A passion for rugby is not the only things that unites Japan and SA
Ties between Japan and SA have a rich and varied history, including the recent influx of SA players that is reconfiguring the face of Japanese rugby
A word to the wise: if you're visiting Japan in September for the Rugby World Cup, don't discuss the 1995 final with a New Zealander in a surf bar. It'll end badly - as it did for me.
It was 1999, the second year of my life as a human tape recorder (read: teacher of English) in the provincial port city of Tokushima. I was sending off a visiting friend at a Hawaiian-themed bar when we met a rusticated Kiwi brawler signed to Tokushima Vortis, an unremarkable professional rugby team owned by a pharmaceutical company...