I was reading this months translation and saw the paragraph below which I thought both useful and encouraging, especially for those at the very beginning of their journey in to Nihonto. (not sure if this is the best place to post this if not perhaps the mods could move it)
"Now I will talk about another subject. The other day, I took a Kamakura period master work to a kansho-kai. One of the newer members was not impressed very much, and I asked if he understood the quality of a sword, and I think he did not understand this idea very well.
The token world has many master works from each period, from each prefecture, and from each school. Among the swords which are called meito, it can sometimes be difficult to clearly understand their quality and features, especially if you have just started to study swords.
Sometimes I hear an individual’s opinions, and since Japanese swords have many shapes and styles, people will have their own likes and dislikes among swords. However, standardizing good and bad opinions is not realistic, and I will talk about this issue later.
The important thing is to value your feelings even if you do not understand a sword’s quality or features well.
You don’t need to express your impression in a loud voice. It is not necessary to argue with people who have helped prepare and exhibit master work blades, and this would be impolite. Your current impression should be important. It is not necessary to restrain your honest opinions, and just because people around you are saying something is a meito, you do not have to look at it as a meito.
Your present opinion of a sword’s quality is based on what you understand now. From now on, as you keep looking at all kinds of swords, your level of understanding and perception will increase, and you should gradually be able to understand aspects of a sword which you might not understand at the present. If you deny your honest impressions and feelings, this can hinder your developing a better eye for swords in the future.
As you examine swords, value your honest impressions, and make it a habit to look at swords other people call meito.
Along with ongoing studies, you will continue to develop your eyes. A few years from now, when you see the same sword again, you will recognize that “this sword has this kind of beauty and charm” and could be surprised to discover this increasing power of observation in yourself."
Explanation by Hinohara Dai