I become angry at a praised piece of media
When I watched Jiro, I didn't really get the impression that his restaurant was supposed to be some huge outlier. Conversely, it led me to believe that Japan must be exceptionally deep in this kind of dedication, quality, and discernment such that this particular pinnacle could exist and be so recognized. The fish market scene especially reinforced this for me since it showed the dependence he has on the supply chain.
I became angry at a piece of media becoming angry at a praised piece of media -- mostly just jealous that you watched 'Jiro' in Tokyo. I haven't watched the film in ~9 years but when I did, I saw it more as a commentary on Japanese philosophy of dedication, work, and well, dedication. I think it was, as others have stated or alluded to, in the vein of the genre of the time to taut the singularity of genius of the subject chef (in food documentaries). Less than being awed by Jiro's implacable GOAT status, I was certainly inspired by Jiro and his philosophy of perfection, like if Sisyphus had set himself to whittling down his boulder (with a katana?) while simultaneously rolling it up the hill. The film is western in thought and production values, such as soundtrack (right?), but exploratory and creative in the way it presents the subject and still, or maybe therefore, aesthetic (or at least I felt strongly that way when I watched it oh so many years ago). I think the fact the Jiro's son has mostly taken over, with consistency to original style and quality, shows something aligning with Jiro's practice and commentary on his own approach. In the film, I saw a man of principle and practice and was frankly impressed with the documentary. Remind me not to watch 'Gladiator' in Rome..
I really liked the documentary - I think that I assumed that the Best Sushi Chef In The World! stuff didn't mean that he was actually the BSCITW!, just that he was good enough that some knowledgeable people could plausibly take that view - in other words, as a bit of reassurance this this guy knew what he was doing, which was largely irrelevant.
Shows about restaurant cooking (Chef's Table, etc) often seem to do this. I can see that it's irritating - no one is interested in an intense bald man with architect's glasses telling you that eating something changed his views on humanity's connection to the biosphere and the nature of meaning in a fallen world - but maybe I've just learned to tune it out.
Oh my gosh, I read the first paragraph and have to decide if I want to read the rest. I love Jiro Dreams of Sushi and I'm not sure if I'm ready to find out I've been mislead all this time.
I've lived in Japan for 15 years (Tokyo for 12) and I completely agree with this despite never having been to Jiro. I think it's mostly a entertaining documentary about a single guy who is clearly legit. But the framing and the whole idea that it's even possible to identify "the best sushi chef" is ridiculous.
One exception to your advice about heading to places where people are lining up is if that place is one of the like three ramen joints in this entire city that the Michelin guide arbitrarily deigns worthy of a single star, because once that happens you'll never be able to go to that place again without getting there before 8am.
It's such a weird way to think about food.
Here's to your commentary, over, under, and past the "neat". Keep eating!
I become angry at almost everything adequate that has been superficially lifted by mainstream media, and even angrier when people follow these fads without question. Great post!