Kikutani, famous from their times on the Toshiba Brave Lupus and Suntory Sungoliath teams (both from Fuchu City), received a warm welcome.
At 2:40 PM, the caravan arrives at Mitaka City, near to the RWC2019 stadium, Tokyo Stadium. At the event, Tsutomu Matsuda along with Beijing and Athens gold medalist in Women’s Judo and RWC2019 Dream Supporter, Ayumi Tanimoto, and Ren arrive. They talked about the venue, Tokyo Stadium, for the RWC2019.
At 3:30 PM, the caravan arrives at Musashino, home of the Russia team camp. Ayumi Tanimoto, Tsutomu Matsuda and Ji arrive together. Held in front of Kichijoji station, a place full of weekend shoppers, the event garnered a lot of attention. When children saw Ji, they were happy to wave at the official mascot.
At 4:30 PM, the goal is Tokyo Stadium in Chofu City. The goal/closing ceremony being held in front of Chofu Station, the caravan arrives at its final destination. Many supporters are there to welcome them with a round of applause. Ren, arriving prior to Tsutomu Matsuda and Ayumi Tanimoto arrive as well. A little later, Ji arrives and everyone went wild as Ren and Ji embraced and became Renji once again.
Tsutomu Matsuda grasps the rugby ball he received from Governor Koike and says「Here is to the success of the RWC2019」. Ayumi Tanimoto also comments「Please come to this once in a lifetime event」in her appeal for the event。Finally, the attendees took a commemorative photo and the Tokyo Rugby Caravan comes to a close.