My first nice cooking knife was a Sakai Yusuke 21cm gyuto, but to skip a long and unnecessary story, the knife ended up out of the country for a rather long time.
Jon at JKI was kind enough to help ship it back to me but it was in suboptimal shape when he received it:
(no-nonsense pic from Jon)
When I got it back, I first had to reset the near edge geometry, and since the handle was already grey and stained, I just let the mud darken it. It cut fairly well but was pretty ugly. I don't mind having a knife in rough shape, so I tried to ignore it and focus on getting it to cut well.
Couple weeks ago, my partner and I were in the kitchen and I taught her how to use a gyuto with a pinch grip. She used either the Yusuke or a Takamura petty, so I decided the knife needed at least a decent working finish.
In hindsight, I should have taken some WIP photos or even just a before/after set, but oh well.
I removed the previous belt finish and established a longitudinal scratch finish, resanded the handle to remove stains and restore the ichii wood color, and reset the near edge with a somewhat irregular but natural stone finish to provide a nice maintenance pathway.
I'm giving it to my partner as her first nice (I think) knife. I'll probably use it too, since I'm rather fond of it.
Thanks for looking.