Sunday, 10 May 2020

Life Lessons from a 94-Year-Old Chef: Jiro Dreams of Sushi Documentary

Have you ever thinking about watching an interesting documentary recently? Check out Jiro Dreams of Sushi on Netflix!

The best thing about watching documentaries is that they are very refreshing and you will learn more about other perspectives and life lessons in life, especially when it comes from the elder people.

I’ve watched a few popular ones such as Justin Bieber, Steve Job, and M for Malaysia starring Tun Mahathir. 

In Jiro Dreams of Sushi by David Gelb, you will found many important values and bits of advice that are relatable and inspiring. It is assuredly thoughtful to those who are still looking for their true passion, wanting to understand better the meaning of working life, and aspire to have the best skills and talent to be a success. Jiro Dream of Sushi is for you.


Jiro Ono is a-94-year old sushi chef and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Japanese sushi restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo Japan. He started working from the age of seven after his father left and disappeared. Since then, he lived on his own, working at a local restaurant in his hometown, TenryĆ« (now Hamamatsu) in Shizuoka before moving to Tokyo to learn how to make sushi. He became a qualified sushi chef when he was 26 and 14 years later in 1965, he opened his first restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro.


This film is starting with an introduction that questions “What defines “deliciousness”?”.
As the oldest sushi chef (94 years old in 2020), the sushi he made is completely simple and minimal. Master chefs around the world are wondering how something so simple can have so much depth in flavor? Jiro concludes that “Ultimate simplicity leads to purity”.

So, here I’ve listed some of the best advice and sayings from this movie that touched my heart deeply. I hope when you are watching this, you will learn something new and meaningful too!

Inspiring quotes and sayings:

1. Making the same effort every day. We’re not trying to become elite or exclusive. In this line of business, if you take it seriously, you’ll become skilled. But if you want to make a mark in the world, you have to have a talent. The rest is how hard you work”. (Yoshikazu, Jiro’s son)

2. “If it doesn’t taste good you can’t serve it. It has to be better than last time”. (Jiro Ono)

3. “It’s essential to check every detail”. (Jiro Ono)

4. “He just works relentlessly every day. That’s how shokunin is. They aren’t trying to be special. They just repeat the same thing every day”.

5. “Jiro Ono, he repeats the same routine every day. He doesn’t like the holiday. It’s tiring for him to doing nothing”.

6. “It’s normal to be competitive when you are younger. You need competition in order to improve”.

7. “He knows everything about rice. He’s different from the other dealers. He knows so much. That’s why we trust him”.

8. “Everybody loves our rice, but if they can’t cook it, what’s the use? What’s the point of buying rice you can’t cook? You can’t cook rice with a big talk”.

9. “The most important part of making sushi is creating a union between the rice and the fish. If they are not in complete harmony, the sushi won’t taste good”.

10. “Our father was always strict with himself”.

11. “Studying hard doesn’t guarantee you will become a respectable person. Even if you’re a bad kid, there are people like me who change”.

12. “Always doing what you are told doesn’t mean you’ll succeed in life

13. “Even at my age, after decades of work, I don’t think I have achieved perfection. But I feel ecstatic all day, I love making sushi

Does it sound good to you as well? I feel like these words have made its impact on me especially when I’m at my lowest motivation.

In this film, you'll get some insights into why people can work at the same job for many years and still love what they are doing. Jiro Ono teach you that life is about deciding your job, make the best effort to learn and improve skills, and most importantly love what you are doing. You will be the most skilled person in your job.


Looking at the feedback for his restaurant, people said he is seen as someone stern while serving sushi at the counter. Some visitors may feel uncomfortable and nervous by sitting in front of him.

There are also reports saying that the service is poor especially if you are a foreigner. Jiro Ono is a very influential chef and he might have a certain standard of customers he wants to serve. Who knows, maybe some of the customers failed to follow the rules and guidelines while entering the restaurant.

As a result, Jiro Sushi currently doesn’t accept any more reservations from the general public. The restaurant is opened only for regular customers, or people with special connections. Their 3-Michelin star was canceled due to the changed requirement.

Jiro’s Personality

Jiro is extremely observant and considerate. He is watching his customers closely, make the sushi different sizes depending on the customer’s gender. He said, “if I made every body’s the same size, it would disrupt the pace of the meal, so I make the sushi a little smaller for the ladies”.

He is a perfectionist too. To serve the customers, he planned and prepared well. The first thing he did when serving the customers was to memorize the seating arrangement. If Jiro notices a guest is using his left hand, the next piece of sushi will be placed on the left side. He adjusts accordingly to that guest he served. “I’m left-handed, so I understand how left-handed people feel.” That shows how considerate he is.

Another amazing quality I learned about him is he’s tremendously hardworking. He is always working. At 70, he was hospitalized due to having a heart disease problem. His family thought it’s time for him to retire but he keeps working even after three times thinking of retiring.

Last but not least, he has astonishing trust for his vendors who are experts in their field.

So, anyone loves sushi? If you are someone who aspires to become a chef one day, maybe these tips will help you:

What attributes a Great Chef must have:

  1. They take their work very seriously and constantly perform at the highest level.
  2. Aspire to improve their skills
  3. Cleanliness. If the restaurant doesn’t feel clean, the food isn’t going to taste good.
  4. Impatience. They are better leaders than collaborators. They are stubborn and insist on having on things their way. They are the best in what they do. They are passionate.
  5. Perfectionist.

Thank you for reading and go enjoy it on Netflix! :)