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Ramen Girl. No really. No joke! Seriously!!
January 4, 2009 11:38 PM   Subscribe

Kaiju Shakedown points us to the trailer of Ramen Girl, starring Brittany Murphy as a American who decides to learn how to make the perfect bowl of ramen noodles (what?!?!) after she is dumped by her boyfriend in Tokyo. Tampopo this isn't.

Hat tip to Ivan Ramen, who is the real deal foreigner who has a succesful ramen joint in Tokyo. See Chowhound, Food and Wine - Tokyo, Day 2: Japanese Éclairs, Perfect Ramen, Sake Fix, Soba Heaven, or the WSJ: Trying to Out-Noodle the Japanese for more info.
posted by gen (73 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yeesh. Brittany Murphy looks like she needs a fix of something in that trailer, and it ain't ramen.

Not a bad idea for a romantic comedy, but something tells me this film will be far from sugoi.
posted by bardic at 11:47 PM on January 4, 2009


In the sequel, Ramen Girl meets Fusili Jerry. (another b-movie)
posted by wendell at 11:52 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the Hell.
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:01 AM on January 5, 2009


Shades of moyashi on, moyashi off.

*gestures*
posted by gomichild at 12:08 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Was that the new Doctor dumping her?
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:13 AM on January 5, 2009


Oh wait, no. no. Just Danny Zorn.
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:14 AM on January 5, 2009


All I came out with after watching that video was a serious craving for real ramen, which I haven't had since 2000.
posted by dabitch at 12:41 AM on January 5, 2009


Thanks for the reminder about Tampopo - I need to watch the rest of Juzo Itami's films. Rest in peace you brilliant bastard.
posted by benzenedream at 1:04 AM on January 5, 2009


I thought the Udon movie was more interesting, myself.
posted by armage at 1:42 AM on January 5, 2009


Maneki nek-OH WTF!
posted by nicwolff at 2:04 AM on January 5, 2009


White (person) travels to Japan, finds a single little facet of the country, believes limited experience gives deep insight in the whole of the nation/people/culture. Finds enlightenment.

Gah.

Most people I know back home loved Lost in Translation. Most people I know here? They can't stand it. This looks, as far as I can tell, like a movie that'll be direct to video in the States. Then again, Scarlett Johansen is just a tad better for a lead than Brittany Murphy...
posted by Ghidorah at 2:22 AM on January 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


All I came out with after watching that video was a serious craving for real ramen, which I haven't had since 2000.

Same, though it's only been 2 months for me - however my fave ramen spot keeps getting writeups in the local alt weekly, and I refuse to a) wait in an hour line at 10pm on a weeknight or b) drive 45 minutes to get the other top-quality ramen.

This movie looks like garbage. I will watch it, because I love ramen. I will not pay for it.
posted by thedaniel at 2:32 AM on January 5, 2009


As an American girl who cooks for Japanese students, including ramen, this makes me painfully sad. I learned how to make ramen from Japanese people too, but I hope to god I make it better than fucking Brittany Murphy. Ugh.
posted by evilbeck at 2:52 AM on January 5, 2009


In the trailer, it looks like she's speaking to the shop owners in English and they're speaking back in Japanese; maybe they have babel fishes in their ears. I loved Tampopo, but this looks horrible.

Oh, and my two favorite ramens at the moment are Hokkaido style miso ramen with butter and corn, and the Kumamoto variation of Kyushu Tonkotsu (pork-bone base) ramen. In Kumamoto they add garlic to the broth; I thought it would be gross, but it had a nice roasted garlic flavor and did not overpower the tonkotsu broth. mmmmm.
posted by p3t3 at 3:14 AM on January 5, 2009


Please allow me to respectfully say I do not care for Japanese cuisine, and I would do anything Brittany Murphy asked me to do, she wouldn't even have to say Thank You.
posted by Restless Day at 3:22 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tonkotsu broth is just about the only broth I like. Shoyu just tastes like soy sauce in water to me. Miso is all right, in a pinch. My local place hasn't been open in months, though everything is still there, the signs, the furniture, everything.

