Being the new year, I've decided that having bad knives is tiring, and so I want to upgrade. Right now my collection consists of scraps of no name "laser sharpened" essentially worthless knives my brother bought when he moved out. So I'm currently looking for a 10" chef's knife/gyuto, bread knife, and 5"-6" petty/utility knife at minimum. I sort of had Japanese knives in mind, but I'm also willing to consider some other makes. However, I've had very little luck actually finding anything locally, so I'm instead asking you guys for advice before I order anything, in order to make sure I'm looking at the right brands, the right knives, and the right profile. In particular, I'm curious about Sakai Takayuki knives, because I've heard the name mentioned here at least once or twice. Specifically, regarding the Grand Cheff vs. the Hammered "Damascus" vs. 63-layer "Damascus". I'm assuming the Damascus knives aren't really Damascus and are... word escapes me, I apologize, "ink on water", thus going to fade, but how quickly? I am Canadian, so don't let that whole shipping thing be an issue. Another question was concerning the MAC Pro line, and how it would compare to the Sakai Takayuki brand. This is rather difficult because I'm unable to find any place that locally carries either of these brands, so I can only compare them to the Shun Classic, Ken Onion, or Global knives. Also, Hattori HD knives. I've heard they're good, but are they worth buying? Or is there better at the price point? I do like the Damascus pattern but I understand that it fades with time, so I'm not entirely keen on paying for something that's purely aesthetic... especially when it won't be there forever. On the other hand, it's really, really pretty... As far as Sabatier goes, I can't say I fully understand the brands, but it doesn't NEED to be stainless. I'm meticulous enough that I'll take care of carbon steel, when looking at the antique Canadian lines and such. Or even the modern carbon steel line. If they're worth it, at least. The rest of my family might not be as meticulous, but these knives are essentially for me. Miscellaneous but important information: My knife skills are alright, and I'll be improving them in the new year. I won't say fantastic, but I won't say terrible, either. I'm not a professional chef, by any means, but I'm constantly learning, and one of the reasons I wanted a set of good knives was to force myself get better, if that makes sense. When it comes down to it, I'll be able to work with relative haste while keeping all my fingers in tact. Budget is somewhere around $400 Canadian, give or take. One of the knives is going to be a gift, the others I'm paying for myself. I'm not entirely sure. I guess the gift one doesn't count towards the budget, which we'll say is the cheapest one. On sharpening: I do know how to sharpen, I'm not the best, and would probably have them all professionally sharpened at least the first time, regardless of what I got. This is something that I'd also very much like to learn how to do better, but that's another topic for another time. I think I'm out of questions for the time being. If anyone has any suggestions, comments, feels I'm overthinking this, or feels I'm overlooking anything, feel free to say. Thanks in advance.