I like fine tools of all varieties. I my shop, my woodworking tools are shaving sharp. Although I am 2nd fiddle to my wife in the kitchen, I keep my modest knife collection sharp for my wife's skilled use. Visiting a friend recently, we got to use an 8in shun classic. It was not well cared for but still cut more easily than the Henkel's 8in chef also on hand. It also felt awkward to use and short. I would like to get my wife a gyuto for X-mas. After reading some posts here (BDL especially), I'm considering the 240 mm Masamoto VG or the Mac Pro as our first Japanese knife. BDL: "fantastic profile, natural, comfortable feel, spectacular everything else, etc.... appeals to me. I lean away from the carbon steel blades because of the staining. Clad knives have been described as "dead feeling". I'm open to handle styles, but lean towards yo, non-slippery when wet. Finally, I would like to spend <$250. I welcome everyone's considered opinions.