Which is mightier the sword or the pen?

Tactical Pens

Gerber-Impromptu-Tactical-Pen-2-200x200Knives are multi-purpose tools which can provide whoever is using the knife a variety of uses. For example, a Japanese knife can cut a variety of different foods with extreme precision while it can also double as a self-defence weapon. This makes the knife more valuable as it has multiple uses, particularly as a self-defence tool in times of need. Studies have shown that in a self-defence situation, the tool closest to you will be the most handy; wouldn’t it be nice if it was a Japanese knife?

In a self-defence situation, it will be unlikely that you have a tool such as a knife to defend yourself with. This is why I recommend carrying a tactical pen with you at all times to provide yourself piece of mind wherever you go! A tactical pen is similar to a Japanese knife because they are both multi-functional tools. Tactical pens are designed primarily as a high quality writing utensil.

They can be used upside down right or right side up; they can be used in a variety of different environmental situations such as rain or snow, and they are extremely durable. The durability of a tactical pen can be credited to its anodized aluminum exterior which is designed to be both lightweight and fracture proof.  For this reason, tactical pens are carried daily by people in the military and other professional careers.

Beyond the primary design, a good tactical pen are also designed to be self-defence tools. Pens make a great self-defence tool as people tend to carry a pen with them most places anyways. As mentioned earlier, studies have shown that the tool closest to you in a self-defence situation will help you the most.

With most brands, one end will be chiselled and able to pierce flesh if need be – to see an overview of tactical pens click here. Hopefully, you will never need to actually use the tactical pen to pierce flesh but if necessary, it’s good to know you have a tool with you. Beyond the chiselled cap, tactical pens will also have ‘glass-breaker,’ tools built in which will allow you to break glass in the case of an emergency situation. This can obviously be extremely helpful beyond a self-defence situation as events such as vehicle accidents can often require glass to be broken.

Finally, another feature I like about tactical pens is their ability to travel. Unlike Japanese knives, a tactical pen can be carried anywhere including on airplanes and other public places. And since you never know when you’ll need to use self-defence, it’s best to have a tool which will be reliable in any situation.

The Ninjas In The Kitchen

The word is one that crops up everywhere. Children especially enjoy stories of ninjas, and the name is found on everything from tires to knives. In looking at ninja blender reviews, or pursing ads for other stealthy kitchen gadgets the question might crop up regarding why the western world is so fascinated by this eastern legend. While taking the knife from the drawer and slicing up fruit the name on the blender can cause one to wonder what was real and what was a myth?

 

ninja blender reviews ninja knivesSpy Stories

 

The ninja fascinates because in every culture it seems there is a love for spy stories. While in reality the lot of spies who are discovered is usually grim, the myths are still spine tingling and intriguing. The ninjas in being so dedicated to the craft of the covert mercenary are even more interesting than Ian Fleming’s James Bond, because these stories are true, and the heroes in these stories used stealth, cunning, and highly trained martial arts instead of high tech gadgetry.

 

Secret Warrior Cult

 

The ninjas were in fact a type of secret warrior cult, and as strange as it sounds while their duties included espionage, infiltrating an enemy’s home, and sabotage as well as assassination they lived by a highly developed code of honor. During the Sengoku or “warring states” period the Japanese culture was impacted by interaction with outside cultures, and a break down in it’s own governing system. Of course folklore tells a different story with the ninjas having descended from a demon half man and half crow. Historians believe this group of warriors was in fact a slowly developed response to the samurai the upper-class enforcers during the early feudal system in areas controlled by Japan. Chinese monks who fled the declining Tang Dynasty and immigrated into Japan, in fact heavily inspired the ninjas. These monks brought new medicines, political thought, and martial arts into the culture inspiring a new philosophy embraced by the ninjas.

 

Function over Style

 

The style of fighting between the samurai warriors and the ninjas were in sharp contrast. In a battle the samurai arrived in bright colors, announced their intent to do battle and loudly listed their accomplishments. Their code called Bushido would ultimately fail, not for a lack of bravery or ability, but in the face of a more diverse and changing culture. For the ninja the goals, and fighting styles were very different. Many of the ninjas were disgraced or disgruntled samurai, but others were laypeople, villagers, and farmers with no links to nobility as with the samurai.

 

For the ninja style and bravo meant little. For this group of warriors the battles were seldom evenly matched, and they typically fought with few resources other than their talents and wits. Unable to arrive in mass and use this form of intimidation, they used a different level of fighting instead. One warrior alone would enter an environment in which this individual would act alone to create chaos and terror for the enemy. The ninja arsenal contained no long swords, and they uttered no battle cry. In the morning those left alive would find the target of the ninja’s plan had silently succumbed to the ninja’s skill.

 

In Modern Times

 

The name ninja lives on even through the skills and arts were secrets these warriors took to their graves. Cut into small pieces the fruit is slide delicately into the blender bearing the name of ancient fighters. The blades swirl in a dizzying fury and various tart and sweet smells blend together in one appetizing aroma. Here it’s possible to find a solitary commitment to function, and economy of movement, so perhaps the use of this legend is an apt one after all.

Finding Old Japanese Swords with a Metal Detector

The use of a metal detector for various artifacts has been a practice done as a hobby for years now. Finds range from small coins to finding old Japanese swords buried and almost left to be forgotten.

Swords are an integral part of the samurai history of Japan. Katanas were the primary weapon of samurais. However, since the culture of samurais has been long abolished in favor of automated and advanced military options, the way of the sword has been almost forgotten. Due to the use of metal detector as an archaeological tool, however, old Japanese swords have been rediscovered and dug up, preserving the almost forgotten sword culture of Japan.

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Metal Detector Hobby

The use of metal detectors as a hobby has been an occurrence for quite some time now. Some people continue to use these devices in prospecting for valuable metals such as gold nuggets or gold flakes. Others, as amateur archaeological hobbyists, use a metal detector in searching for undiscovered underground archaeological sites. As many people use these metal detectors, various artifacts have been found underground. Examples range from old coins to full body armors. And with the advancing technologies, these metal detectors are similarly advancing as well. Pursuing metal detecting is a great way to spend more time with your family according to my http://www.mytreasuremetaldetector.com/

Japanese Sword History

The Japanese has a significant sword culture that has been in existence for more than a thousand years. Due to the changes in the methods of battle, the traditional Japanese sword has similarly undergone a certain evolution, making them more functional throughout their changes. These old traditional Japanese swords have continually exhibited the highest quality of production and craft. While the sword culture of Japan is not as prolific as it was, there still remains a keen interest in this craft. Collectors seeking the oldest and the sturdiest of these swords still flock to auction houses, finding rare swords that anyone would want to have in their collections.

Old Japanese Swords and Metal Detectors

Due to the advancing of combat and war methods, the sword culture of Japan was almost forgotten in favor of guns and other automatic warfare methods. As this is the case, most swords were left in storage or simply left buried. While this might seem as a loss, metal detector enthusiasts have practically struck gold due to the loss of favor of these swords.

Collectors of old Japanese swords have resorted to metal detecting to find rare swords that are left buried underground. Not only have these enthusiasts discovered old Japanese swords, but they have also discovered other artifacts such as body armors. However, these swords, despite being almost forgotten, still command a great amount of attention. Because of the strong past sword culture in Japan, many individuals have strived to gain and collect some of the rare swords from different eras of Japan, ranging from the most ancient Jokoto period swords up to the advances in sword technology during the Mongol Invasion of Japan.

Truly, metal detecting has helped greatly in rediscovering these old Japanese swords and in helping preserve the long standing sword tradition of Japan.

Japanese Deep Fried Dishes

Agemono, or deep fried dishes, are fairly popular in Japan, as it’s likely that you have tried them in your local Japanese restaurant. While many people associate Japanese food with raw fish in various forms (sushi), there are a wide variety of meals that are common in Japan.

Many of these dishes require the finest blades from the best Japanese knives to be made just right, as much of Japanese cuisine is based on simple, yet elegant presentation and a respect for the food. A dull knife will always treat the food poorly, which is a disrespectful practice.

Here are some of the top deep fried dishes:

Karaage

This is as basic as it comes. Karaage is simply a way of cooking food in oil that has been cut into small pieces and marinated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and then lightly dusted with an outer coating like flour. This is usually done with chicken, but it’s not uncommon to see other things like fish and meat.

This is actually quite a similar technique to tempura.

Nanbanzuke

Nanbanzuke might have a hilarious translation (southern barbarian pickle!) but it’s basically a fried fish in vinegar.

There are other dishes like this from other countries and cultures, but you will frequently see salmon or mackerel fried (either whole or in pieces) and then marinated for a while in vinegar and other ingredients to get the right taste.

