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Student Orders ‘Cooked Sushi’ At Jiro Restaurant

Student Orders ‘Cooked Sushi’ At Jiro Restaurant


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Leaving a nasty online review after a bad restaurant experience might make a diner feel better, but it doesn’t always make them look very good. One customer found that out recently when she tried to gripe about Sukiyabashi Jiro, the three-Michelin star restaurant owned by Jiro Ono, and found herself roasted by some of the Internet’s nastiest commenters.

According to Rocket News 24, though, it really was all her fault. 23-year-old Chuhan Lin, a student from China, had a reservation for five at what is arguably the greatest sushi restaurant in the world. Her party started by showing up 40 minutes late and not apologizing. Then when the food showed up, they decided raw fish was gross. After tasting two pieces, they decided they wanted to ditch the famous sushi and go for some deep-fried pork cutlets from a nearby restaurant instead.

So Lin and her friends said they didn’t want the rest of their tasting menu, and asked the chef to instead prepare “cooked sushi” for them to take to go.

“Is sushi served cooked in your country?” the chef asked. “If you can’t handle raw food, you should have informed us when you made the reservation!”

“Who knew!?” Lin snapped back, because nobody could have predicted that Sukiyabashi Jiro would serve sushi, or that most sushi is topped with raw fish or seafood.

Like many angry diners around the world, Lin stormed off to vent her frustrations on the Internet, slamming Sukiyabashi Jiro for not being respectful enough to her.

“If we were Abe! If we were Obama! Would he dare to show such an attitude?” Lin complained.

But instead the Internet lashed back, wanting to know what she was doing with such an expensive and difficult to get reservation in the first place if she didn’t even know what sushi was. Some commenters on Weibo, a major Chinese microblogging site, called her a “national disgrace” for her bad behavior abroad.

Lin eventually wilted under the public shaming and took down her post, “because the whole world is scolding me.”

She did say that the Internet scolding taught her a lesson, though, and she said she went back to the restaurant later to apologize. The restaurant was reportedly very nice about it, and told her to come back and visit again when she has acquired a taste for sushi.


Chinese Girls Demand Cooked Sushi at World's Best Sushi Bar. What Happens Next is NOT Shocking

When it comes to sushi, you either love it or you don’t. Sure it’s an acquired taste, but we all know what sushi is. Well apparently this Chinese student didn’t, and when she and her friends visited a rather famous sushi house while studying in Japan, she ended up pissing off the owners and went online to rant on Weibo (the Chinese Facebook) and bad mouth them thinking that her friends would back her up.

Instead, she was met with a backlash of public shame and many called her a disgrace to her country. If this story doesn’t make your Monday just a little more tolerable, it’ll at least put you in the mood for sushi.

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Chinese student Chuhan Lin was studying in Japan when she and four friends decided to try sushi at a branch of the famous Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant in Roppongi, Japan, made famous from the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The restaurant was managed by one of Jiro’s sons and is known the world over for pretty much the best sushi ever.

To eat at this restaurant, you have to make a reservation and pick what you eat before you get there so that they make sure they prepare all the items you order as fresh as possible. Well Lin and her four friends, all Chinese students, showed up 40 minutes late and never even apologized. That’s strike one.

In the restaurant they have a common locker where patrons can store all their things while they eat. One of Lin’s friends wanted to get her wallet from the locker, but didn’t bother to ask the staff to assist her like any normal person would. When someone did find her trying to break in to the communal locker, she was told off, and we are sure the language barrier didn’t help much either. That’s strike two.

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It turned out that two of Lin’s friends didn’t actually like raw fish. Why the hell would they go to sushi then, right? Her two friends ended up bailing to eat deep-fried pork somewhere else down the street- how classy. With only three friends left and a pre-ordered meal waiting for them, they cancelled everything and asked the sushi chef to just cook all the raw fish and package it to go. That was strike three.

The sushi master, probably pissed at these unappreciative kids, asked, “Is sushi served cooked in your country? If you can’t handle raw food, you should have informed us when you made the reservation!”


