So for XMAS I have $250 to spend from the in-laws and I'd like to pick up some nice knives (aiming for a Chef/Santoku and a paring knife). I'm a home cook, no experience really, nothing special just enjoy good knives. I have been lurking for about 6 months and reading reviews and yesterday I finally went into a store to hold some knives. I really enjoyed the handle on the Shun knives (and that style handle or similar) vs the handles on the Wustofs. I do have the opportunity today to buy some Caphalon Katana knives for a VERY good price (I'd be able to get 3-4 knives). Now, I'm one of the types that does tons of research and then wants to buy something that lasts me a LONG time. I don't want to have to do this process again for years and years to come. I have an issue getting a knife online without being able to hold it, but the only knives in my area I can hold are caphalon, shun, wustof and that's about it. I thought I'd like the german for it's ability to hold up a little more to abuse, but man did I enjoy the Japanese cut. I prefer the straight type handle as well, so going off of that info, does anybody have some good suggestions? $250 is my limit (I'd like at least 2 knives - with some money left for sharpening stuff if possible but I can buy that on my own if need be). I cut a lot of fruits and veggies as well as chicken and beef. Never with bones in them. Just a basic at home guy who likes to cook and wants some good knives to last a long time. I've read about the MAC and Tojiro and hears good things. I also think I read some good things on Artifex as well. Again, beginner but I don't want to have to go through this process again for at least 5-10 years. I plan on keeping very good care of them and sharpening often with a service (until I learn myself). Thanks guys! EDIT: I'd also like to add that I enjoy supporting companies with great customer service. If an issue does arise with the knife I want the replacement process to be effortless on my part. And odd request I know.