First impressions. The stone feels very smooth out of the box. It absorbs water relatively slowly, and produces a fine clay like mud, reminiscent of a Natural Monzen Aoto. Good cutting action, immediately demonstrating black metal swarf. It produces a uniform finish on a single bevel knife with some contrast (kasumi style finish). This soft stone conforms to the single bevel surface quite nicely, whether it is flat or a hamaguri grind. This stone is extremely popular in both the Tsukiji (Tokyo) fish market and the Kyoto fish market - and for good reason, producing a very nice working edge with relative ease. A very pleasant stone to work with. Highly recommended for those who prefer a muddy relatively soft stone with very smooth mud.