Everywhere We Go! – Japan, October 2009 (Donation 28)

Carillon Children’s Centre – Tokyo, Japan

Thursday 8 October by John Daly

It started for me on the day of the donation to the Benjamin Hermansen Fund in Oslo, when Neil McDonald somehow managed to nominate Dorothy Wilson and I to arrange the donation in Tokyo. Whilst I was more than willing to do it, I didn’t even see his feet move as he passed the ball to us.

It was time then to start to find charities that would be acceptable to the Steering Group.

It would be easy because the representative from the British Embassy (John Lindsay) who was in attendance at the Oslo presentation said that he would contact his opposite number in Japan and he would help us out.

I remembered Micky J Ross commenting that Neil McDonald had had difficulty arranging a donation the last time we were in Japan in 2006, because people would just not respond.

A charity thrown up on an internet search was the Carillon Children’s Centre. (That site is in Japanese – here’s another, different, story about the charity).

Established by a group of Lawyers from the Tokyo Bar (that’s a professional organisation, not a pub), the charity provide residential, emotional and practical assistance for physically and sexually abused children.

Interestingly, a group of ex-Pat Scots in the Celtic Supporters Club (CSC) over in Japan had already ‘adopted’ this charity and had contributed to them in the past. This was to prove very useful.

A number of emails were sent off, but no reply was forthcoming.

Getting a bit frustrated, one of the CSC guys was contacted and asked if he could help establish contact. At the same time, a friend who lives in Sydney was contacted. She has a Japanese husband and he too was asked to help.

Still no contact from the British Embassy.

By hook or by crook, contact was made with the charity and they said that they would be delighted to accept our donation.

Making arrangements to meet up was proving difficult, with the hotel refusing us permission to hold ithe donation ceremony in the hotel lobby. I had asked for permission, but I think something must have been lost in translation and they thought I was organising a G8 summit or summit.

Eventually contacted by the embassy and I passed details of what we were trying to do and when and they offered to help if we needed it.

The day of the presentation arrived and I waited outside the hotel for the charity representatives to appear. We had arranged a 2:30 for 3:00 meeting, and a few footsoldiers had turned up and were waiting in the hotel lobby bar.

Mrs Tsubio (director of the charity and a lawyer on Tokyo) arrived and minutes behind her, and bang on time, came Dorothy Wilson and entourage and, importantly, the big cheque that Dorothy had made and had ported half the way across the globe.

We decided to do the deed in the hotel anyway, despite them not having given their permission and it went quite well.

Photographs were taken, hands were shaken and speeches were made.

Mrs Tsubio was astonished that a group of football fans would do such a thing, and equally astonished as to how we had found her little charity.

The money, she told us, would go to the general running of the charity, buying food, school books, clothes for the children that would pass through their hands.

“Because people think that Japan is a wealthy country, it can be hard to raise funds”, she said. “Foreign companies are quite good, but Japanese companies want to see what ‘thing’ their money has bought. Getting money for the general running was difficult and the Sunshine Appeal donation would be put to very good use”.

Another away trip, another gubbing on the football field, but another bit of sunshine brought into the lives of some disadvantaged children by Tartan Army footsoldiers.

Well done to anyone who has ever contributed to the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal. Keep up the good work.