Yes, this is a documentary about sushi. But it’s so much more than that as well.
In it, you meet Jiro, an 85-year-old man that has dedicated his entire life to one, single pursuit: making the best sushi the world has ever seen. While Jiro modestly downplays his skills and achievements, his 3 Michelin stars speak for themselves: this man’s sushi is without equal.
As you would expect from an award-winning documentary, the pacing, narrative structure, and interviews are handled extremely well and entertain and touch you. What I really loved, however, was Jiro’s complete embodiment of the timeless principles of mastery.
As I watched this film, I was constantly reminded of one of my favorite quotes from the late Stanley Kubrick:
“However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
Jiro was abandoned by his father when he was seven years old and never saw him again. He started making sushi at 19 and never looked back.
To me, there’s something profound and beautiful about a person that has the courage to say, “I’m going to make it my life’s work to master this one skill.” And then actually do it.
This approach to living highlights a major common denominator of all the people I know that are struggling in life financially and/or “existentially” (what I am doing and where am I going?): they’re not really good at anything that matters.
For years and years they’ve frittered their time away with meaningless activities, of which modern society offers many, and now they wonder why they can’t earn a good living or why they have nothing they truly feel passionate about?
Well, while Jiro’s level of devotion to his craft makes you wonder if he has any secret regrets or unfulfilled wishes, it also hows us how to save ourselves from the misery of listlessness: the way to escape life’s inherent purposelessness is to assign it purpose, and only we can do that. Only we can supply our own light.