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Edgy Guy
08-11-2011, 07:35 PM
Last week I went to Japanese Knife Imports to learn about knives.
What a perfect place!

First, I called Jon Broida and told him I'm a geek who doesn't want to just plop down money at that WalMart of knife sellers.
I need hand-holding.
I want to dive in and learn all about good knives, their care and feeding, and which ones might be for me.

He told me to just come on by and hang out as long as I wanted since he LOVED yapping about knives.
I scheduled a time when he was not conducting a sharpening class and I did just that, hung out.
I brought my parrot, and sidekick, who just sat on my lap quietly trying to remain invisible since Sara said some of the knives are perfect for poultry. :ninja:

JKI has a wonderful location just a couple blocks from the beach in Venice, California.
They even have free parking in the back, unheard of around there.
The shop is spotless and minimalist with the knives safely tucked away in classy cases.
There was also lots of Sara's family's beautiful ceramic artwork on display.
Sara served us green tea and munchies as Jon asked about what knives I'm used to and what I'm looking for.
I told Jon I don't give a crap about appearance, status, or brand name recognition.
I don't care if it ends up with a patina that looks like the inside of my old wok.

I'm used to (and disappointed with) my 20-year old set of Henckels Four Star and I'm looking for knives that get and stay sharp, crazy-sharp.
I want a knife so sharp it scares food.
I want a knife that can slice a tomato into 743 tissue paper thin slices without even touching the tomato. :wink:
I want substance, not image.

Jon spent a long time patiently walking me through the steel choices, the processes of making the knives and the functions of the many shapes and designs of the knives.

Finally it was time to talk business.
For home use I want to start with two knives, an 8 to 10" Chef and a small paring knife, translation: a 240mm Gyuto and a 120mm Petty.
I decided on White #2 steel after being fully informed of the extra maintenance to prevent rust, and how it will develop a patina that only knife geeks will not be horrified by.

I am used to the western handles but after learning better ways to hold a knife the "apparently more ergonomic" western handle lose their edge.
So, I'm going to give the Wa handles a shot.

Jon asked about price and this is where it got difficult for me.
All my life I've been a tightwad with money, but when it comes to something important to me that will offer a lifetime of meaningful use and pleasure, I splurge.
I'm still using my set of razor-sharp 30-year old Nikkor lenses (see below) and a Guild guitar that cost me half a year's income in 1976.

I know from reading here "good" knives (whatever THAT means) start around $100 and go to up to, what?, $51,000? for a museum piece, or was that someone's joke?

I said I don't want to pay over $500 for a knife at this stage.
Jon said, "$500 is way too much. I don't want to sell you something that's not a good match for you.
Get a decent first knife, use it, sharpen it, learn over time and your experience will inform your next knife selection, if any."

I thought to myself, What a sweetheart!
I really appreciated Jon didn't go for my wallet and make a larger sale.
He easily could have.

He brought out sevaral gyutos some stainless steel, some clad and one solid high carbon steel White #2) priced from around $120 to $206.


I took home a Konosuke 240mm Hitachi White #2 steel, Wa-Gyuto and a matching 120mm Petty.

http://www.konosuke-sakai.com/

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/konosuke-sakai/konosuke-240mm-white-2-wa-gyuto.html

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/konosuke-sakai/konosuke-120mm-white-2-wa-petty.html

Sara packed them and wrapped them beautifully, lovingly even - if I can say that.

After my knife-safari I grabbed dinner at a local nice bistro and sat on the sidewalk patio.
Many of the clients were the local muscle-men of muscle-beach and Gold's Gym fame. (A whole subculture worth Googling)
Of course I had to unwrap my treasures when waiting for my tofu.
The waiter told the chef about my knives, who came out and went gaga so I told him about JKI.

This first pic is my new treasures on some Kimono cloth I got from a traveling Kimono seller. (Who knew there was such a thing? - but I KNEW I bought it for something!)

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t293/kizzyyaya/281ee869.png

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t293/kizzyyaya/4dde5c72.png

echerub
08-11-2011, 07:54 PM
Glad to hear you had a great time and great experience at JKI :) I think you're gonna love the Konosuke gyuto. I have one as well, and it's a joy to use.

Edgy Guy
08-11-2011, 07:58 PM
Look at that last pic again.
Don't the vertical lines in the steel look like rainfall?

Even where it strikes the characters you don't have to struggle hard to see the rain bouncing and splashing off.
I wonder if that's the red wine I'm drinking, or another of the intentional but subtle touches from these Japanese artisans.
You can almost hear the rain.

For the record this photo nut used an additional light source (an LED) with a cooler color temp than the main light source, and what the camera was white-balanced for, to introduce that cool blue in the calligraphy.
It's a lie; in person it's black.
So sue me.

