Get us in your inbox

Yusuf Huysal

Yusuf Huysal

Articles (20)

Karate chops

Karate chops

The Shibuya outpost of the Houkukan Dojo occupies the third floor of an inconspicuous building tucked away in a Dogenzaka back alley. Save for a small kamidana – a Shinto altar enshrining kami spirits – there’s little to suggest this modest, fluorescent-lit room houses one of the most respected dojos in the city.   But the Houkukan’s many devoted karateka know well that the dojo kun, the five guiding principle of karate, hanging on one of the walls, is all that is essential. As a children’s class comes to an end on a Saturday afternoon, the young karateka form ranks to recite the dojo kun in unison: seek perfection of character, be faithful, endeavour, respect others and refrain from violent behaviour.  While an older group comes filing in and starts warming up, we sit down with their Sensei, Kunio Kobayashi, a seventh dan black belt karate master who has won the Japan Karate Association (JKA) All Japan Karate Championship for both kata and kumite disciplines multiple times.   Kobayashi Sensei has been a disciple of the Shotokan school of karate for over 40 years, having been introduced to it at the age of 10. While his obi belt – the same one given to him when he was ordained a JKA instructor 26 years ago – has greyed with age, the Sensei is still going strong and serves as an international ambassador to karate in addition to running the Houkukan Dojo.   When we met with him, Kobayashi had recently come back from a masterclass in Italy and was about to pack his bags again

The konbini connoisseur’s guide to oden

The konbini connoisseur’s guide to oden

Every winter, konbini across Japan uphold an age-old tradition – and we don't mean premature Christmas decorating. They ladle out oden, Japan’s classic comfort food and winter warmer, which consists of vegetables, fish cakes (kamaboko, made from surimi paste), tofu and other ingredients steeped in dashi broth. At the konbini, you'll often find the simmering tray of oden situated next to the cashiers. Simply scoop up the items you want into a takeaway bowl, make sure to add a little broth, and don't forget to pay before you dig in. Don't know where to start? Here’s our konbini guide to identifying the essentials. All prices cited are from 7-Eleven, and may vary (but not drastically). RECOMMENDED: Have a proper sit-down meal at one of Tokyo's best oden restaurants

Best otaku geek bars in Tokyo

Best otaku geek bars in Tokyo

Tokyo’s otaku (geeks) are a complex breed, with as many different obsessive types as there are Pokémon. After tracking down the stamping grounds of five different herds, earning their trust and infiltrating their habitat, we now reveal to you their favourite watering holes. Photos by Kisa Toyoshima (Anikara Hero, Daikaiju Salon, 16shots) and Keisuke Tanigawa (Kiha, Incubator)  

東京、オタクが集うバー5選

東京、オタクが集うバー5選

タイムアウト東京 > ナイトライフ > 東京、オタクが集うバー5選 東京には様々なマニア向けのバーが点在している。それは、多様で強烈なこだわりを持つ人々がたくさんいるこの街ならではのことだろう。この特集では、ゲーム、鉄道、怪獣、科学、アニメと、5つのジャンルに分け、怪獣に埋め尽くされた中野の大怪獣サロンや、四谷・荒木町のサイエンスバーINCUBATORなど、ユニークで初心者でも楽しめるオタク行きつけのバーを紹介する。

