You can read about my first two visits and how to make a reservation here.
It is honestly difficult to understand and appreciate this restaurant. In my most recent visit, I got the feeling that Jiro is Zen buddhism for today’s world.
At 5:30pm for dinner, two thirds of the seats were filled. I was happy that this time, for the first time, Jiro Ono would be serving me. But again, because I was the first sitting down and because some of the seats were empty, the speed was relentless. Approximately 15 minutes later, all of the sushi was gone, including an extra order of abalone and octopus, with a price of 40,000円. That is insane.
Even the third time, the fact that they rush you by giving you the sushi while you are not done eating the previous one, no matter how fast you eat, is stressful. But I can confirm that there are no other guests after you. They are not trying to fill the seats with more people. This is really the experience they want you to have.
In my opinion, the sushi has a Jiro flavor, they all somehow have the same aura and taste. I am 100% certain I could tell his sushi with my eyes closed. The rice has an incredible and satisfying texture, I would say it is unique. All of the fish is flawless, truly flawless, but not in a way to impress you like Sushi Kimura would. The octopus is not as soft as many other places, instead has a satisfying chew and a kick of salt.
I can understand why some people do not like it. Honestly, it remains a strange, somewhat uncomfortable and puzzling experience for me.
My own theory is that Jiro is an experience that teaches a lesson, it is a Zen temple for today's world. No one would put together this type of insane experience without such a philosophy behind it. Jiro is like a kōan (公案). You have to struggle and keep trying. It really is a struggle at times.
It made me reflect on the role of expectations, and why we are uncomfortable with things that don’t last. By delivering the “best” food in this uncomfortable experience, Jiro may be giving you a priceless warning: seeking the best is not where happiness comes from.
The only true voyage of discovery would be not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes.
Matsukawa (revisited), Learning Japanese, Advanced Japanese Manners, Hakone, home cooking.
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