Monday, January 21, 2013

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

I just watched an amazing documentary about an eighty-five year old sushi chef (shokunin) named Jiro Ono, who owns a very exclusive restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo. I was especially moved by the way in which Jiro talks about his craft, which embodies two traits that I identify with as a Japanese person: respect for your job and a desire to be perfect, or at least a desire to do the best you can. My favorite aspect of this film was the way in which the sushi chefs opened their hearts to the filmmaker, who, in turns out, is a young American. Had he been Japanese, I'm not sure this would have happened. But there was something about the way in which the filmmaker approached his subject, in this case Jiro, with absolute respect, that came across immediately. There is even a reverence, or love for Jiro, that is unmatched by other documentaries that I've seen in the past. In the end, this film is an excellent example of how someone like myself can experience a great appreciation of their own culture, through the eyes of an outsider. It is this foreign gaze that makes Jiro, his sons, his restaurant, and his life into something so fascinating that I walked away wanting to tell everyone about Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

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