2016 Cannes Film Festivali’nin perde arkası

2016 Cannes Film Festivali’nin perde arkası

Bu seneki Cannes Film Festival’inin başlamasına günler kala, güneşli bir günde petank oynayıp denize giren kasaba sakinleri, Michael Bay’in aksiyon filmlerini aratmayacak dehşet verici bir sahneye tanık oldu. Olası bir terör saldırısına karşı yapılan bir tatbikatta, maskeli ‘terörist’ler ve plastik silah taşıyan bir grup polis, festival binasının önünde kıvrılan kırmızı halıda hırsız-polis oynadı. Güvenlik seviyesinin en üst düzeye çıkarılması ve festival başladıktan sonra emniyet güçlerinin sinefilleri tedirginleştiren silahlı devriyeleri yüzünden, Cannes bu sene gergin geçti diyebiliriz. Her sene olduğu gibi, uzun süre akılda kalacak ve sağlıklı bir gişe/festival yaşamı sürecek başyapıtların yanı sıra, kızgın eleştirmenlerin gazabına uğrayan kötü filmler de birden fazlaydı. Bizim en beğendiğimiz filmler arasında ise ‘Oldboy’un (2003) yönetmeni Park Chan-wook’dan ‘The Handmaiden’, Maren Ade’nin eleştirmenler tarafından övgüyle karşılanan filmi ‘Toni Erdmann’, provokatör filmleriyle tanınan Nicolas Winding Refn’den ‘The Neon Demon’ ve Romen Yeni Dalga sinemasının ustaları Cristi Puiu’dan ‘Sieranevada’ ve Cristian Mungiu’dan ‘Bacalaureat’ vardı. George Miller başkanlığındaki jüri, uluslararası basının da beğendiği bu filmleri eli boş gönderirken, çok kuvvetli bir senenin çürük yumurtalarına ödül dağıtmayı seçti. Kültleşmiş ‘Mad Max’ serisinden sonra tuhaf bir şekilde ‘Babe: Pig in the City’ (1998) ve ‘Happy Feet’ (2006) gibi aile filmlerine yönelen Miller’ın jürisinden bir o k

アートギャラリーが示す都市の状況

アートギャラリーが示す都市の状況

けばけばしいクラブやブティック、高いバーなどが並ぶ六本木だが、意外にも東京のアートの拠点という一面も持っている。「ハイタッチタウン」として知られた、この東京で最も有名な娯楽の街は、数々の小さなギャラリーや大きな美術館を誇る。これは、この10年続いたジェントリフィケーションの取り組みによる文化的な遺産だ。 一方、南東へと目を向けて、天王洲アイルも芸術あるいは技術と無関係ではない。実際、この人口の島は、1920年代から30年代に埋め立て技術を使用して、文字通り東京湾から掘り返された。最近では、従来の静かな倉庫街にウォーターフロントの開発計画が垣間見え、アートギャラリーやヒップなホテル、高層オフィスビルや運河沿いのカフェを備えた、壁画に彩られた街として再び注目を集めている。

The best rice joints in Tokyo

The best rice joints in Tokyo

Rice is so deeply ingrained in Japanese culture that the word gohan (cooked rice) has come to mean a meal in the general sense. Once used as currency in feudal Japan, the staple grain can be consumed in manifold manifestations: as onigiri, senbei crackers, sake, mochi or on its own in a bowl, the sine qua non of any Japanese dish. Don’t go against the grain – get carbed up here. 

State of the art

State of the art

We know it's hard to believe, but Roppongi, Tokyo’s glitzy underbelly of pricey booze, sleazy clubs and boutique shopping, lives a double life as the city’s art hub. The capital’s most famous entertainment district, once known as ‘High Touch Town’, prides itself on an impressive array of small galleries and big museums – the cultural legacy of gentrification efforts over the last decade.   Further southeast, Tennozu Isle is no stranger to the art, or artifice, of transformation from the bottom up either. In fact, the artificial island was literally dredged up from the depths of Tokyo Bay during the 1920s and ’30s. Recently, extensive waterfront planning has seen the hitherto quiet warehouse district re-emerge as a be-muraled town dotted with canalside cafés, high-rise office buildings, hip hotels and art galleries.

