I Suddenly Wanted Sushi



“Always look ahead and above yourself. Always try to improve on yourself. Always strive to elevate your craft. That’s what he taught me.” – Yoshikazu Ono (Jiro’s elder son)

Before the weeklong web fasting we did, I listed several movies I planned to catch over the short vacation. First on my list was David Gelb’s documentary on the life of world-acclaimed sushi chef, Jiro Ono. It was one of 2012’s highest rated documentaries, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes’ and IMDB’s movie meters. Curiosity won over, so I downloaded a copy and passed it on to officemates. Kuya Paulie watched it before I got the time and he said it was good. Here’s what I thought:

The whole documentary was visually pleasing and vividly entertaining. Various kinds of sushi were shown in between interviews—there’s the usual tuna meat on top of the sticky rice and then of course, all the other sushi permutations it could take. There’s shrimp, octopus and egg. Yes, egg. Egg sushi. It looks like a Japanese cake except that it’s square. Even the footages taken in the fish market was just so nice. You could see life teeming from all those fresh sea catches. I was glued to the screen the whole time.

One thing we also get to see in the movie was Jiro’s relationship with his two sons, the elder is his top apprentice while the younger decided to open his own sushi restaurant somewhere in downtown Tokyo. I always thought Jiro’s younger son was more privileged because he got the chance to break away from his father’s shadow to open up his own restaurant. The documentary explained that in Japan, elder sons are expected to take over the business once their father retires or dies. The achievements and accolades received by his father raises the standard for their restaurant. If the elder son fails to exceed those expectations or even manage to live up to it, it might signal the decline of Jiro’s wonderful sushi legacy. I guess the elder guy wouldn’t put to waste that legacy. Throughout, we see Jiro’s elder son showing exceptional sushi-making skills but well, Jiro is not yet willing to retire. The son has to wait. The other one has to make good of what he learned from his father.

One can’t help but wonder how the 85-year old Jiro never gets tired of creating and inventing new sushis? His elderly looks betray the childlike wonder he exudes whenever he gets his hands on the fish meat slices and newly-cooked rice. What I liked most about him, aside from his energy, was his dedication for his craft. He considers sushi-making not just his bread and butter, it’s his passion to create something wonderful out of something. Before the sushi snack filled the streets of Japan, the meat and fat coming from tuna fishes weren’t much of a fare. And then, a revolutionary idea brought this once obscure fish onto the top of the fish food chain. Jiro added celebrity status to this famous Japanese food. Despite his restaurant’s humble exterior plus being located in one of Tokyo’s subway stations, it was awarded three stars by Michelin. People who would want a taste of Jiro’s sushi masterpiece would have to book a year ahead to get one of those ten seats. Worthy of your bucket list, no? Yes, it is! So much for dreaming.

5 out of 5.

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felix felicis: I Suddenly Wanted Sushi

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Suddenly Wanted Sushi



“Always look ahead and above yourself. Always try to improve on yourself. Always strive to elevate your craft. That’s what he taught me.” – Yoshikazu Ono (Jiro’s elder son)

Before the weeklong web fasting we did, I listed several movies I planned to catch over the short vacation. First on my list was David Gelb’s documentary on the life of world-acclaimed sushi chef, Jiro Ono. It was one of 2012’s highest rated documentaries, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes’ and IMDB’s movie meters. Curiosity won over, so I downloaded a copy and passed it on to officemates. Kuya Paulie watched it before I got the time and he said it was good. Here’s what I thought:

The whole documentary was visually pleasing and vividly entertaining. Various kinds of sushi were shown in between interviews—there’s the usual tuna meat on top of the sticky rice and then of course, all the other sushi permutations it could take. There’s shrimp, octopus and egg. Yes, egg. Egg sushi. It looks like a Japanese cake except that it’s square. Even the footages taken in the fish market was just so nice. You could see life teeming from all those fresh sea catches. I was glued to the screen the whole time.

One thing we also get to see in the movie was Jiro’s relationship with his two sons, the elder is his top apprentice while the younger decided to open his own sushi restaurant somewhere in downtown Tokyo. I always thought Jiro’s younger son was more privileged because he got the chance to break away from his father’s shadow to open up his own restaurant. The documentary explained that in Japan, elder sons are expected to take over the business once their father retires or dies. The achievements and accolades received by his father raises the standard for their restaurant. If the elder son fails to exceed those expectations or even manage to live up to it, it might signal the decline of Jiro’s wonderful sushi legacy. I guess the elder guy wouldn’t put to waste that legacy. Throughout, we see Jiro’s elder son showing exceptional sushi-making skills but well, Jiro is not yet willing to retire. The son has to wait. The other one has to make good of what he learned from his father.

One can’t help but wonder how the 85-year old Jiro never gets tired of creating and inventing new sushis? His elderly looks betray the childlike wonder he exudes whenever he gets his hands on the fish meat slices and newly-cooked rice. What I liked most about him, aside from his energy, was his dedication for his craft. He considers sushi-making not just his bread and butter, it’s his passion to create something wonderful out of something. Before the sushi snack filled the streets of Japan, the meat and fat coming from tuna fishes weren’t much of a fare. And then, a revolutionary idea brought this once obscure fish onto the top of the fish food chain. Jiro added celebrity status to this famous Japanese food. Despite his restaurant’s humble exterior plus being located in one of Tokyo’s subway stations, it was awarded three stars by Michelin. People who would want a taste of Jiro’s sushi masterpiece would have to book a year ahead to get one of those ten seats. Worthy of your bucket list, no? Yes, it is! So much for dreaming.

5 out of 5.

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