These are the words I used to hear from my grandfather all the time when I was young. This and “If it’s worth doing it’s worth doing right” I think that these words really stuck with me, because I’ve always had great respect for people who are good at their craft.

It doesn’t really matter what it is, whether it’s photography, sports, business negotiations, etc. Somebody who puts in the amount of hours it takes to get really good, and goes through all the frustrating perseverance it takes to get there, has an extreme amount of dedication. When I say anyone, maybe I should be a little more clear. I am usually more impressed when the skill is a useful one. Someone who gets really good at some kind of drinking game could have probably spent their time better elsewhere.

Japan is definitely one of the places where you can find people who are very dedicated to their crafts. One instance that comes to mind is the first time I visited Japan. I was in Kyoto and was walking down the street looking into the windows of the shops. There was a sweets store that had a very large window so you could actually watch the chef make the sweets. What I was so impressed with the the focus and precision in which he went about it. It was obvious that he had spent years perfecting his methods and had a system which seemed to be very efficient.

While here in Japan, I have also had the chance to meet a master sword maker, Kawachi Kunihira, whose level of work is so high that it has moved beyond the level of being able to be judged.  When he was young, his father told him no to pursue sword making because it was a dead art and he would never make any money. He ignored his father and pursued his dream. He is now one of the top sword makers in Japan. His swords sell in the tens of thousands of dollars. For those interested in Japanese sword making, Kawachi Kunihira actually wrote a book several years ago titled “The Art of the Japanese Sword“.

The other day I came across this video and was very impressed. I don’t know if this guy does other jobs in this motorcycle factory, but he is an amazing pin striper. Watching him do this was almost mesmerizing for me. I feel that only a machine should be able to do it that perfect. Check out the video and let me know what you think.