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July 5, 2005

{     Tampopo     }    

tampo.jpg My newfound affection with ramen led me straight to this 1986 film that was billed as the "first Japanese noodle western". In this satirical comedy truck drivers Goro and Gun get hungry while reading a book about noodles and go into a noodle restaurant owned by Tampopo, who just can't seem to turn a profit because her ramen is not that good. Goro takes it upon himself to train her in the ways of noodles (in full olympic style training) as they try to uncover the secrets to making a perfect bowl of ramen. Tampopo is a comedy all about food and it's place in Japanese culture. This story is interwoven with other clips about food (one of which features a couple who mix sex and cuisine a little too much). The film borrows certain aspects from spaghetti westerns and Japanese yakuza movies. This is directed by Juzo Itami and stars Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, and Ken Watanabe. So, if you do this right you�ll want to set aside some time to head out to your favorite noodle house for some shio, shoyu, or tonkatsu ramen afterwards. Happy viewing/eating! - Written by Jay, read more of his reviews at

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When I saw the ramen scenes in Stephen Chow's film Shaolin Soccer, I was immediately reminded of Tampopo. While the two films are completely different at heart (Shaolin Soccer is to The Three Stooges as Tampopo is to Woody Allen) they both share these wonderful noodle scenes that serve as euphamisms for larger issues.

I can't agree enough with Jay about what a great film this is. It's quirky and charming and despite being nearly 20 years old, it holds up amazingly well.

Posted by: Adam at July 5, 2005 11:02 PM

There is a restaraunt here in Montreal named after this movie, matter of fact, I think I'll eat there tonight! :)

Posted by: shane at July 6, 2005 10:04 PM

I've watched that film like, 4 or 5 times since 1989 (I believe that was the first time I saw it on French CBC). It seems to get better with each viewing. I was 14 when I saw it, and I can say that I can watch it with a more appreciative eye.

Posted by: Al aka El Negro Magnifico at July 17, 2005 9:06 AM
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