Jewish Journal

The Real Apprentice

by Beit T'shuvah

April 11, 2013 | 2:51 pm

By Michael Welch

I was watching a movie on Netflix (no Nyquil), and noticed that the premise of the movie had seemed foreign to me. 85-year-old Jiro Ono, considered to be the greatest sushi chef in the world, paints and establishes perfection with his creation of sushi. What stood out to me were not his abilities, his creations, or his love for what he does, it’s what he’s passing on; the concept of the apprentice.

Jiro’s eldest son is 50 and still not ready to take over the family business. To some this may appear as overkill but I believe it’s quite poetic. His son has been engrained with the notion of being a worthy heir, thus he strives to be better than his father who has practiced a craft for over 70 years. The characteristics of effectiveness, passion, and sustainability are unparalleled by anything I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t help but wonder when we went from perfecting a craft to being handed down something for nothing. Watering down a skill-set is bad for business, primarily for small business. It is clear that the Japanese are clutching onto tradition and originality and I find their values put a smile on my face. I appreciate the notion of loving what you do and handing it off to the right people. It’s a display of love, dedication/commitment, and honor.

This is unfamiliar to Yankees because we’ve accused their culture of being too rigid or being molded by the relentless pursuit of perfection. We say things like; regret, being dissatisfied, or unfulfilled. Bull S—t, we are lazy, simple, and are afraid to fail. Other cultures seem complicated because we make them that way, not because they actually are.

So instead of this blog turning into a movie review, I’d like to shift into perspective or even shift perspective. We should identify our mentor and mentors should identify their apprentices. Rededicating ourselves to this process could quite possibly be a starting point for quality, growth, and appreciation. If we turn our backs on that, then America was never a good idea in the first place.

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