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Dec 13, 2011 06:00 AM

Jiro Dreams of Sushi - the movie.

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  1. It makes me want to go. Japanese food writers too really love this guy.

    11 Replies
      1. re: Scharn

        FWIW, there are several reports on the internet that he's a total jerk. Read this post and the comments below.

        1. re: sushigirlie

          Jiro has this documentary shot by an American filmmaker which means that probably over months a foreign film crew followed his every move. Hard to believe anyone who had a problem with foreign patrons would allow this.

          That being said, if you are 85 yrs old, have 3 michelin stars and are declared a national treasure you probably earned the right to put pretentious patrons in their place, I certainly would.

          1. re: sushigirlie

            PS: Here's a review by an American food blogger who stays in Tokyo:

            "Chef Ono’s dishes are simple and straight forward: the freshest fish imaginable, warm carefully selected and cooked rice, deft knife work, and a collection of wise and sarcastic jokes. He is very serious. But unlike Masa, he was faster to crack a smile. He couldn’t stop smirking at how I took a picture of each piece of sushi and even offered to pose; though, his sharp sushi knife was a forceful deterrent. He has a funny sense of humor and is full of clever quips; my limited Japanese only understood the surface."


            1. re: Scharn

              Saw this a few weeks ago at the Napa Film Festival. It was beautifully filmed and inspires one to go there, or I guess as a foreigner to his son's place. As a sushi lover and having been to a few of the best in the US, it didn't teach me anything new about sushi, rice, types of fish, but it did offer more than a glimpse of his process. The scenes at Tsukiji were great.

              1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

                Did you think the movie pushes people to visit his son more so than the old man?

                1. re: lost squirrel

                  Not at all. It wasn't until after I saw the film that I learned that non Japanese speakers are not welcome at his restaurant, if that's true.

                  1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

                    Sukiyabashi Jiro alternative sequence, just for you...30mn to feel alive !!! Actually, i am not joking, this is really how i feel in that tiny sushi place.. To keep up the atmosphere, the chef Ono Jiro will take no more that 5-6 clients at a time, so he can concentrate and interact approprialy. He may seem cold to people expecting the service to be as transparent as possible.
                    As for foreigners, i have seen many, as almost everytime, they didn`t spoke japanese.
                    So i suspect he oughts to limit a bit the numbers of foreigners per night... It would be easy to have the counter full of foreigners thanks to his fame, but well, i think nobody will be happy with it, right ?

            2. re: sushigirlie

              Andy Hayler clearly had a nasty experience. But I'm always a little suspect of this. It's quite possible Jiro is the height of dickiness, but since I've joined CH (and experience on other internet lists/forums) I realize I've had stellar experience at restaurants where a select few have had (reportedly) terrible and rude experiences. And when you know restauranteurs - you get to hear their side of the story (which is hilarious stuff - especially when you get a few of these people around swapping horror stories). I've even heard a few nasty stories about some C-Hounders. In this case? I wonder if Hayler wasn't dressed right. Or was wearing tennis shoes, or something that just rubbed the old guy the wrong way. (Old people - men especially, can be rubbed wrong rather easily!). I've only had two genuinely bad experiences in my many decades of eating in restaurants. One was in Paris where a waiter brought a raspberry tort that had - no kidding - aphids on it. And when I pointed it out, he acted like I was complaining. He replaced the tart with one that had fewer aphids. He shrugged and took it away. And still charged me for the tart! (And I was wearing tennis shoes - but then this wasn't a formal restaurant). The second time was this year with the bald GM at The Little Door.

              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                Rule of thumb: Never, ever, wear tennis shoes. Unless when playing tennis.

                1. re: Scharn

                  .....I am wearing tennis shoes now at work. :P

          2. I had the chance to see this at a documentary festival last summer. It was a beautiful and fascinating film. Most chowhounds would love it. Lovely shots of the food, great storytelling.

            I also had a chance to see the El Bulli film, which I also adored, though I think it might be a little slow for those less completely fascinated by food and/or molecular gastronomy.

            1. I am kicking this post back up (I was going to make a new post, but..).

              This film will be released on March 9th, 2012 (very soon), and so far it has excellent reviews (100% fresh tomatoes) on rotten tomatoes:



              11 Replies
                1. re: cowboyardee

                  Thanks cowboy. I think I will try to watch it. Either hunt down a theater or rent it if I cannot watch it in a theater. I like these movies.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I'd have a hard sell trying to get my wife to watch it. But I'm sure I can sneak off on my own and get my fix of cinematic sushi.

                    1. re: cowboyardee


                      I watched a movie called King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters:


                      The premise is about two guys fighting to get the highest score of a video game, but the story is so much more. It transcends video games. It is about family, forgiveness, honesty, fairness, work ethnics....etc.