I swear by this, but then again, I'm a stupid gaijin. If they have the pureed garlic, put a dollop of that in the soup, with healthy doses of red and black pepper. It turns heavenly ramen in a soup of the gods.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:54 AM on January 5, 2009


Most people I know back home loved Lost in Translation. Most people I know here? They can't stand it.

I can't stand Lost in Translation, but I still fell for this trailer...
posted by fairmettle at 3:59 AM on January 5, 2009


...a serious craving for real ramen, which I haven't had since 2000.

Oh my god. You poor, poor thing. We gotta get you some ramen.

And, Tampopo was one helluva fun flick, wasn't it? I've seen it about 3 or 4 times, I think, but it's been quite a while, and I'd like to see it again soon.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:15 AM on January 5, 2009


Well, at least they didn't--you know--GIVE AWAY THE ENTIRE ENDING IN THE TRAILER. I mean, sure, we knew that was the ending, but make us guess just a little bit.
posted by ColdChef at 5:07 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the trailer, it looks like she's speaking to the shop owners in English and they're speaking back in Japanese; maybe they have babel fishes in their ears.

I have conversations like that a lot; there are a lot of people who can understand what you are saying in English pretty well, but can't (or can't be bothered to) answer in English if they know that you understand Japanese. It's really funny to listen to actually.
posted by donkeymon at 5:14 AM on January 5, 2009


Wow, I'm surprised anyone else knows about Tampopo. You're right, Tampopo this isn't.
posted by deezil at 5:19 AM on January 5, 2009


Most people I know back home loved Lost in Translation. Most people I know here? They can't stand it. This looks, as far as I can tell, like a movie that'll be direct to video in the States. Then again, Scarlett Johansen is just a tad better for a lead than Brittany Murphy.

"better for a lead" = "willing to spend much of her screen time without pants" ?
posted by Joe Beese at 5:20 AM on January 5, 2009


My friend walked into the filming of this movie in Yoyogi park two years ago, and took about a million slightly stalker-ish photos of Brittany Murphy as she walked through the dancing elvis guys. True story.
posted by theyexpectresults at 5:23 AM on January 5, 2009


theyexpectresults: True story.

We expect photos.

Or as they say on the Internetz, TTIWWOP!
posted by gen at 5:49 AM on January 5, 2009


I've wanted to watch Tampopo again for a while now. Netflix has it as "unknown" when they'll have a copy in again. Darn.
posted by explosion at 6:40 AM on January 5, 2009


While I hate to see Tampopo mentioned in the same breath as this movie, it appears to resemble what a Disney(tm) remake of that film would look like. I'll go bleach my eyes now.

P.S. Lost in Translation was horrible. Except for the liquor commercials.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:52 AM on January 5, 2009


Why the hate-on for Lost in Translation? I thought it was a nice story about to fish(es) out of water having an emotional affair.

If the depiction of Tokyo was inaccurate, it's because the characters are Americans living in a Umpteen-Star hotel. (it's their perception of Tokyo we see.)

Or was it just too popular?
posted by device55 at 6:56 AM on January 5, 2009


Wow, I'm surprised anyone else knows about Tampopo. You're right, Tampopo this isn't.

At MetaFilter? I'm more surprised everyone seems to recognize Brittany Murphy. Speaking for the rest of this elitist bunch, of course we have seen Tampopo.
posted by graventy at 6:57 AM on January 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


It's really funny to listen to actually.

When my wife's Belgian host brother from her high school foreign exchange came to visit she spoke to him in English and he replied in French. By the end of the weekend, I thought I could speak French. Of course, the fact that we watched Eddie Izzard's Dressed to Kill with repeatedly French subtitles on helped. As did the fact that Izzard's encore on the disc was a repeat of the performance in French. Language is weird.

