Jiro Dreams of Sushi — Updated, June 2012.

UPDATE:  I finally saw Jiro Dreams of Sushi last night, June 1, 2012.  Excellent.  Director David Gelb is oh-so-obviously influenced by Godfrey Reggio, which is a fine thing.  Props to Birmingham’s The Edge theater for bringing it to town.



Jiro Ono. Sushi chef. At eighty-five, says . . .

“You must fall in love with your work.”

“. . . I feel ecstasy every day.  I love making sushi.”

“There is always room for improvement.”

“Nowadays parents say to there kids, ‘If it gets too hard, you can come back.’  When parents say stupid things like that their kids will turn out to be failures.”

“I fell in love with my work and gave my life to it.”

“When I was in school, I was a bad kid.”

“It’s essential to check every detail.”

“I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top.  But no one knows where the top is.”

Can a  “Jiro’s Guide to Business Management”  book be far off?


A new documentary directed by David Gelb, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, was released in the U.S. on March 9, 2012.  I’m posting the trailer just below (there’s a short ad you can skip at the trailer’s beginning).

A beautiful documentary.  Scenes from Tsukiji Fish Market bring back memories, and will bring them back for many who’ve made it there in their travels to or living experience in Japan.  A plug for  memories . . . 懐かしい。  I’ve traveled on the Ginza (Subway) Line many times, but, no, I’ve not yet been to Jiro-san’s “modest” restaurant, yet.  Just from the trailer, the language, the words, what is said and how it’s said is both poetry and prayer.  Of course, all the best poems are prayers and all the best prayers are poems.  Now that I’ve seen the film, I can say that it will not be a let-down from the trailer.

Review:  On my recommendation a friend of mine just saw Jiro Dreams of Sushi and offers-up this review on her blog.  While she finds Jiro-san “an inspirational figure,” she understandably draws the line at his lifetime focus on one thing, on one profession.  I agree that I cannot empathize with a Doing-Only-One-Thing-in-Life philosophy, but, of course, that’s what makes Jiro-san so unique (and a film about his life worth making):  he found One Thing that captivated him (and “captured” him), that he loves, and that he felt/feels compelled to never stop improving upon.  I believe that while few of us can or would want to be 100% Jiros, we can all find valuable lessons in the central message of, “If you’re going to doing something, do it well and in an inspired way.”  Even a vocational or professional “Renaissance Person” can be a perfectionist at multitasking, right?

.          .          .

Just for fun, here’s another take on sushi-ness in Japan (yes, it’s a parody):


Updated, June 2, 2012:  Here’s something I shot in August 2011, a short vid I made at a kaiten-zushi restaurant.  In Jiro Dreams of Sushi, one of Jiro’s sons, Yoshikazu, laments the depletion of fish stocks, due to over-fishing, and in part blames places just like this, which are now common in Japan.  He makes a good and sobering point. . .

.               .               .

  1. I always say there isn’t really anything that interests me in Tokyo. Well, it isn’t exactly true. I’d like to have the chance and the privilege to eat at Jiro-san’s restaurant.

      • letsjapan
      • February 25th, 2012


      My two living-in-Japan experiences have been in Kansai and for years I harbored a sort of prejudice against Tokyo, partly because I had so little experience there and partly because I thought it was part of the trappings, an obligation of sorts, of being a Kansai-centric person. Well, over the past 10 or 12 years I’ve gotten over that. Kansai is still “home” to me, but I dig Tokyo, too. Now I need to get up to Hokkaido and down to Fukushima and its environs. And someday I may retire on Shikoku. It just seems like the thing to do.

      Thanks for dropping by, by the way.


      • I understand that some (a lot) of people like Tokyo, but it’s just not my thing. So i decided to not wait for retirement to move to Shikoku instead. 😉

    • letsjapan
    • February 25th, 2012

    Oh, David, we need to talk. And I need a job… on Shikoku. Tell me where to send my resume/application and I’ll have it there!

    All kind things,


    • Well, I’ve been here for three months only, so my address book and not very big. But e-mail me and we’ll see what I can advise you if I can. 🙂

  2. I took your advice and went to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi this afternoon. Loved the film, but not sure I’m quite so inspired as I’d hoped to be.

    Maybe it’s my personality and interest in a wide range of things, but I left with a bit of despair that (a) I don’t have the single-minded passion that Jiro has, at least not yet, (b) or maybe I could have had such a single-minded passion but waited to long to identify it so that the travails of the world prevent meaningful pursuit and/or (c) that such passion and commitment to perfection is so rare that we won’t see his like again. My blog post here: http://benfranklinfollies.com/2012/06/04/reflections-on-jiro-dreams-of-sushi/

    Many thanks for the email recommendation. I probably wouldn’t have known about it otherwise, unless I just happened to have checked the movie listings. I’m really glad I got to see the film.

      • letsjapan
      • June 5th, 2012

      I’m so glad, Sheree! About your taking in the movie and about your blog post, which I’ll check out and share within a few moments.

      As for the degree to which you were, or weren’t, “inspired,” well, one of the things I believe this movie brings to the table is something for everybody, and one of those things is the way it’s presented, its look, its cinematography, its music, its feel. And, so, with that — the look of the movie — I think that the filmgoer doesn’t even need to be particularly moved by the content (although I certainly was), but can just sit back and enjoy the movie as a pleasing, filmic tone-poem.

      Thank you again for letting me (and all who stop by here) know that you made it to Jiro. And thanks for supporting such films locally!


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