The life and death of actor and director Juzo Itami is an incredible story in itself (he was allegedly killed by the Yakuza following his gangster movie Minbo), but he was no slouch in putting bizarre stories on the silver screen, either. His sophomore directorial effort, Tampopo (literally, “Dandelion”), was made in 1985 and is probably his best-known film.
A pair of truckers – youngster Gun (Ken Watanabe) and elder Goro (Tsutomu Yamazaki) – chat about ramen (a noodle-based Japanese dish), so decide to stop at a roadside restaurant to satisfy themselves. The place belongs to a widow named Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto, Itami’s wife). Desperate to improve her business, she implores the straight-talking Goro to help her turn it into the best restaurant in town.
While Goro and Tampopo go about researching the best recipes and employing