Murat Kılıç, Şebnem Bozoklu ve yönetmen Mehmet Can Mertoğlu ile 'Albüm' üzerine

Murat Kılıç, Şebnem Bozoklu ve yönetmen Mehmet Can Mertoğlu ile 'Albüm' üzerine

Aklında hep Murat Kılıç ve Şebnem Bozoklu’yla çalışmak var mıydı? Projeye ne zaman dahil oldular?Mehmet Can Mertoğlu: Murat’ı Nuri Bilge Ceylan’ın ‘Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da’ filminde gördüm ve sima olarak ‘Albüm’e çok oturabileceğini düşündüm. Dört sene önce, projenin en başında Murat’la konuştuk ve o da sağ olsun yıllarca bekledi. Şebnem’i ise hep düşünmüştüm ama aramıza sonradan dahil oldu, çünkü daha önce dizilerde oynadığı için filmin ilgisini çekeceğinden şüpheliydim ve dizi programından dolayı çalışmamızın imkânsız olduğunu düşünüyordum.  Şebnem Bozoklu: Bir gün (filmin yapımcısı) Yoel Meranda telefon etti ve Mehmet Can Mertoğlu’nun bir senaryosunu göndermek istediğini söyledi. Senaryoyu o gün okudum ve çok etkilendim. Hiç bu kadar bütünlüklü bir şekilde yeni, kendi dünyasını yaratan, bu kadar iyi diyaloğu olan, gerçekçi ama bir yandan alegorik bir şey okumamıştım. Hemen Yoel’i geri aradım ve ertesi gün bir araya geldik. Oynadığınız karakterler son derece antipatik insanlar. Böyle bir rolü kabul etmeden önce tereddütleriniz var mıydı? Şebnem: Benim hiç olmadı ve senaryoyu okuduktan sonra bir an önce başlamak istedim. Genelde televizyonda ve sinemada daha sempatik, sıcakkanlı karakterler oynadım. ‘Albüm’deki karakterimin bu kadar ağır ve ifadesiz bir kadın olması ilgimi çekti. Bahar Bahtiyaroğlu gerçekten çok donuk biri ve duygusal grafiği yok diyebiliriz, sadece bir hacim olarak orada. O enerjisizliği yansıtmak benim gibi hareketli biri için çok zordu. [Gülüyor] 'Albüm'd

Tokyo's best skate parks

Tokyo's best skate parks

When it was announced that skateboarding will be part of the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020, the decision threw some skaters off balance. Isn’t the idea of competition at loggerheads with the expressive ethos of the sport? While the debate rages on, we highlight the city’s vibrant skate culture for those who hope to boost their skills ahead of the Games. Behold, Tokyo’s best skating joints.

A streetcar named Toden

A streetcar named Toden

Long before high-tech trains zipped to and fro in the subterranean bowels of Tokyo, a canopy of streetcar cables sprawled the city’s streets. While their rails have long disappeared from sight, we’ve tracked down Tokyo’s two remaining trams and other old-school forms of transport to take you on a journey through history. TODEN ARAKAWA LINE In its heyday, the tram network known as Toden comprised 41 routes. When transportation eventually moved underground and forced the streetcar system into decline in the 1960s, the Arakawa Line’s commuters rallied behind their beloved trams and successfully campaigned to keep the line alive. As the sole survivor of the Toden system, the Arakawa Line operates between Minowabashi and Waseda stations, passing by landmarks such as the Zoshigaya cemetery, Jizo-dori shopping street, Arakawa amusement park and Joyful Minowa Shotengai. During the 50-minute, 30-stop ride, you’ll travel back in time to a part of Tokyo relatively unchanged since the war, populated by old souls quietly living out the rest of their days in their quaint houses and dusty shops that smell of sweet nostalgia. A one-way ticket costs ¥170 (¥165 with IC card) for adults and ¥90 (¥82) for children. For unlimited travel, buy a day pass for ¥400 (children pay ¥200). www.kotsu.metro.tokyo.jp/eng/services/streetcar.html TOKYU SETAGAYA LINE Tokyo’s only other streetcar still in operation is the Tokyu Setagaya Line, opened in 1925 as a branch route of the Tamagawa Line, which connecte

News (32)

