Jiro dreams of sushi
March 30, 2014 § 4 Comments
I watched the famous documentary about sushi chef, Jiro, today with Mark and Kat. :) It was a free screening at the UCC open courtyard, and my face was just lit up the entire time. It felt surreal seeing Japan in film, because it made me remember the feeling of being there myself. Apart from the wonderful and amazing time I had there, what I remember about Japan was that Inay was supposed to be with me during that trip. She would have loved to be there: see all the places, eat all the delicacies, go through the shops, walk through the parks, ride all the trains, sleep in the hotel, and bite through fresh peaches. Instead, she was at the hospital then.
I miss her.
But before I digress again or decide for the nth time to just trash away another blog post, let me go back to Jiro. After one watches that film, they will definitely be amazed at the self-discipline Jiro has. He has been going through the same routine for 75 years of his life, has practically dedicated his entire being to making sushi, and loves every second of it. As usual, I kind of saw my mom in Jiro – just as I see her in everything. But maybe that’s just me. Jiro’s values struck me because I don’t think I have the capacity to be that patient with a routine life. But I realized that often, we undervalue people who live in such a way. Most of us are tempted to dismiss them as people missing out on the glorious and thrilling experiences out there. “Boring”, “backward”, “one-tracked”, or “naive”, we might say. In that way, we fail to appreciate the patience, diligence, and dedication they pour on what they do. The focus they place on their mission and vision is harder to cultivate rather than the out-of-the-blue, YOLO, spontaneous, let’s-book-a-ticket-now-and-not-look-back attitude we usually glorify. Yeah, it’s hard to be spontaneous. However, I think it’s harder to be consistent. But consistently improving? Now that’s remarkable. More than 10 years has to be devoted by an apprentice to earn the right to call himself a sushi chef. That’s like earning an M.D. And it doesn’t even involve voluminous books to be devoured, complemented by a glamorous title at the end. It involves knives, lots of fishes, manual “menial” labor like fanning and slicing, and going to the market and what-not. There’s a fine line between being a blind follower and dedication, but I firmly believe this one is an example of the latter.
One of the lines that particularly struck me in the film was Jiro talking about how parents nowadays advice their children “bullshit” when they tell them “you can always come back home when you fail”. He said it shouldn’t be that way. Because if they have that mindset, they’ll always be a failure. They’ll always want to come back home. I must admit I was raised with that kind of comfort though. Although my parents encouraged me and nudged me, they did not push me nor force me. Different ways may work with different people, but I have to admit there is a precious grain of wisdom in what Jiro said. And I needed that grain. I have to stop complaining about having a hard time and not being provided with the ideal environment to do a PhD. I need to just focus on my work and go through the fire. I need to go through it because I want to be molded, and not simply because I want it to be over. Thank you God for the simple reminders. I escape hard work for awhile, and there You are again leading me back. Okay, I’m at it! :)
Craving sushi now.