Why so japanocentric?

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by banjo1071, Jun 21, 2013.

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  1. Jun 21, 2013 #31

    Mucho Bocho

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    Birnardo, You make some loaded statements and claims. Could you share with us where you knowledge of cutlery comes from? Have you ever forged steel or crafted original handles? You openly say you haven't tried many US knife profiles. So how do you know they're not good or better than other countries.

    Remember prior to 1980, France was the most respected wine country in the world, seems that those ignorant fools in California changed that perspective. Given that wine has been made since circa 7000 BCE, those stubborn Americans changed that perspective in just 30 years.
     
  2. Jun 21, 2013 #32

    chinacats

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    OK, I'm still of the mindset that French wines are much more enjoyable as a whole than those from California--big and in your face works better with IPA's than Bordeaux grapes. Sorry for tangent...:running:
     
  3. Jun 21, 2013 #33

    Birnando

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    Thank you, that is an easy question to answer.
    No, I have never made anything with any kind of steel.
    Much like most of the makers customers I guess..
    My knowledge of cutlery comes from an interest in quality steel for all my needs.
    I am a hobbyist cook, all I cook for is my family and friends.
    I am not very good at it, but I do enjoy it highly, and have done so for many many years.
    My interest in steel products are also fueled by the fact that my line of work has me using steel tools every day for 8 hours, and the fact that I have been shaving with a straight for a few years now. Both my head and my face.
    I do hone for others, a few thousand razors by now. For some reason people seem to like my edges on their kitchen knives as well, but I'll gladly admit to being a novise at that.
    So basically, I am a happy amateur.
    Or as you imply, a very opinionated amateur:)

    I do hope you are kidding me now.
    While the US, and a slew of other nations, make some really delicate wines these days, I must call BS on this.
    Outside a very patriotic USA, there is still but one king in that world, and that is France, with Italy as a good second.
     
  4. Jun 21, 2013 #34

    banjo1071

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    Woah, i did not meant to start an intercontinental war here, i was just curious.....
     
  5. Jun 21, 2013 #35

    Birnando

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    My sincere apologies for being part of that hijack.
    Seriously!
     
  6. Jun 21, 2013 #36

    Mucho Bocho

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    Birnardo, We call your statements "pure conjecture" in little ole USA. So you've never crafted knives and you're an admittedly poor amature cook. As you say "I hope your kidding me now" as its unclear to me how you're qualified to determine a knifes usefulness?

    I know how to drive a car but I'm not going to give the Schumacher's driving advise. Perhaps you should keep that in mind.
     
  7. Jun 21, 2013 #37

    ajhuff

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    Isn't that kind of like like how you're all experts in steel metallurgy but none of you are metallurgists. :D Doesn't seem to stop anyone's expertise. I think Birnardo's statements are as fair in claim as everyone else's in that regard, based on his personal experience which may differ from others.

    Welcome to KKF Banjo!
     
  8. Jun 21, 2013 #38

    Birnando

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    Hi there.
    It's Birnando, with 2 N's..

    Whoa, I ruffled some feathers there, did I?
    I admitted to being an amateur cook, not a poor one;)

    Do tell me this; How is a customer not having the "right" experience ever gonna be heard?
    Do you yourself make knives for a living?
    And have you done so for years?
    If not, then why do you post anything at all around this subject?
    I'll answer that for you:
    The whole point of a forum is to share experiences and learn about the field at hand, no?

    With your logic regarding experience in making steel, I would expect that not a single soul should speak to their quality again, except for those in the know.
    i.e. the makers themselves...

    I'm certain you see the fallacy in that statement, and what you've seen me state in this thread was my views on the matter.
    Take it for what it is worth to you, but trying to belittle your combatants on a subject really reflects badly on you, not me.

    Don't you think their customers opinions matter at all, or are only the maker able to make a call about perceived quality on it?
    Are they making knives only to the proffesional market?
    I'd love for any custom maker to state that in this thread!
    And leave the US hat off for just that tiny second to make a reasonable argument about it, would you?

