Sunday, May 20, 2012

date night, shokunin, practicing

highline breakfast date in nyc
never complain about your work, jiro, the greatest shokunin in the world, says at the beginning of jiro dreams of sushi, the film i've been dying to see, that we finally caught tonight at the broadway for date night.

it was a great film, and like all good documentaries, had a sub-text that transcended the subject of the film.  it was not really about sushi, but rather about devotion and fatherhood.

i wish i'd understood so long ago what joy devotion to work, whatever it is, can bring.  of course, i've never had to do the horrid work, or forced work, that many oppressed in the world have done/are doing, so i can't speak to that, but even in the days of low-level restaurant work, working as a housekeeper, nanny, temp worker, receptionist, etc., there were moments of joy in doing something well.

i could have had more of them if i'd been present with the work.  it took me a long time to learn how to be present with all of my work, and i'm still practicing it. 

how liberating it is! 

to take the focus off of outcomes and external rewards and learn to be so happy with simply doing the task at hand.

in the season of advice to new graduates, tonight i realized that would be mine, echoing jiro:  never complain about your work.

i include a picture of lula below with the breakfast she made and set for us on the patio:  blue corn pancakes with homemade buttermilk syrup, yogurt/berry parfaits, hazelnut milk, and a little dish of jacques torres chocolates we brought back from nyc.

i've bragged about her cooking before, but it really is true. she has a palate and the obsessive attention to detail of a great chef.

saturday brunch on beautiful late spring morning, prepared by my own little budding shokunin

also, these issa haiku, translated by robert haas, little perfect gems, reminded me of jiro's beautiful sushi gems:  discrete, perfect, simple, and pure.

Selected Haiku by Issa

translated by Robert Haas

    Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house

    New Year’s Day—
everything is in blossom!
    I feel about average.

    The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
    with children.

    Goes out,   
comes back—
    the love life of a cat.

    Mosquito at my ear—
does he think   
    I’m deaf?   

    Under the evening moon
the snail
    is stripped to the waist.

    Even with insects—
some can sing,
   some can’t.   

    All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on
   killing mosquitoes.

    Napped half the day;
no one   
    punished me!

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