Q&A with master sushi chef Jiro Lin of Hamano in San Francisco

1 of 4 Hamano sushi chef Jiro Lin poses for a portrait while at his restaurant in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif. Saturday, August 24, 2019. Jessica Christian / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

2 of 4 Hamano sushi chef Jiro Lin poses for a portrait while at his restaurant in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif. Saturday, August 24, 2019. Jessica Christian / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 4 Hamano sushi chef Jiro Lin prepares rice for fresh sushi while at his restaurant in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif. Saturday, August 24, 2019. Jessica Christian / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

4 of 4 Hamano sushi chef Jiro Lin poses for a portrait while at his restaurant in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif. Saturday, August 24, 2019. Jessica Christian / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Sushi to me is like classical music: I know I like it, but I don&rsquot always know why. I couldn&rsquot tell you the difference between a prelude and an etude, or an orchestra and an overture, but I definitely enjoy listening to Bach and Beethoven. I feel the same about sushi, a seemingly simple food that I know contains multitudes.

As ambitious sushi restaurants, particularly those serving omakase, continue to proliferate throughout San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, there are more opportunities than ever to begin to understand the subtle art.

To answer some of my burning questions, I sought out Jiro Lin, the chef-owner of Hamano in Noe Valley (1332 Castro St.), one of the city's more remarkable sushi destinations. Born in Burma, Lin trained in Japan for over 10 years before moving to the United States in 2002, where he&rsquos been honing his craft since. For years, he has been behind the sushi counter at Hamano, a unique restaurant that serves both ends of the Japanese cuisine spectrum: an a la carte menu of California rolls and teriyaki chicken, as well as an extensive omakase option for which Lin has attracted those in the know. (The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

Hamano sushi chef Jiro Lin prepares fish for fresh sushi while at his restaurant in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif. Saturday, August 24, 2019. Jessica Christian / The Chronicle

Omar Mamoon: Where do you get your fish?

Jiro Lin: Ninety-five percent comes from Japan. I get deliveries four days a week. I have two brokers for fish, and an uni specialist. I have close connections from living there.

Q: Why not source local?

A: We are trying. The fishermen here don&rsquot catch specifically for sushi business.

Q: What&rsquos the difference?

A: Storage, handling. In Japan, they catch specifically for sushi business so they handle it differently. The fishermen sometimes gut it as soon as they catch it on the boat to keep the freshness.

Q: During the warm months, what are you looking for?

A: Blue-fish, like mackerel, sardine and saba. Some fish are year-round like snapper or flounder.

Q: What things do you get locally?

A: Salmon from Bodega Bay or Half Moon Bay. When available, we get salmon roe.

Q: Is there a proper temperature to eat sushi?

A: You want the fish slightly chilled, not too chilled. And then the rice you want slightly above body temperature. If it&rsquos too hot, it will cook the fish. And if the fish is too cold, you don&rsquot get the flavor. I keep it around 45 or 50 degrees.

Hamano sushi chef Jiro Lin prepares rice for fresh sushi while at his restaurant in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif. Saturday, August 24, 2019. Jessica Christian / The Chronicle

Q: What&rsquos the one thing you can order at a sushi spot that tells you the skill of the chef?

A: For me, I can tell by the way someone cuts the fish. The cut makes a lot of a difference. Salmon is easy to chew because there&rsquos a lot of fat content, but if you&rsquore cutting some kind of white fish and you cut it in the wrong way, you have to chew it a lot more.

Q: Can you explain the difference between fresh fish and aged fish?

A: Fresh fish is good to be eaten after you filet it, like a strong-flavored fish like mackerel. Some types of fish, you have to cure it, then age it. The main two factors are amino acids and enzymes. I like to age a lot of wild fish like hamachi, sometimes for 30 days.

Q: How can you tell if fish is fresh and of good quality?

A: There are three things: First of all, if you look at the eyes, the eyes should be crystal clear &mdash that means it&rsquos freshly caught. Then you can open the gills &mdash they should be nice and red, not brown. The last thing is: If you touch the fish body, it should be firm.

Hamano sushi chef Jiro Lin prepares fish for fresh sushi while at his restaurant in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif. Saturday, August 24, 2019. Jessica Christian / The Chronicle

Q: Sushi is expensive. Why does good sushi command a great price?

A: If I&rsquom buying a $60 or $70 tray of uni, I have to sell it for $5 per piece. If I sell a $150 piece of uni, it&rsquos because I have to pay $1,500 for the tray. It&rsquos just the ingredients. Forget about my restaurant decorations &mdash it&rsquos ingredients. That&rsquos why a lot of places will price it at market price, because it depends on how much it came in for. Some of the fish, when its season is starting, is crazy expensive.

Q: Where do you go to eat sushi in the Bay Area?

A: Sometimes I stay in my own restaurant and I let my chef make sushi for me. It&rsquos like two birds, one stone. Sometimes I&rsquoll go to Hashiri &mdash I used to work there. I really admire the chef and his technique. I like to go to Sushi Sam in San Mateo, too.

