Tampopo, a Japanese movie directed by Juzo Itami, is about a single mother tampopo who runs a ramen restaurant but is struggling with its business. One day, tampopo meets a guy called Goro, and Goro figures out that the reason why tampopo’s ramen isn’t very popular is because the taste of ramen is bad. With Goro’s help, tampopo starts to learn how to make decent ramen in order to gain her customers back. In this movie, Juzo Itami uses food as the main theme, as well as uses lots of characters with different personalities, talks about the relationship between food and people. Other than that, he also wants the audience to pay attention to Japanese food customs in this movie. Therefore, Juzo Itami inserts some little details about ramen eating customs and uses those details to show that Japan is a country that emphasizes on keeping their good customs.
In the beginning of this movie, there is a scene which is hilarious but catches everyone’s eyes. A guy is reading a book and the book is about how to eat ramen. The “right way” to eat ramen almost makes everyone laugh. Even though the “right way” to eat ramen sounds silly, it not only reflects the Japanese eating custom, but also reflects one of the Japanese traditions, which is to show respect to the food and to the people whoever cook the food. According to some other Japanese eating customs, for example, before Japanese eat their meals, they always say “いただきます” (I am about to eat the food in front of me) to show the gratitude for the food they about to eat and after they are done, they say “ごちそうさまでした”(It was a feast), which is another phrase of appreciation, means that it has been a feast whether the food was really a feast or not matters little.
In this scene, those people are doing the same thing, drinking up their ramen soup. When Japanese people eat ramen, they usually finish their soup because they they think that the soup represents the best part of ramen. Furthermore, they want to show respect to people who make their ramen and this action also shows that they don’t waste food.
Other than the specific ramen eating style, in Japanese tea ceremony and Japanese art of flower arrangement, both of two activities have specific ways to performance. In Japanese tea ceremony, the aim is to forget all disturbing thoughts and respect the relationship between the hosts and the guests. During the processes of both Japanese tea ceremony and flower arrangement, each action looks simple but when people connect a series of actions together, these actions seem long and complicated, but they also represents that Japanese never give up keeping their good customs and aim to spread good customs all over the world. Besides, they also want their young generations to know more about Japanese customs, traditions, and cultures through different kinds of activities.
Tampopo is not only a comedy, but also teaches people certain kinds of things about food as well as food customs. The director Juzo Itami wants everyone who has watched this movie to know more about Japan, Japanese people and Japanese traditions. By introducing the way to eat ramen, Juzo Itami also wants to tell people that Japan is a country that never stops working on keeping good customs.