Strike a menacing pose at the Samurai Armour Photo Studio

Strike a menacing pose at the Samurai Armour Photo Studio

Always wanted to decorate the bedroom with photos of yourself in full samurai garb? Here's your chance: the Samurai Armour Photo Studio in Shibuya boasts exact replicas of kacchu (samurai armour, natch) worn by legendary warriors like Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Sanada Yukimura and Kuroda Nagamasa ‒ not to mention a copy of the red outfit donned by Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai – and lets anyone try them on (for a small fee, of course). If you aren't worried about fearsome samurai lords haunting your dreams, we suggest booking a photo session – if not for vanity's sake, then to appreciate just how difficult it must have been to move about wearing these clunky contraptions, let alone fight in them on horseback. I went for the Date Masamune look, modelled after the famous Edo-era daimyo from Tohoku, known for wearing a crescent moon-shaped helmet crest and a patch covering his missing eye. While you're at it and still fearless, consider striking poses that would make the original 'owner' of the armour – probably not the nicest of men – turn in his grave.  A standard photo session includes five poses, each shot 10 to 15 times, and sets you back a cool ¥13,000 – with the exception of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's armour, which costs no less than ¥40,000 to try on. Kuroda Nagamasa's kacchu also comes in a kid-friendly size. The total price includes an SD card containing all the photos taken, with an optional printing service for ¥1,000 per photo. See here for more info and reservations. Behind-t

'Yol'un yeni bir versiyonu Cannes'da gösterildi

'Yol'un yeni bir versiyonu Cannes'da gösterildi

Yılmaz Güney’in 35 sene önce Cannes Film Festivali’nde Altın Palmiye kazanan başyapıtı ‘Yol’un yeni bir versiyonu, bu sene festivalde seyirciyle buluştu. 'Cannes Classics' kapsamında gösterilen ‘Yol-The Full Version’un İsviçreli yapımcısı Donat Keusch, filmin restorasyonu ve Yılmaz Güney’in orijinal senaryo notlarına göre tekrardan kurgulanmasını üstlendi. Göze çarpan değişiklerden birisi de, sahneleri Şerif Gören tarafından çekilmiş, fakat 1982 versiyonunda kullanılmamış olan Süleyman karakterinin hikâyesi. Sanatatak.com’dan Alin Taşçıyan’a konuşan Fatoş Güney ise yeni versiyonu Yılmaz Güney’in “mirasına, sanatına yapılan büyük bir saygısızlık” olarak nitelendirmişti.  

How to give like a Tokyoite

How to give like a Tokyoite

As you may have heard, gift-giving is a big deal in Japan and, when it comes to etiquette, there is no give and take. To avoid rifts when exchanging gifts, here's what you need to know. DO: OSEIBO Long before Santa Claus came to town, Japan had Oseibo – the traditional gift-giving season. Oseibo gifts are exchanged in December as expressions of gratitude to those who have helped you during the year. While Xmas has largely supplanted the age-old custom, it is still in vogue among the older generations. Make your obaachan (granny) happy with a pack of fancy fruit, ornately wrapped cookies or a few fine bottles of sake. DON'T: FEAR FOUR It is often said that Japan has a chronic case of tetraphobia – the fear of things that come in fours – because one of two readings for the number is shi, which is homonymic with the word for death (死). While the taboo no longer seems to be that relevant, it’s best not to give your loved one a quartet of white chrysanthemum blossoms – the flowers are associated with funerals. DO: STOCK UP ON CHOC In the 1950s, Japanese confectionery companies began advertising heart-shaped chocolates leading up to Valentine’s Day. Somewhere along the way, however, a supposed translation error in one of the ads led to the assumption that only men are on the receiving end. Hence, on February 14, Japanese women treat their male co-workers to giri-choco (obligation chocolate) in addition to the honmei-choco (favourite chocolate) given to their loved ones. In the 1970

'Ants on a Shrimp' offers a behind-the-scenes look at Noma's five-week spell in Tokyo

