Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Power Of Tampopo

In 1990, I watched, for the first (of many) times, the great Juzo Itami movie, Tampopo (Dandelion). I remember it was at the Picturehouse in Singapore (some people may remember this).

Tampopo was a special movie. It was a movie about food and people... and the main topic was RAMEN. Basically, Tampopo was a "ramen western" and the aim for perfection in a bowl of soup ramen. From the beginning of the movie to the end, it shows the importance of food in our lives. I like to refer to it when I try to describe how people should approach good food... in one of the first scenes of the movie, an old master describes in detail to a young man how one should savour the various stages of devouring a bowl of ramen.

Tampopo also featured many great Japanese movie stars... among the main characters are...

Ken Watanabe...

and the great Koji Yakusho!

However, one of the supporting cast of the movie was truly memorable. She was Fukumi Kuroda. Kuroda-san played a small role in the movie, playing the mistress of Yakusho's character... but her raw egg scene and crayfish scenes with Yakusho were truly memorable in the sensual sense :)

Anyway, I actually met Kuroda-san in 1987 (when I was an innocent 15 year old boy). It was 2 years after Tampopo was made. Kuroda-san was already a famous star in Japan and she was in Malaysia as a host of Japanese game show that was being filmed in Malaysia at that time. Since one of the filming crew members was a family friend, I asked if I could tag along to watch. During the times when I met her, she was clearly a Japanese sophisticate and able to speak Korean fluently too.

Years went by before I heard her name again and it was during the 2002 World Cup. She was one of the main officials of the games from Japan.

Today she still looks as elegant as ever...