Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Love At First Sight at Aritsugu Knives Kyoto, Japan

One of the things I knew I must buy myself in Japan was a Japanese Chef's Knife. In preparation for my travels I watched Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" Japan which inspired the hunt for a great knife! But which one would I pick? How would I know which knife would be the right one? Knowing I'd have to live with my choice, the idea of picking a knife quickly became reminiscent of choosing a new lover.
While strolling through the Nishiki Market I came across Aritsugu, the most popular knife shop in Kyoto. As soon as I walked in it felt like the knife Mecca! All the beautiful gleaming knives showcased on the walls made me feel like they were flirting with their sharp smiles. It was like being fresh meat walking into a bar!
Like my grandfather was, I want to be a master in the kitchen. Nothing excites me more than the idea of not only loving food, but being able to prepare it for others with creativity and grace. I know that part of that would entail mastering my knife skills. I wanted to find a knife that was approachable, and felt like an extension of who I am. This is probably part of me finding my own identity in the kitchen. From tools to ingredients, I know that I want to be one with all the elements. I wanted the perfect companion.

My experience of picking a knife was very much like speed dating. I picked out a bunch from the showcase and then spent some time with each of them. "This one has a good handle...this one's is too intimidating...this one is too high maintenance" I thought as I made my way through all of them. And then there it was sitting there, the perfect knife! My new Japanese lover! It was the perfect size, it was durable, classic and inspiring! And I could engrave my name on it as well! SOLD!They engraved my name, and wrapped up my new companion which even came with instructions on how to care for it. Ahh...If only dating were that easy. Wouldn't it be amazing!? And the staff at Aritsugu were so patient, accommodating and helpful with me making my choice. I was so excited!
My new knife is waiting for me at home until I'm done touring. In the meantime I fantasize about the day I get to unwrap it and master my skills with my new relationship. :)


  1. Buy Band Aids!! Take it from a rookie who's been there, Andy! When I first started doing prep in the restaurant I work at, I wasn't used to the really nice knives they use and I went through many, many Band Aids learning how to use them properly! Be careful, my friend! ~~Tammy DiCecca

  2. How exciting! A knife is extension of the hand, and it looks like you found a great one.

  3. Hi Andy,
    Good advice from anonymous, especially with really really sharp knives - so, to piggy-back on your dating comparison, do start out slowly & get to know each other before you, uh, use it....And, get yourself a good knife sharpener too!

    Thank you for your Thursday night performance in Appleton; I didn't realize how fortunate I was to see you knowing that I'd miss you on Friday & Saturday.

    Be well, my friend....

  4. What a great post! The "fresh meat" line is a classic.

    This reminded me of when I went shopping for my first real chef's knife, a Wusthof - it's definitely a "dividing day" moment (but in a good way!) for your life in the kitchen. The other posters are right about the band-aids, though!

  5. Andy, honey, I just noticed something in your bio. I think you may mean that you are of Cuban descent, not "decent" - although I know that you're very decent!

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