'Ants on a Shrimp' offers a behind-the-scenes look at Noma's five-week spell in Tokyo

Before moving his two-Michelin-star restaurant Noma from Copenhagen to Tokyo for a winter 2015 pop-up at the Mandarin Oriental, head chef and owner René Redzepi travelled Japan with his team of chefs to explore the country’s culinary culture and source local ingredients to create 14 original dishes for the five-week spell. Dutch helmer Maurice Dekkers’ documentary Ants on a Shrimp (2016) follows Redzepi and company as they forage the country from Okinawa to Hokkaido before landing in Tokyo for the big show, which eventually had 60,000 names on its waiting list. Redzepi and his team taste local produce The documentary is comprised of behind-the-scenes footage revolving around Redzepi’s pangs of creativity and bouts of inspiration as the yes-men around him try their best to meet his exacting standard; as sous-chef Thomas Frebel remarks, 'our work is not to succeed but to fail day after day'. Dekkers’ camera is most perceptive when it is outside the claustrophobic confines of the kitchen, particularly when it is engaged with how the daily grind takes its toll on the personal lives of Redzepi’s staff. One of the rare poignant scenes in the film follows then-head chef Daniel Giusti returning home after an exhausting day at work and eating a leftover pizza slice straight out of the fridge for dinner. The chefs hard at work While Dekkers tries hard to establish Redzepi’s interest in Japanese cuisine through scenes featuring locals, the interactions are devoid of meaningful dialogu

Help children in need by posting a photo of yourself munching on onigiri

Help children in need by posting a photo of yourself munching on onigiri

There's never a bad time to tuck into an onigiri and document yourself doing it, but now your munching and selfie-snapping can actually make a difference. For every photo you upload of yourself enjoying Japan's favourite on-the-go snack, the partner organisations behind the 'Change the World with Onigiri’ campaign will provide five school meals to children in need. Held in celebration of the United Nations World Food Day, the campaign is coordinated by Table for Two, a non-profit organisation dedicated to tackling hunger and obesity. The instructions are simple: take a selfie while stuffing yourself with onigiri and upload the snap on the social media platform of your choice with the hashtag #OnigiriAction, or post it on the campaign website here by November 30. If you decide to go the latter route, your photo will be in contention for the Best Onigiri Contest 2016, with awards in six different categories based on criteria like creativity and location – last year’s winners were seen munching their onigiri atop Mont Blanc. You can post as many times as you want, so let your imagination run wild.   Be sure to check out the fun, food-related events listed on the campaign website and see if you're one of the lucky winners after December 1. You can also donate to the cause by shopping around for food-related products featured on the website, including rice cookers, miso dispensers and a sushi workshop, with a portion of the proceeds going towards school meals. Ever wondered why on

Watch a sumo wrestling practice and meet the stable cats

Watch a sumo wrestling practice and meet the stable cats

Finding tickets to see the big guys in action at the Ryogoku Kokugikan can be a bit of a wrestle, so here’s an alternative: the Arashio-Beya sumo stable in Hamacho lets anyone watch an asageiko (morning practice) for free. Located not far from Ryogoku, the traditional heart of the sport in Tokyo, Arashio-Beya boasts a practice ring with large streetside windows that provide a clear view of the battling rikishi (wrestlers), who descend from their living quarters to start their morning routine around 6.30am. After warming up, the wrestlers start to break a sweat with some light sparring, followed by no-holds-barred brawls. The waft of incense carrying the heavy breathing outside will make you forget about the physical barrier separating you from the wrestlers and you’ll soon find yourself flinching at the impact with which they collide – a visceral experience to behold. When the oyakata (stable master) walks into the room and takes his place on the dais to watch his pupils, the rikishi clash with ever more fervour under the hawkish gaze of the master, employing their entire repertoire of thrusts, grips and throws to force each other out of the dohyo (sumo ring). Even as the scuffles get more scruffy and the chonmage (topknots) start to come undone, the wrestlers show no signs of breaking with the etiquette of respect or easing off on each other in the slightest. When the gruelling training ends around 8am, the wrestlers ceremoniously sweep the sand ring before coming outside