Also, I love Tampopo and ramen with an equal passion. Even though we watched it as a family when I was about ten and my younger brother seven and the scene with the shrimp and the raw egg was a little uncomfortable.
posted by stet at 7:08 AM on January 5, 2009


She looks really horrendous in that trailer. Is she meant to look like she hasn't slept in weeks?
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:26 AM on January 5, 2009


Even though we watched it as a family when I was about ten and my younger brother seven and the scene with the shrimp and the raw egg was a little uncomfortable.

I think that movie is rated R....
posted by gen at 7:30 AM on January 5, 2009


I think the hatred for Lost in Translation stems from how utterly self-absorbed they are. It's not just the umpteen star hotel (I used to work near there, and no, I did not, nor will I likely ever be able to afford it), it's how they're just so ridiculously entitled. She's in Tokyo, she's not paying for anything, and what does she do for half the movie? She sits inside a hotel that's not in any way different from home (trust me, showers in five star hotels work), and mopes. Her "friends" give her Cristal champagne, which sits, forgotten and undrunken. When she finally does go out, she spends one day on her own, and calls a friend on a crying jag, and we're supposed to feel bad for her because her friend has to go (her friend might well be living her own life).

And Bob? He's just horrible to nearly everyone in the film. Starting fights with bar staff, not cool. Mocking the sushi chef? Fuck you buddy. Calling your put upon wife to tell her that the way she cooks is bad, and you want her to start cooking food you've only had a couple times, usually at incredibly expensive restaurants. Like I said, gah.

The thing is, the movie was just a chance for Sophia Coppola spend some time in Tokyo with all of her cooler than thou friends. Seeing as she supposedly spends a couple weeks in Tokyo every year, you'd think she'd have a better understanding of the place, but then you realize that the two weeks a year are spent just like in the movie.

In the end, it's just "Look at us! We're normal, and we're in a weird place."
posted by Ghidorah at 8:00 AM on January 5, 2009 [11 favorites]


@Ghidorah Well, you've convinced me.
posted by littlerobothead at 8:22 AM on January 5, 2009


She's in Tokyo, she's not paying for anything, and what does she do for half the movie? She sits inside a hotel that's not in any way different from home (trust me, showers in five star hotels work), and mopes. Her "friends" give her Cristal champagne, which sits, forgotten and undrunken. When she finally does go out, she spends one day on her own, and calls a friend on a crying jag, and we're supposed to feel bad for her because her friend has to go (her friend might well be living her own life).

But that's part of the point though. Yes, getting to stay for free in Tokyo is a luxury few people have, and she could easily make the most of her situation, but that's not the story that the film chooses to tell. Instead, it's about two people in broken relationships, who are in a situation where they feel alienated from everyone.

I think most people at some point in their lives have been in a strange place, with no meaningful interpersonal relationships, and felt lost and alone even though there are plenty of options available to rectify the situation. In fact someone just posted a question to AskMe today about such a situation. I liked Lost In Translation in part because it didn't go the obvious route of taking two unhappy people and having them find deep and meaningful happiness, instead it presented two unhappy people who found a fleeting moment of happiness together and then went on with their flawed lives, which I think tends be closer to what tends to happen in real life.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:46 AM on January 5, 2009


In the end, it's just "Look at us! We're normal, and we're in a weird place."

What's wrong with that? It's like it's somehow verboten to express naive wonderment these days, like admitting your ignorance about a culture, and being honest about not being terribly interested in spending all your waking life discovering said culture earns you a giant scarlet X* on your chest.

Well fuck that. Speaking as someone who's done a fair bit of traveling in my life, I have to say one of the biggest kicks I get is the whirlwind feeling of arriving in a country where you don't know anybody, don't understand the language, and don't know the culture… everything old feels new again, at least for a time. I thought Lost in Translation reproduced that feeling extremely well, better than most other "tourist" films.