It is certainly much different than many North American fried dishes, but a refreshing meal, to be sure.

Korokke

First step, cook meat, fish, or veg. Then, chop it up nicely and combine with potatoes in mashed form (or a white sauce, though we prefer the potato method).

Roll your concoction in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs like you would for other fried foods. Flatten your patty and then fry it in oil to get a crisp, golden outside.

This is the local variant of the Portuguese croquette, and is a very charming little bit of food that goes very nicely with a wide variety of foods. You can eat them as-is, put them into a sandwich, put them on top of other foods (like soups and salads), and they’re actually sold on the street sometimes, in the same way that North Americans might enjoy food truck items.

Tempura!

Tempura is one of the most well known deep fried Japanese foods.

Basically, it’s just food that has been battered and deep fried. Unlike many American dishes, it is very common to put vegetables into the mix. It would be very easy to try at home if you had a deep fryer, which we recommend you do at least look at, particularly from our friends at Fryer HQ. It is a wonderful thing to make these tasty foods in your own kitchen, and it is much less expensive than going out each time you crave this delicious style of cooking.

As you can see, many of these dishes come in smaller quantities. This means it is important that each morsel of food is exquisitely prepared, and one simply cannot prepare in this manner without the top knives. Read our other posts for more information on the Knives of Japan.

How Caterers Can Pack Their Cars Efficiently

We caterers have enough on our plate (pun intended). We shouldn’t have to worry too much about having to jam pack our cars full of food, tables, and utensils, and getting everything to the gig without damaging the food or the equipment. My wife and I just started our own catering business. When we first started out, we had a smaller sedan. This seems a little ridiculous to try and do this sort of work out of a sedan. However, the car is all we had, and we knew we wanted to do this together.

Since then, we have upgraded to a vehicle that can better support our business. Although this is still not the most ideal vehicle, it’s still much better than the small car we were using. However, for the year we did use that small car, we slowly became experts in packing the car with all of our catering utensils and of course the food.

We have put together a short list of tips for when you pack your car full of catering paraphernalia.

  • Upgrade: if possible at all, upgrade to a van or a large SUV with fold down seats. This will create the obvious room that is putting you in this position in the first place. You can write this off as a business expense, which will help as a tax write-off. This is obviously best case scenario. Our first upgrade was from a sedan to a older style fan. It wasn’t a big upgrade, but any extra space helps.
  • Placement: we know upgrading isn’t always an option for you. If this is the case, you need to focus on placement of the food and gear. When we were catering out of our sedan, we would fill the backseat and trunk with the bins of food, we would tie the tables to the top if the venue didn’t have any, and even then, we still had to make two trips from time to time. If you are forced to take this route, make sure you do a pyramid type stack up. You want meats on the bottom, bread on the top, study vegetables and starchy vegetables in the middle. Additionally, you want all your cooking equipment in the front passenger seat if possible or on the floor.
  • Attachments: try and invest in some extras for your car that might help you pack the gear better. A roof rack will help you carry tables if needed. A trunk rack will also help you carry other necessary gear. Also, some high-quality bungee cords or a bungee net will make your life quite a bit easier.

These are a few of the things that helped us get through the first year of our start-up. We have since upgraded to a few large vans as our company has grown. However, we still try to make it a point to appreciate where we began and help others during the process. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment. We wish you the best of luck during this period!

Using the Right Knives to Chop Skin-Healthy Foods

I received an amazing set of Japanese chef’s knives for Christmas and I could not be more excited about them. I am in culinary school and my cooking style is geared towards all natural, organic foods that target specific areas of the body to improve health. I am currently studying about the effects of fruits and vegetables on the health and appearance of skin. This is the perfect topic to be studying and a great area to train in with my new set of knives as different fruits and vegetables require different ways of cutting them. I am going to break down the different types of knives I use, which vegetables or fruits they are best used to cut and throw in a bit of bonus information about how they benefit the skin. It will be the ultimate culinary learning trifecta.

The first and smallest of my new Japanese knife set is the Petty knife, which is similar to an American paring knife. I have found that the use of my Petty knife is best for the cutting delicate strawberries and tomatoes. Tomatoes and strawberries have great health benefits and are important to skin health. Strawberries promote skin brightness and tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants that aid in anti-aging as well as acne cures when the pulp is applied directly to the skin.

