If you read my intro in the new members' forum, you may perhaps remember that in it I say: "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." Now, I haven't been back to Tokyo since, but I still have the knife, which by now - after I learned the ropes sharpening it - could definitely use a some tender loving care and a new handle.
As I will be heading to Tokyo in about a month's time, I thought that perhaps I could track down where I had bought my knife at the time, and see if I could get them to give it a second youth. Well, I went to google maps, and tried to trace my way back using the satellite view, remembering what the man at the Economics Ministry had told me at the time... Asakusa subway stop, walk down until I see a temple gate to my right, walk past many closed stalls (it was late at night), and then take the first or second left (I could not remember), until you see what will probably be the only open shop in the whole area.
Well, I'll be damned! Not only was I able to track down the store, but it turns out that I had been given quite good advice at the time, as I had ended up buying a 230mm Kane Soh Yanagi-ba in blue steel! What is even more surprising, besides the store still being there, of course, is that they are still making the exact same knife I had bought at the time: http://www.kanesoh.com/SHOP/WY-02H.html !!!
So, I have now decided to take the knife back with me to Japan, and bring it back to its maker. I am hoping to be able to ask him to repolish and resharpen the blade, and to change the knife's handle while he is at it... hopefully, he will be willing to do it.
I will let you know how it went once i am back... and I will post some before and after photos if I succeeded!