Bucket List: Dreaming of Jiro’s Sushi

The documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi should come with a warning: watching this film will propel you to consume large amounts of raw fish. You might even get that mercury poison malady Jeremy Piven made up to get out of Speed the Plow on Broadway.
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To give you a better idea of this mouthwatering film, check out the trailer.

Here’s the deal: this 85-year-old named Jiro owns a hole-in-the-wall sushi joint in Toyko. There are only ten seats. The place doesn’t even have a restroom on site. A meal costs upwards of $300 per person and reservations must be made a month in advance. It is one of the only establishments of its kind to receive a three-star Michelin rating.

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Jiro is a perfectionist. He has painstakingly crafted his sushi skills over seven decades and now everything is down to a science: the octopus must be massaged for 45 minutes, the tuna must marinate in vinegar for another five hours. The most fascinating part of the documentary is watching Jiro and his staff (which includes his eldest son) go to extreme lengths to prepare the simplest of dishes. We learn through observing Jiro’s team in action exactly why a meal at this establishment is truly the meal of a lifetime.

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There is also a tinge of sadness. Jiro has dedicated his whole life to becoming the best in the business, but at what personal cost? He missed a lot of his sons’ childhood, which is particularly heartbreaking given that Jiro’s own father left him when he was seven. Jiro doesn’t go on vacation and gets restless during national holidays. But the immense satisfaction he gets from his career sustains him. Even at his advanced age, Jiro has no intention of leaving the business any time soon.

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I loved the scenes at Tsukiji fish market , the world’s largest wholesale fish market in Tokyo. What an endlessly intriguing place.

Here’s an arial view of the market:

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Here’s where they sell the tuna:

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There are vendors on site for literally every kind of fish you can think of. Jiro purchases his sushi from those who specialize in each type of fish; for example, he buys octopus from someone who only sells octopus to ensure his vendor is dealing the best of its kind.

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This should come as no surprise by now: I have officially added two things to my Bucket List, eating at Jiro’s establishment and visiting the Tsukiji fish market.

4 thoughts on “Bucket List: Dreaming of Jiro’s Sushi

    • Thanks Eva! Let’s meet up in Japan for sushi someday. Or, I’d settle for the Valley. Mercury poisoning aside, I could eat sushi every day of the week!

  1. OMG E, I’ve been to the Tsukiji Market – worth the 4:30 AM arrival to see it all “live”; seriously. Bucket list material, indeed!
    XO,
    UD.

    • Wow, I didn’t realize you’d seen this in person! Very cool! I hope I have the time to get to Japan on this trip. Reservations at Jiro’s table might be hard to come by, but I’d love to see the Tsukiji Market!

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