Q: If you were to visit a sushi restaurant, which day is best?

A: People used to say Sunday is a bad day to go because it&rsquos all leftovers. There was a time when that was true. But we get delivery four days a week, so it doesn&rsquot matter. The only difference is the variety. On Thursday and Friday, I have more customers so I have more things to offer.

Q: How can you tell what&rsquos good sushi?

A: For me, when you really love sushi and really explore the real taste of sushi, you don&rsquot need to go to a high-end (restaurant). You just need to know which place has fresh fish and which place has good technique. You can tell when you put that first bite, the portion of rice and size of fish is well balanced and it all blends well in your mouth &mdash that&rsquos good sushi.


Sukiyabashi Jiro すきやばし次郎 – What To Expect, How To Reserve

[Tokyo, Japan] Jiro Dreams Of Sushi. I dreamt of his sushi.

3-star Michelin Sukiyabashi Jiro すきやばし次郎 run by sushi master Jiro Ono has been touted as one of the most difficult restaurants to book in the world, other than Noma and Sushi Saito.

Reservations have to be done a month in advance, in Japanese language with a local number from Japan. Its popularity multiplied after the award-winning documentary.

That means you need a reliable hotel concierge or good Japanese friend to make that call for you on the first day of the month at 9am (Japan time) for the next month.

I had no strings to pull, but fortunate enough to get a booking at the Roppongi branch of Sukiyabashi Jiro (link for reservation details), helmed by second son Takashi Ono. 2-star Michelin nevertheless.

This is one of those meals that I actually felt stressful before entering the restaurant, and made sure I was more than punctual.

For those who are there only because of the movie, I would suggest doing some reading up on the Japanese sushi etiquette and dine at more sushi restaurants prior to going straight to Jiro. Sushi rolls don’t count. (We heard of horror stories of customers requesting for cooked sushi from Jiro.)

There is an option between a sushi or sashimi lunch set. The 15-course lunch set would set you back by 18,400 Yen and 20-course dinner at 25,900 Yen.

At the end of the meal, you would be asked if you wanted additional orders, or one repeat of any of the sushi.

The sushi course could take below 45 minutes. Pace yourself, just eat (don’t eat a heavy meal before this), don’t talk too much.

Our stress was dispersed by the 4th sushi, when the seemingly jovial Chef Ono Takashi and his team interacted with us in simple English, and occasional Mandarin.

He would occasionally refer to the movie, “Have you seen this sushi in OUR movie?” Chef obviously knows how to work his customers.

The American seated next to me was a fan, “Yes I watched it 3 times!”

The stress, however, could be felt on his team. The perfectionist Chef was no-nonsense, and gave some firm but unobstructed telling-off if the food is not prepared up to standard – a fallen grain of rice, or a small stain somewhere.

We didn’t understand Japanese, but non-verbal tell.

There were some of my favourite sushi during the meal.

Uni – Sea Urchin
Do not allow any distractions to come between you and your sushi. Just put the entire uni sushi into your mouth, and savour that rich unparalleled creaminess from the top grade uni from Hokkaido. Umph, oomph.

If you have watched Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, you would know that the nori seaweed used to wrap the sushi is grilled every morning. Such dedication to perfection.

Kuruma Ebi – Japanese Tiger Prawn
These tiger prawn are boiled, allowed to cool for moments before making them into sushi.

The chef recommended for customers to eat the tail, then the head which has fuller flavours due to the innards. Indeed, we all preferred the upper head portion fresh, sweet with bite.

Shin Ika – Juvenile Cuttlefish
Smooth glossy shiny white, full of flavour, savoury.

Areas to note for reservations and dining
– Jiro accepts reservations from 9am of the first day of each month for the following month.
(For eg, if you would like a reservation for August, call on the 1st of July at 9am Tokyo time.)
– The exceptions are Sundays (Ginza branch) and Wednesdays (Roppongi branch) when they are closed, and end-December early-January for annual holidays.
– Reservations have to be made in Japanese.
– Most international customers would make reservations via their hotel concierge.
– Do not be late for the reservations.
– Dress code: Collared shirts or jacket. (No shorts or sandals.)
– Refrain from wearing strong cologne and perfume as that would interfere with the smells and taste of the sushi.
– Observe proper sushi dining etiquette. For example, eat the sushi immediately when it is served and not let it sit, don’t break/bite the sushi into two, don’t dip sushi rice into soya sauce, and don’t separate the sushi topping from the rice. That would be seen as an insult to the sushi chef.

Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi すきやばし 次郎 鮨
Roppongi
3F, Roppongi Hills Keyakizaka Residence B, 6-12-12 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan (10 min walk from Roppongi Station, walk towards Mori Tower and stay on Level 3)
東京都港区六本木6-12-12 六本木ヒルズ けやき坂通り3F
Tel: +81 03 5413 6626
Opening hours: Lunch 11:30am – 2pm, Dinner 5pm – 9pm
Closed Wed and Public Holidays, and during late Dec to early Jan for annual holidays)
Google Maps
Reservation Online – Roppongi branch of Sukiyabashi Jiro

Ginza
B1F, Tsukamoto Sozan Bldg, 4-2-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tel: +81 03 3535 3600
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 2pm, Dinner 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Closed Sun and Public Holidays, and during mid-August, late Dec to early Jan for annual holidays)
Google Maps

* Follow @DanielFoodDiary on Facebook and Instagram for more food news, food videos and travel highlights. Daniel’s Food Diary paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.


Sushi Jiro - Chadstone

For the veggie lovers! Mini Cucumber, Seaweed Inari, Vege Tempura Nigiri, Vege Roll, Avocado Nigiri and Mushroom Salad Inari.

Rock n Roll

A great selection of sushi rolls to get your party rocking! Salmon Avo Rolls, Teriyaki Chicken Rolls, California Rolls and Cooked Tuna Rolls.

Hot Choice

Jiro's Hot Favorite selections! Vegetable Corquette, Takoyaki, Pork Gyoza, Karaage Chicken, Spring Roll and Crab Claw.

Nori Aburi

Tasty Aburi selection of Sushi Rolls and Nigiris. Aburi Teri Salmon, Aburi Cheese Salmon, Aburi Teri Scallop, Nacho Cheese Roll, Lion King Roll, Aburi Salmon Roll and Himalaya Roll.

Salmon Lover

All about salmon for the salmon lovers! Salmon Nigiri, Rolls, Mini Rolls and Sashimi.

Chef's Sashimi

Freshest assortment of Sashimi! Salmon, Kingfish, Tuna, Scampi and Scallop.

Jiro's Favourite

Sushi jiro's favourite selection! Nigiris: Salmon and Scallop. Tunaa and Prawn. Rolls: California and Veggie Catepillar. Salmon lover and Salmon Hokke.

Sushi Deluxe

The all time favourite selection of Sushi Nigiris, Salmon, Scallop, Tuna, Kingfish, Prawn and Unagi.

Premium Selection

Our Premium selection of fresh seafood! Salmon, Kingfish, Tuna, Surf Clam, Scampi, Scallop, Prawn and Ikura Salmon Boat.


Sushi Jiro - Box Hill

For the veggie lovers! Mini Cucumber, Seaweed Inari, Vege Tempura Nigiri, Vege Roll, Avocado Nigiri and Mushroom Salad Inari.

Rock n Roll

A great selection of sushi rolls to get your party rocking! Salmon Avo Rolls, Teriyaki Chicken Rolls, California Rolls and Cooked Tuna Rolls.

Hot Choice

Jiro's Hot Favorite selections! Vegetable Corquette, Takoyaki, Pork Gyoza, Karaage Chicken, Spring Roll and Crab Claw.

Nori Aburi

Tasty Aburi selection of Sushi Rolls and Nigiris. Aburi Teri Salmon, Aburi Cheese Salmon, Aburi Teri Scallop, Nacho Cheese Roll, Lion King Roll, Aburi Salmon Roll and Himalaya Roll.

Salmon Lover

All about salmon for the salmon lovers! Salmon Nigiri, Rolls, Mini Rolls and Sashimi.

Chef's Sashimi

Freshest assortment of Sashimi! Salmon, Kingfish, Tuna, Scampi and Scallop.

Jiro's Favourite

Sushi jiro's favourite selection! Nigiris: Salmon and Scallop. Tunaa and Prawn. Rolls: California and Veggie Catepillar. Salmon lover and Salmon Hokke.

Sushi Deluxe

The all time favourite selection of Sushi Nigiris, Salmon, Scallop, Tuna, Kingfish, Prawn and Unagi.

Premium Selection

Our Premium selection of fresh seafood! Salmon, Kingfish, Tuna, Surf Clam, Scampi, Scallop, Prawn and Ikura Salmon Boat.


