People

Atsushi Yamane×Chisako Takashima

GINZA CONNECTIVE VOL.40

Atsushi Yamane×Chisako Takashima

2015.02.13

An interview series featuring Ginza people in conversation with violinist Chisako Takashima. With a special fondness for Ginza, where she has many memories from both her professional and private life, Takashima explores Ginza from various dimensions with her guests. In this volume, she welcomes Mr. Atsushi Yamane, CEO of Yamane, a high-class Japanese restaurant specializing in blowfish from 1935 (Showa 10).

A long-established restaurant founded in 1935 specializing in blowfish: Nidanbiki, a traditional method of carving sashimi.

Takashima
For how many generations have you been in business?
Yamane
Although I am the second son, I inherited the family business, so that makes me the fourth generation.
Takashima
Have you always been located in Ginza?
Yamane
No, our restaurant was first established in Fukuoka in 1935 (Showa 10). We moved to Ginza later in 1954 (Showa 29), so we were already in Ginza in the times of our founder.
Takashima
I’ve been told that your blowfish fritters were first served in Ginza.
Yamane
Yes, Yamane’s blowfish fritters were invented by the oo-okami (senior proprietress) and okami (proprietress). As we serve a lot of sashimi, we always end up with a great amount of the bony parts of the blowfish, which was originally deep fried to be consumed by our culinary staff. But because the fritters were so tasty, they eventually appeared on our menu.
Takashima
I see. I love oily dishes. The blowfish does not have a strong flavor, so I am always delighted when fritters are served in the middle of a course dinner.
Yamane
Fortunately, our customers enjoy them too.
Takashima
The sashimi is presented beautifully. I recall that blowfish sashimi became popular after Mr. Shigeo Nagashima swept a piece up with his chopsticks and popped it into his mouth.
Yamane
Our sashimi is carved using a unique method called nidan-biki that makes each piece twice as thick as normal slices. I would imagine that it would be difficult to bite through our sashimi if it was eaten in that way. I make a second cut in each thinly carved slice. The sashimi is served with a sprinkle of finely chopped green onion.

Tokyo’s strict “Blowfish License.” Occasional sore hands from the poison

Takashima
I enjoy blowfish cuisine when I visit Shimonoseki for concerts, but it is such a luxury that I don’t often have that opportunity…
Yamane
Blowfish has the established image of being a luxury because the blowfish bought in Tokyo today is very expensive, but it was actually widely consumed by the common people in the Edo era.
Takashima
Really!
Yamane
Before the poison was studied, people ate the blowfish that they caught themselves. Now, we have a law that only allows those of us with licenses to prepare blowfish.
Takashima
Is it difficult to get the blowfish license?
Yamane
The exam for the license differs among local governments. Tokyo is one of the strictest. That is why, if you acquire your license in Tokyo, it is valid everywhere, while those who obtained their license outside of Tokyo must apply for the Tokyo license if they want to open a restaurant in Tokyo.
Takashima
Oh, I wasn’t aware of that. How much poison does a blowfish have?
Yamane
All internal organs, including the ovary, liver and kidneys are all toxic. The poisonous parts vary depending on the species of blowfish, but basically, 40-50% of their body carries poison. Little is edible.
Takashima
Is it lethal?
Yamane
Well, it seems that some people used to enjoy the stimulus of just a little poison, but that is out of the question in Tokyo, in legal terms as well. People can die from suffocation by the poison.
Takashima
Oh no! And some people would try to eat it! I wonder if they had wanted to boast to others that they had survived the poison?
Yamane
I guess humans can be acquisitive. Of course, I have never tried eating the poison, but because I touch the poison every day, my hands are always sore, so I know that it is strong.

All List

銀座 らん月/ギンザのサヱグサ/三笠会館本店/
三井住友銀行 銀座支店/GINZAみずほ銀行 銀座通支店/
銀座千疋屋/Hatsuko(株)天賞堂/
マロニエゲート銀座西銀座駐車場/

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