Tampopo is a Japanese comedy experimentally featured Ramen as the theme, shot in 1980s, when the Japanese economy was booming, as well as Japan was involved in more international affairs of many aspects and playing significant role.
In the movie, a cowboy-like man named Goro helped a widow named Tampopo whose ramen business was left in the cold at the beginning to become the most popular ramen chef in the area in the end. Although Goro had some cuisine knowledge and hospitality, Tampopo could still not succeed until she had obtained more about the right soup from an experienced noodle professor, the masterful way of making noodles from Shohei, and also the customized interior in her restaurant from her friend Pisken.
The main story, which Tampopo was how to progress step by step, gives the image how foodie to appreciate ramen in a comprehensive way in the 1980’s Japan. For foodies, ramen is not just food itself. They enjoy it from the every aspect: from the fundamental cuisine recipe: the hot and delicious soup, the chewy noodles, the thickness of pork, and the cooking time; to the culinary art: how the cook displays her product and serves the customers, as well as how customers feel about the atmosphere inside the restaurant and comment on the style of the restaurant.
Goro was teaching Tampopo how to seek the needs of her customers.
Moreover, the special historical feature which offers chance to choose among the adopting the westernized idea and keeping the Japanese tradition makes a difference in how Tampopo succeed. The professor and Shohei took the responsibility to assist her to handle the recipe about the soup and the noodles. Since the ramen is the traditional food, what they were looking for good recipe was enduring and featured in Japanese taste. In addition, Goro taught her how to serve the customer in a more cordial manner, which could be derived from that the Japanese have been focus on the social etiquette even in an ordinary ramen restaurant, in an efficient way by observing whether the customers were in hurry or any other special needs as well.
However, what Goro told her about always using her eyes to attentively serve her customers is the westernized product. The service spirit and the social hierarchy in Japanese tradition emphasize on that the person being served has more honors and prestige, much superior than the person who serves. Contrarily, in the western society, being equally treated has already been prevailed as a common sense which indicates an equivalent communication between people. Besides, the decoration of the reopening restaurant shows a more western style to cater to the modernized custom group. Abandoning the old dark color and whole-wood interior in traditional Japanese ramen restaurant, Pisken offered Tampopo a cozy atmosphere by using more bright painting color and customized kitchen, which is fit her female image and provides a fresh taste of personality. Especially, the whole white restaurant front with simple drawing and no name on it, which is quite in western style to associate with food, has overthrown the traditional Japanese style.
When the new restaurant has been completed decorated, everyone like its brand new style which is the same as Tampopo’s image, warm and bright.
In conclusion, the popularity of new Tempopo is really contributed to the mixture of the traditional Japanese feature as core to prepare food itself and the westernized human-orientated ideology, which is a product of times.