On the very next day, after the visit to Osaka, we came back to Sakai and have visited Shunichi Tahara. Tahara San is a knife sharpener and grinder with 55 years of experience. His family is doing that for 110 years. This is something that you just cannot pass incuriously. I have realised my dream because I always wanted to see this kind of workshop with big grinding wheels. Tahara San workshop is very small and we had problems to accumulate all of us. There was even a time when there was no space for my translator Jim and I didn't understand what Tahara San was saying.
Tahara San in action. It only looks easy when he is doing that, but I have quickly realised that it is a hard work and that you must be focused all the time.
It was a very interesting experience. I could feel a pain in my back after a very short time. This position is very uncomfortable if the wheel is not adjusted properly to your height.
This is the last step of grinding before ''Kasumi¶ shiage''. Tahara San told me that it is very hard to get these wooden wheels because this craft is slowly disappearing and there are not too many companies which are making these wheels.
In the meantime, we went to a beautiful place, which is only 5 minutes walk from Tahara San workshop. There were a small brook and blossom cherries on both sides. The view was breathtaking. I could see many people, including whole families, a group of friends or single people having lunch. Tahara San and I sat on the stairs and had a lunch prepared by his wife. Obviously, we were recorded and everybody was staring at us, which was awkward. We had a little chat and later we came back to his workshop.
After grinding, polishing and sharpening he attached handles to the blades
This is a single bevel santoku I have forged in Emani Tadashi forge and then ground in Shunichi Tahara workshop. I am proud. I have made mistakes in both situations and this knife is too thin, but it is still usable.
After all of that, I was asked to pack and prepare to leave. They just asked me to wait for a few minutes. They said that I can't leave the workshop because they were preparing the surprise. After 40 minutes I was ready to say goodbye to Tahara San, but he said that he wants to show me something. He has invited me to his home which was just behind the corner. I have met his wife and son and they have prepared a special dinner for me. It was amazing. We had a chat, beer and a great time.
Tahara San family and I.
And this is my tv crew.
At the end of the day, I have shown my master my knife which I brought from home. He was very pleased with it. He gave me a few fantastic gifts. I got the knife I have made and a straightening stick, exactly same as the one he is using. On top of that, I got some stones, which supposed to be crushed in mortar for polishing powder. I have made few fingerstones out of it.