Hey guys- been reading here a bit and read a lot of arguments. I have a narrow window to make this purchase so research time had been truncated, so I am asking for specific suggestions. Consider this a challenge blade heads! Going to set this up as easily as possible: Me- Cooks A LOT at home. What? Food. Same as you guys. Never had to hack through bones in my kitchen so far, so no worries there. Melons though, are popular with the kids. What do I want in a knife? SHARP OOTB, preferably single material blade. (Because that seems to be the simpler, more popular choice? Elaborate please.) Easy to sharpen, durability of cutting edge is a plus, but not critical as I plan to practice honing and sharpening quite a bit, so ease of sharpening is a necessity. Handle type is of little importance, (60% western 40% traditional Asian right handed is my weight of preference. Pinch grip, but flexible.) I would like it reasonably quickly, as in I don't want to wait more than say 4 days for shipping, and would like to buy everything from 1 vendor. I am massively OCD so production defects will agrivate me if I can not fix them myself, though I would be happiest to avoid this. ( I am a fairly handy man.) My knife history:a lot of nice pocket knives, can sharpen them well on small smith diamond sharpeners. Awful typical cheap cooking knives, no name. Haven't tried to sharpen a large knife yet, but am fearless when it comes to trying if I have the best tools I can afford to set me up for success. What I need: to up my cooking knife game. I recently realized I was paying a lot of attention to my pocket edc knives, but absolutely no attention to my kitchen knives. I could chop a small tree down, but can hardly an onion with what's in my block. Why don't I use my edc knives for this? Never thought about it til now, but those onions are big compared to my pocket knives. I want a 240mm gyuto knife primarily and necessary stone(s) to kickstart my journey on the cooking knife blade head obsession now that I have been granted permission by the lovely lady in this brief window. I figure a carbon (non stainless) knife, but am open to others with explanation, and 1-3 stones to maintain/perfect said knife. (I am expecting a 1k/6k type setup here.) Budget is $250 for everything, but I can against my better judgement break that budget; I just don't see a need to as from what I've read the improvement will be so great even to a tojiro that going beyond that won't be worth it until I master sharpening the larger blades on the newly acquired water stones. (I've read a lot about blades on great knives needing to be sharpened or reset before they are worth the price.) I want the best starting knife and stones possible to master and move forward from. If I have money for a second 120mm or paring knife too, major brownie points. I know I'm not interested in German knives, more interested in Japanese/ French tradition. What I ask of you, dear forum geniuses and dwellers is this: suggested starter packages of 240mm knife + stone(s) for ~$250 or less, that will set me up best to learn large blade sharpening/honing, a good reference for F/F when moving forward later, and will provide an instantly satisfying experience in the kitchen compared to what I'm used to. I know at this price range to not expect perfection, but I expect a nearly enlightening experience compared to the dollar store knives I stole from roommates in college a decade a go. (They lasted a long time, right?) I will answer accurately any further questions you may have. I hope you guys see this more as a challenge than an annoyance, and I assure you I've read hundreds of posts here, but to be honest the threads wander about somewhat aimlessly from one disagreement and digression to another, and the organization of the forum itself leaves much to be desired, Not to mention contradicting arguments from one thread to the next. I do have a list of potential knives, but I'm more interested in your responses not knowing my choices so far, as that will add weight to my choices should they be similar, aiding in my selection process. I will say that I'm looking mostly at CKTG, though if your package makes since and all comes from the same place, I'll shop anywhere so long as it is reputable. If I choose your suggestion, consider me your knife B**** forever. I'll put it in my signature or something. Thanks in advanced for your help and cumulative knowledge and expertise. I will place an order Thursday or Friday, so let's hear it. Let's make this thread the best summarized resource for people on a budget this summer. Thanks!