Friday, October 28, 2016

Shades of Tampopo!

They may have cool tattoos and a gnarly, snarly demeanor, but... 

Yakuza mobsters prove no match for brawny deliveryman

The Asahi Shimbun  October 28, 2016

The mean streets of Tokyo have a new crime-busting superhero: deliveryman.

A 38-year-old courier of Sagawa Express Co. outmatched two yakuza gangsters who wrongly assumed he would be intimidated by their affiliation to organized crime.

The bulky courier not only disarmed one of the gangsters who was waving a replica gun, but he also took away the delivery package--a luxury watch--from their greedy paws, police said.

Yusuke Kodama, 32, and Hidekazu Oba, 35, both gang members affiliated with the Matsuba-kai crime syndicate, were arrested on suspicion of attempted extortion, the Metropolitan Police Department said Oct. 27.

Oba on June 12 ordered a luxury watch priced at about 860,000 yen ($8,221) through the Internet on cash-on-delivery basis.

When the courier arrived with the package at a gang office in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward the following day, Kodama and Oba staged a fight over “yakuza family trouble,” according to the Arakawa Police Station.

Oba pointed the fake gun at Kodama in front of the deliveryman, expecting him to flee in terror and allow the gangsters to keep the timepiece without paying.

Not on his watch.

The courier, accompanied by his 44-year-old colleague, snatched the toy gun from Oba as well as the parcel. The deliveryman left and called the proper authorities, while the flustered gangsters fled from the office.

According to police, Oba had admitted to the allegations, saying: “The deliveryman was too brawny. I knew I was no match for him.”

Kodama has denied any involvement in the failed heist, saying Oba acted alone, according to police.
The true identity of the deliveryman was not revealed.

This story reminds me of one of my favorite Japanese movies: Tampopo 

from: Wikipedia

Tampopo (タンポポ Tanpopo, literally "dandelion") is a 1985 Japanese comedy film by director Juzo Itami, starring Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Kōji Yakusho, and Ken Watanabe. The publicity for the film calls it the first "ramen western", a play on the term Spaghetti Western (films about the American Old West made by Italian production studios).

A pair of truck drivers, the experienced Gorō (Tsutomu Yamazaki) and a younger sidekick named Gun (Ken Watanabe), stop at a decrepit roadside ramen noodle shop. Outside, Gorō rescues a boy who is being beaten up by three schoolmates. The boy, Tabo, turns out to be the son of the widowed owner of the struggling business, Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto). When a customer called Pisken (Rikiya Yasuoka) harasses Tampopo, Gorō invites him and his men to step outside. Gorō puts up a good fight, but outnumbered by Pisken and his men, he is knocked out and wakes up the next morning in Tampopo's home.

When Tampopo asks their opinion of her noodles, Gorō and Gun tell her they are "sincere, but lack character." After Gorō gives her some advice, she asks him to become her teacher. They decide to turn her establishment into a paragon of the "art of noodle soup making". Gorō takes her around and points out the strengths and weaknesses of her competitors. She still cannot get the broth just right, so Gorō brings in the "old master" (Yoshi Katō) and his superlative expertise. When they rescue a wealthy elderly man from choking on his food, he lends her his chauffeur Shohei, who has a masterful way with noodles. They also steal the best recipes from their competitors. During the transition, the group agrees to have the restaurant's name changed from Lai Lai to "Tampopo".

Pisken feels bad for being too drunk to tell his men to stay out of the fight, so he offers Gorō another chance one on one. After the rematch ends in a draw, Pisken reveals he is a contractor, and offers to make over the shop's interior. Tampopo's latest effort still comes up short, so Pisken teaches her his own secret recipe. When the five men consume her latest creation down to the last drop, Tampopo knows she has won. (Tabo also triumphs, beating all three of his tormentors). As customers fill her newly redecorated shop, the men file out one by one.

The main narrative is interspersed with stories involving food on several levels. Satirical vignettes involve a lowly worker who upstages his superiors by displaying his vast culinary knowledge while ordering at a gourmet French restaurant; a housewife who rises from her deathbed to cook one last meal for her family; and a women's etiquette class on how to eat spaghetti properly. Another subplot involves a corner store clerk who has to deal with an older woman (Sen Hara) obsessed with squeezing food. The clerk's scene segues into a restaurant involving an investment scam and the intended victim, who turns out to be a conman himself.

The primary subplot involves a young man in a white suit (Kōji Yakusho) – an elegant gangster – and his lover (Fukumi Kuroda), who explore erotic ways to use food. In the end, the man is shot several times by an unknown assailant, to his lover's horror, but uses his last words to convey his secret recipe for sausages.

Get a region-free version from or watch it from Netflix.

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