Discover the artsy side of Roppongi with this weekend's Art Night events

Discover the artsy side of Roppongi with this weekend's Art Night events

Roppongi, Tokyo’s glitzy underbelly of overpriced booze, sleazy clubs and boutique shopping, lives a second life as a hub of art thanks to its diverse array of galleries and museums. Every year, the Roppongi Art Night events raise the area’s art-cred even higher, this year celebrating art, fart and everything in between for two nights instead of the usual one. The programme is packed with mostly free exhibitions, installations and performances taking place over the weekend, with some running into the wee hours for the artsy night owls out there. During the press preview of the events, we were treated to a magnificent display by the FierS à Cheval theatre troupe, who take their cue from the pioneering horse puppetry of the War Horse play. A brainchild of the Compagnie des Quidams, the internationally celebrated spectacle performance group from France, the show starts off with a rather silly choreography featuring seemingly pregnant dancers prancing around dressed in white overalls. With the flick of the ringmaster’s quill, however, four luminous giant horse puppets burst out of the bulge in the costumes and proceed to canter about in a spellbinding display of song and dance. Be sure to catch one of their performances this weekend – you can see their schedule here. We also look forward to seeing Choi Jeong-Hwa's 'Love Me' sculpture, which features a glossy pink balloon shaped in the form of a giant pig with moving wings. Not quirky enough for you? Then look out for Lyota Ya

Studio Ghibli's TV series is getting an English-language release

Studio Ghibli's TV series is getting an English-language release

Everybody’s favourite animation studio and the factory of dreams, Studio Ghibli, announced the sad passing of their long-time animator and colour designer Michiyo Yasuda this month at the age of 77. But quickly after hitting us with this devastating news, they made an announcement that could help lift our spirits up and away. Ronia The Robber's Daughter, a 26-episode animated TV series released in Japan in 2014 and co-produced by Ghibli, has been picked up by Amazon Prime. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro, the series will be released on Amazon’s video streaming service later this year after being dubbed into English, with Gillian Anderson on board as the narrator. The series is based on the 1981 novel by Astrid Lindgren, the author of the beloved Pippi Longstocking books, and follows the trials and tribulations of a gang of woodland thieves led by the titular Ronia, who strikes a Romeo and Juliet style friendship with Birk, the son of the rival clan chief. Watch the Japanese trailer below: Looking for new anime to watch? Check out our list of the 10 best anime shows based on school clubs If you still haven't been to the Ghibli Museum, here's some info that will help you snag a ticket. 

Meet Dobolo: Tokyoite, Nigerian factory worker and aspiring pop star

Meet Dobolo: Tokyoite, Nigerian factory worker and aspiring pop star

During the day, factory worker Benjamin Odabi, one of more than 2,500 Nigerians who call Japan home, toils away in a Tokyo plant recycling printing equipment; at night, he pursues a more glamorous career as Dobolo, aiming to become 'the greatest music act in the world'. When Tokyo-based Canadian filmmaker Jeremy Rubier heard Odabi’s inspiring story, he decided to direct a pro bono music video to accompany Dobolo’s catchy dancehall tune ‘I’m About to Blow’. With several successful music videos already under his belt – made with minuscule budgets to boot – Rubier channels his DIY ethos into another polished and entertaining clip shot with the little money Odabi had saved aside. The video, filmed over a single day in four locations, reveals Odabi’s competing identities as we see him lift boxes in his factory overalls, swagger down a Tokyo street flanked by his flamboyant posse and kick it back with low-riders by the Shonan seaside. Like the upbeat notes of his song, Dobolo exudes a positive energy that's hard not to like – and boy does he clean up good. Watch the clip below:

