Best Gyuto and Nakiri for under $400
Hi, I'm new here but have often benefited from the forum while lurking. I have a few questions about a Christmas wish list I'm developing. I've posted a similar request on a few of the other knife forums.
1) What would be the best 240mm Wa-Gyuto currently available for under $400? I am leaning toward Blue #2/Aogami steel. I have the same question for a Nakiri.
I know the answer to the above depends on the user, so let me tell you something about my general skill level and background. I'm a 49-year-old avid home cook with good knife skills. I cook mostly French and Chinese. My current knives are a mixture of Wüsthofs and a few Western style, thin-bladed Japanese chef knives that I bought at the Tsukiji fish market. I also have a 240mm Masahiro Virgin Carbon. I'm a fairly good free-hand sharpener and have stones (Bester, King) ranging from 800-1000-4000, plus a Kitiyama 8000. I would have no problem with the additional care a carbon blade would require.
2) I'm thinking one of these knives should be a "laser" type, as none of my existing ones really have that quality. The Masahiro is the only one that comes close, but even with it fine vegetable prep and push cutting are still a bit of a chore. Should I go for the laser quality in the Nakiri and let the Gyuto be a more all-round knife, or vice-versa?
3) I love the Edgepro Apex for my existing knives. Should I also use it on a traditional Japanese knife like a Gyuto or a Nagiri, or do them freehand? Opinions about this seem to be all over the map.
4) Are Takedas as good as their cult following would suggest, or has their acclaim led to a slight dropoff in quality?
Thank you very much for your advice!