Chinese student asks for cooked sushi at Sukibayashi Jiro, gets flamed by Chinese netizens

I think the guys who run these sushi places think of what they do as an art form. More of an expression than just a meal. Just in the way that a customer wouldn't ask an artist to put some bushes in a painting because it would make them happy, these guys don't want to alter their food. I don't think it's too uncommon for high-end restaurants to have a "no alterations policy".

Personally I don't give a shit about artisanal food, give me some gas station pizza and I'll be happy. But I do think people should be run their businesses however they see fit, the customer is always right cannot be universally applied.

But come on, cooked Sushi? That's like going to a nice Italian restaurant and asking for some ketchup to put on your pasta.

I think the guys who run these sushi places think of what they do as an art form.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi will give you direct insight into how they view what they do. Even forgetting the whole controversy here, it's got a very rare 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes. I enjoyed it a lot, but it didn't blow me away as the 99% score would suggest it would. Regardless, it's time you won't regret spending.

The family that runs Jiro don't seem like the types that would ever call their food "art". This is simply a craft that they have perfected down to the finest detail over decades and she was requesting them to do something that quite simply, they don't do. It's like going to a jazz bar and screaming out "let's hear some Skynyrd!"

This is just a clueless girl doing a clueless thing who probably thought because it was a Japanese joint, her comrades would rally around this great injustice. I think she eventually saw the error of her ways, apologized, and we can all get on with our lives now.

How about just not acting like a dickhead in a restaurant. Im glad she apologized, but why even act like that in public?

Who insults restaurant staff anyway? What a dick move.

More like going to an Italian restaurant that serves the world's best spaghetti and complaining because you don't like noodles and would prefer a burger.

In japan, sushi is an art form. You have to respect the artist, if you choose t enter his temple, right? These chinese girls should have eaten sushi in the US, where anything goes to earn the customer's greenback. On the other hand, good luck getting your Korean or Chinese chef to make anything that comes close to Jiro's works.

I'm ashamed of her as the face of Chinese people. I may not like the Japanese government, past history, etc (my prejudices are many, regrettably. ), but come on, asking for cooked sushi? That's classless in such a way that not even Karl Marx would approve.

It amazes me how many Chinese people like their steaks well done.

should have cooked her tongue

As the old saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. It might be difficult to completely understand and adapt to cultural habits, be it in Japan, Rome, or anywhere else, but just as we wouldn’t appreciate foreign visitors doing outrageous things in our homeland, it wouldn’t hurt to do a little research before visiting other countries to avoid doing anything out of line in foreign lands.

Why the fuck would it be different for you, oh - just because you are a nong from 中国? You expect to be treated special? Do you want everyone to change their ways and accommodate your choices? Suck it up.

Sounds like some 官二代 or 富二代 kids just being immature, entitled dicks. 40 minutes late? Can't eat raw fish? Why?

Go check the Shanghaiist article.

Except the chefs at these restaurants did not become chefs to be celebrities these are the best sushi chefs in the world and you go there to eat their food it's not a place you go and ask them to change what they do

Personally hate the entire celebrity chef culture anyway building them up to be larger than life and position assholes such as ramsey or those cretins from Amy's bakery

Pointless, amy's bakery was a totally different ball game. And if you do not like a place, why go? Just to pose in pictures? Post in FB/Twitter - "look, I went to this famous place lol <3 " crap?

you are a fucking idiot. do you even know what Sukiyabashi Jiro is? jiro is one of the best if not THE best sushi chef in the world. Jiro Dreams of Sushi. get the fuck with it man. his Michelin stars outnumber your own fucking sense. he is one of the best chefs in the world. it takes a two month RSVP to get in. people who eat there KNOW where the hell they are eating. those chinese and their ignorance and arrogance just continues to show when they travel abroad. it's like eating dinner at julia child's and saying it tastes gross. GTFO.

she acted with disrespect to one of the most respected chefs in the world. he is not celebrity. he is good with decades experience. these guys put at least a days prep (hours) into food prep. watch the documentary.

if you read later posts she actually came back and apologized for her ignorant behavior. she and her chinese company acted like assholes. how the hell do you dine at a japanese rest. and not know it is raw fish?

this is not gordon ramsey, who does has a michelin stars. nor it is bourdain, ripert, besh, elliot, chang, crenn or colicchio or any other "celebrity" chef you "think" you know. he is not racheal ray or guy diners and dives shit.