* For xenophobe
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:58 AM on January 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think, what I should have said, mostly in reply to device55, is that it's precisely their perception of the place that I find so reprehensible. One of my greatest flaws regarding fiction is that, at some point, I'd like to actually like the protagonists of my stories in some way.

While I'm usually a huge fan of less than perfect endings (I've got retelling of Titanic that would have made it one of the best films of all time), it's that these two people are such self-absorbed jerks. While burnmp3 is right in that it didn't go for the easy hollywood ending, there's very little else to recommend it. It's not that it's about a random luxury, rather this is that person's life, a series of connected moments of luxury, that have in some way crippled her/him/them. They are at root pretty unpleasant folk, and the sad thing about the movie is that it could likely have been filmed in nearly any country, with only mild changes to the stale fish out of water jokes (lip my stocking could be replaced by smelly french people, russians wearing fur hats and drinking vodka, whathaveyou), it's just that, for whatever reason, the director liked Tokyo, or at the very least her very sheltered, limited version of the city she knows.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:59 AM on January 5, 2009


Here's how I understood 'Lost In Translation:'

The Scarlett Johansson character and the Bill Murray character are both trapped in lives they do not want. (symbolized by being trapped in the hotel.) Scarlett Johansson is surrounded by vapid celebrities leading empty, frivolous lives. She doesn't want to participate in this frivolous lifestyle anymore (symbolism: she doesn't drink the champagne) but isn't sure how to escape. Bill Murray is trapped doing crappy commercials and is mean to people because he's given up hope. Life for him has been a downhill slide and he sees no reason to care anymore. By meeting each other, Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson supply what the other has been missing: Bill Murray receives a renewed sense of hope and possibility and Scarlett Johansen receives a sense that she can stand up for herself and change her life.

It's not a movie celebrating self-absorption, it's a movie about breaking free from self-absorption.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:00 AM on January 5, 2009


I'm all for wonderment, Civil_Disobedient. Seriously, I am. One of the biggest kicks I've gotten recently was seeing my friends stunned reactions to things I've been taking for granted for about 7 years now. Wonder is a fantastic thing. The problem with the movie, I thought, is that there's very little wonder. There's a good amount of cynicism on the part of the film that, with very few (and I felt, pretty false moments), ends up creating a wall of disinterest.

It's not wonder at the difference, it's "Look at them, their different. Isn't that funny!"

And, full disclosure, the first time I saw the film, at the beginning, I enjoyed the bits looking out of the car window. It helped me remember that feeling. By the end of the film, it felt to me like they'd spent the movie rejecting a lot of that.

On preview, Fuzzy Monster, that's an interesting way of looking at the film. I'm almost willing to go along with it, but there's still that nagging feeling about how precious the film is, and a lot of that has to go with Coppola herself. In interviews I've seen/read, there might be that breaking away from self-absorption, it's just that what remains after that would be, to most people (in my opinion) remarkably self-absorbed.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:13 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was simply underwhelmed by Lost in Translation. It was well-made, yes, and definitely got some aspects of culture shock right. But in the end... mid-life crises man hates his middle-aged wife, meets pretty young 20-something girl and sparkles! Their life is changed for the better! It was an alright movie, but seeing it certainty didn't change my life.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:17 AM on January 5, 2009


What's so hard about making ramen? Boil some water, peel back the lid of the styrofoam cup, pour water in. C'est ramen!
posted by evilgenius at 9:24 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Also, I get the whole "their age difference means they can't connect and are ever more lonely!" thing... I suppose I was mostly turned off by the sense of self-indulgence and precociousness I got from the film and its makers/promoters when I don't think they were as clever as they thought they were.)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:26 AM on January 5, 2009


My favorite was Arnold Schwarzenegger in Little Tortilla Boy.
posted by ALongDecember at 9:27 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's The Karate (Ramen) Kid!!
posted by lee at 9:46 AM on January 5, 2009


I wish there was a real ramen place anywhere near by.
posted by Samizdata at 10:02 AM on January 5, 2009


Neko Ramen FTW!
posted by needled at 10:06 AM on January 5, 2009


Boil some water, peel back the lid of the styrofoam cup, pour water in.

