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Jiro Dreams of Sushi

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi

I really love documentaries. This film--which many are likely familiar with--tells the tale of Jiro Ono, a world-renown sushi chef, working in a very small sushi restaurant in Tokyo called Sukiyabashi Jiro. The film really focused on the intensity with which Jiro approaches his craft, his devotion to the subtleties of taste and smell, and his constant quest to improve himself.

I think this film could be a great study of tone and language in my AP English Language class. The story of Jiro's craft and success is told by many people in his life: his two sons, his apprentices, former apprentices and the food writer who appears to be one of his greatest champions. While they all ultimately appreciate Jiro, it's clear that he is not the easiest man to work with. Because of this, I think it would be interesting to analyze the word choice--to the best of our ability since the film would have to be viewed with English subtitles--of the different figures in the film and consider how their relationships to Jiro influence what they say about him and how they say it.

I think some of the scenes of the fish market would also be valuable to an environmental studies class. There is one scene of tuna up for auction that could be really powerful in a discussion of overfishing. There is also a segment at the fish market where a vendor is being interviewed about the the lack of fresh shrimp available at the market because of their scarcity. This could also be tied into an economics class in terms of supply and demand and cost. Jiro's restaurant is very expensive--with prices beginning at $300 per plate. One could facilitate a discussion about the scarcity of high quality fish leading to these prices; one could also approach this discussion from the perspective of the size of Jiro's restaurant--I believe there are less than 10 seats available--and the difficulty of getting a reservation as leading to the high prices.
edited by nguillen on 5/14/2013