politics

Abe takes Obama to Jiro's in Ginza for sushi dinner

36 Comments
By Hiroshi Hiyama

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36 Comments
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Jiro is a Master.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

only 24 seats, sits in a slightly scruffy basement of an aging commercial building and is connected to a Tokyo subway station

So they'll use 22 seats for security and will close all businesses in the building, station, if not the whole subway line for the 2 hours of meal.

Anne Hathaway

Exactly the person I'd ask recommendation to spend 30 000 yen in vegan sushi.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

The world’s most powerful man

How on Earth did you come up with that line?

Obama is a puppet, just like Abe.

He does what he is told and he reads the scripts that have been written for him.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I love that Obama is getting taken to a 3-star, incredibly exclusive sushi shop, and Bush was just taken to an izakaya.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Since his short time spent in Japan as a child, Obama has always had an interest in Japan. I am sure Obama will enjoy this place immensely.

Anyway, here is a link to the trailer "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," great documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-aGPniFvS0

And another clip with Anthony Bourdain visiting Jiro Sushi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asH4jhr8E20

2 ( +7 / -5 )

"Jiro is a master"

Heh, a master of overcharging people for sushi! 20 pieces of sushi for a minimum of Y30,000?! Cripes, 20 pieces of sushi ( 10 plates ) at yer friendly neighborhood kaiten sushi costs as little as Y1,080 yen.

2 ( +15 / -13 )

@serrano, comparing sushi at Jiro's to yer neighborhood KappaZushi is like comparing dinner at Gusto to Kurumaya. Fail!

3 ( +11 / -8 )

I wonder if he'll eat Oma maguro. They sell that stuff for hundreds of dollars in Tokyo but they practically give it away in Aomori. I once got 2 kilos of it and it just rotted in my fridge cause I couldn't eat it fast enough. Everything in Tokyo is overpriced and not fresh, no matter how much they charge for it. Want good seafood go to Hokkaido and northern Tohoku.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Okinawan bases are appetizers. China has asked to become the first dish, with a side of "sea of Japan" and a platter of various Japanese nationalist gems. TPP is the main dish. That's why they say Obama would be “business-like”. And it's super-sized (the TPP chanko nabe). Both already have an ingestion of it, but they are polite and they'll eat everything that will be served.

The commander-in-chief of one of the planet’s most fearsome armed forces... will have no menu to choose from

That's always like that. As long as he's working in this industry, he won't have work diners discussing about surf in Hawaii. Sorry to be futile while the article was so serious.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

I love that Obama is getting taken to a 3-star, incredibly exclusive sushi shop, and Bush was just taken to an izakaya.

So you`re saying that Obama is a snob and they had to cater to his high tastes?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@Cos: Bitter, are we? Pointless comments.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Definitely on my bucket list! Apparently, Jiro himself only prepares sushi for his close friends / regulars, though.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sounds intriguing and appetizing. :)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Souds like a clever scam to me. There are plenty of good sushi shops in Tokyo, and of course much better sushi is to be had in countryside seaports around the nation.

This particular guy managed to convince a couple of foreign writers and film makers that his is something special, and now he can enjoy his runaway success. Good for him, as long as he gets away with it.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

@WilliB: Have you been? I think not. Do some reading up, watch the film and learn about his devotion before making such off hand comments.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Makes me wish I was President so I could get an invite to Jiro's.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

theResident:

" Do some reading up, watch the film and learn about his devotion "

"Devotion" does not equal good taste, and there are plenty of devoted chef. How many sushi places has the Michelin writer tried, do you think? Or those US celebrities who go there? Do you think they all found Jiros after spending years and years of eating sushi all over Tokyo? LOL

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Any Japanese aficionado of sushi will tell you Jiro's sushi is 'futsu'.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It is only $300 a person. Now he tasted Sushi in Japan, They are not Americanized sushi in USA.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I wonder how many people that shout, "Jiro The Master", have actually eaten there? Not actually saying that they haven't, but at ¥30,0000 a pop, I think I'm safe to guess not many. I surely haven't; nor can I afford to; and you're damn skippy if you think that I wish I could. My point, however, is that many people are easily inspired simply because he has three Michelin stars and you must pay through the nose to eat there to bellow out, "Jiro The Master" when they've probably never stepped foot in the place. Who knows if I'll ever know if Jiro is the master personally. After all they don't just hand out Michelin stars, but until I find out for myself, I'm quite content, and confident in the quality and skills found at my local revolving sushi joint. All for ¥3000 a pop.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The left-handed master craftsman, Jiro Ono, creates the finest sushi with swift, fluid movements, the guide gushed in 2012.

