Wednesday, 7 January 2009

a day in our japan trip 08: knives at aritsugu

22/12/08 mcduck and i was in kyoto... it was our 2nd day in japan... we went to the iconic nishiki market... it looked abit like central market in adelaide (with more histories attached)... speciality shops galore... then i spotted ARITSUGU!
the 450 y o knife shop, since 1560... 1560! middle ages?!
this most exquisite wrapping cloth was a gift from the sales lady...

she kept on telling me not to spend 44000 yen on a top of the range blue steel kansai style usuba... "those are for professionals... the only difference is that the edge holds sharper for longer..." she recommended the 13000+ yen one for home use... after much deliberation (with my calculator)... i resisted parting with $700+ aud, instead i parted with $250 and took her recommendation to heart...

i have to say... when i got back home... i did regreted not taking the plunge with the $700 knife... but this new aritsugu knife of mine, is the sharpest one i have ever cut with! now i understand how the chefs on iron chef can cut so quickly with such precision!
i have to be extra careful with my fingers from now on...
NB: aritsugu has two distinct shops - one in kyoto one in tokyo... i was abit confused to begin with... after enquiring the sales lady... she reluctantly told me in a soft voice on the side that the 2 shops parted about 100 yrs ago and now are both running by themselves - therefore they have slightly diff range and slightly diff method of forging their knives...
and which one is better?? i think from a pure touristy point of view, i have to say kyoto aritsugu, because
1)shop front is v appealing and it is located at nishiki market kyoto - much older than tsujiki market in tokyo... the knife shop has been there or there abouts for 450yrs!
2)better display of products - with window display on both walls and central counter display... not just knives but other cooking instruments as well
3)knives are hand sharpened while you wait with freebie (2-kanji) inscription on the blade for free
3)special counter for after purchase presentation - how to use / sharper /take care of knife at home explained by sales lady with good english speaking skills
4)wrapped in rice paper, in carboard, then in box with foam and instructions, then aritsugu wrapping paper and aritsugu silk wrapping cloth (freebie - would have cost an extra 1000-2000 yen in souvenier shops), then all together in a paper bag

No comments: