Photographs from a small group of islands
Oct 11 2013 27 Comments
Knives out, and daggers too.
10/11/2013 at 10:24 am
Cool! A serious cutlery shop. I like Japanese kitchen knives. Every one has a specific purpose.
10/11/2013 at 10:28 am
Also the eyes of the man at the sharpening stone say that his knowledge extends beyond sharpening kitchen knives. 😉
10/11/2013 at 7:31 pm
Haha, they do indeed. Needless to say I didn’t hang around to see what those skills are!
10/11/2013 at 8:31 pm
I saw a big yanagiba knife for about 3 grand US in a street market down in Kyushu..what a shock! Japanese knives are a big boom everywhere these days apparently. And they’re great too.. I have one that only needs sharpening about 1/5th of the time of the other knives. Made by a traditional sword smith in Fukushima. He said he made it out of Swedish steel. All the original Japanese steel was used up ages ago evidently. Blades in Japan. Quite a story.
10/11/2013 at 10:01 pm
I had ‘a go’ with an expensive knife once in a similar shop to the one in the photo, and the sharpness of it was frightening…
That’s fascinating about the steel. Something I’d never even thought of. Wonder why Swedish steel is the preferred material?
10/12/2013 at 12:06 pm
Well my sword maker acquaintance said since all the Japanese stuff had been used up, the Swedish stuff was the next best thing available. Dunno much other than that. But he had ice cube sized chunks of it and through them in the forge.. all very exciting to watch!
10/12/2013 at 3:24 pm
I can imagine.
And I do believe that’s the first time I’ve heard somebody say, “Well my sword maker acquaintance said…”!
10/12/2013 at 3:53 pm
My egg-farmer neighbor sold the sword maker eggs… so the big knife we have came form him. he gave us a discount too!
10/12/2013 at 4:01 pm
And an egg farmer neighbour too. Brilliant!
10/13/2013 at 6:30 am
Life in rural Japan I guess!
An Expat says
10/12/2013 at 8:38 pm
Knew a person whose father owned a knife manufacturing plant out in Seki, Gifu-ken. The father told me that knives they exported, specifically the U.S., were less sharp than their Japanese twins due to product liability issues. I have a Japanese cooking knife purchased ages ago in Japan kept sharpened with a stone I got too in Japan. The knife is still going strong!
10/12/2013 at 10:50 pm
That is interesting. With knives being sharp by nature, you wouldn’t think it would make any difference. Clearly, however, there’s sharp, and then there’s really sharp.
10/15/2013 at 1:35 am
Counter-intuitive, of course, as you are more likely to cut yourself with a dull knife.
A chef friend cut himself with on of our crappy knives precisely because it was dull.
10/15/2013 at 11:32 am
Yes, that really does make a mockery of it.
10/12/2013 at 10:03 pm
Great caption and, as ever, a wonderful photo. I love your work.
10/12/2013 at 10:51 pm
Thank you very much. Very nice of you to say so.
Stella Sturm says
10/13/2013 at 4:23 am
is this Tsukiji? reminds me very much of the incredible cutlery shop there… literally got that adrenaline flush from head to toe when I saw it… always enjoy your photos and perspectives keeping me close to Japan until I can get back there. Regards
10/13/2013 at 10:11 am
Yes, spot on! I really like the little shop/restaurant area there. Don’t know what will happen to it when the market moves…
Thanks a lot. Really nice to know you get something out of what I do.
10/13/2013 at 9:12 am
By the look, his eyes are shooting daggers!
10/13/2013 at 10:14 am
They were indeed.
Usually, after moving the camera from my face and giving the person I’ve just shot a big smile, they react similarly. Their initial surprise/irritation turning into a friendly, shared moment. That, however, wasn’t the case with this fella…
10/14/2013 at 12:26 am
AFAIK, Tamahagane Japanese steel is still available, just in very small amounts, so not for wide scale industrial or consumer product goods. I don’t know if it was ever really used for that anyway, because making it is a slow, inefficient, low yield traditional process. It’s made from Satetsu, or Iron Sands, and is almost solely used for traditionally forged swords and very expensive knives. The notion that Tamahagane is better than other fine steels is a myth, but I don’t think they’ve quite run out of it yet.
I don’t think there’s a chef worth his or her salt who doesn’t go all eurphoric over Japanese cutlery.
10/14/2013 at 11:15 am
Interesting. Cheers. By posting this photo it has allowed me to learn a few things.
I’m embarrassed to say I also learned what AFAIK means. Had to Google it…
10/14/2013 at 7:27 am
I shuddered when I saw this photo.
It’s the last place I’d want to be in an earthquake!
10/14/2013 at 11:16 am
Oh god yeah, hadn’t even thought of that…
They are mostly behind glass though. Just lets hope that glass is of the reinforced variety.
Ange NZ says
10/27/2013 at 1:47 pm
Apologies for my hasty comment & if the answer is in the comments (must be somewhere soon!) but is there a place in Tokyo known as the premium knife shop? Looking for an amazing fish filleting knife for myself and as Xmas pressies for friends/family.
10/31/2013 at 1:56 pm
We moved back to the states years ago, but we still buy our knives from them.
10/31/2013 at 5:19 pm
Good to hear they are still getting you customer deposits the distance. That certainly proves how good their knives are.
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