    Now, back to your wine statement.
    Do embellish!
     
  9. Jun 21, 2013 #39

    mzer

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    Just want to say that as somebody raised in Napa, it makes me cringe every time I hear that Napa/CA/US wines rival what comes out of the old world.
     
  10. Jun 21, 2013 #40

    pkjames

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    i think one important fact is, Japan still has a huge knife making industry / culture. Makes the makers compete with each other, which means they have to constantly perfect their steel / techniques.
    I don't see this in European countries.
     
  11. Jun 21, 2013 #41

    kpeddie2010

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    That's what Japanese are known for. taking something and making it their craft with a lifetime of dedication and passing it down to their heirs. And the result of that is japanese knife makers improving their craft over time in the pursuit of perfection. That to me is a level of of craftsmanship that will take different cultures a lifetime to catch up too. Think Japanese culture tends to pass down professions from generation to generation. Or we'll at least the some still do. Although Japanese culture is becoming more westernized some traditionalist still exist and you can see that in knife and sword making.
     
  12. Jun 21, 2013 #42

    Zwiefel

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    Actually, in 2 different cases, blind comparison of napa + french wines has resulted in napa wines being judged better....by french judges. obviously, no one is bound to agree with that assessment...and each has their own preferences...but until wine judging is routinely done blindly, it is all BS. Double-blind testing is the hallmark of objectivity. As a brewer, this was also my experience in brewing competitions....I could submit beer from the SAME EXACT KEG with two different recipes (obviously this violates the rules) and get COMPLETELY different assessments from the same judges.
     
  13. Jun 21, 2013 #43

    Marko Tsourkan

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    I am glad my bet was accepted. Look forward to the competition :)

    M
     
  14. Jun 21, 2013 #44

    scott6452

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    From a neutral point of view, great stuff! I hope that the findings are made for all to view. And on a random note, I for one have thoroughly enjoyed this thread. Its the passionate and (for the most part!) informed debates like this that make this forum the best for kitchen cutlery. Long may it continue.
     
  15. Jun 22, 2013 #45

    Birnando

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    But of course.
    A man is nothing but his word..
    I look forward to our little experiment.
    Have faith in this, if nothing else, should I loose this bet, I will be the first to post as much.
     
  16. Jun 22, 2013 #46

    markenki

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    Judgment of Seki?
     
  17. Jun 22, 2013 #47

    Birnando

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    For clarity's sake:

    In approaching Mr. Tsourkan in Pm I offered the following bet:

    Hi Mr. Tsourkan.

    You know the saying, a man is only as good as his word.
    Well, here I am trying to stand by my word.

    I appreciate your reply to my initial post in the thread that lead us to discuss US custom makers.

    I am proposing this:
    How about if I provide a Kato or a Shigefusa to our bet?
    And you provide whatever you consider a match, or even better, a superior product made by a maker of your choice?
    I'm not gonna hold you to the 3 year statement!

    The conditions I would suggest for this bet are these:

    It is to be tested on neutral ground.
    It is to be based on function, not form.

    If that sounds ok to you, I am willing to put my money where my mouth is, to the extent of providing odds of 2 to 1.
    Meaning, I will, if I loose this bet, I will double whatever you put up.
    Within reason, I am not gonna use 10's of thousand on this

    What do you say to a bet of a hundred bucks?
    (feel free to suggest otherwise, up or down)
    I'll double whatever we agree upon should our impartial third party find the custom superior to my Japanese Gyoto?

    Regarding the third party, I would suggest we find someone without a knowledge of KKF, and that is not a US or Norwegian citizen.

    I will, as promised, cover all costs involved in making this work.
    That means shipping, insurance and packaging.

    Let me know what you think.

