Beef liver in their meals is helping Japan's squad prepare for matches at high altitude in South Africa.
Beef liver, popular as a stamina builder and fatigue beater in Japanese cuisine, contains a lot of iron which produces the oxygen-transporting haemoglobin in the red blood cells.
“We serve liver from time to time by stir-frying it or cooking it Chinese style,” Japanese team spokesman Ichirota Fukushi said. “It's aimed at supplying iron.”
He added that beef liver was also served while the Blue Samurai trained at an altitude of 1,800 metres in the Swiss Alps resort of Saas-Fee for about 10 days before they arrived in their seaside base camp of George on Sunday.
Japan left for Bloemfontein on Saturday for their Group-E opening match against Cameroon on Monday at 1,400 metres. After playing The Netherlands at sea level in Durban, they will clash with Denmark almost a mile high in Rustenburg on June 24.
Thin air is likely to play a crucial role in South Africa where five of the nine host cities are more than 1,000 metres above sea level. Balls can fly faster and erratically, a nightmare that has baffled players.
The members have been treated to a variety of Japanese and Western food at the five-star Fancourt hotel, with the help of a chef from Japan.