I am an Italian diplomat, currently working in Paris, France, after having grown up in Rome, Italy, and having done my university studies in California, nearby San Francisco. Almost 20 years ago, during my first business trip to Japan, I bought a nice Yangi-ba, which - over the first half of its life - probably did not get nearly any of the respect it deserved.
As I grew older, I started enjoying cooking more and more, and - being a gadget freak and a general collector of many fine things - my interest in Japanese knives grew, until some time ago I decided that I needed proper knives. I started with some Kai Shun knives (I only kept a Kai Shun Steel 150 Utility), and then ended up getting a complete set of Echizen-Japan 1310 knives from JapaneseChefsKnife (240 Gyuto, 240 Sujihiki, 210 Guyto, 210 Bread, 180 Santoku, 165 Nakiri, 150 Petty, 105 Paring). I simply love the damascus pattern on them, and they are incredibly thin and razor-sharp - it's a real pleasure to use them.
Afterwards, I sarted getting more interested in damascus knives made by Japanese master craftsmen, and - in an attempt to control my frustration at not being able to get some Hattori KD knives - I ended up buying a few of Hiro Itou's beautiful knives (230 Gyuto, 150 Petty, 105 Paring). Regently, however, I got REALLY lucky, and in preparing a trip to Japan which my wife and I will make soon, I managed to track down a store in Tokyo which still had three brand new Hattori KD knives in stock (210 Gyuto, 180 Santoku, 150 Petty), which I immediately bought and will be picking up once I get there in a few weeks. I cannot wait to hold them in my hands, and even less to be able to cook with them!
I have an Edge-Pro system with some Chosera stones for it, but I have not yet really had the courage to use it on my Itou knives, and I suspect it will still be some time before I even attempt to sharpen those or the Hattoris myself...
I have been very active in watch collecting fora for for over 10 years now (I moderate(d) on ThePuristS.com, Horomundi.com, Revo-online.com, etc.), but this is my first foray into kinchen knives on-line discussions.