Jiro Ono's Son on the Cooked Sushi Incident: 'Everyone Makes Mistakes'

Takashi Ono, son of famed sushi chef Jiro Ono, has accepted the apology of Chinese students who asked for cooked sushi at the branch of the Michelin-starred Sukiyabashi Jiro he manages. The group was chastised on the internet after one of them published her account on the popular Chinese social media site, Weibo. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ono says that after the backlash the student returned to the restaurant and apologized to him. He adds, "Everyone makes mistakes. She didn't need to come back here and apologize, but she did, probably out of her conscience, or because of the flood of criticism she received."

He believes that the incident occurred because of cultural differences. It's common in foreign countries for Japanese restaurants to offer sushi "alongside such items as cooked fish or tempura." This is especially true in China where diners often "wrinkle their noses at the sight of raw meat or to ask for boiled sashimi because they see it as unsafe to eat."

Ono notes however, that ever since the release of the popular documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which features the restaurant, he rarely gets requests for cooked fish, adding that the film has helped "demystify" the food they serve.


Jiro Dreams of Sushi: watch the film and leave a question for the director

Watch the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi and read the director on how one taste of Jiro Ono's fabled sushi was enough to convince him the Tokyo chef deserved a documentary all his own.

Gelb will be answering your questions on Monday 14 January – post them in the comments below

My frequent family trips to Japan while growing up ultimately led to my fascination and admiration for the art of making sushi. After college, I saw BBC's Planet Earth, and immediately thought it would be great if someone made a movie like that about the world's best sushi chef. I have always felt that sushi is the most visually creative food, and a sushi chef the ultimate showman. So I embarked on a tour of Tokyo's greatest sushi restaurants with renowned critic Masuhiro Yamamoto and discovered the famed restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro. Once I had met Chef Jiro and eaten the most delicious sushi of my life, I knew that this man would be the subject of my film.

In addition to the amazing sushi, I was intrigued by the fact that not only is he still working at 85 years old, but his sons still work for him. The son of an alcoholic father who was on his own since the age of 10, Jiro has dedicated his life to mastering his craft and providing an environment where his sons can thrive. It's a very difficult business, and to build the clientele to allow you to provide the quality that Jiro does is not so easy. I'll point to what Jiro mentions in the film, which is that 95% of the preparation happens in the kitchen before he even gets there. That's an amazing testament to what a great teacher he is. His sons have picked all of that up, and the quality of Jiro will always be there with them.

In a difficult business where fish supply is dwindling and the cost of ingredients is rising, Jiro has gained recognition and a loyal following by mastering the art of making sushi in its purest form. I had the opportunity to taste Jiro's sushi while shooting the documentary, and the experience was flawless. What sets Jiro's sushi apart from the rest? The big difference is the rice. In my opinion, a lot of sushi restaurants outside Japan – even the high-end ones – overlook the rice. Jiro's is a little more vinegary than we might be used to and served at body temperature. It is cooked at very high pressure, which allows it to be fluffy but at the same time, each grain retains its shape. So when you eat it, you get this wonderful blend of fish and rice. Jiro has mastered it. It ends up tasting like something completely new.

To make Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I spent eight weeks in Tokyo over the course of two years, gathering footage and delving headfirst into Jiro's world. The editor and my long-time friend, Brandon Driscoll-Luttringer, worked closely with me to bring out this man's story, looking to illustrate how his work ethic had shaped his character and that of his sons. Although it is very much about the sushi, this film is not simply a foodie documentary. It's the story of a man who has devoted his life to mastering a craft.

Jiro's refusal to quit reminds me of my grandparents, who still rise at 5am every morning to write. This is why they are still so sharp. Like Jiro, they never stop improving. This act of propelling oneself forward and never looking back is one of the main themes of the film.

I hope you enjoy watching my documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. I'll be back on Monday 14 January to answer your questions, so please post them below!


Dreamy footage but rude storyline awakening in ‘Jiro’

In a tiny store nestled into a Tokyo Metro station, Jiro Ono’s skilled hands are dancing at his restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. Rice, fish and sauce are combined into a tiny bundle of flavor that can overwhelm every sense. Only the most select ingredients from Tokyo’s fish market and the best rice dealers are acceptable for Jiro’s sushi, and they are prepared with vigorous ritual and care. Jiro’s tiny shop has gained fame in the food critic community, and his brilliance is the focus of David Gelb’s first major documentary, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”

As tiny as Jiro’s sushi shop is, it has been called one of the finest in the world by the Michelin Guide, receiving a rare three-star rating. A food critic in “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” said not only is it worth coming to Japan just to dine at Sukiyabashi Jiro, but that when it was judged by Michelin it was Jiro’s eldest son, Yoshikazu, making the sushi, noting that the full genius of Jiro’s sushi was not critiqued. The price tag on one lunch or dinner at Sukiyabashi Jiro is a whopping 30,000 Yen, or roughly $375, and reservations must be placed at least a month in advance.

