Jiro Dreams of Sushi

David Galeb’s Jiro Dreams Of Sushi - Director David Gleb turned his fascination and admiration for the art of sushi making into his latest film dutifully titled Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Influenced by frequent family trips to Japan growing up, he decided that it would be a great idea if someone were to make a film about the art in sushi making. He toured many of Tokyo’s greatest sushi restaurants–along with critic Masuhiro Yamamoto–until they met Jiro Ono who, at eighty-five years old, is considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef.

Over the course of two years, Gleb spent time in Tokyo gathering footage of Master Sushi maker, Jiro Ono and brilliantly fashioned this documentary. He found a way to illustrate how Ono’s work ethic molded his character, and the characters of his sons. The film delves into Jiro’s day-to-day events; working from sunrise to sunset, tasting every piece of fish before it is served to the customer; the meticulous method of training his employees, and eventually, showing how he carefully molds each sushi creation. This film isn’t just about fish; it is about one man’s dedication to his profession. A lifetime of mastering his skill.

In the basement of an office building, Ono’s dedication to his work is unparalleled. His hard work ethic extends to his two sons, who instead of going to college and finding their own life niche, were persuaded to work in the sushi restaurant. His oldest son, Yoshikazu, assumes more of a managerial role in his father’s restaurant, by going to market to select the fish for the days menu, but also does his share of carefully preparing delicate masterpieces of fish and rice–under the ever watchful eye of Ono.

Gelb interviews Yoshikazu about assuming his father’s role and whether or not he wanted to spend his life making sushi with his father and if/or when Ono would retire. He admits to assuming more responsibility of the restaurant due to his father’s advancing age; however, he is unsure if Ono would ever retire and he assumes the role of head chef of Sukiyabashi Jiro, but he would appreciate a bit more working room. He also demonstrates nervousness–stepping in for his father would be a huge role to assume. A role he is confident in filling; although he will forever remain in the shadow of his father.

There is also a sense of rivalry between the two sons in that both experience the burden of living in the constant culinary shadow of their father. The relationship between Jiro and his sons is complicated by a father’s pursuit for perfection. The elder son’s dealings with the master vendors of fish and rice play a huge part in Ono’s success. Takashi, Jiro’s youngest son, was able to establish his own restaurant. He utilizes the same careful sushi preparation techniques taught to him. As Yoshikazu faces the pressures of stepping into his father’s shoes and taking over the legendary restaurant, Jiro tirelessly pursues his lifelong quest to create the perfect piece of sushi.

Gelb captures the impeccable. In 81 minutes, viewers are privileged to an immaculate presentation of food preparation and impressive cinematography. The documentary is beautifully captured and is an exceptional representation that dedication and hard work truly pay off.


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