Last week I saw a lovely film, a Japanese/Finnish co-production released in 2006: Kamome Diner. The film is based on the novel by Yoko Mure The Seagull Diner and tells the story of Sachie (Satomi Kobayashi) who starts a small restaurant in Helsinki where you can find simple Japanese dishes, especially rice balls (Onigiri).
Sachie soon finds a special friend: the sweet, mysterious Midori, who is in Helsinki like she could be anywhere else in the world. She moves to Sachie's place and helps running the business, which is deserted in the beginning but slowly starts to attract interesting customers: a Finnish anime fan, an older Japanese woman who is stranded in Helsinki after the airport loses her luggage, and many more people.
I liked the lighthearted atmosphere of the film and the strong sense of friendship and companionship it expresses. It's a funny film yet it deals with deep themes such as loneliness, unhappiness, the strength to change one's life, and (as I said) friendship.
I truly enjoyed every single second of it and among other things it made me curious about Onigiri, which I had never tried. My Japanese friend (who recommended the film) made a wonderful Japanese lunch for my family and me a few days after, so I could taste her delicious rice balls.
You can find a longer review here.