Jiro Dreams of Sushi (guest post by daughter)

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

This post is a mixture of my joy and sadness! I was invited to a show in London that I would really like to go (JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI) but I couldn’t….so sad. It’s just too far to travel just for a show. But since my daughter, Sharon, is there at the moment, I know she would love to go. Of course, as always, she is excited when comes to anything with food even though there’s no food served….haha. But there’s one condition….she has to write a blog post about it for me. She agreed as long as she get to go and watch the show. At least that makes me very happy. So, see, I was sad and happy all at the same time….haha

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is a documentary on an 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, his business in the basement of a Tokyo office building, and his relationship with his son and eventual heir, Yoshikazu. You don’t need to be a foodie to appreciate this charming documentary, which delves in to the life and work of Tokyo sushi master Jiro Ono. JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is a thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family, and the art of perfection, chronicling Jiro’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world and as a loving yet complicated father.

I’m really very thankful to BAFTA for giving 2 seats so that my girl could go with a friend rather than alone. She is very busy with her assignments at the moment so this show is a real good break for her to relax her mind.

Sharon has a blog too, Fun and Life. But life has been very busy for her so she seldom updates it. As a mom, I love her writing. She is witty, quirky and yet motivational and inspirational. It always brings me smiles. Now, hope you enjoy what she writes here.


Hi to all the lovely readers of my mom’s blog!

It’s been a while since I’ve done any blogging so hopefully my writing hasn’t gotten too rusty! My darling mom was invited to a BAFTA screening of a show called Jiro Dreams of Sushi in London that she wasn’t able to attend. And I thought “Ooh! BAFTA! I wanna go!”. Seeing as this event sounded quite different from the usual activities I do for fun (some of which include eating, sleeping, eating some more), I thought I’d check it out despite the rather odd sounding title. Plus, it was in Piccadilly and Chinatown was just 5 minutes away (you remember what I just said about eating…)! There’s also a FABULOUS Japanese ramen noodle soup place right at Piccadilly, but I digress.

The movie is about Jiro, a sushi chef, whose restaurant was the first of its kind to be awarded a 3 star Michelin review (the highest you can possibly get). It documents his life, work ethics, philosophies, sushi-making skills (I feel like I’m starting to lose you at this point but stay with me!) that I found to be very inspiring. While most people look forward to retiring and spending their time as they please, Jiro continues to work at the age of 85 without wanting to retire. In fact, he dislikes holidays because they are too long! Every single day is dedicated to improving his skill and craft at making sushi and aiming for perfection which is never attainable. So much thought was put into his work, from things such as the seating arrangement in his restaurant to picking the best and freshest fish at the market. He draws his inspiration from the French chef, Joël Robuchon, who has earned as many as 28 Michelin stars across the many restaurants he operates and makes the most amazing food I have ever eaten. So I can only imagine how good Jiro’s sushi is!

At this point I was thinking, “How difficult can making sushi be that you need decades to learn to make it? Buy some salmon, slap it on some rice and hey presto I get myself some sashimi! (I’ve seen them make it loads of times at YO! Sushi, I know how it’s done)”. Boy did the movie prove me wrong because to get real good proper sushi, there is a lot that goes into making it. Temperature and flavour of the rice, choosing the right types of seafood that are in season, how much wasabi you use, the order in which they serve the different types of sushi…you even have to know how to tell the difference between lean, medium-fat, and fatty tuna! How does one tell the difference between the three types of tuna meat? And ok I’m going to embarrass myself by saying this but I’ll do it for you if you promise not to think I’m an airhead. Promise me now. Ok here goes…in my mind *pause*…I thought tuna was like a mackerel…

MOVING ON. Ok so back to the movie. There were 5 things I took away from this movie to apply to my own life. To be successful at what you do, there are 5 things you need to do:

1) Take your work seriously

Jiro spends endless hours at his restaurant and completely dedicates himself to his craft. His attention to detail and pursuit of perfection and excellence is tireless. When training apprentices, he is so stringent that some leave after one day. It takes a minimum of 10 years of training to win his approval. He has perfected his culinary technique to the point it has become an art form. I thought to myself how? How can I do this? And I realized the answer is discipline and delayed gratification. Work now play later.

2) Aspire to improve

Even after decades of doing the same job every single day, he doesn’t take things for granted. He continually works to build his reputation and make better sushi. He puts in his best efforts and reaps the rewards. I feel this translates to all areas of life and to any task we set ourselves to do. How do we improve? The answer is basically practice, practice, practice. But for me I ask how do we motivate ourselves to want to improve? And I think the answer to that is to know the purpose of what you’re doing. If you’re a doctor, how can you provide your patients with a better service? If you’re a chef, how can you cook better tasting food? If you’re a teacher, how can you have a bigger impact on your students’ lives? Continue to improve in every area and we’ll find ourselves achieving greater things.

3) Look ahead to the future

Although the movie primarily centers on Jiro’s working life, it also documents his relationship with his two sons. Both of them worked at his restaurant to learn his skills and are subject to much stricter training than other apprentices. He also plans his menus so that the flavours complement each other in a way that is described as a symphony of flavours. The planning, the preparation, the practice has led to his restaurant being the most famous of its kind in the world. As he gets older, he’s also planning to leave a legacy for his sons to continue. I find this important because there are times we feel that work is stressful, tough and downright scream-till-your-eyes-turn-blue frustrating at times. Ok I don’t think your eyes will ever turn blue by screaming, that actually doesn’t make much sense but you get what I’m saying (you are such great readers I love you guys). Even when what you’re doing now is hard work, maybe you feel like you want to give up, look ahead. See what you’re planning for yourself, the position you want to be in. The preparation you are doing now is setting you up for your future. I tell myself I’ve just got to keep on keepin’ on and things will work out in the end. And if it’s not working out, it’s not the end.

