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Jiro Dreams of Great Quotes

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a delightful documentary about 85-year-old Japanese sushi master Jiro Ono.  He runs a tiny sushi restaurant in the bottom of a Tokyo subway station and is felt by many to be the best sushi chef in the world. He has been mastering his craft for 75 years and has received the rarely awarded 3-Stars from Michelin. The documentary follows him and his older son and eventual heir, Yoshikazu, in their daily lives in their attempt to perfect the art of sushi. In addition to being a wonderfully fascinating look into their world, it was also full of memorable quotes about life, work and passion.

Here are some of our favorite quotes:

Jiro: “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.”

Yamamoto (Japanese Food Writer): “If you were to sum up Jiro’s sushi in a nutshell..Ultimate simplicity leads to purity.”

Yoshikazu: “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 depends on how hard you work.”

Yamamoto: “A great chef has the following 5 attributes: First, they take their work very seriously and consistently 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 impatience. They are not prone to collaboration. They’re stubborn and insist on having things their own way. What ties these attributes together is passion. That’s what makes a great chef.”

Jiro: “In order to make delicious food, you must eat delicious food.  The quality of ingredients is important, but one must develop a palate capable of discerning good and bad.  Without good taste, you can’t make good food.  If your sense of taste is lower than that of the customers how will you impress them?”

Shrimp Dealer: “These days the first thing people want is an easy job. Then, they want lots of free time. And then, they want lots of money. But they aren’t thinking of building their skills. When you work at a place like Jiro’s, you are committing to a trade for life.”

Jiro: “Studying hard doesn’t guarantee you will become a respectable person. Even if you’re a bad kid, there are people like me who change…Always doing what you are told does not mean you’ll succeed in life.”

Yoshikazu: “Always look beyond and above yourself. Always try to improve on yourself. Always strive to elevate your craft. That’s what he taught me.”

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