Today, I camped myself up in a hotel room in my hometown, Lucena. I am not feeling well, I would’ve wanted to socialize a little. Just a wee bit. But I can’t really get up. Thus the attempt to cheer myself up by watching this documentary titled Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
As I watched on, I was actually surprised that their work ethic spoke to me more than the delicious musical montage of one sushi after another. From my Japanese theater elective in college, I have come to appreciate the Japanese people to be known and respected for their discipline.
Everything should be practiced to reach perfection, even in your dreams.
The other thing that caught my attention was the word shokuhin. My friend, Hannah, and I used this as a hypothetical name for our fast food project in our restaurant design class. I think we originally thought that it meant “food”, I actually don’t remember our spiel for this presentation (But we did get 100. Heh.)
When I searched it again, I found out it had a deeper meaning for it. In its most basic level it means “artisan” but for an apprentice to become a shokuhin, it will take years — even decades.
To be a shokuhin is not just having the knowledge of technical skill but the enthusiasm and consciousness to perfect a craft – and to have the passion for as long as you live to make it better. It means understanding the social mandate that once you choose your career, you do it well and with full of love for it.
86 at that time, Jiro Ono still thinks his work can still improve. He is regarded as the best in his industry to the point that his restaurant is regarded as enough reason alone to visit Japan. He still dreams of making his sushi better and has no desire to retire anytime soon.
I’d like to be a Jiro in my field. 80-something, smiling humbly on my way to work. And eating good sushi while I’m at it.