4) Be a better leader than a collaborator

Everyone is harping on about leadership these days. But what does being a leader mean? A leader sets the course for others to follow. From this movie, Jiro shows the others how things should be done. Although he takes other opinions into account, he makes decisions and doesn’t back down from them. A leader is different. And I realized this is probably one of the toughest things to put into practice. Being a leader means being nice to others even if everyone else is not. To refrain from judging others when everyone has some criticism to divulge. It means to hold your ground and stand firm for what you believe. Going against the norm. In a world with peer pressure and office politics, it’s not always easy. If someone slapped me, my natural reaction is I’d want to slap them back. TWICE. But we have to remember to hold ourselves to higher standards, and we’ll get to higher places.

5) Be passionate about your work

The final ingredient. Passion is your driving force, the fuel for your engine. To do all the above without passion is like getting me to count dust and watch myself grow. I will get bored and leave. Likewise, you could trudge around with what you’re doing and eventually get tired of it that you can’t wait to quit. We all lose our fire, our mojo, every once in a while. The trick is getting fired up and not burning out. Do more of what excites you, what makes you come to life, what makes you go to bed thinking “YES! What a great day!” Even if you think you’ve landed yourself in the wrong job, try to find something about it you enjoy. And if there’s absolutely nothing, plan an exit strategy. I have up days and down days all the time but I’ve realized my passion is helping people. Helping them to improve, get better, feel happy, enjoy life, be encouraged, feel confident and achieve the highest potential they possibly can. It’s why I love what I do - physiotherapist, Pilates instructor, piano teacher, photographer and very occasionally, a punching bag. Sometimes what I have to do to enable myself to help others better makes me want to throw in the towel (like research statistics which I won’t bore you with). But the point is to do what you love and love what you do. And remember WHY you’re doing it.

So there it is. Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The movie comes out in the UK on Friday the 11th of January 2013. If you watch it, I hope you find it as interesting as I did. Hopefully I didn’t give too much away. At this point I’m guessing you’ve had enough of me rambling on so I’ll stop here and I should probably get back to data analysis. Someone send me a knight in shining armour please! Or better yet, a dorky statistician in shining armour. Speaking of food, it’s probably time I went and got some. I had melon and cereal for dinner which, funny enough, doesn’t quite fill you up for very long (my mom’s gonna give me a lecture right after reading this).

Have a great weekend! And Christmas and New Year’s!


“You have to fall in love with your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill.” ~ Jiro Ono


Friends,I hope you enjoyed reading Sharon’s write-up as much as I do. I find it very motivational and inspiration to read through her 5 points. And that really reflects who she is. I’m very proud of her! I really hope you will make a point to go and watch this documentary show when it’s out in the cinemas next month, 11th January 2013.

And sure, YES!, I want to scream at my girl for eating melon and cereal for dinner!! She’ll get spanking if she’s at home! She can be very cheeky at times…..*big sigh*. But yet she can make you smile and laugh through her cheekiness and mischiefs and get away with it! Some of the pains and joy of being a mother!

Til then, see you in my next post!

Quote of the day……

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Albert Einstein

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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somewhere in singapore  on December 18th, 2012

Hopping over to your daughter blog, hehe…

Belinda @zomppa  on December 18th, 2012

Great piece and lessons! So cool you got invited,,..this is a fantastic movie, he’s amazing!!

Reana Claire  on December 18th, 2012

wow..your girl can really write! I guess it runs in the family.. :)

Mistletoe AKA Jabby  on December 19th, 2012

Great post by your girl, Mary! She has a very captivating and proficient, yet witty style to her writing that makes the reader want to keep reading more. You can tell from this post and her cute sense of humour that she has a strong drive in life, but she also balances it out with some fun along the way. There’s no doubt in my mind that you must be a very proud mom, and rightly so. As a mom, I must admit that when I see my children grow and figure out things on their own, I feel like I’ve guided them in the right direction. Your teachings and guidance definitely shine through in this post, Mary.

Sharon, wherever your life takes you and whatever goals you’re trying to achieve, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”, never give up, and keep this post in mind. You’ve shared some excellent points with us here and I hope at times when “business mode” kicks in, you’ll be able to reflect on this post and take your own advice. You’re a very smart woman. I know I don’t say that often enough so yes, “jar” that one too. ;) Haha.

Thank you to the both of you for sharing this insightful and lovely post with me. It was a pleasure and eye opener to read what Sharon had taken from this movie. That’s what I love about you, Sharon….that everything is a learning experience for you. Don’t ever change that! Your curiosity is one of your best qualities. :)

Mich Piece of Cake  on December 19th, 2012

That’s a lovely piece by your daughter!

Angie@Angie's Recipes  on December 19th, 2012

Sharon, this is a wonderful guest post for your mom. I need to read it once again to digest the information ;-)) I hope you eat more than just melon and cereal for the dinner and have a joyful holiday season.

rebecca  on December 19th, 2012

i adored this movie what a great opportunity

Blackswan  on December 20th, 2012

U’re such a darling mom, Mary! Sharon is such a talented writer, she has her mom’s genes. Very inspiring post indeed. Even tho’ I’m just back from Tokyo, makes me wanna go back again soon :) xoxo

Sophie  on January 4th, 2013

what a lovely guest post of your daughter, MaryMoh!! :)
happy 2013 to you & her!

Chere  on February 5th, 2013

I watched the movie too! It made me think back to my own work as a wedding planner. We really have to be passionate about our work, and constantly strive to better our services. I am not sure if I can have the same dedication as Mr. Jiro- he is such an inspiration.

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