That may be instant ramen. The real deal is certainly something much more palatable and I urge you to find an authenic ramen joint in your neighborhood (hard to do in the US outside of NYC and SF and LA) or come visit Japan.
posted by gen at 10:08 AM on January 5, 2009


I urge you to find an authenic ramen joint in your neighborhood (hard to do in the US outside of NYC and SF and LA) or come visit Japan

So living in the North Woods of Wisconsin I'm probably SOL?

No matter, I got a place for fresh buffalo, fresh brats and the finest cheese outside of Europe. Plus I have a freezer full of venison.

I wouldn't trade.

And I liked Lost in Translation.
posted by Bonzai at 10:26 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you Ghidorah - friends of mine, who loved it, dragged me to see Lost in Translation - I didn't want to offend them but couldn't stop myself from actually hissing out loud throughout - poor little rich girl slumming it in Tokyo - with every cliche imaginable - oh, look at the neon lights - oh look at the beautiful traditional ceremony, etc. dire, and so obviously a projection of Sophia Coppola's life, (left on her own cause workaholic boyfriend/husband (Spike Jonze) is busy, etc. etc. etc.)
posted by jettloe at 10:32 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a boy I would eat instant ramen endlessly: boil the water for the next bowl while eating. I remember going through a dozen packets straight on occasion. Anyway, I don't believe I've ever had 'real' ramen. Can I derail this thread a bit to wonder where in NYC to get the best ramen?
posted by saul wright at 10:51 AM on January 5, 2009


I used to do the instant-ramen and cup-ramen non-stop when I was younger. Then one day, I was suddenly repulsed by it. I think it was my body saving me from sodium poisoning.

I was lucky enough to get to go to Tokyo a few years back - but I was only there a few days and most of my time was scheduled. On a meal break I asked some people if they could just please direct me to some noodles. They did, it was delicious, and I still owe them a dinner.

if someone knows where there is good Ramen in Portland, Maine please do tell
posted by mikepop at 11:26 AM on January 5, 2009


She wants to make the ramen silky smooth!!
posted by Maisie Jay at 11:34 AM on January 5, 2009


Interesting connection, apparently Tsutomu Yamazaki (Goro in Tampopo) has a cameo in this movie. I dearly loved Tampopo when I saw it many moons ago. Every once in a while I think about the scene with the dying wife when I'm making dinner for the family.
posted by jeffkramer at 12:14 PM on January 5, 2009


You know, as bad as this film look judging from the trailer, I am interested in how the relationship with her asian love interest will be handled. Usually in western films, asian males are emasculated and hardly ever sexualized. So in terms of sexual politics dealing with two different cultures, I am hoping for the best. It's very appealing to see that we've come a long way from old stereotypes. However, Brittany Murphy is a crap actress and I'm surprised that she still has a career.
posted by cazoo at 1:06 PM on January 5, 2009


One of the scenes in Tampopo that really stuck with me was the one where the man goes to the dentist with an abscessed tooth, and they puncture the abscess, and the snell is so aweful that the dentist and his nurses all rush to a window, claw to get it open, and then lean out, gasping for air.

Having just had an abscess in a tooth, I was curious as to what it would be like when it was punctured. It wasn't enough to send me fleeing to a window, but, man, it did not smell good. And that was a week after taking antibiotics.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:46 PM on January 5, 2009


i know i'm late to post, but can someone please tell me where everyone else is puking? i just bailed early on the trailer ("she kissed a japanese boy!") and now i can't hide my gag reflex. and that's normally not a problem when kissing boys from japan or anywhere else.
posted by artof.mulata at 2:31 PM on January 5, 2009


So living in the North Woods of Wisconsin I'm probably SOL? No matter, I got a place for fresh buffalo, fresh brats and the finest cheese outside of Europe. Plus I have a freezer full of venison.

