Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a 2011 documentary film about Jiro Ono. He is a sushi chef in Tokyo with three Michelin stars. He had a sad early life, but he worked relentlessly to perfect the art of sushi and taught his two sons the craft. Jiro’s life is so different than that of anyone I know. To watch the film is to compare Japanese work-driven culture with American pleasure-driven culture.

I am shocked this documentary was not nominated for any awards. I recognized the title though I had never seen the film, so it must have been advertised in the theater or on demand. Jiro’s story will make you think about how you spend your time, the commitments you make or fail to make, and whether you should build a legacy.

What I liked about Jiro Dreams of Sushi:

  • The choreography of his hands.
  • The Philip Glass music.
  • His discipline. Living everyday the same. Hating holidays. Twyla would approve.
  • The hustle and bustle of the auctions at the tuna market.
  • “These days, the first thing people want is an easy job. Then, they want lots of free time. And then, they want lots of money. But they aren’t thinking of building their skills.” -the shrimp vendor
  • “There is much you can’t learn from words. I have to keep practicing.” -the apprentice
  • “To cook good food you must eat good food; develop a palate that can discern good from bad” -Jiro

Photo by Spencer Chow

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