Reflections on “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”

Share the joy
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To cap off my day, I decided on the spur of the moment to see the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It came to me highly recommended by a good friend who sent an email filled with high praise for the film, and a link to his blog post.

As a film, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is extremely well-done. Jiro is an inspirational figure—a perfectionist who finds joy in his work and wants nothing more than to get better each day, even at 85 years of age.

As much as I can find to admire in Jiro’s life and ambition, I can’t imagine a life spent doing one thing only.

I suppose some would argue that I’m the one who is flawed. I’m not entirely certain that it’s possible to maintain that level of single-minded purpose in today’s world. Athletes, ballet dancers and classical musicians destroy their bodies or burn out while still young. Everyone else, even theoretical physicists, seek to monetize the success of their main endeavor by publishing books or becoming motivational speakers.

And then there’s the issue of cultural rigidity. Traditionalists might respect the family and social structure that requires the eldest son to assume the father’s profession, but is that really the best way to use talent? In this case, Jiro’s son, Yoshikazu, seems to truly aspire to maintain the perfection of his father, but is that usually the case?

Speaking of traditional social structure: The only women seen in the film are a few customers in the restaurant and a childhood friend that Jiro “bullied” in his brief school days.

So while I wanted to come away inspired, I actually feel quite like a failure for not having a laser-like passion and commitment to a single, narrow vocational purpose.

On the other hand, I staunchly believe “there’s always room for improvement” and, like Jiro, I’ve always been committed to improving and learning every day. So, in that, I think there is inspiration.

I was pleased that the filmmakers included a brief commentary about the challenges posed by overfishing and the need to practice sustainable fishing and the difficulties Jiro and his son now face in finding sufficient quality and quantities of tuna and other fish and sea creatures used in sushi.

All of that said, it really is a great film. To play on the description of Jiro’s technique for making and serving sushi, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a visual symphony.

About Sheree

Change Catalyst, Idea Explorer, Dot-Connector, Square Peg