Ladies and Gentlemen,
Also, some information about care:
A few people have been asking about breaking in or maintenance, including whether or not to use oil on their strops. Kanayama strops need NO breaking in, they are ready to strop on arrival. As for maintenance, the advice to rub your palm over the strop a few times that you see on the label? It's just for decoration. It probably won't hurt, but Naomi-san doesn't read a word of English, so it's just something he saw on a strop label decades ago and decided it looked nice.
Naomi-san's advice for maintenance is simple:
Whenever you feel it necessary (once or twice a year at most, or if the surface feels "off"--maybe more often in drier areas), lay the strop flat on a table, face-up.
Get a smooth, lint free cloth (like an old t-shirt, no terrycloth) and wet it with lukewarm water. Wring it out REALLY WELL, as in, it should really only be slightly damp.
Run the cloth ONCE over the face of the strop quickly, making sure not to stop and that no water touches the back or sides of the strop, where it will harden the leather. Remember, ONE TIME only. Be careful not to let any drops gather, or they will stain the leather.
Let the strop dry thoroughly.
If you still feel that the surface doesn't feel right, then repeat.
This should refresh a slightly hardened or aging strop.
Naomi-san does not recommend any oil, as over time the oil will start to oxidize and break down, damaging the conditioning of the strop.
Thanks as always,
Jim and Tomomi Rion