In Nara, past the Todai-ji, in the hills east of the city, is a lovely tree-shaded path that goes through several beautiful parks. The path is lined with the occasional shop. One of these is a knife shop. It sells knives and ice cream. I can’t explain the ice cream, but it was delicious.
I gathered from the English documentation one of the proprietor’s put into my hand that the family who owned this shop had done so for a very long time. Such a long time, in fact, that the cutler’s family had once made swords for the Emperor’s samurai. This past service allowed them the honor of putting the Emperor’s Chrysanthemum on each of their blades to this day.
Now I don’t know if any of that’s true, but I spent a modest sum and bought a knife. I enjoyed listening to the owner and I needed a new kitchen knife, paying for the story as much as the blade. So I’m going to look into it about as far as the little shop pamphlet I was given.
But there’s one thing I can tell you with cold, hard certainty: The knife I bought cuts through tomatoes like they offended its ancestors.