Going to Japan

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by milton yang, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. milton yang

    milton yang

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    At home cook
    I'm going to Tokyo in a couple weeks and to take full advantage of my time there.
    1. Is it better to buy (read cheaper) to buy sharpening stones there vs here in the US? Where should I buy stones in Tokyo? Let me be upfront here and confess that I've yet to use stones. I got my knives about 8 months ago and they've been perfectly sharp for me thus far because we only cook about once or twice a week (with very little prep). Maybe a few tomatoes,
    2. I used some Bar Keeper's Friend on a Misono Sweden slicer to remove some of the tarnish and accidentally removed some of the black paint/material that's inside the Misono and dragon engraving. Is this something that can be fixed? If so, is there a place in Tokyo one would suggest I could take it to? Now if the black paint was going to come off over time anyways, ignore this request.
    3. I have a 240mm gyuto, the Misono Sweden slicer, a Mac Pro petty, and a Mac slicer. I don't know if there's another knife I really need at this point but I'm open to suggestions. One option was to get a 270mm Masamoto gyuto for myself and let my wife use the 240mm that we already have...(Confession - I really like buying souvenirs from my trips that I will use because I get to cheaply relive the trip whenever I use the souvenir). We plan on visiting the Tsukiji market so it should be easy to get to the Masamoto shop.
    4. I'm the one who posted the story about my wife "dropping" the knife and chipping the tip off the blade. I haven't taken the time to fix the tip because I've been incredibly busy and the knife is perfectly functional. Now if I can pay someone a small fee to fix the blade in Japan and sharpen it, I would be a happy camper. Does anyone have a suggestion for where I could get this done? Is there anywhere in the US I could go to have this done?
  2. phaedrus


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    Professional Chef
    I will ask a friend of mine that does business in Japan.  In my limited knowledge I think that Tokyo isn't really the knife city that Seki or Kyoto are.  Going to the source for stones could save you some money.  Again, I'll have to consult those who know more than I do but outside of Tokyo finding merchants that can transact in English will be tougher.  This is just stuff that's rubbed off on me from conversations with people who've been there.

    If I were you I'd definitely be looking for less mainstream knives; after all, you wouldn't go to France to eat at a McDonalds!/img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif   I'll have to ask around to see who has storefronts in Tokyo.

    The best advice I can offer right now is to PM BDL.  He has a good friend who's married to a Japanese woman, IIRC.  The gentlemen also happens to be an importer & dealer of Japanese knives and stones, but I think not a member here.
  3. boar_d_laze


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    Cook At Home

    Hope you don't mind me repeating the gist of our PM conversation for the sake of any lurkers with similar questions.

    Wagstaff is talking about Jon Broida, the owner of Japanese Knife Imports.

    This is not the best board on which to ask about buying knives in Japan. As I told you, I don't know diddly about buying there. If you're going to PM anyone (else), let it be Chris Lehrer who spent real time there, and some of that time could be thought of as a knife hajj.

    There are a few designated knife buying opportunities for a tourist in Japan. One of them is the Tokyo Fish Market -- which is worth the visit itself. If you'll be spending more than a day or two in Osaka prefecture, it might be fun to do some knife tourism in Seki City, maybe even tour a "factory." There are a few other really good and well known places, but they're not well known to me.

    For a tourist in Japan for a limited time, it's hardly worthwhile going back and forth to knife stores to whittle down the choices to the right ones. There are more interesting things to see, and your choices here aren't so limited that it's imperative to buy there.

    On the other hand, if you have a good idea of what you're after and how to find it... then buying could be fun. Your thoughts on the inherent pleasures of sovenir shopping certainly resonated. To the extent possible, I suggest calling ahead for advance notice of whether or not language will be a problem. Also, bring LOTS of cash if and when you do go knife shopping. A lot of hamono shops don't take credit.

    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  4. wagstaff


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    At home cook
    Just to keep the records clear -- Phaedrus was talking about Jon and Sarah this time!

    I've never traveled to Tokyo, so can't vouch for any of this information, but just yesterday I saw a blog post that I enjoyed, which you may find relevant:


    And in the comments section -- it sounds like Hayakawa Hamono might be a really groovy place to hang out a bit! (Never heard of them other than that blog).
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2011