Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, and a bit about hard beginnings

The depth and real joy that comes from doing something with all your heart is a lost art in a modern life that values monetary returns and academic degrees.

But beyond the exterior of what constitutes success in a society which sees only the exterior, there are the rich rewards of personal growth that come from living the life of a master.

A master is a person who has devoted his life to the search, the study and perfection of himself along with his craft and philosophy.
It is a person who has overcome many difficulties, but has kept on going… A person who was motivated from within…

I do believe that a life of personal growth and yearning to improve oneself, of being open to new knowledge, to understanding life more fully and to finding contentment in the appreciation of the little things in life, is a much more rewarding life than a life that is focused on exterior pursuits.

I also always enjoy either meeting people who live such a life, or even hearing about them, or watching a documentary about such people….
That is why I was excited to hurry up and finish eating breakfast at our hotel…. I wanted to catch the documentary movie called “Jiro Dreams Of Sushi.”

We put on our jackets and armed with umbrellas, we took the Inner Link Bus to the Rialto Cinema at Newmarket in Auckland.
There, among other people like us who enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching movies during the day, while the rest of the world toils to earn a living, we watched a movie about a humble man, who owns a tiny restaurant underground, in the Tokyo Subway (at the busy Ginza station).

Jiro’s restaurant may be nothing but a small sushi bar with ten bar stools, but it is the only such place that was ever awarded a THREE Michelin stars.

Jiro works with his older son and some apprentices.
His younger son runs his own place, which is the same size and employs the same concept, except that it is a little cheaper and it is located in the Rappongi Hills area of Tokyo.

Jiro serves only sushi.
There are no appetizers, and no cooked food.
He believe in minimalism and in doing one single thing good.

A meal consists of twenty sushi pieces, from fresh fish that Jiro (or by now his son, since Jiro is eighty five now) picked very carefully that very morning at the famous Tokyo fish market.

Those twenty pieces of exquisite and delicate sushi, cost each diner 30,000 Japanese Yen ($375 US).
When the movie was made, the waiting list for a seat at Jiro’s place was one year.
The waiting list today is three years long, and it will secure you a seat either for lunch or dinner.

The movie follows Jiro as he explains that his philosophy is that after you have picked a career, you must fall in love with all aspects of it, and strive all your life to constantly improve yourself and your craft.

I enjoyed the movie, and I fully agree with Jiro…

I believe in living life as a journey of self discovery, and in devoting your heart and soul to the search and finding of the Truth….

I do it as a student of Truth, and I also do it as an artist…
I love to emerge myself in my new devotional art style, and paying close attention to the details of the art has its own rewards…

The life of a master may not look like much to outsiders and onlookers…
There are no red carpets, no glamourous dresses and no diamonds and jewelry worn…
Some of the masters I met were humble and self effacing…. Minimizing their achievements and making it sound effortless…. Even though it was apparent that their lives had sacrifices and hardship…

Jiro does not take vacations.
They are too long and not enjoyable to him… He loves his work and does not like being away from it.

I heard that Mark Rothko, the Abstract Impressionist artist, also did not like taking vacations.
His daughter said that he did not enjoy trips, and disliked being away from his studio in New York City.

I recently saw three documentaries about the Abstract Impressionist movement in the USA.
They had some rare film footage, including interviews with most of the artists that were working at that time.
By now, most of them have passed on, but their artwork is now selling for many millions of dollars.
It was not at all so when they lived and worked in New York.

They described that the public wasn’t interested at all in their art, or in art in general.
They said that the ONLY people who attended art openings across the city, were other artists who had no money nor interest in buying another artist’s work anyway…

They said that they put on art shows anyway……even though they knew nobody would see their art nor collect it….
They said that often after art openings, which were only attended by artists and a few bitter critics who hated everything they did, but had to be there as an assignment from the newspapers, they would gather and go to eat cheap Chinese food in Chinatown, to try and cheer themselves up…

It made me wonder if simply all beginnings in life are hard….
It takes time to establish a good relationship…
It takes time and effort to carve a meaningful career…
It is hard to walk the path of Light, when at first so many things appear to be contrary to it….

When people tell me that I live a privileged life today, I often stop and reflect about how difficult and hard my path in life had often been….
Yes, beginnings are hard…. But they are worth it too!
The journey is not without a destination and we must remember to laugh along the way….. Because the rewards are GREAT!

We spent the rest of day continuing to plan and book our trip to Japan, and we ended it with eating some inspired sashimi at Ebisu, a great restaurant that we have not tried before, in the Britomart area of downtown Auckland.
It was a good day!

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