This weekend, I watched (twice) the documentary of Jiro Ono, an 85 year old Japanese sushi master (“shokunin”).
Aside from some absolutely amazing cinematography (it’d seem I’m a sucker for slow-motion closeups of raw fish and a de-focused background) here are a few simple takeaways that one can apply to sushi, personal training, plumbing, accounting or anything else:
1) Whatever your craft, the best end-result requires exceptional raw materials, time, and practice.
Lots and lots of practice.
2) Shokunin (of any industry) know there is always room for improvement.
3) Do what you do best – and be the MASTER of it. Jiro’s menu has just ONE meal option (though you do get to choose between sake and beer to wash it down.) There are no appetizers, no substitutions, no desert cart. Only the chef’s selection of 20 pieces of sushi served one at a time that’ll have you in and out of his 10-seat, Tokyo subway restaurant in about 15 minutes – and set you back about $275 or so in the process. Oh… and reservations need to be made a month in advance.
4) Subtitles really engage the viewer and maintain their attention.
Maybe this is why news/sports networks have a scrolling ticker (or 2) with even MORE information?
There’s plenty more one can learn/enjoy/ponder while watching this film, but as one of Jiro’s apprentices noted (and I paraphrase), “You can learn only so much from words. The rest takes practice.”
Do yourself a favor and practice putting this documentary on your netflix/’amazon instant’ list immediately.