Kanda's Canteen Station is the ideal after-work hangout

Kanda's Canteen Station is the ideal after-work hangout

Early this summer, a nondescript parking lot a stone’s throw from Kanda Station was transformed into a colourful commune of food trucks. Known as Canteen Station, it soon became the hottest hangout in the neighbourhood, with patrons popping by for delicious truck grub and to knock back a few beers after work. The man behind this popular operation is Luuvu Hoang, who worked as a food photographer for various restaurants and magazines in his native Seattle before settling in Tokyo. A self-taught cook, Hoang bore witness to the birth of the food truck movement that has taken the American West Coast by storm, and saw untapped potential in Tokyo, which he says now has more than 400 trucks roaming its streets. Luuvu Hoang Having partnered with a real estate company, which helped him locate the Kanda spot, Hoang is constantly on the lookout for unused land in the capital to save from the cruel fate of being turned into dull car parks. Instead, Hoang wants to transform these empty lots into community spaces like Canteen Station, where people can come together over food and drinks. Canteen Station is open all day from Monday to Saturday and features an ever-changing array of half a dozen trucks, with previous lodgers including a chicken rice purveyor, a Belgian frites shop, an Argentinian grill, a hot dog specialist and an eclectic 'mobile izakaya'.  Canadian chef Dexter Greenwood Hoang’s own truck +84 Banh Mi & Vietnam Coffee by Mobile Canteen is the only permanent tenant, serving

We tried the Yokosuka Godzilla Curry

We tried the Yokosuka Godzilla Curry

One of the perks of working at Time Out Tokyo is the constant stream of novelty items arriving at our office: we get everything from sex toys to model airplanes, but nothing beats some free food. This week, we received a pack of Yokosuka Godzilla Curry, which commemorates the Yokosuka Godzilla slide in Kanagawa's Kurihama Flower World park. Featuring a fiery incarnation of the Big G from the film Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), in which Japan’s most famous monster thrashes Hong Kong, the cover reads something like: 'So spicy it will make you breathe fire!' Though that’s probably a long shot – unless you work for the circus – it's definitely packed with enough punch to trigger a hiccup fit and tastes like a quite decent beef curry. The dedicated otaku among you will notice that Koichi Kawakita, the renowned special effects director of the Godzilla series, is listed as an advisor for the curry. Hey, why not: it makes complete sense that a venerable pyromaniac had his hand in the recipe. Think you can handle the heat? Order a pack here.

With a new Ginza outpost, Bills ventures into fine dining territory

With a new Ginza outpost, Bills ventures into fine dining territory

Ever since its first Japan outpost opened at Kamakura's Shichirigahama in 2008, breakfast boss Bill Granger's restaurant realm has been supplying Tokyoites with tried-and-tested Bills staples like ricotta pancakes, organic scrambled eggs and flat white coffee. Now also operating restaurants in Harajuku, Futako-Tamagawa, Odaiba and Yokohama, the Australian celebrity chef’s empire shows no signs of slowing down: its newest addition just started business on the top floor of new Ginza landmark Okura House, making an impressive foray into fine dining and landing with a measure of success. The Bills Ginza dinner set (¥6,500 per person) is a five-act affair, kicking off with bite-sized raw tuna pizzettes, truffled arancini and melt-in-the-mouth, warm taleggio sandwiches, paired with hazelnuts and a slice of caramelised pear. The fruity notes are reiterated in the main starter, which consists of a milky burrata salad coupled with roast pumpkin, radicchio and pomegranate. Continuing in the Italian vein, a delectably al dente lobster linguine leads into the main dish, for which you can choose between fish and meat. The fillet steak, well-marbled and cooked to juicy perfection, comes swathed in porcini relish and accompanied by lightly fried onion rings. The grilled snapper is the lighter option, complemented by a zesty smattering of chana dal with hints of coriander and lemon. To finish off is a wonderfully airy and crunchy brown sugar pavlova topped with rhubarb and rosewater crea