My understanding is the logo on the Macs scrubs off after relatively little time. Should that play into your decision. They do have great handles. OTOH, I really like the wa-handles now (mostly because they're lighter). the Yoshi has an octagonal handle, so not like the "D" shape you already like, should this also play into your decision.
If you're going to go the Edgepro route, I don't see any issues whatsoever in terms of making a 50-50 bevel. This from someone who has not used an Edgepro, but I think I get the idea. Plenty of youtube vids with the thing, and posts here. And you were talking about getting a pro edge first if you went the Richmond or Hattori route... if you wanted to get a pro sharpener to put the double bevel on the Yoshihiro, too, no biggie. And finally if you were to do it yourself... well, I did. I had expert guidance, but seriously... hmmm... how to say? OK:
the general (and good) advice if you're freehanding is to use a medium-coarse (circa 1000 grit, but depending, 1200 or 2000 maybe) stone until you feel ok about keeping a consistent angle. Which is just muscle memory and takes a bit of time. I'm not super-good at it (in part for lack of long experience, but also because) I have some nerve damage that makes it tougher to eliminate wobble. And I can do it. So I think "anybody can". It will be a pain to set a new bevel on the off-side of the knife with the medium-coarse. Just because it cuts metal away more slowly. But this is also what stops you from creating more work for yourself (i.e., doing some damage to the edge) by using a coarser stone less skillfully. I think after a sharpening session or two you'll probably be ok with the angle holding and can go to the coarse stone. At least if your sharpening sessions last as long as my first couple/few did! (I'm still stupidly slow, by the way).
So there you have it.
And I don't mean to push you away from the other choices I've discussed less. I really haven't handled them, and I have some particular-to-me prejudices which.... which may well be reversed with more experience. And you will develop your own.
Cutting skills: the overview you need is here: http://www.cookfoodgood.com/?cat=223 . That's BDL's blog. I'd suggest reading the second article first, then the first article. Then the third if you're not a vegetarian. Actually, maybe even FIRST you should read BDL's article here: http://www.cookfoodgood.com/?p=399 . That is not, on the surface, a skills article. But it is, or it will be relevant to the other resources I'm going to talk about in the next paragraph.
Then there are books. I think the skills section of the Chad Ward book is excellent, actually. But perhaps not quite as visual as you want. But to a large extent (and maybe least of all with the Ward book), all of the books dedicated to knife skills (and the website I'm about to mention) have a bias toward German profile knives, which does make some difference in technique. That is, they push a bit heavily toward "tip down" work, because it suits their preferred knives, and also most of them have a bit too much horizontal action ("glide") in part because the Euro stainless knives won't be as sharp. This might seem like a lot of detail, but it's not. The POINT is... you have to adjust your own technique to be a bit different from what you'll see in the skills books and website if you get any of the knives you're contemplating. But I think the adjustments are fairly obvious. (What do I know? I might be adjusting inadequately... but it seems pretty obvious).
So you have three dedicated skills books that I know of. The Norman Weinstein book comes with a short DVD, which would be an advantage, except you can see his videos on youtube. So look at them. (He uses Wusthof classic -- a big bellied knife, so you'll see right away what I'm talking about with the adjustments). But I think he's a good teacher. A better teacher than lots of folks who have videos demonstating (arguably) considerably superior skills. The book itself is not a bad choice -- it'd be my second if I had to choose -- but again, with the prejudices toward Euro-stainless, and his sharpening section is not the best. It's ok, but you'll have to figure out why not to use oil stones. His section on steeling is just bad for your purposes. (You might not want to steel at all, depending on the knife, too....) But keeping in mind the adjustments for the profile, which (again) I think are so simple as to be almost automatic once you have the food on the board and the knife in hand.... it's got lots of good "cut here first, in this direction, then do this...." for lots and lots of different kinds of food. All the books are the SAME in this regard.
THere's the Hertzman book. Which is ok, but line drawings instead of photos, all the same info doubled-up for right hand and then left (so it's shorter than it looks) and a bit small, less visual.
Of these three, I like the Henckels "complete" book the best, because it's less a coffee-table book than the Weinstein, it has a spiral binding which makes it easy to keep on a counter or table near the board while you're actually cutting, and the photos are large and clear. It has a bunch of ad space up front for Henckels knives, but really that's just about the only thing that sux about it. (Again, same caveats about adjusting for different profile and degree of sharpness).
And like I said, the Ward book has a good percentage of the same info, to my mind better presented, though less photographically rich than two of the others.
Whatever you choose, watch the Norman Weinstein videos on youtube first. If you get something other than Weinstein's book (and don't have his DVD, in other words).
And websites -- stellaculinary.com has a whole bunch of knife skills videos, most of them "how to cut x or y piece of food" but some other basics as well. Like using the off-hand and such. But mostly how to cut a particular piece of food, western-kitchen style. Those are all here: http://www.stellaculinary.com/knife-skill-video-techniques-hd . They're like the books, only more so.... they're using German profile knives which are not very sharp, and they "saw" a bit excessively. So you really have to adjust. So while it's not "great", it's the best online/video resource I've seen for knife skills. If you make use of it, just be sure to revisit the cookfoodgood.com articles periodically. Often. They'll make more sense to you as practice cutting with the "worse" (but more specific) advice from the videos or books.
Storage.... I got nothin'. I have a block that I'm fine with, which was cheap. And it is not deep enough for my longer knife, which is kept in a saya. (If you keep your knife in a saya, make sure it's always really clean and dry before putting it away. If you get the saya gunked up, you'll be pushing the blade into gunk every time you put it away). I have never seen or used the JK Adams tray, so can't help your consideration with that. On the surface, looks like a good thing. If your counter space is at more of a premium than your drawer space, it looks particuarly good. Both, for me, are at an issue. Knife block seemed easier. (I also live in an old apartment with ridiculously narrow kitchen drawers. Stupidly narrow. So that device is more dicey. But it seems like... a knife block for a drawer).
Edited by Wagstaff - 12/3/11 at 9:32pm