a. “First of all - thank you for sharing your story. First of all, how would you describe your knife?”
b. “My knife is a 240mm gyuto crafted by Masahisa. Its a carbon steel knife. The core is wrapped in a patterned steel, making it a beautiful object. I´m not sure who the maker is, but it is a handmade knife from Japan. It was given to me based on my criteria, and it was far more expensive than I would have chosen myself. It has a slender profile - a bit thinner than I would like - making it very light. The handle is a traditional octagonal one, made from buffalo horn ferrule and a magnolia obovata wood.”
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. “We meet through someone - my dad introduced us. It wasn´t entirely random however - he based the choice on my complains from the previous relationship and my wishes for the future in terms of materials, scale and profiles of the blade.
The first meeting was rather special - I had high expectations and I remember the anxiousness of lifting it from the box and feeling the weight, balance and length in my arm - but it was a great right away and in a matter of minutes it became an instinct and a subconscious extension of my hand. A very good first date if you want.”
a. “How long have you been together?”
b. “Not very long yet - it will be a year relatively soon. Sadly we had a lot of time off due to my being abroad and not wanting to risk bringing it to a shared apartment.”
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. “It is my third relationship really. The first one was trial and error really - like all first relationship, right? It was a cheap western knife - made by Fiskars I believe - with a very “ergonomic” plastic handle. But my relationships with knives started by realizing the handle was wrong, and making my own handle. Sadly the knife didn´t have the steel quality to last and it was a santoku-style, but the profile just wasn´t right. Then came the second one - that was a 180mm Kiritsuke from Japan - not a very expensive one, but very good. I still have that knife and come back to it here and then - does that make me a monogamist?”
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. “Lover - that isn´t entirely correct, but there is a sort of an obsession and possessive element in my relationship with it to be anything else really.”
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 think being intimidated is important for a healthy relationship - its the intimidation that builds respect and skills. And its the skills and repetition that creates a mutual respect - I respect what the knife can do, I do it justice by using it in the correct way, as it was conceived to be used. So in my opinion it takes intimidation to build respect and skills, which ultimately let you push the intimidation back in your mind.”
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. “Trust is the foundation of the relationship. On one side I have trust in the knife as a tool to do what I want it to do. On the other hand I have trust in my ability to use the tool in the right way. Which of those is more important? I guess the trust in my ability is critical - without it I would be intimidated by the tool and that would not be a healthy relationship, would it?”
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. “I think communication is important - it is in every move and every cut - the knife tells me as much as my eyes about what is happening on the cutting board through the grip by vibrations, weight changes and so on. So the instantaneous communication goes through the hand, the grip. But I could also talk about the long-term communication - how the knife speaks back to tell me what it needs - getting less sharp is like screaming for attention maybe?”
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. “It would have to be in the way the knife feels in my hand. When I am about to use the knife, I take it out and as I am about to cut, I transform my grip into a ‘pinch grip’ and in that moment the knife becomes an extension of my arm and mind and there is a short moment of satisfaction and connection. Interpret that as you will.
Additionally, I guess there is something intimate in sharpening the knife, could be thought of as giving a massage to a lover or simply giving something back.”
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 tell them that they are missing on an opportunity to have something to look for every day, that gives them a few minutes of peace, concentration, relaxation and satisfaction depending on how you feel.
And I would recommend them to work on their skills, because you can´t overcome the fear in any other way. You have to conquer your fears - and in this case it is beyond worth it. It will give more energy and creativity to cook, to eat better, to try new things and to interact with others and share good food (and to show off if you want). So just work on your skills, learn the ´pinch grip´ and it will take its own course from there. Have fun!”