SpikeC
08-11-2011, 07:59 PM
What fun! A great way to get into quality steel.

echerub
08-11-2011, 08:00 PM
Nothing wrong with using some skill and creativity to make an image look the way you want it to look - that's what photography is all about!

obtuse
08-11-2011, 08:07 PM
Great score! That konosuke white #2 gyuto is one of the best I've owned. I wish I lived in LA so I could visit Jon's shop.

Edgy Guy
08-11-2011, 08:42 PM
If you recall, I'm the guy who just bought an EdgePro Pro knife sharpener.

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php?2335-Got-my-EP-Pro

When jon heard the term "EdgePro" he ran out of his shop screaming, down the street to the beach and tried to drown himself in the Pacific Ocean.
David Hasselhoff rescued Jon, pumped the water out of his lungs and brought him back to life with some goat cheese, water-crackers and a really good red wine.

Jon got up grabbed me by the collar of my Hawaiian shirt, pointed a 9mm pistol at my temple and told me I had to promise him I would not use the EdgePro on his J-knives, only on the evil old Henckels for now.

Jon insists freehand knife sharpening is the OOOOOOOOOOnly way to fly so I'm going get private one-on-one knife sharpening lessons from Jon - so y'all' eat your hearts out. :crying:

jmforge
08-11-2011, 09:22 PM
Traveling Kimono Salesman. Sound like the perfect start for a joke, but only in LA.:lol2:

geezr
08-11-2011, 09:30 PM
If you recall, I'm the guy who just bought an EdgePro Pro knife sharpener.

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php?2335-Got-my-EP-Pro

When jon heard the term "EdgePro" he ran out of his shop screaming, down the street to the beach and tried to drown himself in the Pacific Ocean.
David Hasselhoff rescued Jon, pumped the water out of his lungs and brought him back to life with some goat cheese, water-crackers and a really good red wine.
Jon got up grabbed me by the collar of my Hawaiian shirt, pointed a 9mm pistol at my temple and told me I had to promise him I would not use the EdgePro on his J-knives, only on the evil old Henckels for now.
Jon insists freehand knife sharpening is the OOOOOOOOOOnly way to fly so I'm going get private one-on-one knife sharpening lessons from Jon - so y'all' eat your hearts out. :crying:

:lol2: :lol2:
nice pics :thumbsup2:

Jon (and his shop) is one of 3 reasons for me to consider re-visiting LA :running: after going with my family to Disney land - a long long time ago.
:wink: what was that really good red wine?

Edgy Guy
08-11-2011, 11:17 PM
:wink: what was that really good red wine?

Two-Buck-Chuck from Trader Joe's, of course.

http://www.mytraderjoeslist.com/2010/10/charles-shaw.html

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t293/kizzyyaya/9c702660.jpg

Eamon Burke
08-12-2011, 12:35 AM
That kanji pic is super cool!

Your are a mighty MIGHTY lucky man to have Mr. Broida down the road. Few of us are so lucky.

tk59
08-12-2011, 04:33 AM
I just want to say that it does get annoying sometimes when a dude is selling cool stuff and tells you not to buy it because you won't like it or don't need it. :poke1:

dehory
08-12-2011, 01:13 PM
Look at that last pic again.
Don't the vertical lines in the steel look like rainfall?

Even where it strikes the characters you don't have to struggle hard to see the rain bouncing and splashing off.

I hope this doesn't come off as pedantic, or worse, impair the poetic aesthetic enjoyment you derive so admirably from the knife, but the kanji in that beautifully taken photo is actually lying on its side.

The actual text (幸之祐) reads vertically like this:

http://i.imgur.com/l1tRBl.jpg

echerub
08-12-2011, 01:22 PM
True. At least for me it's no issue since I usually see kanji on its side: I put my knives down spine towards me, handle to the right ;)

Edgy Guy
08-12-2011, 01:23 PM
I hope this doesn't come off as pedantic, or worse, impair the poetic aesthetic enjoyment you derive so admirably from the knife, but the kanji in that beautifully taken photo is actually lying on its side.

The actual text (幸之祐) reads vertically like this:

http://i.imgur.com/l1tRBl.jpg

But that would be a horrible hurricaine for the rain to travel horizontally. :D
Also, does rain travel from right to left in Japan?

Seriously, I wondered whether the text should be horizontal or vertical.
Thanks.

Vertigo
08-12-2011, 01:37 PM
I hope this doesn't come off as pedantic
Haha, please. People around here argue in microns. You're good, buddy!

Wagstaff
08-12-2011, 05:32 PM
That kanji pic is super cool!

