The best 82-minute movie on mastery I’ve ever seen
I don’t get to see a lot of movies these days — and it’s almost unheard of that I’ll watch one twice. But this weekend marked my second viewing of the short documentary film, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. If you’re interested in the alluring, frustrating, asymptotic pursuit of mastery, this is movie is a must-see.
The film tells the story of Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old chef who runs Sukiyabashi Jiro, a sushi-only restaurant in Tokyo that has 10 seats — and 3 Michelin stars. Ono is obsessed with his craft, so much that sushi ideas come to him in his dreams. And while his obsessiveness has costs — for instance, his relationship with his sons, who’ve followed him into the family trade — it is also inspiring.
A few choice quotations:
“Once you decide on your occupation… you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success… and is the key to being regarded honorably.”
“I’ve never once hated this job. I fell in love with my work and gave my life to it. Even though I’m eighty-five years old, I don’t feel like retiring. That’s how I feel.”
“I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is.”