If you expect to be one of the hundreds of millions of people planning to sacrifice your health, finances, time and possibly marriage to watch a bunch of thugs chase an oval ball around the park while at the same time inflicting grievous bodily harm on each other, under the pretense of a tournament commonly referred to as the Rugby World Cup, then please read on.
Beginning Oct. 10, 20 teams from around the world will be competing in Australia for the William Webb Ellis trophy that gives the winning country’s supporters bragging rights in pubs around the world for the next four years at least.
Fortunately for punters who like to complement their rugby viewing with a bevy or two, Tokyo has no shortage of venues in which to fuel your nationalistic pride.
While Roppongi — or its reputation — may claim to offer as many bars as there will be viewers of the World Cup, the pick of the lot would have to be the Tokyo Sports Cafe (03-3404-3675). Well run by manager Paul Wagstaff, a veteran of hosting large sporting events, the place offers a large space with no less than seven TV screens with reruns carrying on late into the night. Be prepared to compete for space with an influx of hostesses after 2 a.m.
On Roppongi’s main drag, Wall Street House (03-3586-0874) will not only be showing all the games live, but will also be selling replica Japan and Australia rugby shirts to those who plan to dress for the occasion.
For those looking to stay onside during the six weeks of madness by avoiding Roppongi, the Clubhouse in Shinjuku (03-3359-7785) may be a slightly safer option. Managed by Aussie rugby fan Garna Dowling, the Clubhouse dishes up good food and an even better atmosphere for the discerning rugby viewer.
The Black Lion in Meguro (03-3491-2312) is another place well worth a look in. With some of the best pub tucker in Tokyo and a homely atmosphere, the place has a lot to offer with a huge projector screen and manager Scott Sanderson guaranteed to keep you entertained if the rugby doesn’t. He is known to throw around the odd gratuitous shot or two when the going gets rough.
If you have made the grave mistake of planning a holiday around this sacrilegious time — or have submitted against your will and better judgment — then the Barge Inn in Narita (0476-232546) is the place to catch a few hours of viewing before or after a long flight. Roger E. Allen of Virgin Pubs — hence the name Barge Inn (named after the Japanese-English pronunciation of Virgin) will help you make this a first-time experience not to forget.
Finally, if the lackluster Japanese economy has taken a firm grip on your finances or if you have been sentenced to an extended period of stay within the confines of your own household, then there is no better option than to head down to your local electronic store and pick up a SkyPerfectv tuner and dish and get hooked up as J Sports will be showing every game live.
While either a silver fern is expected to shine brightly or a rose to blossom, you can never underestimate the possibility of a kangaroo, springbok or rooster gate-crashing the party. Happy viewing.
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