a. “First of all - thank you for sharing your story.
First of all, how would you describe your knife?”

b. “I currently own about 15 "nice" chef's knives, all Japanese, but I've owned and sold a number of others from various countries. My deepest emotional connection is to a Konosuke Fujiyama (brand) Funayuki-Gyuto (type) in Blue #2 steel with a special stock Ebony handle. Not only does this knife perform very well, but it also represents (to me) how the Japanese craftsman of the time wanted the world to perceive the art of knife-making of Sakai, a national, traditional hub of blade smithing. Unlike many mass-marketed knives, this knife seemed less designed to meet practical global needs and more designed to show off certain Sakai artisans (forgers, sharpeners, polishers) according to their own standards and preferences. ”

a. “Borrowing an analogy with human relationships - How did you “meet” your knife? Did your eyes meet across the room, or was the knife introduced to you by someone?”

b. “Above, I described the knife, but much of my connection to it comes from how it came to my hands. The knife was in large part a gift: I picked it out online without ever trying it, but it was partially offered/paid for by a friend. My friend experienced a real success and wanted to share this with me. She put money towards the purchase to allow me to splurge. Upon opening and receiving the knife, I genuinely felt as if it had passed from someone's hands into my own, which is a rare and unusual feeling when you buy something online that arrives in several boxes with lots of messy packaging.”

a. “How long have you been together?”

b. “Almost four years to the day. That is actually a pretty long time considering how recent the fad of rare Japanese knives is internationally!”

a. “Is this your first knife or have here been significant othes before? What were those 'relationships' like? What did you learn from them? Did you have any bad experiences?”

b. “I owned a few other knives before this one, at least one was also a Konosuke. I did have some bad experiences with other "nice" knives, such as top-of-the-line German models that, while "good," always seemed to require my attention. The Konosuke knives were the first I owned that looked like works of art, but when used, seem to disappear and put all the attention of the food I was cutting, revealing its various textures, smells, chemistry, etc., with every cut.”

a. “If you would choose one word to describe how you feel about the knife, which would it be and why? Lover? Friend? Stranger? Or an enemy?”

b. “Life-long companion. It is too early to know if this will be true for the knife or for the person who gifted it to me, but the knife certainly "feels" this way, in part because of the person who helped me buy it, but also because it felt like an heimloom from the moment I received it, almost as if it wasn't new but somehow reincarnated from another life.”

a. “Many of us are intimidated by knives and haven´t always had a good relationship with them. Can you describe how you overcame this barrier, or what you think you need to do to overcome it?”

b. “I don't think I had to overcome too much intimidation in terms of the sharpness of the knife. The knife really invited me to use it. I had used enough knives and cooked enough to approach it with excitement. I will say that it was my first carbon knife, and I found that aspect very intimidating at first. I think I overcame those issues once I decided I wanted to live with it for a long time, so there was no harm in either of us developing a few scars.”

a. “In human relationships we often talk about trust. How important is trust in your relationship with your knife and what is the source of the trust for you?”

b. “Oddly, I've learned that, the harder you use a knife, the more you learn to trust it. As with relationships, trust builds more quickly and more strongly under pressure. This relates to the previous question: I "got over" the intimidation of carbon reactivity by using the knife in situations that were time-sensitive and stressful (cooking large meals for groups) and realizing that it wasn't going to rust or chip or break. Successful outcomes from situations like that develop trust, which is essential with any knife in order for it to feel like an extension of your mind and body rather than an obstacle to your work as a cook.”

a. “Another ‘pillar’ of relationships is communication. What part of your interactions with your knife would you consider as communication? How does your knife communicate with you, and how do you communicate with your knife?”

b. “Communication comes from sharpening. I could get mystical and suggest that communication comes from the carbon patina, or the handle needing oil, or stuff like that, but it doesn't—those are all me communicating with it in the form of routine maintenance, not special communication. But on the stones, the steel provides a lot of feedback, and it "talks" differently on different stones by making different sounds and by tactile feedback from the friction. The steel wants to be sharpened in certain ways, to a certain level of refinement, and you feel that. It is a negotiation: sometimes what I want from the edge is different from what the knife seems to tell me it wants, which requires a bit of compromise on my part and on its part, as silly as that sounds.”

a. “In some relationship there is privacy or intimacy. Which interaction, habit, skill or moment of using your knife do you consider as private or intimate?”

b. “The most intimate moments with this knife are when polishing it. Occasionally, I strip most of the patina to clean the knife, which is a form of polishing. When doing this, I have to treat the knife in ways that are unnatural. It is in these moments that I get very close to the edge in ways that are dangerous, scary, and very "intimate" in the sense that I am trying to get as close to every part of the knife as possible, even when getting close could result in damage to it or to me. It requires a careful embrace. It also involves some chemical materials that could damage the knife or me if not handled appropriately, which highlights the tactile danger.”

a. “In life we lean to others for advice in relationships so once again borrowing the similarity - What would you recommend/tell to someone who has a bad relationship with his/hers kitchen knife?”

b. “I would recommend two things: fresh, easy to cut ingredients and a knife instructor with good knives. I still firmly believe that a good relationship with a knife starts with a good relationship with how the knife works: it should feel so natural that it draws your attention to the food and the natural, intuitive excitement that cutting or "opening up" fresh food brings to all of our senses. Part of this is feeling "safe" using a sharp edge, which requires both good knives that are well maintained and an instructor to help you learn to hold such a knife and use it effectively. But those requirements only take about 5 minutes of actual time at the start of the process. From that point, the largest investment is actually just cutting some exciting ingredients freely, without the pressure to cook them or to cut them in a certain way, allowing the knife to become an extension of your body so that the food guides the experience.”