I'm 19, and have been cooking in a kitchen on a line full time for about a year. I'm currently in culinary school as well. School for 8 hours a day+full time work gives me a lot of usage. On top of which I have a lot to learn, and my knife is taking some abuse.
I'm currently using a Akifusa Santoku, which has treated me fairly well. But I am finding I am having problems with keeping it as sharp as I want. I like the weight, the handle is a touch small. I've been looking into getting a Gyuto for a while now, and have done a bit of research, but don't have the availability to try most of the knives I see people talking about online. Only knife I've really gotten to use is a Yoshikane(http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?id=86376). I like the knife, the weight was a tad heavy, and the western handle was the perfect size. It was comfortable. I live close to the epicurean edge store here in washington, and one of the owners recomended the Yoshikane and an Asai.
I have about $300. I need a knife that can take some abuse, stay sharp, essentially a work horse. Looks aren't as important to me, functionality is. I prefer a western style handle, and am planning on getting a double grit wet stone to keep the knife sharp. What are your recommendations ChefTalk?