Monday, June 11, 2012

Jmovie review: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

I have been waiting and dreading this movie since I saw the trailer at Twitchfilm. Waiting because I love Japanese food porn. No I am not talking about porn where people eat off naked women. Dreading because I never could finish shota no sushi because it would just make my full stomach rumble. The good news is, Jiro Dreams of Sushi didn't make my stomach growl. The bad news is it didn't make my stomach growl.

He is probably thinking of all the ramen, yakiniku and steak he can eat with that money.

It had a lot to do with the minimum cost of eating there being 30,000 yen. OMFG. Even if it were 10,000 yen I would still need to think twice for the best sushi in Japan. Think about it for a minute. Prices start at 30,000 yen. I know its 3 michelin stars but it would have to be an absolutely godlike mouth watering experience that would surpass eating a decent 1000 yen tonkotsu ramen in Japan many times.

Its just that I approached this documentary with the view of getting tempted and so I can go there on my next trip but now I am not so. The end of the movie shows some patrons going for the omakase course which I'm sure costs more than the minimum amount. 20 individual pieces. They don't come in 2s like your usual sushi train. Let's assume the omakase course is 40,000 yen. One piece is 2000 yen. My stomach is unable to comprehend how the taste can possibly justify the price.

Would you pay 2000 yen for this?

Anyways, expectations aside. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is more about an 85 year old man who has dedicated his life to sushi. The meticulousness. The dedication. The fact that he is still working and has not handed the shop over to his oldest son who is in his 50s. As a former employee said, when Jiro goes, the only way people will consider the son as good as the father is if the sushi becomes twice as delicious. And as seen in the doco, 85% of making sushi is in the preparation which is done by staff.

It is an interesting documentary but on the other hand it doesn't really go anywhere. There is no issue to explore. There is a beauty in the documentary's simplicity like Jiro's sushi but it also feels skin deep. Lots of people talking about how good it is and sellers at the tsukiji fish market talking about how dedicated to quality they are. They talk about how hard the training is to be a sushi chef under Jiro but they don't really show you. Its like an infomercial for Jiro's sushi but it didn't really entice me much.I want to see an average salaryman who is willing to eat at Jiro's every month and hear his testimony about how it is worth it.

Its kind of surreal to see a workplace that is as dedicated in real life as in doramas. Where an apprentice has to work there 10 years before he is allowed to cook tamagoyaki. Even then the poor bugger had to keep practicing for 3-4 months before Jiro was happy with his tamagoyaki and the guy was so happy to finally get approval from his super strict master. Straight out of a food jdorama. Watchable but very pedestrian as a documentary.

If anyone knows how to fix the follower and recent comments widgets, please let me know. Looks like they are not working on Chuks' blog as well. Tried looking for answers but looks like its a common problem with no answer.

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