I'm picky about knives, about the metals used to make them, their longevity and utility, and I'm fascinated about the craft of knife making. Left-handed sushi knives are not commonly made, although you can find them on a number of sites for sale. When I asked Makoto what he thought about a couple I'd found online, he wondered why I didn't simply have one made for me. Because this would have involved working directly with a Japanese craftsman, I didn't feel qualified to go down that road. He generously went down that road for me.
The knife itself is a beautiful thing, but what elevates it, what makes it mine, is the set of kanji characters Makoto wrote to represent my name.
Japanese uses three styles of writing. Kanji -- logographs that represent single words. Two forms of Kana: hiragana, which is used to write native Japanese words, and katakana, which is used to write introduced words, foreign words, scientific terms, etc.
To put my name on the knife would require katakana, which is simply a reproduction of a, n, d, r, e, and w. It's not a Japanese word, but they have a means for representing it with several characters.
Instead, Makoto created a kanji representation of "Andrew", based on his perception of me. It consists of three characters, each representing three separate words, or concepts, that all together become an interpretation of the word Andrew. His interpretation, which flatters me beyond words, so to speak, draws together the ideas of peace and safety, earthiness, and an element of modernity and stylishness. Makes me a bit weepy, to be honest. It's a truly beautiful gesture, and makes the knife utterly unique.