Jiro Dreams of Sushi

 

Do you ever wish that you can show your students beautiful films that are both educational and emotionally meaningful? Jiro Dreams of Sushi fits the bill.

On the surface it might not seem that Jiro Dreams of Sushi has anything to offer an academic classroom, but the film is full of points that could help your class discuss culture in Japan and what it means to be successful. Students can learn about grit and hard work all while being serenaded by beautiful music and images of sushi that make even the most squeamish about raw fish hungry.

Most people see Jiro as the best sushi chef in the world. He owns a very small sushi restaurant in a subway station in Tokyo. Sushi lovers make reservations months in advance and pay a hefty price to enjoy the best sushi in the world. The success of the restaurant is a back story to Jiro’s life and ambitions. Jiro became independent from his parents at a young age and worked very hard in restaurants in order to survive. Jiro’s story shows the benefits of working hard, but also highlights the cost of success his personal life.

Through the story told in the film, students will also experience a taste of Japanese culture not only through food, but in examining Jiro’s life and those around him.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is available on Netflix or Amazon.

Teaching Tips

  • If your focus is on Japanese culture, have students create a list of aspects of culture in the film. The winner in my class found 120 aspects of Japanese culture in the film! The aspects of culture ranged from religion to etiquette to work ethic.
  • Have students compare what it means to be successful in Japanese culture and in another culture to determine if success is determined differently in various contexts.
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