A more substantial and sturdy knife that I received is a Santoku knife. This is one of my favorite knives because it is very easy to handle, not too heavy and has a super sharp blade. I use this knife to cut thicker and harder vegetable such as carrots and beets. These also happen to be my favorite vegetables to aid in skin health and appearance. You would be amazed at the powerful health punch they each possess when eaten. Carrots are rich in many skin healthy vitamins and antioxidants along with containing natural anti-inflammatory properties. The combination of vitamins A and C with beta carotene helps with inflammation, gives skin a glowing and more youthful appearance and fights against wrinkles. Beets contain a really powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin that reduces inflammation and can even help stop the signs of aging.

The most common knife I received in my Japanese knife set is the Gyuto which is commonly known in America as a chef’s knife. The Gyuto is really the most versatile knife available and can cut virtually anything. It is both lightweight and incredibly durable. I truly find myself using this knife most often and especially when I am cutting sweet potatoes and apples. Sweet potatoes are usually very difficult to cut as they are extremely hard, but I am easily able to slice through them with my Gyuto. I am particularly fond of sweet potatoes for their antioxidant and vitamin rich nature as they are seriously packed with mega amounts of potassium, calcium, folate, vitamin A and beta carotene. The combination of antioxidants and vitamins gives skin a much needed boost from the inside out. Talk about a super food! Apples contain a surprising amount of antioxidants as well and are reported to aid in the firming and toning of skin.

Why You Should Buy The Right Safe to Store Your Knives

Are You Looking For The Right Safe to Store Your Knives

Looking for the right safe to store your knives can be a real challenge. The biggest problem that you will encounter is that most of the safes out there are simply just metal boxes. Then the next type of safe you will find is quite inexpensive, and can simply be pried open with a screwdriver. Those inexpensive safes will never protect your knifes in the event of a fire either like a real safe should. Here are some things you should consider when buying a safe to protect your knives.

Knifes Safes Not Created Equal

Find the Right SafeJust like there are many different style gun cabinets for gun owners to protect their guns, there are also many different types of safes for knives. Consider the size of the safe, the metals thickness, and how the locking mechanism works. When you purchase a safe made with 16 gauge steel, a thief could easily break into it with a hammer or screwdriver. The lower the gauge of the steel, the better the protection for your knifes. Make certain that the construction of the door has a minimum quarter inch of solid steel.

The Fireproof Knife Safe

Just because the safe is fireproof does not mean that it is burglar proof. Most fireproof safes do a great job protecting your cash and documents, but are terrible at keeping the burglars out. The reason is that most fire resistant safes are 18 gauge metal. The safe can be cut with a hand tool quite easily. When considering a fireproof safe to protect your knives, look for one that is burglar rated. That means that the safe is designed and engineered to protect your knifes from fire and theft.

Choosing the Right Style Safe

One of the reasons you need to buy the right safe to store your knives is so they don’t get damaged in a fire or wind up in the hands of someone breaking into your home. Don’t get fooled into thinking a wall safe is a great place to hide your knives. They are constructed of the thinnest metal that can be opened with a common hammer. The argument that they are hidden from sight and will never be found is not the type of thinking you should have when protecting your knives. Burglars are extremely smart and if you have a wall safe they will find it.

Properly Hiding the Safe

The most difficult decision you will have when it comes to your new knife safe is where to keep it. When your home or business does not contain an alarm system, the best place is always out of sight. Consider the placement of your safe carefully because you will obviously want to access it frequently to get the knives. Hiding it at the bottom of a closet may be difficult to reach especially if it is a dark area. Choose a location that is hidden, but you can access quite easily. It is always best to anchor the safe to the floor as well. For more great information on gun safes, check out this site.

History of Japanese Knife Making

History of Japanese Knife Making

Japan has a long tradition of creating some of the highest quality, and sharpest swords and knives in the history of the human race. The production of swords is thought to have begun as early as the fifth century AD when swords began being made in the Osaka bay region of Japans main island. Sword production remained important in the Osaka Bay city of Sakai with the introduction of the Samurai and different sword production techniques.

For more than 1,000 years the Samurai sword, known in Japanese as katana has been produced in the country to the highest and often secret specifications. Some of the techniques still used to create chef knives in Japan are based on those originally used in the production of samurai swords.

