I use an old smooth steel that predates me by a few decades, it was my grandmothers and if there ever were ridges, they are long gone. I have one of those useless ridged steel tools that I will find a use for someday. I used to have a few different ceramic rods that I have long since lost. I almost never steel my Japanese knives, although I will drag the back edge across the steel from time to time. One or two drags at most.
Whip It Off, Chambers!
"perhaps...but then again...maybe not..."