Even at the time of filming Jiro Dreams of Sushi the hands on the sushi were Jiro's son's. Jiro presided from the sidelines with a critical eye and offered his reputation and fame to the enterprise. That said, Jiro may have stepped up and made Obama's sushi personally for this occasion; however, it's not the 88 year-old Jiro who orchestrates all the details of the day-to-day operation any more.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is cheaper than Sushi restaurants in expensive Las Vegas Casino Hotels' sushi restaurants that usually have somek kind of Asian young chefs, Sometimes, with long tice. I only go there when I don't have to pay and get to go container full of caviar, ikura, uni as they have to throw away any meals after they gave free to employees who hated caviar, etc. So, Ichiro is a good deal.,

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Sukiyabashi Jiro = overrated

I've eaten there three times over the last six years and he is never there. As some have already pointed out, his sons are the ones who are actually making the sushi and I guarantee you what they put in front of your are not worthy of three Michelin stars (even if they were conferred by non-Japanese raters). For one thing, the rice was dry and crumbly and fell apart too easily, and the quality/consistency of the shari is just as important as the neta for proper sushi. All I've gained from going there is the bragging rights to say, yeah I've been to Sukiyabashi Jiro. Although I doubt it, maybe there really is that much of a difference when Jiro himself is there. Regardless, if I wanted to eat excellent sushi in Tokyo I would definitely not choose to go back there.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

They get fresh fish from Tsukiji? Not frozen and defrosted fish like I see in Vegas.

@USinJapan2: How the seating arrangement there? Do you have to sit on tatami and bend your legs in square caves under the serving desk? Or just taBles and chairs only set up? Do they serve each table in enclosed 6 jod tatami rooms??? Or combination set up on eating area? You went there so I like your observation more than what are in plate.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Abe san is certainly enjoying himself, he looks genuinely relaxed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

who is this writer calling "dry” and “business-like” pragmatist... isn't that a description of ABE? and isn't stilting ABE's specialty?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hell, 30000 Yen is cheap if you consider it's just a hype and if he charged 300000 Yen even more people would want to go there! Sheep m(

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Abe and Obama looks relaxed while the SS looks less happy. It's like a law of nature.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No one has asked who footed the bill? You serfs should be thankful for having the tab tacked onto your tax bill, right?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

You're paying more for the name, prestige and artistic showmanship "That's it" The fish are not some golden magical farm fed segregated ocean fish. It's the same thing when someone purchases a ¥300,000 mango, what makes it so special? I don't have a problem with how people spend their hard earned money, but I have a right to voice my opinion and I would NEVER pay those kind of prices for Sushi or rather, I'm NOT going to pay that high extra money to the chef for his artistic talent. ¥30,000 is a lot of cash to shell out for some Sushi and what makes it taste better when I can find quality shops where I don't have to pay nearly as much.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I would prefer the Izakaya with Koizumi! Fun drinks and a much cooler host!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Jiro selects the dishes he serves and will not take orders from his customers."

Did Obama's Secret Service do any kind of background check on Jiro?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I tried to go there a few months ago, not realizing a reservation was required.

I wouldn't pay that much every time I went for sushi, but I see no problem in doing it for something special.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I was tempted to go to Jiro's on my last trip, but as much as I love sushi, I don't think I would be able to taste the difference between a meal at Jiro's vs any other high end (but much less expensive) sushi restaurant.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i don't understand why so many posters are ragging on jiro. he didn't ask to be listed in the michelin guide. he already had a loyal clientele that sought out his sushi, which was legendary for foodies around the world. if you prefer kaiten zushi, so be it, but there's no need to criticize jiro and what he does, or used to do.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

あっぱれ オバマ大統領!Freshly so or not, dead uncooked fish is pretty much dead uncooked fish. Japan may presume it's a universal taste, but clearly it's not. And it seems rather clumsy timing for Abe to have suggested it for a jet-lagged visiting western head of state.

But I most enthusiastically applaud President Obama's taking the topic to the vastly more important subject of trade, an eternal point of contention between quietly but staunchly protectionist Japan and the United States, which has been paying dearly for global Japanese political lip service with unfettered open American markets for decades.

Pity Abe didn't also stop his munching and listen more attentively. The President isn't here for raw fish, and this currently trendy little basement counter is an extremely esoteric attraction at best. (And I understand the American Embassy did NOT ask for this venue - they merely agreed to it when it was proposed by the Japanese side.)

So it backfired as entertainment. But then, George Bush made a bee line to that tacky ersatz-Japanesey Gonpachi in Nishi Azabu when he was here years ago. So perhaps things are getting a little better?

And while we're on the subject, I always wonder just how does Michelin (which the laders of the Japanese culinary industry like to refer to as 味 知らん -- "Mi-shiran", or unable to grasp flavors) get away with telling the world which Japanese food is good and which is not? Despite the token yet allegedly meagerly experienced two locals one hears they drag along to try to validate their legitimacy, the French themselves are not likely to have a clue when it comes to assessing sushi the way Japan would. Yet they have the chutzpah to publish their 'rankings' for Japanese eateries in Japanese for the Japanese market.

As we say here: huhhhnnnnnnnnn!

Anyway, gambatte Mr. Obama.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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