I am not really an aficionado of Japanese films. I’ve probably seen more of them than any other non English language films–unless dubbed kung-fu movies count–but I am no expert. Also, except for a few films I managed to see on an airplane when I did those cycling trips in Asia, I haven’t seen anything new.
However, there was a time when I watched them and I have a few favourites. I am particularly fond of Beat Takeshi films like Kids Return and Hanabi. Of course Shall We Dansu? was a great film. After Life by Hirokazu Kore Eda was beautiful. I am also a big fan of Juzo Itami movies like Marusa no Ona, Mimbo and of course Tampopo–often billed as the first Ramen Western.
Tampopo became quite popular amongst those Torontonians with ties to Japan in the mid 90s. By these people I mean, ex ESL teachers, those with Japanese spouses, those who loved Manga and anime, and those who knew a little more about Japan. Someone even opened up a Tampopo Ramen near the University of Toronto. Since we didn’t get authentic ramen until the 2013 or so, this place failed to make the grade and disappeared.
These movies represent a very different time in my life. Sometimes I revisit them out of nostalgia, sometimes because they were just solid movies that brought a smile to my face. Sometimes I am transported back to that time, and sometimes they strike me differently.
This past weekend, I shared the movie Tampopo with my girlfriend. While she had seen the TV series Oshin growing up, she had not seen anything like a Juzo Itami film. She enjoyed it (so she said) and I felt good about sharing something from my past. An unusual Perfect Moment, but a Perfect Moment nonetheless.