Jiro Dreams Of Sushi (2011) – or – Symphony of sushi.

The determination and perseverance to achieve your goals is an admirable quality. Those who become leaders in their chosen field will often tell the tale of the struggle to the top, but it’s the story of what they do when they get there that can be the most inspiring.

That’s where the story of Jiro excels. 85 year old sushi master Jiro Ono runs a world renowned, Michelin 3 star sushi restaurant. As is typical, his rise to becoming such a prominent chef is full of hard work and determination. What sets Jiro apart is his constant need to improve. Jiro Dreams Of Sushi gives viewers an inside look into the life of Jiro, a man who has spent his entire life perfecting his craft, but a man who will not accept that it’s perfect at all. While many people would reach their destination and be content, Jiro shows us that there is always room for improvement.

What director David Gelb has done with this documentary is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. This is a simple story about an extremely hard working man as he runs his very small, but very famous, sushi restaurant. Gelb turns it into a symphony bursting with vibrant colour. A film you can almost taste as each piece of sushi that Jiro and his oldest son Yoshikazu create is displayed like a work of art. The passion that Jiro has for his business is apparent in each morsel of food that comes out of it, and Gelb presents every moment of it perfectly. Rarely have I ever been as inspired from a film.

Jiro hard at work in his restaurant.

There isn’t much need to go into the history of Jiro and how he came to run such a successful business. That’s obvious in the way that he continues to run it. Viewers do learn a little about his past and some of it is a little bit sad. He’s brought both his sons into his line of work, but his need to work and improve left him little time to spend with them when they were young. They don’t seem to resent him for this, and both his sons have become sushi masters in their own right, but it can be hard to understand Jiro’s motivation. He’s from a different generation than I, one where hard work was its own reward. While I may not fully understand something like that, I can appreciate and respect it. If you want to become the best at something, there are many things you must be willing to give up to do it.

Jiro looks on as his son Yoshikazu works.

Jiro commands respect through his actions, never demanding it without any basis, and this translates into the suppliers that he works with. Viewers are taken with Yoshikazu as he makes his daily trip to the fish market, interacting only with the sellers that Jiro has decided deserve his business. Each vendor has a mutual respect with Jiro, making sure that he has the best product around. They do this not because of money, but because Jiro holds them in such high regard. This is something that seems to be lacking in so many aspects of life now. People who are more concerned with the bottom line and not the people that help them along the way. The story of Jiro can teach us plenty of things. Hard work, determination, perseverance, and more importantly, respect for those around us. These are the traits we need to achieve our goals in life, and Jiro is living proof of that.

Under the marquee – Will

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