Anyone else into these? Just after Christmas, I ordered one from a guy named Takeda in Okayama. It's a "Banno-funayukibocho" (easy for me to say). These are medium-duty knives with blades running around 7" that are suitable for slicing meats and veggies. It came today and I like it so far. It's lighter in weight than a western knife of the same size and will require some care as some rust will develop if it's not kept dry. Of course, it's wicked sharp right now but I'll have to see how well it keeps its edge.
There's a picture attached:
(Note: For all I know, the characters say, "The guy who bought this is a stupid gaijin"!
This one complements a Japanese chef knife (a "gyuto") that my wife gave me for Christmas a number of years ago. The gyuto is quite different in the way it looks - it's an exquisite Damascus blade as compared with the hand-hammered steel of the Takeda - but it's worked really well over the years and it pretty much sold me on the steel that the Japanese use.
Over the next decade or so, I more or less plan on slowly replacing our cobbled-together set of old Wusthof-Henckels-Gerber-Chicago Cutlery blades. These Japanese ones are available at a variety of price points as well as styles and shapes, and I like the two we have quite a bit.
Anyone else have opinions or experiences with these things?