By Mitsuhiro MIHARA

TOEI COMPANY, LTD. - as SALES All rights, World

Drama - Completed 2008

A heart-warming story about the former office lady struggling to become a Chinese chef and her relationship with the old owner as close as father and daughter.

    • Year of production
    • 2008
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • JAPAN
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 120 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Mitsuhiro MIHARA
    • Writer(s)
    • Mitsuhiro MIHARA
    • Producer(s)
    • Kazushi MIKI, Toshiya NOMURA
    • Synopsis
    • Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture. In a coastal town facing the Japan sea stands a small Chinese restaurant named “Little Shanghai.” Owner Wan puts his heart and soul into his cooking, boasting a stream of regular customers.

      Takako works in the office of her neighborhood department store while she raises her five-year-old daughter as a single mother. On orders from her boss, she goes to Little Shanghai to persuade Wan to open a branch of his restaurant at the department store. Wan doesn’t so much as nod at her, but Takako is persistent and visits every day, enjoying the Chinese cuisine.

      One evening while working, Wan collapses. His life is saved, but the left side of his body is paralyzed, leaving him unable to cook. When Takako hears the news, she decides to quit her office job and take a new direction in life. “Wan, please teach me how to cook. Let me help your restaurant stay open!” Wan is somewhat confused by Takako’s request, but agrees.

      And so, Takako begins learning the art of Chinese cooking. “Throw away your cookbooks,” says Wan. Day in and day out, Wan teaches Takako how to use Chinese knives, cut vegetables, tenderize meat, make soups, and stir-fry in a wok.

      One day, Wan receives notice of the annual food festival he traditionally participates in. Because of his condition he has to refuse, so Takako takes his place. A few days after the event, news of food poisoning hits the local newspapers, blaming the situation on Takako’s oyster dish.

      Feeling completely dejected, Takako is paid a visit by Wan. He talks about his past, about the daughter he lost to illness as a child. Takako opens her heart in return, recalling memories of her late father. She also tells Wan about her husband, whose death was the reason she left Tokyo and came back to Kanazawa. The pair bond like true father and daughter.

      Wan provides Takako another opportunity to prove herself as a chef. The pair travel to China in search of top quality Shaoxing rice wine. They head from Shanghai to Shaoxing, which is also Wan’s birthplace. When they arrive, Takako learns the true reason for Wan’s return after 30 years...