Hey, man, right here in Tokyo I've got six of the finest fresh buffalo specialty butchers within walking distance. Finest cheese outside of Europe? Pfffft! I get 17 varieties of cheese flown in and raced to my Tokyo apartment by a smiling delivery man every week. And a freezer full of venison? Man, every single resident of the greater Tokyo metropolitan area has a freezer full of venison, provided free of charge by the municipal government.

There's a reason Tokyo is often referred to as "the North Woods of Wisconsin of Asia", you know.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:27 PM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


We used to have a really great ramen place in Calgary, but eventually the owner retired. Now all there is to do is sit around and watch Tampopo and... fuck it! - tonight we're watching The Yen FamilY.
posted by sneebler at 4:18 PM on January 5, 2009


I was expecting that Brittany Murphy would be fighting with these people. Boy, was I ever mistaken!
posted by pxe2000 at 5:19 PM on January 5, 2009


There is a good review here of Lost in Translation that helps quantify the hatred for that movie...
FWIW I worked with someone who worked on Lost in Translation & when I quietly mentioned I didnt like the movie much at all
he was very quick to say 'but its not rascist...' Funny thing is I wasnt going to say it was rascist, I think its more imperialist &
xenophobic than rascist....
posted by subbasshead at 6:32 PM on January 5, 2009


flapjax, could you point me to the right office to go to for my venison voucher? I mean, I'm in the GTMA, but I don't have any venison...

(Though, thanks to Costco, I've got a whole turkey, cut into pieces, in the freezer.)
posted by Ghidorah at 6:53 PM on January 5, 2009


Music and cuisine: the most subjective things known to man (besides love, which is hard to gloat about... I'm MORE IN LOVE than you are or will ever be!1!!!)

Well, we certainly like to talk about food, don't we? It's almost as good as YOUR FAVOURITE BAND SUX, AMIRITE?

Anyway, thanks for taking pity on a poor Mehico-deprived gringo such as myself. I ate leftover Mexican food when I got home and it's all your fault, I'm sure.

NOW... where do I go to get decent sushi in Birmingham?
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:53 PM on January 5, 2009


(flapjax, are you lying to us about the cheese? I thought that Oriental East Asian Japanese folks never ate the stuff, which is why they are all so svelte and lithe of limb)
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:55 PM on January 5, 2009


Hey, man, right here in Tokyo I've got six of the finest fresh buffalo specialty butchers within walking distance. Finest cheese outside of Europe? Pfffft! I get 17 varieties of cheese flown in and raced to my Tokyo apartment by a smiling delivery man every week. And a freezer full of venison? Man, every single resident of the greater Tokyo metropolitan area has a freezer full of venison, provided free of charge by the municipal government.

There's a reason Tokyo is often referred to as "the North Woods of Wisconsin of Asia", you know.


I had no idea.

What about Packer games? Can I still see Packer games on the big screen tee vee?

Because if I could still get the buffalo, the cheese, the venison, the Packers PLUS this purported gourmet ramen I could live without the brats.

Well maybe not without them, but I'd be willing to have them flown in frozen.
posted by Bonzai at 7:14 PM on January 5, 2009


Actually, Bonzai, your friendly bittorrent gets you the Packers games (woohoo! The Bears finished better than the Packers...), Costco gets you big blocks of cheese, and you can get brats at a surprising number of stores. Only Johnsonville, but they are pretty tasty.

And delicious ramen. Even their cup ramen is better than ours.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:52 PM on January 5, 2009


Boy am I glad I live within a few blocks of Momofuku, Setagaya, and Ippudo! Ramen for dinner tomorrow...
posted by nicwolff at 8:18 PM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


NOW... where do I go to get decent sushi in Birmingham?

