Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Synopsis: In the basement of a Tokyo office building, 85 year old sushi master Jiro Ono works tirelessly in his world renowned restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. As his son Yoshikazu faces the pressures of stepping into his father's shoes and taking over the legendary restaurant, Jiro relentlessly pursues his lifelong quest to create the perfect piece of sushi.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): David Gelb
Production: Magnolia Pictures
  2 wins & 12 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
81 min

What defines deliciousness"?

Taste is tough to explain,

isn't it?

I would see ideas in dreams.

My mind was bursting with ideas.

I would wake up

in the middle of the night.

In dreams I would have

visions of sushi.


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 have published several

restaurant guidebooks.

I went to every sushi, sobs, tempura,

and eel restaurant in Tokyo.

Nobody has eaten more

of these foods than me.


Out of the hundreds

of restaurants that I ate at...

Jiros was the best by far.

When I went to Jiro the first time

I was nervous.

After going for years I am still nervous.

Jiro has a very stern look on his face

when he's making sushi.

It's comfortable for people who like

to have sushi served at a fast pace.

But for people who want to drink

and eat slowly while chatting...

It won't be a comfortable

eating experience.

All of the sushi is simple.

It's completely minimal.

Master chefs from around the world

eat at Jiro's and say...

How can something so simple

have so much depth in flavor?"

If you were to sum up Jiro's sushi

in a nutshell...

Ultimate simplicity leads to purity."

Excuse me.


Do you have a pamphlet

for this restaurant?

We don't have pamphlets.

We only have business cards.

Could I have one please?

May I have one?

I came all the way from Shizuoka.

Here are a couple.

Can I make reservations?

Reservations are mandatory here.

How early do you need the reservation?

One month in advance.

One month in advance?


Since it's February now,

we're taking reservations for March.

I see.

Reservations can be made

for lunch and dinner'?

Yes for both.

The price starts at 30,000 yen.

It starts at 30,000 yen.


The sushi and prices vary...

depending on what's available at the market.

I see.

So it starts from 30,000 yen.

Can we order drinks

and appetizers to start?

We only serve sushi.

We don't have appetizers.


- Yes.

You don't have any other dishes?

- No.

Only sushi

- Yes.

Okay, thank you.

Thank you.

For fast eaters a meal

there might last only fifteen minutes.

In that sense it's the most

expensive restaurant in the world.

But people who eat there are

convinced it's worth the price.


We're not trying

to be exclusive or elite.

The techniques we use are no big secret.

It's just about making an effort

and repeating the same thing every day.

There are some

who are born with a natural gift.

Some have a sensitive palate

and sense of smell.

That's what you call

natural talent."

In this line of business...

if you take it seriously,

you'll become skilled.

But if you want to make a mark

in the world, you have to have talent.

The rest is how hard you work.

He repeats the same routine everyday.

He even gets on the train

from the same position.

He has said

that he dislikes holidays.

The holidays are too long for him.

He wants to get back

to work as soon as possible.

It's unthinkable for normal people.

Is it good?

Is it too firm?

Overall, It's a little tough.

Is it?

Probably because it is young.

But the toughness isn't that bad.

If it doesn't taste good

you can't serve it.

It has to be better than last time.

That's why I always taste the food

before serving it.


It hasn't marinated enough.

It is a bit fatty.

This doesn't taste right either.

How long has this marinated?

For about five hours.

Put it back in.

It needs work.

Let's marinate it

in vinegar a little more.

Yes, put it back in the vinegar.

Let's marinate it again.

Put this in the vinegar again.

Put that one in the vinegar too.

Let's try that for the last time.


I've seen many chefs

who are self-critical...

but I've never seen a chef

who is so hard on himself.

He sets the standard

for self-discipline.

He is always looking ahead.

He's never satisfied with his work.

He's always trying to find ways

to make the sushi better,

or to improve his skills.

Even now, that's what he thinks

about all day, every day.

A great chef has the following

five attributes.

First, they take their work

very seriously...

and constantly perform

on the highest level.

Second, they aspire

to improve their skills.

Third is cleanliness.

If the restaurant doesn't feel clean,

the food isn't going to taste good.

The fourth attribute is...


They are better leaders

than collaborators.

They're stubborn

and insist on having it their way.

And, finally...

A great chef is passionate.

Jiro has all of these attributes.

He's a perfectionist.

The difference between Jiro today

and Jiro forty years ago...

is only that he stopped smoking.

Other than that, nothing has changed.


When I apprenticed for him,

he wasn't famous yet.

But he always worked incredibly hard.

He would only take a day off

if it was a national holiday.

The only time he would not be

at the restaurant was

when there was an emergency

like a funeral.

But he would keep the restaurant open.

I would say to the customers,

Jiro is at a funeral,

so I will be your chef today."

I've worked hard, so I have no regrets.


If Jiro has any regrets,

then he's crazy!

I feel sorry for his older son.

He should let Yoshikazu take over.

Don't you think?

Yoshikazu is already fifty.

Yes, he's only twelve years younger

than I am.

Yoshikazu, you probably didn't think

you'd be working

with your father so long.

I thought he was going

to retire long ago.

Everyone thought Jiro might

retire ten years ago.

He was hospitalized once

when he was seventy.

Then, the Roppongi Hills branch

was opened.

Those were the two times

that he might have retired.

After he was hospitalized, we weren't

sure he could continue working.

How old were you

when you started training?

I started when I was nineteen.

You didn't like it at first?

I hated it at first.

For the first two years

I wanted to run away.

We can have them sit here and here.

But that way, Mr. Taniguchi

would have to sit at seat nine.

Have these guests on seats one,

two, and three.

No, that won't work.

It wouldn't be fair to the people

who reserved last year.

Have them sit close together

to fit the other party.

It's essential to check every detail.

What the staff might not notice...

I notice because

I have been doing it for so long.

I give them detailed instructions

on what to do.

Working there wasn't easy.

I worked for him until he was sixty.

I wouldn't say he is eccentric.

He just works relentlessly every day.

That's how shokunin are.

The way of the shokunin is

to repeat the same thing every day.

They just want to work.

They aren't trying to be special.

I could always tell

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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