This weekend I went to see Jiro: Dreams of Sushi, a film about Jiro, a humble and calm 85-year old sushi chef who has practising his craft since he was nine. He rarely takes holidays and is yet to take retirement and let his 50 year old son, Yoshikazu succeed. It was a lovely chance to see someone so passionate about their work, so in love with what he does. He embraces the Japanese concept of shokunin, being spiritually and materially searching for perfection in work. There is a total acceptance of the repetition and process of making sushi, he’s essentially been doing the same thing for 70 years, but he still loves it. I can’t imagine that dedication to one thing, a meditative repetition and the knowledge that he will be doing this till he dies.
I spent six months in Japan and ate a lot of sushi but never ate at this place. The attention to detail is impressive, as are the droolworthy close-ups of giant slabs of tuna being sliced up, sushi pieces firmed into shape and delicately made tamagoyaki. Jiro recounts how he insists on the octopus being massaged for 45 minutes to reach required tenderness. One shocker, at Jiro’s place they serve the women slightly smaller portions, so you know that if I ever make it there I’m going in full drag, tache n all.