How to be a Jiro (HEE-roh).



Mrs. Redanglespanish rolled her eyes.


It was Friday night.

I had the controller.


Seriously?” she said, rhetorically.

A documentary about sushi?


On the surface, it was an odd choice for a husband to make for a wife who isn’t a big fan of documentaries with subtitles.


And… doesn’t eat fish.


I pressed “play” anyway and said nothing.

If this flic didn’t have a great opening, it would be off in 5 minutes…


It did.

It had 81 great minutes – from beginning to end.





Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a documentary about an octogenarian sushi master Jiro Ono.

Jiro has been making sushi for the better part of 60 years, six days a week for 14 hours a day.


He’s gotten good.


His ten-seat restaurant inside a Tokyo Subway station charges around $350 per person. He’s booked through the end of January. If you happen to be going to Tokyo, don’t even bother calling to schedule for another 3 weeks….


But sushi is only the backdrop.


My wife can’t tell lean tuna from salt-water eel (I think I can…) and she was into it.


Jiro is a film about loving your craft. While he is the oldest Michelin 3-Star chef in the world, Jiro Ono is still working every day.


Trying new things.

Constantly improving.

Searching for the smallest of incremental improvements.


Jiro Ono is the working definition of combining Experience & Expertise.


Jiro is a film about passion, expertise, and unexpectedly, supply chain management.

Throughout the film we are introduced to the experts that contribute to Jiro’s success.


The tuna genius.

The rice expert.

The shrimp guru.


These men know Jiro only accepts the best.

Jiro knows these men will only buy the best for him… which means some days they buy nothing for Jiro.

They understand Jiro’s standards.

They are committed to the cause.


There is a lesson here for companies constantly switching vendors to save a buck. It’s tough to expect the best when you’re not willing to pay for it – or more importantly – not willing to acknowledge the expertise of the partners in your supply chain.


You see the mutual admiration between Jiro and his vendors.

It’s an embrace among experts.


Jiro is a film about family.




Placing your craftsmanship before ego.


And Jiro is a film about the good ole Puritan work ethic – persistence and hard work – except in Japan.


Whether you are grinding towards that first 5K, learning a new language, or creating the world’s finest Kuruma Ebi (Wheel Shrimp), there’s no substitute for simply showing up day after day, working at your craft, thinking about your craft to the point it enters your dreams.


For some, this seems like a nightmare.

For others, it’s the only way to live.



As the credits rolled, my wife said, “Wow. That was amazing.

But I still won’t eat it.

Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (, a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish (and a bit of Polish…) language gap in the construction industry.    

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Categories: Jobsite Leadership

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1 reply

  1. Very cool. It’s been on my Netflix list since Anthony Bourdain recommended it. I have to be in the right mood for subtitles though!

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