So every time I move I end up giving away my kitchen knives because they're just too much of a hassel to lug around. In the last recent while I've given away 2 Henckel sets and 1 Wiltshire set. This time around I decided I should just buy 1 knife instead of the set because I usually only use 1 knife to cook with anyways. So, I went to the local "Big W" aka the Walmart equivalent, and I looked at what seemed like a decent knife, a Wiltshire Santoku, it was $17. As I got it home and tried it, I noticed... it's not very sharp. That's brand new out of the packaging. So, I decided to buy a sharpener. The red thing in the picture is a Henckel diamond ceramic hollow grind sharpener, I've had (and given away) 2 of these before and they're pretty good. Basically there's a metallic disc followed by a ceramic disc and by drawing the knife through it'll sharpen the point in a rounded V shaped like the disc's which is why they're called hollow-ground. The knife was a little sharper but it dulled after just a few usages and was generally unimpressive. I was starting to get pissed off at the situation, then had this idea... if I buy a more expensive knife... more expensive than the typical Henckel / Wusthof types knives, I'll be more inclined to carry the knife around with me and I won't have to go shopping around for crappy knives and I'll actually save money - by not having to buy knives again. After more extensive research, I ended up ordering a Hattori Gyuto direct from Japan. This knife is an experience in itself and completely eclipses the Henckels I've owned. Normally this knife goes for just over $300 but by ordering it from Japan I managed to get it for just $170. Yes, what a jump from $17 to $170... They say blade is sharp enough to shave with. I tried it, I held a strand of hair on end and brushed the knife up against it and just the force of brushing by the hair cut it in half. When cutting hard items like carrots, it is so easy and smooth it feels like butter. When I slide the knife across the cutting board to pick up vegetables, it shaves wood bits off the cutting board - and that's with no pressure on the knife blade at all. As with all slightly off-mainstream items, it requires some extra care. Allegedly the metal is hard enough that you only need to sharpen & tone the knife about once every 6 months, even with daily usage. You also can't use the simple draw-through sharpening tools like the red one I have. I had to order a whetstone which is the brown & mocha coloured block in the picture. This stone itself is something else. For those of you who know about sanding grits, one side is 1000 grit, while the other is 6000 grit. The 6000 grit side feels smooth to the touch almost like plastic. You wouldn't imagine it'd do anything useful for sharpening. Sharpening with a whetstone itself is a dark art. I'm practising on the Santoku for now in preparation for 6 months from now when I may need to use it on the Gyuto. (Feel free to imagine me in a dim, dark room... slowly sharpening knives... muuuuhhhhaaaaa!!!!) As it turns out, $300 isn't an expensive knife. This is actually the "cheap" line that Hattori makes, the more expensive ones run at over $1000 each... All this leaves me with one realisation. My photographic abilities are insufficient to capture the metallic look and the sheer craftsmanship of this knife which is evident in person. I blame it on the lack of lighting, lack of tripod, and lack of practice... we all have our excuses right? P.S. this was just an excuse to practice taking photos and practice my story telling abilities so don't expect my information here to be too precise about knives.