On the first day of President Barack Obama’s overseas trip in Asia, he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are dining at a legendary sushi restaurant made famous by a 2011 documentary.
The restaurant — Sukiyabashi Jiro — earned a rare three-star Michelin rating, which means it has “exceptional cuisine” and is “worth a special journey.” It is one of only 13 three-star restaurants in Tokyo. There are only 10 seats in the entire restaurant. The combination makes it especially hard to secure reservations — as of the beginning of April, the restaurant was fully booked until the beginning of May.
The chef, 87-year-old Jiro Ono, is considered to be one of the top sushi chefs in the world. Ono prepares the sushi himself. The chef’s recommended special course at the restaurant starts around $US300. That includes more than one dozen “courses” in about 20 minutes — but Obama and Abe’s dinner lasted about an hour and a half.
“That’s some good sushi right there,” Obama told reporters leaving the restaurant.
Obama and Abe were joined at dinner by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice. The dinner kicks off Obama’s week in Asia, as he finally makes the trip he canceled last fall because of the federal government shutdown. Obama’s trip is meant to reassure allies in Japan and South Korea, amid rising tensions with China and more unpredictability from North Korea.
Here’s the trailer for “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” the 2011 documentary that helped launch Ono to widespread fame:
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