"Eat ramen here." It's the kind of illuminated sign you might expect to see outside a restaurant in central London or New York. To find it over the door of a one-counter noodle joint on an old-fashioned shopping arcade in the western suburbs of Tokyo is, however, little short of bizarre.

No run-of-the-mill eatery in Japan would advertise its presence in English like this. But that's exactly the point: Ivan Ramen is far from ordinary. People come — many from far afield — because the noodles are superior and the recipes innovative. And, yes, because this is the only ramen shop in the country that is owned and operated by a foreigner.

It's a great story, and one that certainly bears retelling. Ivan Orkin, an ambitious, energetic New York chef who's trained at America's top culinary institute and worked at some of the best restaurants in the city, gives it all up to come to Japan. Why? Because he loves ramen.