    Regards
    Bjoernar (birnando)
     
  18. Jun 22, 2013 #48

    pkjames

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    It's actually great to see the little compo going. I am also interested in the result, and for now, i am sided with birnando.
    Maybe a panel with a Japanese, an American and an European is warranted? :D
     
  19. Jun 22, 2013 #49

    mzer

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    You conflating a group of wines and wines in general. The 76-78 tastings don't tell you anything about the superiority of Napa or French wines, but of the comparisons of certain wines at certain times. While interesting as a media or marketing event, and historically important for our wine industry, it doesn't say much about the wines produced by two winemaking nations.
     
  20. Jun 22, 2013 #50

    CB1968

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    Great thread, cant wait to see the results of the knifeoff, maybe one of the Aussie forum members can send the winner a bottle of some new world Margaret River Cabernet, we dont make a bad new world shiraz either.
     
  21. Jun 22, 2013 #51

    maxim

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    My opinion why Japanese knives is so popular is sooo many knife cites in Japan, many many blacksmiths, with many generations of knife or swords blacksmithing
    And finally PRICE, You get much more for the money then say US or EU makers please dont take it as offense, but if you want cheap well made knife you get Japanese.

    When US or Eu makers start to make decent handmade knives for about 100 to 200 USD then it will maybe change

    Plus why price is so low on Japanese knives is because of many generations of knife making and they dont have to start from scratch they usually take over from they fathers
     
  22. Jun 22, 2013 #52

    Birnando

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    Australia is a great idea:)
    It is hard to imagine a neutral ground further away from Mr. Tsourkan and I :)

    And a bottle of that shiraz wouldn't be wrong, not at all;)
     
  23. Jun 22, 2013 #53

    maxim

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    and :plus1: on wine, france spain and Italy still the best you can get :hungry:
     
  24. Jun 22, 2013 #54

    MikeHL

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    To be fair histrionically there has been knife/sword making regions in Europe.

    Solingen, Germany
    Thiers, France
    Toledo, Spain
    Sheffield, UK

    Are they producing the same quantity as Seki? I doubt it. But the culture does exists. Heck before Japanese cutlery was on the scene most of the worlds knives/swords came from these area's. Perhaps the reason for continuous improvement of Japanese makers is of one craftsmen vs corporation. Where a Craftsman can be more responsive to the needs of its customers compared to say a company like Henckels, Shun, Global etc....
     
  25. Jun 22, 2013 #55

    pkjames

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    that's true, but don't get me wrong. i have an vintage gustav emil ern chopper that i absolutely love. the reality is, the knife making industries in these places are gone don't you think so?
     
  26. Jun 22, 2013 #56

    Birnando

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    I do believe you are quite right.
    Knifemaking has been around for many centuries all around the globe.
    Europe being but one of those areas.
    As a Norwegian who can trace my kin back to the 11th century by now (still searching..), I have read many a story about great tools in use up here.
    And my simple background/history is nothing compared to the middle- or south of Europe.
    Or North Africa for that matter!
    They seem to go back for milleniums when it comes to developing products that have improved slowly but surely over the centuries.

    The thing about the Japanese, to me, is that they, more than others, have been single minded enough, or isolated if you prefer, to persue perfection on many areas for a very long time.
    The result of that is, imo, that they have developed a unique culture that I would bet a lot of us enjoy parts of today.
    Knifemaking being but one of those.

    As to the Japanese entry of the "scene", I'm not sure what that really means as to the actual quality of cutlery products produced over there, here or anywhere else;)
    To me, that is more a consequence of ability, or desire, to reach the marketplace as it were.
     
  27. Jun 22, 2013 #57
    Ok...I don't care what you guys do through PM's, but there's to be no more mention of cash or any other bets or I'll lock this down. Got it?
     
  28. Jun 22, 2013 #58

    JBroida

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    Fwiw, seki is home to more factory production than hand production... Look to other areas in Japan for more hand made work
     
  29. Jun 22, 2013 #59

    Birnando

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    Got it!
    EOD (in the open forums)
     
  30. Jun 22, 2013 #60

    MikeHL

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    Agreed, other then Solingen and to some extent Thiers I don't see any large high quality, reasonable quantity manufacturers , at least from what I can tell anyways.
     

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