Sunday, September 30, 2012

What do I dream of?

Alex and I are having a quiet, rainy day at home today (after a fun-filled busy day of me learning to auto cross yesterday!) We are having a Netflix marathon, and we just watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a documentary about a sushi chef in Tokyo. It's amazing to make such a fascinating film about such a simple idea. But I suppose like the sushi itself, in its simplicity, the complexity is more easily discerned. Jiro is 85 and still working full time as a master sushi chef, in his restaurant with 9 seats at the bar, located in a subway station. Despite its modest location, the restaurant has received the prestigious 3-star Michelin rating, which means "it's worth traveling to that country just to eat this food." Jiro has trained both his sons in the art of sushi, and he requires that his apprentices work there for 10 years before they can be considered skilled.

Jiro is clearly driven, and it seems that his career was more of a "calling" than a choice. I love the way they portray the skilled people in the movie - even the person who selects the seafood for the market - they are so ambitious and particular, they only select the best. Several times they said, "it's not about the money." It was so clearly more about always improving, always striving, and the spirituality of loving one's work. When I was a little girl, I remember hearing priests in church talking about the calling to become a priest. And while I knew I wasn't meant to be a religious person, I always wanted to experience that feeling of being meant to do something.

One detail that stood out to me while watching the documentary, though, was that Jiro did not spend much time with his children when they were young. His love for sushi always seemed to supersede his love for anything else. He left for the restaurant at 5am and returned at 10pm after his boys were asleep. It seems he didn't get to see them until they were old enough to work with him at the restaurant, which is so sad to me.  It made me think of the article from this summer in the Atlantic about "Why Women Still Can't Have It All", and how the way the working world is structured, one can't be a good parent and work the hours necessary to reach the top-level positions.  It still seems like you can raise a family, or you can be a master at something, but you can't do both. I think I've decided that I'd rather have a family and do a good job at that, but there is still a seed of ambition inside me that wants to be a truly great, notable, expert at something....

We'll see what Life has in store for me, but in the meantime, I think it's a perfect day to eat some sushi!

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