Day 3 of my adventures in Japan took me to Shimanto Kochi, a remote town with no shops and only a few people living up in the mountains. It is a beautiful part of the world. I was taking part in the Kruogane workshop which specializes in Tatara ironmaking. A traditional forging experience with an expert blacksmith.
We started the morning at 9 am and met up with Nobuya Hayashi who was our teacher for the day. Hayashi welcomed us with a warm smile and had a wonderful happy personality which made learning from him even more enjoyable.
Before getting into the hitting and shaping we sat down had a cup of traditional Japanese tea and looked through an assortment of knives that we could choose to make. I choose to make a traditional kitchen knife. A few others choose to make a sushi (fish) knife and vegetable knives.
The day was sectioned into two parts. The first 4 hours was spent shaping the metal into the shape of our desired knives and the second half of the day was spent refining and sharpening the knives. Pictured below is a photo of my knife that I finished shaping and had Hayashi fix up any odd bends and make the knife perfectly straight.
Once our knives were shaped we could choose an inscription either in English or Japanese. I choose to have a Japanese inscription put onto my blade, but I can’t reveal the meaning as it is a gift for someone who reads this blog.
To take part in this workshop it cost 6,500 yen which converted into Australian dollars approximately works out to be $80.00. For what you get out of the day it is well worth the money. You get to experience forging your own knife with Nobuya Hayashi who has been blacksmithing for over 16 years. You learn the techniques to shape the knives correctly and how to sharpen them. You get to spend the whole day crafting! Nobuya Hayashi was a great teacher as he was patient and was very encouraging, he also spoke very good english which made learning even easier. Until next time happy gardening!
By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs