Hey everyone, I've been reading around the forums for a few weeks but just recently joined. Before I get into my questions, here's a background about me. I'm 20 years old, living at home (to afford college, but not culinary school). I really enjoy cooking and do a lot of cooking for my family. I've been using a set of Cutco knives (I know, I know...) my parents bought from a friends son before I really took an interest in cooking. Anyways, I know they're not great and way overpriced and am looking to start a nice collection of knives. I started looking with one of the first steps up, German made knives. From there, my research led me to the big name Japanese knives like Shun and Global. When I was almost ready to order a Shun or two, I started to look into better Japanese knives and now here I am. Cooking is a hobby for me, and most likely always will be. However, I like to get the best I can afford no matter hobby I'm talking about (cooking/cutlery is only the latest in my set of expensive hobbies). One of the things I've always wanted to do was learn to sharpen my own knives (used to be to keep a nice edge on my pocket knives, now it's more about my kitchen knives). So after reading multiple threads, I'm going to order a Bester 1200 and a Suehiro Rika 5000 to get started with. If anyone else has a recommendation I should look at, please let me know. Also, would a super cheapo Target/Walmart knife be something good to practice on? (I obviously don't want to practice on a $200 knife). Is there anything else I absolutely need to start sharpening? Now on to the knife. I'd like to get a wa-gyuto, something in the $200-250 USD range or less. I'm probably going to get a 240mm because I just don't think I have adequate work space for a 270mm. The knife is going to be used for general purpose prep work on 5-10 meals per week (mostly dinners, but I'' break out the knife for weekend omelets and such too). For anything needing a heavier knife, I've always got the old Cutco knives. I'd like to stick with a stainless or semi-stainless because I'll admit I'm not the best at always wiping down my knives right away. I've got a medium sized bamboo cutting board an a few various sized soft plastic ones. I'd eventually like to get a nice maple board for my everyday work. My top choices right now are the Konosuke HD or even HH series, the Gesshin Ginga line, or Richmond Addict/Ultimatum/Laser. I also looked at the Tojiro DP and Fujiwara FKM for more of a budget option, but I did want a wa-handled knife. I really like the gyuto style because it has less belly than a German style chef's knife, and all these knives look good in that respect. I know these are all good knives, but I'm really looking for something that will be easy for me to sharpen after I've gotten a little practice on my stones. I also don't want to have to sharpen it too often (shouldn't be too much of an issue with the light use it will get). Any opinions/experiences on the knives I'm looking at would be greatly appreciated; other recommendations as well. I tried to include everything important, but ask if I left something out. Thanks!