The problem with having nice things is that sometimes you get spoiled, truly spoiled. And that's my problem with kitchen knives. I'm privileged to own an Hattori. The issue is that what do I use at restaurants? Several month ago I bought this knife for my personal use from The Japan Woodworker.
I just finished polishing the edge, and it's true what they say, "the third time is the charm." I make no secret of my preferences. I have found that Japanese folded aand welded steel makes some of the sharpest blades I have ever seen. The newer designs (advertised with an odd number of layers) usually have a core utilizing the modern "uber-steels." The ricasso and the ad copy relates that this steel is 'V10,' not VG-10, but it polishes, slices and wears like a twin.
This is a very large folder. (See the comparison to a Strider SnG in the photo below.) I carry it to our favorite Japanese restaurant, and while it is a chisel grind, it seems to slice just like a sashimi knife. It cleaves fish like a laser beam, and the weight of the blade alone slices vegetables. There is no "hesitation" as it cuts throught the skin of a tomato.
The build quality of the knife is flawless, the scratches are mine. The grip material mirrors thick bone, and the bolsters and liners are slabs of stainless. I have found that small creature comforts define a meal, and it's always good to have this santoku around to replace the dismal knives in resturants.
I keep in contact with other sharpeners in the USA and Canada, and we often refer to a scale of sharpness in defining our work. In the past the terms "scary" and "spooky" designated the top levels. Over the past few years we have had to add "toasty" to the mix. And after this last polishing, this folder is treading dangerously close to a top-flight Japanese kitchen knife like the Hattori.