Buying Advice Japanese Chef Knife

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by dalailamer, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. foody518

    foody518

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    Hope you're enjoying Japan
    Compare grind, thinness behind the edge of the two, weights, see if you can lay the knife flat somewhere and check out how the profile would look on a board
    Whichever you'd think you're able to keep up with how it will look with usage and scratching and all that, if it matters to you :)
    Hard to tell from this end without pics XD
     
  2. rick alan

    rick alan

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    You pay for the mirror polish.  As for the Togiharu, Korin carrie a brand by the name, 120 euros seems a very good price.
     
  3. dalailamer

    dalailamer

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    Will do that, thanks!
    Going to Tsukiji market tomorrow, after that I should have made a decision.
    Will let you guys know and upload a couple pictures hopefully.
     
  4. benuser

    benuser

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    Ask for an initial stone sharpening. It delivers a far better edge than the usual factory edge, and provides a reference for your own sharpening later on.
     
  5. dalailamer

    dalailamer

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    Definitely, and I'll have something engraved!
     
  6. dalailamer

    dalailamer

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    Hey guys,

    I'm finally back in Seoul, and things are returning to normal, so let me give you a recap of my experience!

    First of all, I checked out both, Tsukiji fish market as well as the Kappabashi area, two fundamentally different ways of shopping IMHO (Spoiler alert: I bought my knife in Kappabashi).

    On the second day of my trip, I went to Kappabashi to check out a couple of stores and to get a sense of what's available. I focused my search on two roads, marked them yellow: 


    Area 1 was my starting point, there were around 6 shops, all full of upmarket knives, rather small and really Japanese. 

    This is what this street looks like:


    And these are two of these shops:


    We will get back to them later. 

    Then, I went to the main road, to find shop number 2. It looked a lot more western, and the owner turned out to be American. Great, I thought, finally someone who is a fluent English speaker. Unfortunately, not only the owner was American, but the whole shop seemed to be geared towards tourists coming from said nation. Lot's of people stopping by to shop for some really pretty knives, the cheaper the better obviously. So that was a rather short visit, even though I enjoyed the chat.

    On to shop number 3. Kamata Hakensha, most people around here seem to know this shop, so I guess there's not much to say about it. Some older Japanese guy explained all the different knives which were an option for me, in broken English, just like in the shops in area 1. Really sweet customer service, very patient and knowledgeable. 

    Being satisfied with what I had learned about the Tokyo knife market, I called it a day and went for some Sushi. My mate had endured enough knife shopping anyways.

    Two days later, I went to Tsukiji. Got there around 10am, so it was packed with tourists, and when I say packed I mean no more than 2km/h walking speed packed. Anyway, sightseeing aside, I went to the recommended shops, Aritsugu and Masamoto. 

    Aritsugu was INCREDIBLY small. Literally the size of a street food stall. A guy was sitting in there, sharpening a knife, completely filling the "store". He didn't seem willing to speak English as well, and communication with my couple of papers of knife related vocabs and drawings also was very brief. Apparently, they didn't have what I was looking for. Same experience in the Masamoto shop, horrible advice, seemed like being geared completely towards souvenir shoppers and Japanese. Took me five minutes to find out which steel was used in the knife they were trying to sell me, and the only further information I could get was "best quality". 

    Not exactly my kind of shopping, so I checked out another store, but with a similar outcome. Overall, wouldn't recommend. IDK what I did wrong, but I can't see how this area can be recommended to buy knives to non-Japanese speakers. 

    So one day later, I returned to Kappabashi. I couldn't get the two knives I posted here a couple of days ago out of my head. I decided to go for the more expensive one, because:

    1. I probably won't go to Japan for quite some time.

    2. The shopkeeper seemed like he knows his shit.

    3. You get what you pay for (or at least I hope that's how it works in Japan)

    Bought the knife in the left shop from the 3rd picture. Here are some pictures from the inside: 



    And that's all the shop. Between each sides, there's maybe 1 meter, 1,5 max. 

    Payed 25.000 Yen for my knife, so almost exactly €200. Walnut(?) handle, not that it really matters, stainless cladding which continues into the handle ofc, blue steel #2. 

    Some photos: 



    Asked them to engrave "can' touch this", I guess what they engraved translates to something like don't touch this or whatever. Close enough. 


    I'm not the best at taking pictures. Go here for a bit more: 

    Also sorry for the bad formatting, it's kind of a pain in the ass creating such a post with just the forum software.

    If you have any questions or comments, I'd be happy to hear from you guys!

    Thanks a ton for all your help, I would have never been able to make this purchase without it! 

    Best regards,

    Dalai_Lamer

    @foody518  @ChrisLehrer  @Benuser  @BrianShaw  @Rick Alan  

    /e

    Forgot to mention, this is the knife after dicing two onions and some other stuff. 
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  7. foody518

    foody518

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    @dalaiLamer

    Wow thanks for chiming back in with pics and everything! :D

    Sorry to hear about those weird experiences with Aritsugu and Masamoto in Tsukiji >.<

    I love seeing photos of shops that totally full of knives O.O 

    Congrats on your buy! Looks like a nice thin grind. Have you used the knife a bit already? 2nd to last photo makes it look like there is some patina on the core steel (though now I'm thinking it could be a thin lacquer layer).
     
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  8. dalailamer

    dalailamer

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    Yeah well I wanted to see Tsukiji anyway, so that wasn't a big issue. 

    I indeed did use the knife, what you see is the patina after two onions, couple of chillies, three cloves of garlic and some potatoes. Took me by surprise that a patina develops THAT fast. Cleaned it immediately after finishing cutting each veggie. 
     
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  9. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    The super-quick reaction will die down shortly.

    Nice knife!

    I'm sorry your Aritsugu experience was so blah. I think it's probably the Tsukiji-tourist effect: tourists have nearly destroyed that market, and there's now a huge project to move it to a new location just to handle them, so there's a good deal of resentment from people who work there.
     
  10. dalailamer

    dalailamer

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    So I've heard, IMO a new location is badly needed! The market will most likely lose much of it's charme, but what do you expect in a city as modern as Tokyo. Guess it's inevitable. 

    To be honest, I can kind of understand these Japanese shopkeepers. A culture which values quality this deeply and honors artisans that much just doesn't go well with tourists.
     
  11. foody518

    foody518

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    How's the blade profile suiting you?
     
  12. dalailamer

    dalailamer

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    Since I adopted a more thrusting motion, it is suiting me pretty well. Dicing onions, reliably slicing garlic thin enough to see through, dicing potatoes or chunks of bacon, all no problem. Have only used it two times though. 
     
  13. benuser

    benuser

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    Rinse ASAP with a lot of very hot water. This will greatly enhance the formation of a patina.
     
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  14. jbroida

    jbroida

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    looks like tsubaya
     
  15. rick alan

    rick alan

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    You pay for the mirror polish.  Togiharu 
    Can you tell us more?
     
  16. foody518

    foody518

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  17. dalailamer

    dalailamer

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    http://tsubaya.co.jp/?pid=107801913





    Should be this knife then I guess? Maybe I mixed up blue #2 and blue super. It's definitely the same shop, and the knife looks exactly the same. 





    For easier comparison: 








    Anything you can tell me about the manufacturer? 
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  18. jbroida

    jbroida

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    yeah... the sign in the picture of the store says the store name (helps to read japanese ;)  )
     
  19. dalailamer

    dalailamer

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  20. jbroida

    jbroida

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    haha... i really didnt even notice the english
     
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