Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a documentary about the three-Michelin starred sushi chef who’s regarded as the best in the world at what he does. His restaurant seats ten, reservations begin a month out and the starting price for a tasting menu is $350.
I don’t like sushi, so I won’t be dreaming of it any time soon but the film did present some examples of why I just don’t even bother with Japanese. Here are two of the gestures that stuck out to me.
In the first, a Tokyo food critic who does the most talking on screen says, according to the subtitles, that Jiro is a first-rate chef. He puts one hand to the crook of the opposite elbow in a gesture that I immediately recognize as the beginning of a Mediterranean “fuck you” sign and then just lightly touches the area. It looks like he might be suggesting the existence of a merit badge there, but I have no idea since I know almost nothing about Japanese culture.
The second move comes from Jiro himself when he says that something is the easiest. He touches his finger to his nose which to me means “not it” or “you’re right” in a game of charades.
Any ideas of how either of these gestures came into being?