Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is – Jiro Ono

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When it comes to movies I’ve become a serious curmudgeon in my old age. I hate almost everything. A childhood friend of mine recently confessed to me that he likes the new Star Wars movies. It pains me to cut him loose… but unfortunately there’s no real coming back from that. We had a good run…

Having said that…

I loved Jiro Dreams of Sushi. 

I suppose I should caveat this tirade with the acknowledgement that I am an unashamed Japanophile. I also love sushi! If I had to live off one ‘type’ of food for the rest of my life, it could easily be this ambrosia-esque fusion of rice and raw seafood. So… there might be a smidgeon of bias in this post.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is not really about sushi. Well… it is. And it isn’t. Its more about (borderline compulsive) obsessiveness, insane discipline and the desire to be the absolute best at your chosen craft or profession. Which is often cosmically aligned with being Japanese. (I’m also fascinated by Japanese woodworking videos on Youtube)

Jiro loves his job. (How many of us can say that?) I mean REALLY loves it. At 85 thats all he wants to do. He has dedicated his entire life to that ‘one’ thing. I wonder how it must feel like to have that level of dedication, that will power, that single-mindedness?

You know that dreaded ‘So what do you do?’ question. At the moment its most often casually tossed at me when all the dads are defensively wagon forted round the snack table at -insert name here- toddlers birthday party. I hate that question. Its not like people really care what you do, they’re just taking a polite breather so they can talk about themselves again in a moment or two.

‘I pursue opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled’. Is my standard answer. Usually no one is brave enough to ask me what the fuck that actually means. I purposely tend to obfuscate because I don’t really have a ‘thing’. I think thats true for a lot of us. We narrowly define ourselves when asked, but thats not necessarily true. Sometimes I worry about my lack of a thing… you know, a serious devotion that defines me, gives meaning to my life, my reason for existing etc.

Would I trade places with Jiro. No… I think there is huge opportunity cost to living like that and even though I sometimes feel like my mind is a windswept directionless wasteland, its still my life. Even if it has been dropped a couple of times… and not necessarily picked up before 5 seconds are up.

Still, I find ‘that’ presence of mind and sense of purpose quite enviable. I suppose it depends what our metric for a successful life is. I don’t know what mine is. I often think you only find out right near the end, and by that stage its difficult to pivot… so I’m keeping my options open. Well, this what I tell myself.

Warning. Don’t watch this movie hungry! I ravaged the refrigerator and pantry cupboard about half through this movie. It didn’t turn out well for me…

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Most of all I liked this movie because I like (true) stories that showcase what humans are capable of. (even if I’m not one of them)

It follows a genre of movies like Meru (Review here) or Maidentrip (Reviewed here) or Under an Arctic Sky (Reviewed here) that I’ve really enjoyed recently.

Jiro dreams of sushi is beautifully shot, engaging and I was throughly entertained throughout.