During the 16th century the first steps were taken in opening Japan to the western world, with the introduction of tobacco growing techniques from the European country of Portugal. Tobacco knives were required to cut the plants to ease the production and harvest of the plant, with craftspeople who would usually make swords turning their attention to knife production. Following the arrival of tobacco the western trade route was opened up whit the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry in Tokyo Bay in the mid 19th century. At this point the movement of Samurai swords and Japanese knives began to grow towards the US and Europe.

Japanese knife and sword production remained popular around the world until World War II brought production and exports to a halt. With the Allied victory, Japan found itself under US rule immediately after the second World War and the restrictions on trade placed by General MacArthur. Restrictions and limits on trade affected every industry, including Japanese movie production and saw the production of Samurai swords banned for seven years after the War was over. Even with the return to a Japanese government, sword production remained, and still remains limited, prompting many of those trained in sword production to turn to knife manufacturing. The shift to knife production saw the traditions of Japanese sword production transferred to Japanese kitchen knives now sold around the world.

History of Japanese Swords

Considered an art form, Japan has an illustrious history of sword making. In more recent times, modern day samurai movies have popularized the Japanese sword reigniting its mythical status as a symbol of virtue and heroism.

The first sword production appeared over a thousand years ago and developed into distinct categories over the centuries. Changes in warfare were largely responsible for the development of the sword leading to its eventual demise due to the introduction of guns as the weapon of choice. The earliest swords date back to the Jokoto period, and it was after this time that the Koto swords appeared, which are considered to be some of the finest examples or early Japanese sword making. These Koto swords were characterized by having a curve close to the hilt. They continued to be made for 500 years.

During the Heian period, the use of horses on the battlefield ushered in a new phase in sword making. Fighting from horseback required that the curvature of the sword be exaggerated to facilitate a more efficient downward movement. Swords were usually worn by hanging from the torso, but were later worn inside a belt. When wearing armor soldiers would often carry a second smaller sword or dagger used for close combat.

The next turning point in the development of the Japanese sword was during the Mongol invasion in 1200 AD. The thick armor worn by the Mongols was too much of a match for the more delicate samurai swords, so a more sturdy, pointed sword was developed to have more penetrating force.

In 1400 AD, Japan broke into civil war and the need for swords became so great production didn’t allow for the time to create fanciful weapons. This marked a shift away from sword making as an art form. As warfare progressed and firearms predominated so sword making diminished in importance.

Far from having disappeared, this ancient Japanese tradition has caught the imagination of collectors, and good examples or rare swords can command dizzying sums at auction houses.

Knife Sharpening 101

Having a sharp knife is one of the most important aspects of owning a knife. If you take care of your knife address all the needed maintenance, your high quality knife can last a lifetime or even longer. Safety is another key aspect to consider. If you use a dull knife, the more force is required to cut any object and in most cases a dull knife is more likely to slip off the object to be cut.  So when you put all this together you end up with a dangerous situation where you end up potentially cutting yourself. In addition, a cut from a dull knife takes longer to heal than a cut from a sharp knife (even though you’re less likely to cut yourself with a sharp knife).

A sharp knife starts with choosing a high quality piece of cutlery.  There are a lot of different ways to pick out a knife.  To keep it simple, you can assume that you get what you pay for.  The bigger the knife the more expensive since there are more raw materials so an 8″ chef’s knife will cost more than a 4″ paring knife.  A more expensive knife will usually also have a higher quality steel alloy.  A good alloy will keep the knife from rusting, make it sharp, and help to keep it from getting dull too quickly.  In many cases, the higher quality knife brands have sharper angles, like the Wusthof PEtec.

Next, you should use a sharpening steel on your knife before each use.  You should also use the sharpening steel after you clean and dry your knives.  This will keep the microscopic edge of the knife aligned.  Each time you use the sharpening steel you keep the cutting edge very straight and a straight cutting edge means a sharp knife.

There are several types of knife sharpening systems from simple whetstones to whetstones with angle guides to rod guide systems to manual systems to full automated electric sharpeners.  For a full discussion on the different kinds of knife sharpeners check out this article.  The most basic systems are much cheaper and offer more flexibility but they take much longer to actually sharpen a knife.  The more automatic systems, like an electric knife sharpener, are more expensive in some cases and may only sharpen your knife at one preset angle.  That might not be a big deal but the huge advantage of an electric knife sharpener is that you can fully sharpen a dull knife in 90 seconds to 2 minutes.  It’s truly amazing.