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Our Japanese Excursion - The Beginning

As many of you know, Sara and I are going to be spending the next three months in Japan, meeting knife makers, stone companies, and anyone else we have time to talk to.  In the process, we are hoping to find cool new products for our customers, increase our knowledge so we can better answer questions, and take lots of pictures to make you want to visit Japan more (everyone should visit at least once) ;) .  During this time, we will be adding all kinds of new products to our store… new knives, new stones, and some other little surprises.  We will also be introducing you to a lot of the makers we work with (and some new ones).  When time permits, we will try to give you a heads up of who we are meeting with, so that, if you would like, we can take questions from you to be answered by the makers.

So here we go…

After a nearly 10 hour flight, we arrived two days ago in Japan.

After a few short train rides, a little bit of food, and some praying for good luck at a shrine (who can resist a buddah-belly statue for good luck in business?), we started our quest.

In addition to the many knife makers and stone companies we will be meeting with, we decided to take some time and track down really cool traditional craftsmen in some other fields as well.  One of the first places we went to was a Scissor shop in Tokyo.  For many years, these guys have been known for making excellent traditionally forged scissors.  They make scissors in both blue and white steel, and have a variety of sizes.  The shop owners are extremely knowledgeable and took the time to explain a little about scissor sharpening and general care.  Their family has been forging scissors for generations.  The shop has some very cool scissors from the Taisho period on display on the right side of the store as you enter.  There is a chance you might be seeing some of scissors pop up on our store at some point soon ;)

After that, it was off to Tsukiji… I just wouldn’t feel right without stopping by here.  The first single bevel Japanese knives I bought for myself, I bought in Tsukiji (at Masamoto).  I still use those knives today.

There are a few knife shops in the Tsukiji area.  The oldest four are Masamoto, Aritsugu, Sugimoto, Masahisa.  Nenohi is a newer addition (but cool nonetheless).  We took some time to walk around, take pictures and ask lots of questions.  Tsukiji is an interesting place for knives… all of the knife makers there (except perhaps nenohi) really gear themselves towards providing professionals with working knives.  To them, it’s very important to see their knives get serious use… they take pride in this.  As with most Japanese knife shops, each shop had one or two people standing around sharpening knives.  It’s quite a spectacle… especially when you see a guy in the back sharpening a 4 foot long maguro hocho on a huge rotating wheel (he was shy though… no pictures).

After Tsukiji, we were going to swing by Kiya, but it seems like they are in the process of moving and expanding.  I guess we’ll have to see them in December.

At the end of it all... a little coffee and cake.  It wouldn’t quite be Japan without that.

Today we are off to meet with a very cool Tokyo area craftsman... we’ll be taking lots of pictures and keep you posted when we get back today.

Jonathan Broida
Jonathan Broida


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