In Japan they call it doryoku – but effort alone won’t beat South Africa | Andy Bull

The concept of hard work is a core part of Japanese sport even if it seems to be inspiration rather than perspiration that is firing Japan in this World Cup

Late one night, and lost, drunk, in the dairy aisle of a Tokyo convenience store, I spent five minutes trying to work out whether the carton I’d just picked up had milk in or not. Google Translate’s camera app didn’t help. “Bulgaria!” the label read when I scanned it with my phone, ‘4 arrange the lance! Of bacteria in the hen! Tummy Keep Good.” You get used to it. There are awkward bits and pieces of English all around Japan. “Let’s watch the great power of live battle of men on the big screen!” is my favourite, from a poster advertising a rugby fanzone in Fuchu. The jacket-back slogan “vigorous throw-up – since 1973” is a close second.

Related: Homeward bound: The lesser known lights who shone in World Cup pool stages

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