Eiichiro Amakasu, 70, is a carpenter who designs and builds traditional Japanese homes and their surrounding gardens. He is an expert of sukiya, a residential architectural style that is typically associated with Japanese tea houses. He is also a master of the kanna, the Japanese plane, which is one of the trade's most important woodworking tools. Since 1997, Amakasu has been one of the organizers of Kezurou-kai, a yearly Japanese-planing event that attracts hundreds of carpenters from around Japan as well as some from abroad. The carpenters attending the event bring their own tools and wood, and they demonstrate various carving techniques. Amakasu's kanna skills always draw crowds, and he garners the respect of his peers as he slides off the thinnest, longest and widest shavings from the boards. A single shaving can be a few meters long and as thin as 0.003 mm, the diameter of human hair. Though he is famous for his kanna skills, he also well known for being shy, and yet still keen to teach others the magic of woodworking. He was also the inspiration for the Edo Period carpenter character in Shuichi Sae's novel, "Edo Shokunin Kitan."

Be picky about the type of work you accept! Sure, you might not get rich that way but you will improve your skills and develop a reputation for excellent taste and professionalism. The only jobs I accept are the ones that start with nothing or something great. I used to get offers to renovate family homes that were built 10 to 20 years previously. I refused those jobs because the only way to fix such buildings would be to demolish them and start from scratch, and that's not what the owners had in mind. For a long time, I had no income for six or more months each year. But I did not change my philosophy.

If you bring the women to your side, you'll be OK! Wives decide everything in Japan, so as long as we get along with them, the job is easy.