This statement does not compute. Error.
posted by gen at 8:42 PM on January 5, 2009


Boy am I glad I live within a few blocks of Momofuku, Setagaya, and Ippudo!

Ippudo is some damn legit ramen. I have no idea how it tastes in NYC, but in Tokyo it's a meal to look forward to.
posted by gen at 8:44 PM on January 5, 2009


There's a good amount of cynicism on the part of the film that, with very few (and I felt, pretty false moments), ends up creating a wall of disinterest.

Few movies (I actually can't think of any, but I leave room for potential memory lapses) have ever caught the cross-eyed tired, bleary amazement of entering a new country at night better than the opening scene of LIT.

As for charges of cynicism—from what I understand, some of the characters/relationships were lifted from Sophia Coppola's own life, and I think some of it comes across as the not-terribly-original, not-terribly-well-thought-out psychic aches and pains of a spoiled child trying to entertain itself and failing rather poorly at the job. But the point of the story wasn't about deciding whether the protagonists are either deservedly or undeservedly miserable, which is why that whole part of the movie was basically filling. They could have just as well been two poor backpackers that meet up in a youth hostel, or two business people meeting for a weekend conference and the story could be the same.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:12 PM on January 5, 2009


Okay, who cares about Lost In Translation? Let's get back to Tampopo. First off, maybe it's time for a new Itami FPP. Of course we know that he was murdered by the Yakuza and a conspiracy greater than that of the JFK shooting or the UFO coverup is keeping us from learning more about it. Proof? How about the fact that Itami's later films, especially including Minbo (which got him knifed in the street by a Yakuza assassin) and Daibyonin (about his own death) are unobtainable! Now Tampopo joins the list! Hopefully, prints have been preserved so that we may view them someday after Japan has underpopulated itself out of existence and taken the Yakuza with it.

Meanwhile, I fantasize about the day when I have many millions of dollars -- possibly following a lottery win -- and sponsor, in my small town, a food & film festival that will make huge amounts of cash for the local depressed economy. If I forsee the economic future correctly (which I seldom do) 2011 will be a terrible year. So my target date is 2012 -- after the johnny-come-lately real estate flippers have all flipped away somewhere else. I will have great movies, 24-hour showings of the original French Chef and Iron Chef series (but not Iron Chef America), and local restaurants will cook fabulous menus, some based on those in the films. Movies included (so far): Tampopo of course, Babette's Feast, Eat Drink Man Woman (and perhaps the Tortilla Soup remake), Eden, Big Night, Like Water for Chocolate, and, perhaps related films like Chocolat (there is a local chocolatier) and restaurant-themed movies like Drifting Clouds and Perfectly Normal. Maybe The Stuff and Fast Food. My mind changes about these things. (Oh, yes! I think about this often. Which is the way it should be with food and art and life.)
posted by CCBC at 1:12 AM on January 6, 2009


What, no The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover themed restaurant?

"Eat the cock. I hear it's delicious."
posted by Ghidorah at 1:20 AM on January 6, 2009


I thought about that one and Eating Raoul as well and that East European one about the butcher shop, but then I thought, no, I'd have to add Cannibal Holocaust and Soylent Green and even A Boy and His Dog, not to mention all the living dead movies about eating brains. Next I'd be into vampire movies with blood drinking and who knows what. I think I'll save that for the next year's follow-up when people drive in for the festival and never leave.
posted by CCBC at 1:42 AM on January 6, 2009


flapjax, are you lying to us about the cheese?

No, no. Cheese is very popular here, and Tokyo is full of shops selling all manner of cheese, much of it imported from Europe.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:25 AM on January 6, 2009


I just uploaded a photo of one of the classic "floating chopsticks" ramen displays to my flickr page here.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:44 AM on January 6, 2009


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