stones available only in Japan
So I am in Tokyo and having a blast, while knife related stuff isn't the point of the trip, still until the GF gets here in a couple of days I have a bit more time to visit kitchen related stores.
One thing, I quickly noticed is there seem to be a lot of synthetic stones for sale I don't hear much about in the US. For example, one store had a bunch of King stones designed for harder steels that I have never seen talked about much in the US = "NEO". There was a Bester 2000 that seems uncommon in the US - is it as cool as my bester 1000? All in all there were a lots and lots of stones - Kiya, where I got my yo shig, has a house brand for example that obviously never gets to the states and has more stones than I have ever seen in one place...
Anyway, are there some brands of synthetic stones that are worth seeing out because they rarely get to the US but are really awesome??
Kappabashi also rocks by the way
Only the US? I think you mean elsewhere, too. But no suprise that we only find out about some of what's available.
I don't pay too much attention to synthetics compared to naturals, which you might also look for in Tokyo, though Kansai would certainly be better.
If you look at ToolsfromJapan, Stuart has a few lines from Naniwa, Suehiro and Shapton, some of which could be interesting but are rarely or never discussed here. Surprising as he's a vendor. You can also check his prices as a good guide for anything you purchase, as his aren't the cheapest but are fair and probably represent typical prices for what you'd find in Tokyo or Osaka for example, and are way cheaper than foreign sellers. (Best prices will be outside of Tokyo/Osaka. Coarser Choseras, for example, start from about Y3000 or just $30. Big difference.)
Who knows. Some of the other stones you come across could be the original, generic versions of what ends up branded and sold as 'JCK' or 'Gesshin' etc. Write about what you find.
i dont think you'll find gesshin outside of a few craftsmen's workshops... we really do spend time developing them
Amusingly enough I wrote Stu to ask if he would ship some Sigma stones to my hotel as that way I could get around the insane postage since they are so heavy by packing them in my suitcase. I haven't heard from him yet but i noticed he says on his site that he ships anywhere except Japan!