|Just one of Kyoto's Temples by night|
We arrived by Shinkansen on Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after landing in Tokyo. As the cherry blossom festival had just taken place a few days prior, the city was crowed with domestic and international travelers alike. This gave Kyoto a buzz, filling the city with lingering travelers exploring the many temples, gardens and winding backstreets Kyoto has to offer. We jumped right into the action, quickly dropping our bags and hit the street. Strolling from temple to temple and garden to garden, we took in the peaceful air of the city that quickly settles onto your shoulders like a warm blanket. After a few beers or a bottle of sake, the tension in your muscles dissipates and you find yourself awash in tranquility. You feel like you're in a town of 15,000 when you're actually in a town of 1.5 million.
You might say that writing a blog post about a kitchen knife seems a little absurd. You may be right. You also might be a big jerk. I'm kidding - just checking to see if you are still awake. But for me, it embodies so much more. Craft is something that is going by the wayside. Sure, there's been a resurgence of craft beer, craft cheese, craft kombucha and every other craft Brooklyn, Boulder and guys with silly facial hair can shove down your throat. The beauty here however, is that 1 family, for more than 18 generations, felt compelled that what they were doing was important enough for the next generation to take over, continually perfecting their art and passing it on to their children. The precision, care and time they've each put in from generation to generation is astounding, making them some of the finest knife crafters on the planet.
10 years ago I stood in front of many a knife shop in Japan, hoping to one day own a blade that's been so meticulously crafted. This time I was able to do it. Frankly, there may be no better travel artifact to bring home from Japan then a blade from Aritsugu.