Jiro Dreams of Sushi

June 23, 2012 at 3:32 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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I went to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi the other day. I missed it at last year’s film festival, so I was pleased when it came out on general release.

The film is about 85 year sushi master Jiro Ono, who through hard work and dedication has a small sushi bar – recognised as the best sushi restaurant in the world: you have to book at least a month in advance, some people book a year in advance, and it (Sukiyabashi Jiro) was awarded three Michelin stars in 2010.

The film has a number of themes: work hard, Japanese culture, sushi, and fish.

To say that, Sushi is mainly rice combined with fish, is a massive understatement. In reality, assembling the sushi pieces is a performance art form, and the secret to the great taste is in the selection and preparation of the raw ingredients. It looks like very little technology is required. The hands that finally make and serve sushi have mde the same moves day after day after day. In Jiro’s restaurant, apprentices go through ten years of training.

In modern day Japan, it appears that few people are willing to go through such a long course of study and training. Many of the older generation feel that the younger generation do not want to work as hard as they did – a common thread in conversations between Yoshikazu and the restaurant’s suppliers.

Yoshikazu is Jiro’s oldest son; he will take over the restaurant when Jiro finally retires. Yoshikazu has been going to the Tokyo fish market early in the morning for the past 15 years buying tuna and other fish for that day’s meals. Yoshikazu was trained by Jiro, and it appears that the restaurant’s high standards will be maintained when he finally takes over. [The film reveals that it was Yoshikazu that cooked for the Michelin inspectors.]

The Tokyo fish market is worth several documentary films. There is a long sequence where Yoshikazu is buying tuna at the fish market from his regular tuna supplier. The fish are presented like jewels and it is a very hands on process to select produce.

There is even a little plug for sustainable tuna!

The film is a must see if you are a foodie. I am glad I went to see it. I found it inspiring that a man had found something he liked so much that he still worked long days to produce perfection. This is Jiro’s advice: find something you enjoy and work to be the best it can be.

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