Watching Jiro and his apprentices making and preparing sushi on screen is mesmerizing. Even rice being cooked and readied is engaging and fascinating. Gelb’s camera work captures Jiro’s 75 years of sushi-making experience put to the test with each mound of rice molded, every slice of tuna and every stroke of the brush filled with succulent sauce. Fitting classical music is added to turn Jiro’s serving of guests into a waltz. Despite some clashing cinematographic techniques, Jiro’s craft is guaranteed to keep an audience’s attention.

But “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is not all about sushi. The film jumps its focus from Jiro and his sons’ personal lives and their lives with sushi. There is no clear distinction in the storytelling because the entire family’s focus is on each person’s work. Jiro visits his hometown, tells of his time during and after World War II, and describes his upbringing. The film also covers the differences between Jiro’s children.

While Yoshikazu works at his father’s Sukiyabushi Jiro, his younger son, Takashi, manages another branch of the shop. Jiro explains how his sons were drawn to different aspects of the sushi-making business, and how he is very proud of their dedication.

Jiro explains his philosophy of hard work and how he has devoted his life entirely to sushi. He is trying to achieve perfection in his technique but says he will probably never make the sushi to beat them all. Yoshikazu says hard work will only take one so far and that talent must carry quality the rest of the way to perfection. American audiences may disagree with these claims, but the way they are presented in “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is an interesting look into the Japanese traditional mindset.

“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” touches on a lot of topics not relating to Jiro that tear away from the film’s focus. For example, while shots of Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market are eye-opening and engrossing, much of this footage feels like fluff to try to make the film longer. There is too much focus on aspects that don’t adhere to the theme of Jiro’s hard work.

A serious lack of direction also harms the film’s overall flow. There are so many peaks in narrative that could have been used to end the film that when the finale finally arrives, audiences may wonder if there is more. The tale of Jiro could have been told in a much more straight-forward fashion, but instead Jiro’s life is poorly chopped up. While it’s not impossible to make sense of the jumps, it doesn’t do Jiro justice.

“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is entirely in Japanese with English subtitles, immersing the audience in Jiro’s thoughts and imagination. It should be noted, however, that the translation is embellished. Often, when Jiro was giving specific information, his words were changed to more lucid, poetic responses. Jiro’s actual demeanor of language in Japanese is straight-forward, looking to convey his thoughts concisely instead of using the flowing language of the subtitles.

Seeing a master of sushi at work is an incredible experience. But as a film, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” misses the mark on putting together a good documentary.


Anthony Bourdain Explains His Hyper-violent Sushi Master Epic, ‘Get Jiro’

While he’s best-known as a chef and host of shows like CNN’s Parts Unknown, if you ask Anthony Bourdain to describe his profession in as few words as possible, he’d probably mention he’s a writer first. “On a good writing day,” Anthony Bourdain told Men’s Journal in this month’s cover story, “I’ll write myself into a corner, then spend the rest of the day trying to solve the problem.” Although his most well-known book is probably the 2000 memoir about working in kitchens from New York to Japan, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, Bourdain has also dabbled in crime fiction, and the 2012 graphic novel about a killer sushi master, Get Jiro!, which Vulture’s Abraham Riesman called “a lysergic mixture of Top Chef and The Warriors.”

Anthony Bourdain on Hangovers, Regret, and Finding a Calling

Next month, Bourdain will team back up with co-writer Joel Rose along with Alé Garza and Dave Johnson, and revisit Jiro, this time with a prequel set in Japan that tells his origin story, Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi. Men’s Journal caught up with Bourdain to talk about his love of subversive comics, dystopian fiction, and how he functions as a writer even with a schedule that doesn’t have too many moments to spare.

You talk about the influence of music and writers like William Burroughs. Were you a comic book fan growing up?
Yeah, I was. I collected Golden Age EC comics. I grew up reading the original Mad magazine. I was a big fan of the old Mad from the ’50s with Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman. It was back when Mad was a comic book. They were really disturbed, something really dark and filled with anxiety and sex and violence. So I wanted to be a comic artist. Then that sort of morphed and I wanted to be an underground cartoonist like R.Crumb or Robert Williams or a lot of the stuff that was underground that were really exciting to me. I wasn’t a very dedicated art student, to put it that way. I sort of put those dreams aside. But I had a sizable and impressive collection of comics, so when I got the opportunity to work on one a few years ago, it was kind of a realization of unfulfilled dreams.

