I sort of stumbled into this film by chance not really knowing what to expect, however upon sitting down and watching “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” I was immersed in a world not many get to see. You see, the ART of sushi to a man named Jiro is no joke. This documentary focuses on an aged man whose life revolves around making only the finest of sushi in Japan. Jiro is unconventional and disciplined in the way he goes about his business. His sushi is very simple, yet everyone who goes there claims that it is the very best in the world because of its simplicity (along with Jiro’s amazing skills of making it). The thing that really stood out to me was how intelligent of a man Jiro was. When serving a group of people, he spends hours planning their seating arrangements just so that their meal flows properly. He also gives the women smaller portions than the men at times so that the men do not finish their piece of sushi faster than the women. Again, its all about the flow of energy. Jiro notices the smallest details and that is why he is clearly the best at what he does. We see in the film that he even notices that a gentleman is eating with his left hand. Jiro notices this instantly and begins to cater his sushi to the man’s left side. Jiro has two sons who aspire to be like him one day, however they both blatantly say that his shoes can never be filled.
Jiro’s Ahi comes from the Ahi guy. His shrimp comes from a man who strictly handles shrimp. His squid only comes from a man who deals with squid. This is another thing that separates Jiro from any competitor. His fish only comes from certain, trusted suppliers who are all experts in their individual fields. He doesn’t simply buy a bunch of different fish in bulk like most restaurants do. If Jiro or one of his sons go to the fish market and do not see what they are looking for, they come home empty handed rather than coming home with any fish that is short of perfection in the eyes of Jiro.
Watching the film I really gained an appreciation not only for the art of good sushi, but for some aspects of Japanese culture as well. I saw so much respect between father and son as well as chef and apprentice. There are a few examples of tough love in the film between Jiro, his sons, and the men apprenticing under them. However it is only because Jiro wants them to be the best they can possibly be. The camera work is truly magical. I never thought that seeing a man tenderize a squid in slow-motion could be so artistic! It sounds crazy but you really have to see it for yourself to know what I mean! The film was also funny at times during moments of awkward pauses when Jiro would just sit and stare at his customers as they ate his sushi. Some customers felt intimidated by his glare yet couldn’t resist stuffing their faces with his amazing sushi. Overall, the film was great. I think anyone would enjoy it because it offers such a unique glace not only into culture, food, and family themes, but it also captures an amazing glimpse into one man’s journey from being nine years old and on his own to an old man who is arguably the best at what he does in the entire world. 10 out of 10 in my book!!!