                      I expect the same for this movie. I really don't think it is only about sushi. It seems it is really about the relationship between the father and the son, and family reputation, customer respect...etc. I seriously doubt any movie solely about sushi will get such a high score for movie review.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I've seen that movie. I love how they created a kind of epic Good vs Evil battle out of a bunch of 40 year old guys competing in arcade Donkey Kong.

                        I think I saw that the director of "Jiro..." also directed 'Man on a Wire' which is a pretty cool little documentary, especially considering they had no video footage of the main event of the film. That was about a Frenchman who tightrope-walked between the two towers of the World Trade Center as something between a prank and performance art.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          "Jiro Dreams Of Sushi" was directed by David Gelb; it is his first full-length documentary feature. "Man On Wire" was directed by James Marsh.

                          1. re: od_sf

                            It seems you're right. Don't remember where I got the misinformation. Thanks for the correction.

                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Finally saw the film. I liked it a lot. Rented it on netflix.

                      Just want to point out that the bonus features on the DVD might be of interest to chowhounds/foodies. A lot of the deleted scenes and extra material are more intensely focused on sushi-making than the rest of the movie - I'm guessing the director wanted to avoid letting the film get too in-depth about the food itself so as not to turn off potential viewers who aren't sushi nerds, but included some more of the sushi-focused footage as DVD extras for those of us who are.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        I see, so it is on Netflix DVD now. I have the Netflix online, and it is not available at this moment. Good to know about the bonus features.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Apart from getting a physical copy of the CD you can also "rent" it to view or "buy" it to keep on your computer from Amazon. :-)

                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    It may already be released. I saw it on Netflix months ago. Nice movie, but a bit slow moving. Interesting to learn about real sushi from a master, as opposed to the multitudes of sushi places in the US with poorly trained chefs, not to mention gas stations, supermarkets, hospital cafeterias, etc. I wonder what Jiro would think of those?

                    Oops, sorry, didn't read far enough down the thread.

                  3. Fascinating documentary. It's playing at Lincoln Plaza Cinema in NYC.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: fm1963

                      I know. I searched for it, but this is too far for me. :( Maybe it will play in NJ or Philly soon. If not, I will have to rent it. :)

                        1. re: huiray

                          Thanks. Looks like Philly will eventually play it. Good. :)

                    2. I just finished watching the movie. Great film. I love the pace of the movie. Slow, beautiful, calming. Of course, as I have suspected that sushi is the topic, but not the focus. The focus is about dedication, expectation, hard working, modesty...etc. They could have easily talk about soba noodle or Chinese fried rice. The relationship between the father and the two sons is very nice.

                      I won't give away too much, but in the beginning of the film, you would wonder if the elder son Yoshikazu can live up to his father skill, then at the end you will find out more about Yoshikazu. I can be very sensitive when I watch movies, and I was very touched at a couple incidents in the film.

                      Definitely watching if you can find a theater nearby showing it, if not rent it.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        You're teasing me too much with these lead-ins. :) Your being pulled into this movie is like the gravity from a black hole - it's pulling the rest of us hopelessly in...

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          :) You should at least rent it. I understand it can be a real pain to watch it in theater since it is only played in a limited number of theaters.

                            1. re: huiray

                              By the way, thanks for your above post, Huiray. I was giving up watching it in the theater because I couldn't find one remotely near me on the opening day/week, but your post showed that the movie is opening at different locations at different dates.

                              Well, it won't be bad to watch it at home, but it is nicer to watch it in the theater.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Heh. You're welcome.

                                Well, it opens in Indy on 4/6/2012...a new addition to the roster, I think, as I did not notice it before when I first posted that link. Hmm.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            I just saw the film this weekend, and really enjoyed it - more than I thought I would. I'm not a huge fan of documentaries or of sushi, but the movie was really well done, not too long (80 mins I think), and made me really want to go to this restaurant in Tokyo. Like Chemicalkinetics says, the pace was good, lots of beautiful shots, and some interesting things to think about (to me, raised some good ethics questions about meaning/purpose of life). I thought some of the food sequences were a bit overdramatic (slow motion sushi action), but other sequences and sections were fascinating (the parts where they are at the fish market, for example). I definitely recommend it, and think it'll be good to rent eventually if it's not in a theater near you.

                            Dave MP

                            1. re: Dave MP

                              :) I laughed at several parts of the movies, like the part that Jiro talked about "when today parents say stupid things like this, no wonder the kids fail". He is very tough, and most today parents will likely to disagree with him, but Jiro does has a point.

                              There was a short scene which described the chef behind the Michelin reviews, and I love that part.

                              "it'll be good to rent eventually if it's not in a theater near you."

                              Absolutely agree with you.