Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

This Christmas season I did a Bible study on advent and focused on the hope, love, joy, and peace Jesus brings us.  One of the days was about how all these things should not only be talked about at Christmas time, but through the entire year.  In other words, we should not be sad when Christmas is over because the hope, love, joy and peace that Jesus brought and brings to us is not seasonal, but everlasting.  Great point, I took notes, I got it.  But, I might slightly disagree.  This girl, regardless of how many Bible studies I do, will probably always be sad for a bit when Christmas is over.  Here's how I see it:

December 26th is the worst day of the year. 

I am allowed one day to be sad.

There.  I said it.  I know it has to end in order for it to all begin again the next year.  I know it's inevitable.  I always try to focus on all the positives, the great memories, and the reason for the season.  However, I still wake up on the 26th a little bummed.  I really need to start a tradition on the 26th to give me something to look forward to.  I guess I have a whole year to decide what it should be...would it be acceptable to leave for Mexico every December 26th?  That would totally cure me!

This year, we drove home to Wichita from Kansas City on the 26th.  We loaded up the car, said our goodbye's and I cried the whole way home.  Totally kidding, just seeing if you're paying attention.  No tears were shed.

Disappointment about Christmas ending aside, Josh and I had an evening at home with an open calendar.  We decided to spend our free evening at home watching a documentary that had been on my "to do" list for months.  I wanted to watch it with Josh because it's about sushi and he loves eating sushi.  I think all along he was willing to watch it with me, but I made sure to point out a few weeks ago it was on GQ's "must see" movies of 2012.  I knew that would really get him interested!

I don't even remember which e-mail it was from, but months ago I read about a new documentary coming out called Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  I read the summary and could not wait to see it!  It's about a sushi restaurant owner named Jiro.  His sushi place is underground at the Tokyo train station and it seats 9-10 people.  Yes, you read that right.  Furthermore, he is 85.  That's all I needed to know and I was excited to see the documentary.

I was really disappointed when it was only going to be shown in Wichita for two days and I was out of town.  I had to wait many months to finally sit down and watch it, but Josh and I both agree with all the reviews.  This documentary is unbelievable!

Jiro is a perfectionist, he accepts only the best, and he serves only the highest quality food.  He's considered the best sushi chef in the world.  What more could you want from a restaurant owner?  I'd love to visit his place and eat his sushi.  Just in case you have a trip to Tokyo planned, be warned:  the freshest ingredients and the hours of preparation are going to cost you.  A meal at Sukiyabashi Jiro costs 30,000 yens.  We looked it up and that equals approximately $330.  And that's if you dine alone.  Add a date and you're looking at almost $700 before tip.  I love food, but I'll admit, I don't think I could fork over that kind of money!  However, after watching the process from ocean to plate you get a little insight into the high price. 

Every single morning, one of Jiro's workers (it used to be Jiro himself, until recently he gave it up due to his age) goes to the fresh fish market to find only the finest of fish.  He inspects it, he studies it, and if it doesn't meet his expectations he moves on.  I loved this part of the story.  There is no menu at Jiro's restaurant; he serves different sushi every night.  He serves whatever was the highest quality from the market that morning.  So, yes, for $330 you are arriving to sit at a bar in a train station and you will be served 9 different sushi courses that you don't know until you are served.  Seems crazy, right?  Jiro clearly has something figured out in terms of running a successful restaurant/business-you need to call a year in advance to get a reservation.  And, that was before this documentary came out...I wonder what the wait time is now?

I think even those out there who aren't as "into" food as I am will still enjoy this documentary.  Even if you don't like sushi you need to watch it.  It isn't just a documentary about food.  Through interviews you see how his family life suffered because his kids were little when he owned a restaurant and he missed a lot.  You see his son, who works at the restaurant with him, struggle a little bit to live under his father's shadow, but he's all set to take Jiro's place whenever needed.  The relationships are strong, but according to Jiro there's only room for one expert in his place and that will go to his oldest.  Therefore, his other son opened his own sushi place.

Jiro also has a wonderful attitude about his job and about work.  He loves sushi and he loves preparing it.  Therefore, he doesn't consider it work.  In fact, he loves going to the restaurant everyday.  He has some wonderful words of advice throughout this movie. 

I loved every detail of this documentary.  As I mentioned, Jiro loves his job and what he does, but he realizes that owning a restaurant while his children were young meant time away from them that he missed out on.  He's honest, open, and well, quite frankly an adorable old man who I enjoyed listening to!  I could go on and on, but I'd rather not tell you ALL about it, but rather, you should go watch this!  (If you don't want to buy it, it's on Netflix.)  It's all is subtitles so make sure you're in the mood to read along.

Josh and I had a fun day after Christmas evening watching Jiro do his magic making sushi.  I suppose if Mexico every year doesn't fly with him (which it won't), perhaps I can pick a new documentary to watch every day after Christmas.  Although I see some problems: 1) I doubt a new documentary is going to be enough to make me look forward to the 26th and 2) Can you imaging when we have kids?  They will really dislike the 26th if I make them watch a documentary. 

I'm taking any and all ideas for day after Christmas traditions. 

*If you're looking for other documentaries, two on my list to watch are Hungry for Change and Vegucated.  Both of those, obviously, have to do with food.  On a side note, an awesome non-food related one is called Teenage Paparazzo.   It's produced by Adrian Grenier and he's in it.  A lot.  That's all I need to say.  I mean, Entourage is over and who isn't looking for an opportunity to stare at Adrian's beautiful locks of hair he was blessed with?  Okay, okay, if that didn't convince you, it's about a kid in California who is a paparazzo and Adrian Grenier interviews him and follows him to see his life.  It's crazy and very interesting. 


  1. This sounds so cool, I want to watch it! How do you hear about these things?

    1. I heard about Jiro from an e-mail that showed up in my inbox. I subscribe to all sorts of randomw food stuff. :)


I'd love to hear your comments!