Quoting myself from another thread:
I'm definitely not using Japanese knives (usually don't like the shape, weight etc., doesn't feel right for western food, didn't grow up with them and blades are a bitch to maintain) as beautiful and cool as they may be. Paring is somewhat irrelevant I guess so I just bought a Wüsthof classic chef and paring and will complement with another chef knife (old Sabatier Carbon in new condition) for when I want a nicer shape (German is fine but French is best). I'm also looking at this http://www.evercut.fr/fr/produits/origine/, used by a good friend who knows what he is doing, just need to go to Le Bon Marché and check if I like the shape, handle and weight.
So to recap:
1) My Zwilling Henckels chef's knife is dead so I am replacing it with two diff ones: A Wüstoff classic as it is easy to use, maintain and has the classic German shape that works well and an old Sabatier carbon that has the perfect french shape and will be used more sparingly, usually for meat. The later is a bitch to maintain but easy to hone etc. and I am used to them so they're good for me.
2) Paring knife disappeared (wtf?) so I got a Wüstof classic.
3) Still have a breadd knife (hate squished bread) and an all-purpose blade that is quite old (wooden handle, can't see the maker's mark anymore etc.)
4) Don't need more knives although filletting a fish is more of a bitch with what I have I don't do it that often.
perhaps you're thinking of the ones with the octagon handles, but the only differences appearance-wise between japanese and "western" knives especially with a paring is that japanese blades have a more acute edge, sometimes are asymmetrical, and the spine is thinner. and the stainless steel ones aren't hard to maintain at all. otherwise they use a larger variety of steels with better sharper edges at better prices