It's funny...over the years, I completely got away from my German knives and have built a collection of around 30 or so Japanese knives. To me, they are far superior. There are few places in the world that could really give the Germans a run for their money but, the Japanese certainly have. I have several custom jobs, big names, entry levels, etc.. Of them all, I still finding myself constantly reaching for my Shun because it was the first introduction to Japanese-ish knives I bought. Since then, I've found several brands half the price of the Shun, that out-perform ANY German piece I own. If you'll mainly be using this as a workhorse knife, and not a showpiece, check out brands like Tojiro. I was able to pickup a powdered steel 12" gyuto for under $200.