Your are a mighty MIGHTY lucky man to have Mr. Broida down the road. Few of us are so lucky.

Agreed. I bought a (less fancy) knife from Jon, and a couple weeks later did the sharpening-lesson that Edgy Guy has upcoming... great experience. I'm not a good sharpener, still, but got a couple of functional edges that Jon assures me are better than most cooks ever see. Which means it was a very worthwhile afternoon.

The store is great, Jon is smart and helpful and first concerned with providing service and items that you need and preventing any buyer's remorse by steering you away from what you might otherwise spend money on for the "wrong" reasons.

wenus2
08-12-2011, 05:46 PM
I said I don't want to pay over $500 for a knife at this stage.
Jon said, "$500 is way too much. I don't want to sell you something that's not a good match for you.
Get a decent first knife, use it, sharpen it, learn over time and your experience will inform your next knife selection, if any."

I thought to myself, What a sweetheart!
I really appreciated Jon didn't go for my wallet and make a larger sale.
He easily could have.

Yeah, he dresses funny..... but he's good people!
:dance:

We are fortunate around here to have nearly all of the best resources to feed this habit. Jon certainly contributes more than his fair share in all of this, from his willingness to share his vast knowledge, to he and Sarah's excellent commitment to customer service. They know how to make you feel good about a purchase, before, during, and after. You are lucky to have them so near to you.

JBroida
08-12-2011, 05:49 PM
thanks guys... really appreciate all of the kind words

Edgy Guy
08-12-2011, 06:30 PM
thanks guys... really appreciate all of the kind words

Yeah Yeah Yeah, I'm still waiting for that check, Buddy-O! :angry1::angry1::angry1:


:lolsign:

TamanegiKin
08-12-2011, 09:25 PM
Pickin' up knives from Jon and Sara is always a pleasure. I acquired a konosuke from him awhile back and I've been signing my paychecks over to him ever since lol. They're a very honest, ethical and classy duo.

Customfan
08-13-2011, 08:24 AM
Wish I could go in for a browse and maybe a purchase.. but I'm too far, maybe one of these days! Congratulation on the new additions, I am glad those are working out for you Edgy Guy.. :)

Cadillac J
08-13-2011, 10:36 AM
Jon Broida is a gentleman and a scholar...so don't come crying to us when you can't pay your mortgage because you spent all your coin on Heijis and Inos.

echerub
08-13-2011, 02:08 PM
I wish I could visit, but I'm spending too much already even without stepping foot into JKI and chatting with Jon in person. How's the cost of living in LA after factoring in likely spending patterns at JKI? ;)

JBroida
08-13-2011, 02:20 PM
cost of living here sucks... especially on the westside and even more in venice (i can only dream of living near our store for the time being... please buy more knives and stones so sara and i can move to a cooler place ;p )

mc2442
08-13-2011, 02:32 PM
Not sure I would go carbon, considering what I use smaller knives for, but find myself wanting a petty from that pic. Very nice knives.

Edgy Guy
08-13-2011, 02:47 PM
cost of living here sucks... especially on the westside and even more in venice (i can only dream of living near our store for the time being... please buy more knives and stones so sara and i can move to a cooler place ;p )

Hey bro, I tried to give you more money. Bonk Bonk Bonk :headbonk:


Yeah, housing here is crazy!
Do what I do.
Be an old fart who bought a house a long time ago. :razz:

monty
08-14-2011, 08:14 PM
Glad you had a good experience. I have the same petty and it's awesome!

Wagstaff
08-14-2011, 09:31 PM
Not sure I would go carbon, considering what I use smaller knives for, but find myself wanting a petty from that pic. Very nice knives.

I thought maybe a Konosuke HD, but after being on the fence about it ended up with the Gesshin Ginga 210mm wa-petty. It's stainless, it's a laser, it's got all the fit and finish you could ever want. I haven't sharpened it yet. I just picked it up yesterday, and can't stop looking at it.

SpikeC
08-14-2011, 09:45 PM
Big fun, eh?

mattrud
08-16-2011, 01:34 AM
cost of living here sucks... especially on the westside and even more in venice (i can only dream of living near our store for the time being... please buy more knives and stones so sara and i can move to a cooler place ;p )
+1

Chefdog
08-29-2012, 08:55 PM
This won't come as a surprise to many of you, but I feel compelled to say it anyway. I talked to Jon on the phone today after and he was very helpful and honest answering my questions and giving some needed advice. He gave some recommendations, but was never pushy, and very patient. A genuinely good dude to deal with. Many thanks.

TheDispossessed
02-10-2013, 08:19 AM
everyone here knows, or should know, that jon is the man. people like him and Sara are incredibly important in the world of small business, and i can't imagine anyone regretting doing business with them.