A while back I came across this amazing documentary of Master Sushi Chef Jiro Ono, owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant. I told anyone who would listen, especially artists, that they HAD to see this mind blowing film. You may be asking yourself now “what does a sushi master and an artist (or any other profession for that matter) have in common?” The answer is deceptively simple, mastery of one’s craft through a conscious and disciplined daily practice.
Right from start of the film, Jiro issues this edict: “Once you decide upon an occupation you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably.”
Jiro approaches his craft in the way of “Shokunin” (meaning artisan), the Shinto belief in executing everything perfectly, every single day, over an entire lifetime. Anything can be approached in the Shokunin way, no job is considered inferior or beneath oneself. The wisdom here is obvious and applicable to anyone’s life.
I kept having to stop the movie to take notes. Here is some more advice worth remembering:
“It really comes down to making an effort & repeating everyday”
“It has to be better than the last time. That is why I am always tasting during preparation”
“Each of our vendors are specialists in their field (i.e. surround yourself with excellence and use only the best materials)”
“All I want to do is make better sushi. I improve bit by bit, day after day and progress forward. But no one knows where the top is”
“In order to make delicious food you must eat delicious food (in other words, in order to make great paintings you must see great paintings)”
“Without good taste, you cannot make good food (educate your tastes)”
“If your taste is not better than your customers how will you impress them?”