As anyone from Britain will tell you, royal celebrations can be taken extremely seriously. For every grumpy republican, there are 100 flag-waving monarchists, happily caught up in faux patriotic fervour and determined to make the rest of the world care about something that is singularly unimportant. Thanks to a combination of Wills, Kate, Meghan and Harry, the UK have been the world leaders in whacky royal celebrations for the last few years. Now, however, that might be about to change.
In December last year, it was announced that Japan’s emperor Akihito would become the country’s first monarch to abdicate the throne for 200 years. The abdication is doubly significant, as it not only signifies the appointment of a new ceremonial head of state, but also brings an end to the three-decade long “Heisei” era of Japanese history. The throne will be inherited by the Akihito’s eldest son, Naruhito, and will usher in an-all new age. It is, by any measure, a big deal.
Naturally, individuals and businesses all over Japan are gearing up to celebrate the coronation of their new emperor in style. Many of these tributes will be as traditional as possible, in order to honour the legacy of the nation’s past and indicate where it may be heading in the future. One restaurant and hotel in central Tokyo, however, has decided to take things in a slightly different direction.
In honour of soon-to-be-emperor Nakuhito, the The Oak Door steakhouse at the Grand Hyatt, Tokyo has announced the introduction of a brand new and almost impossibly decadent burger to their menu. A literal representation of the “ascension” of the new monarch, the “Golden Giant Burger” measures a colossal 15cm tall and 25 cm. However, one look at the ingredients and it becomes obvious that it’s not the size that makes this sandwich worthy of royalty.
The Golden Giant contains a patty made from 100% prime wagyu beef - among the most expensive and sought after meat on the planet. The beef is complemented by healthy dollops of foie gras and generous shavings of black truffle, as well as lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Even the football-sized bun comes flecked with gold. When the entire thing is assembled, the dish tips the scales at a whopping three kilograms, and comes with a free bottle of wine. Yours for 100,000 Yen, or around $900.
Speaking to reporters after unveiling his new creation, Chef Patrick Shimada said, "We wanted to do something to celebrate the new emperor and a new era for Japan. It also gets me more in touch with my Japanese roots ... an American-style burger using Japanese ingredients, it's kind of like myself in a bun." The new burger is set to go on sale on 1 April to mark the Japanese government unveiling the name of the 248th Imperial era, and will run until the start of June. If ever there was a time to go to Tokyo, this is surely it.