Hello everyone. I decided to register, though I have been following the forum for awhile. I first came here when I decided to learn how to properly sharpen my Japanese knives. I purchased two Kiya knives from Takashimaya in Tokyo about ten years ago, when I was living in Japan. I was always rather tentative about using them, since I could not properly sharpen them. I moved to Iceland about six years ago, and there are no services or people that I know of that I trusted to sharpen them, so I decided to learn myself. I also felt it was it was ridiculous to have nice knives and be hesitant to use them because I might dull them!
Those first knives were a 150mm left-handed usuba from their standard range and a beautiful 130mm western petty that is in their Umeji range...a handmade knife. http://www.ameyokonet.jp/kiya/item_d...1-130-03-23-41
Since then, I started to learn sharpening by watching Jon Broida's videos and buying Murray Carter's instructional video. I have since bought a few knives from Maxim (he is just around the corner in Denmark!), and have been extremely pleased with them. The knives I now use the most are the Umeji petty, and two Kato knives -- a 210mm workhorse gyuto and a 180mm Kikuryu Western petty. I couldn't be happier with them, and though I have no need for any more knives, I clearly can't get enough!
I am attaching a picture of the two Katos...please forgive the polish on the top Kato, before I knew enough, I tried to polish it directly on a hakka, and while that was great for the higher areas, the convex grind of the knife left the shallow areas unpolished...I improved it a bit with finger stones, but it is still not exhibition quality (a term from my business...my main work is as a photographer and exhibition printer...)