I was trying to describe your first graphic novel, Get Jiro!, to a friend, and the only thing I could come up with was this cross between Kill Bill with JG Ballard and William Gibson and food thrown in, kind of. How did you come up with it?
It’s aspirational in a lot of ways. I was sitting at Sushi Yasuda in New York, and the chef there is a friend and somebody I really respect. I’m well aware of the many, many years it took him just to learn how to cook rice properly before his master allowed him to work with the fish. And I was sitting there as these two wealthy knuckleheads sit down at this bar and immediately start stirring a big wad of his hand-grated, fresh wasabi into a dish of soy sauce with the intention of dunking, unseen and untried, his sushi in there, and I saw a look of pain and discomfort. I thought, man, wouldn’t it be great if he could just reach across the bar and slice their heads off. So that was the jumping off point. Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where disrespecting good sushi could get you killed and no one would care? In my fiction, people who don’t know how to eat or who do terrible things to food tend to get killed.

Something that runs through all of your projects, TV or writing, is the theme that food isn’t something to be taken lightly.
You know, I worked in an industry for 30 years, and more often than not, the chefs were punished for their best efforts. There’s a disconnect, for much of my career anyway, between what we were doing in the kitchen and how hard we worked on things and how they might have been appreciated. You know, the lives of our costumers are very different, and very remote from the lives we lived in the kitchen. I guess that has something to do with it.

So food and strife go hand-in-hand?
There’s nothing more political than food. As I travel around the world, it’s either intensified a national or ethnic vibe, or something that people fight or struggle every day to have. I mean, who’s eating and who’s not eating. When I’m traveling, countries where food isn’t worth arguing about are not countries I generally enjoy being in.

How Anthony Bourdain Dives Into a City

In the Tokyo episode of Parts Unknown, you say your first time in the city, where the graphic novels are set, was transformative. What kind of effect does the city have on you still?
You confront it right away with all of the things you don’t know. You know it’s such a steep learning curve, even mastering one block in Tokyo — it’s so densely packed with stimulus and little worlds within worlds. Just learning to behave appropriately by Japanese standards is an impossible task. It’s so different, so stimulating, and when you go there for the first time — when I went for the first time — you really are forced, in a violent way, I think, to re-examine this notion that you come from the center of the world. That’s immediately brought into deep question. Everything you thought was true has to be re-examined now because you realize, ‘Wow, maybe I don’t live in the center of the world. Maybe I have a whole hell of a lot to learn.’ It threw me off kilter in a wonderful way that I’ve never recovered from.

People like to speculate who Jiro is based on.
It has been erroneously reported that there is a connection between the character and [sushi master, subject of the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi] Jiro Ono. There isn’t.

You’ve had a number of successful nonfiction books, and you’ve written some crime fiction as well. How do you approach a graphic novel differently?
I like to start all my stories with a character and with a dialogue and a situation. Joel Rose is my co-author and he’s had a lot more experience working in graphic novels, so as far as pacing and how to break down a story into digestible pieces but work in a graphic way, that’s something he’s much better at than me. But it started as a story: the dialogue, details, and atmospherics, these are the things I like. The mechanics of making its layout, mapping out a plot in a dramatically coherent and satisfying way is the most difficult part for me. I tend to not care about plot much either when I read or write. Like a good Elmore Leonard book, I don’t care what happens. I like the characters. I like to lose myself in the details, the atmospherics, and the lushness of the dialogue. One of things that’s great about Elmore Leonard, for instance, is you really don’t care whodunit, because he tells you whodunit right away. It’s not a mystery.

H ow do you carve out time to write? Do you have some sort of schedule?
I write first thing in the morning. I found that I’m a morning person. I always write first thing in the morning before I have time to think up any of the million good reasons why I shouldn’t or couldn’t be writing. I also tend to get progressively stupider as the day progresses, so I’m at my best in the morning. I try to jump on that quickly, write for as long as I can and then go about my business.

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Watch the video: Sushi Chef Reviews Cheap Sushi (June 2022).


Comments:

  1. Meztli

    Of course, it is never possible to be safe.

  2. Alaric

    the phrase Brilliant and is timely

  3. Aurel

    Bravo, great thought

  4. Moogunris

    It's always nice to read smart people.

  5. Marshall

    Your choice is not easy

  6. Kigazuru

    must be sure to check it out **)



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