Inspiration from a sushi chef

Recently, Craig Earl (@beardedtester) posted on Software Testing Club asking “Who Has Inspired You?” (here). My immediate response to this question is Jiro Ono. I learned about Jiro watching a documentary on Netflix called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t like sushi. If you do, you’ll drool the whole time – be prepared!

Jiro Ono is an 85 (or 86 now) year-old sushi chef. He holds 3 Michelin stars in his 10-seat restaurant, which is unheard of. Jiro is the very definition of a craftsman. In the beginning of the documentary he says:

Once you decide your 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 is the secret of success, and is the key to being regarded honorably.

I find this to be so inspiring in the first few minutes of the film. I immerse myself in my work. I love my work. I do, however, complain about my job sometimes 😛 I am dedicating myself to mastering my skill(s), and I am finding some level of success in it. I am Jiro!

A food critic featured in the documentary that is “still nervous” every time he enters Jiro’s restaurant, says the follow, which I think matches up with any craft:

A great chef has the following five attributes:

First, they take their work very seriously and consistently perform on the highest level.

Second, they aspire to improve their skills. 

Third is cleanliess.

The fourth attribute is impatience. They are better leaders than collaborators. They’re stubborn and insist on having it their way.

And finally, a great chef is passionate.

Sure, they don’t all apply to all crafts (cleanliness being one – my desk looks like a dust bunny tornado hit it!), but in general, these five attributes make anyone great at their profession.

I think I love this documentary so much because even the fish vendors say some profound things! One says:

Just when you think you know it all, you realize you’re just fooling yourself and then you get depressed…

He then laughs for a moment, then looks a bit uncomfortable…

Finally, Jiro’s eldest son says this at the very end:

Always look ahead and above yourself. Always try to improve on yourself. Always strive to elevate your craft.


I just watched this documentary again tonight because I really needed some inspiration. Jiro Ono is the epitome of what I look up to in my career – passionate and tirelessly working to make himself better. I also like sushi 🙂

I highly recommend it, again, if you need some inspiration or just want to watch some yummy sushi being made.


Posted on December 8, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. great write-up!

  2. Thank you – much appreciated 😀

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