On Being A Sushi Master

Foodie Friday and I have sushi on the brain.  I’m not sure why since I rarely eat it any more, but I found myself immersed in a dream about it last night and thought it might be a good topic for our Foodie Friday Fun.

Many types of sushi ready to eat.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you know, sushi refers to the vinegared rice which is its heart and not to the fish or vegetables that accompany the rice. Maybe you have learned to make sushi at home. After all, how hard can it be? Rice and sliced fish seem pretty basic. Therein lies the business thought.

Maybe you’ve seen the wonderful Jiro Dreams Of Sushi.  If you haven’t you can find it on most of the streaming services and you should spend the hour and a half watching a master practice his craft.  While Jiro has been at it for many years (OK, decades), the path to becoming a sushi master in Japan hasn’t changed.  You spend a year washing floors and dishes.  Then it’s a year learning how to slice clams and small fish.  A couple of years doing meals for the staff and making the cooked food.  Happy day – you’re five years in and it’s time to learn to make rice.  After that, it’s rolls for takeout only and maybe by year 7 you can actually speak to a customer.  Finally after a decade, you are a sushi chef.

Of course here in the U.S. one can go take a course and in a few months apply for a job saying you’re a sushi chef.  Which is the business point.  Too many of us opt for the quick route as we develop our skill sets.  The notion of “paying dues” is completely foreign to most younger businesspeople and even to a few of us oldsters.  It’s particularly noticeable in evolving fields such as social media.  Think about how many self-proclaimed social media or marketing “gurus”, which is a Sanskrit term for “master”, are under the age of 30.  Really?  I’m sure they know the tools.  The business?  Maybe not so much.

There is no substitute for the ongoing process of learning.  Some things take time and learning to be a master of any sort is one of them.  Much of what I know came from experience, not from books.  We all need to think of Jiro, who continues to learn and to improve his technique.  It takes a year to learn to make rice.  Maybe we should give our businesses at least the respect Jiro shows his?  What do you think?

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