A good nights sleep and up at 4.30 but cant complain with 7 hours sleep ill settle for that . Just thinking back over the trip and have to say , i cant say it was the best trip ever as i seem to be saying that every time i go to Niigata , may we have just peaked and every trip is as good as the last / next , this one again was nothing less than fantastic . The idea of this trip was looking for some nice tosai at every budget , and may be some older koi as we have sold so much during the winter , with so many good koi at realsitic prices i lierally went a little over the top . As most of you know , we have extended our buisness to supply other koi dealers , and this is now expanding at a very good rate , so we need to buy alot of koi when we visit Japan , this time 365 indiviually selected koi , from those with a budget in mind right through to show quality . Possibly the most varied selection we have ever chosen . One of the highlights was spending nearly a whole morning and almost a whole day with Shintaro , always liked this guy and his koi , this week somthing clicked and on both visits we purchased more koi than ui have ever bought from him . Agin msny differant levels , with 55cm nisai retailing at under £500 i think we have landed some very good purchases from him this year . Also loved the two high quality nisai we purchased from him to leave in Japan . Also another visit worth note was Kazuto , havnt bought fish from here for many a year , and was very pleased with what we picked there . Thats not taking anything away from the other breeders we visited , very pleased with all we visited and all our purchases , certainly one of the best selections of hand selected tosai we have ever bought .Ill leave you with a few pics of the scenary , and onds and ends .Thanks for taking the time out to read this , and if you ever want to join us , then feel free ! Please note that some pics courtesy of Mark Gardener .

The last buying day of the week is always a strange one , money and space is running out , alot of breeders are running out of koi and somtimes its a bit hard to get yourself into the right frame of mind ( especially when you run into another uk dealer the night before who is a good friend , and one drink turns into another , and then another , and then another , and then into a 4.30am bed time lol ) So looking for insperation we went to Maruhiro aka mad monkey , and he had pulled in some nice tosai for us to look through , unfortunately this time it wasnt really what i needed so we passed . Looking aorund i found myself struggling as we had been here so many times and looked through the koi , i really felt it was time to move off somewhere else . Feeling a bit dejected as this breeder is a firm favourite of mine , we decieded to go up the mountain to see Connias , as we couldnt get hold of him a detour to pop into Shintaro as he had offered as another hand pick of some smaller tosai than we selected though earlier in the week . Before going to the tosai house i was looking at all of the nisai and bigger koi . Saito then offered us some nisai that were very resonably priced , but i just couldnt get into the swing of it . After a while we looked through a pond of male and female nisai around 50-55cm , and althought they were not high quality , they all looked very very good value for the money . I decieded that may be if i could half a dozen it would fill a gap in my buying this week . We started off finding a few and made some boxes up , while i was looking through , Mark finally getting bored with taken pictures of the Cherry blossom falling of the tree next door , started to catch up some better quality nisai along with Saito . Beofre i knew it we had nearly 40 nisai in various bowls around the fish house , prices were given for the better quality nisai , from these we bought a female tancho showa, a female kindai showa , a very nice quality kohaku that was male , and a couple of female sanke .Many other sankes were purchased from the other pond making a total of 24 ! Just as we were going for lunch , Saito pointed to another pond where some larger koi were , soon a 5 year 75cm plus sanke and a four year 68cm were also purchased . We stopped for lunch and then after returned to the tosai house .Here a pond was netted and we soon had 60 go snake but mainly showa selected and photographed . Good byes were said and i couldnt think of a better way to end the day , buying many many koi from a breeder who i used to go to and buy one or two at ! Great day , great koi and a whole lto of laughs . Pics to follow and some scenary pics and a summery tomorrow ! First 14 pics are Shintaro nisai 50-55cm , then sansai and gosai sanke , then selected tosai

Although we managed to buy some nice koi yestreday , i felt today i was playing catch up as some of our more reguler breeders diddnt have what we wanted .This is a very frustrating time of year as one breeder runs out another has done another round of tateshita and is available for sale . So feeling al little under pressure , and a little the worse for wear after an extended night out we ventured up to Mushigame to see Shintaro . Diddnt build this up too much as once again i diddnt know what to expect , but when we arrived Mark was already there and moving some fish around with Shintaro .As the whole pond had been netted it was easy to see some of the koi easier than normal . a sansai sanke caught my eye , and i thought it was very attractive so asked the price and fish was purchased in about 2.4 seconds . I looked at Mark and he just laughed and said he is in a good mood and still has alot of koi .We then purchased some cheaper sansai , a sanke and a showa as although not high grade they represented very good value for money .He then bowled a nice yonsai sanke , skin quality was very nice , and once again the price was affordable so all were bought .I really like this guy , he has a great sence of humour , and nothing is too much trouble . I explained that we needed some higher quality and we then started bowling some amazing koi , two maruten sanke nisai really caught my attention , and these were purchased and will be left in Japan . One nisai sanke was also purchased and will be shipped to the uk with the rest . Before we knew it , it was time for coffee and curry at the breeders house .After this we went to the tosai house where 30 jumbo tosai were purchased , around 25-30cm . Then we went to the tategoi house and he had a pond full of tateshita , although they were very nice we diddnt pruchase as another very intereasting offer was made which i am thinking about as i write this . Feeking that i had certainly "caught up " with my purchasing , we left Shintaro and moved onto another breeder and saw some nice sansai asagi which we will go and have a better look at as the breeder wasnt there .From here it was into Marusaka to pick some doitsu and metalic nisai , lots very differant varietys and it diddnt take long to pick throught them . Last call was our old mate Maruhiro , here we purchased some nisai shusui and chagoi , and were shown a very intereasting mic of tosai which we are hoping to pick through . Today was certainly a memorable one , some great koi and alot of laughs !

Today we started off by heading over to see the guys at Sekiguchi koi farm . Stunning quality showa and now getting the recognition that they deserve ! We spent a little time looking around the options for buy some showa tosai . We started in a pond that wasnt too badly priced , the pond was netted and selection of 15 koi were soon done and dusted . The next pond was netted and supposed to be way higher quality , and if im honest i was a little disapointed as i diddnt think i could find enough to make a box up , this really was a blow as the breeder had offered as a chance at a few very serious tateshita and i was hoping to put them in a box with the fish netted infront of me . Although happy with the showa i had already bought , i couldnt help thinking i really wanted some more at a higher level . Our agent then took over and explained my problem and sekiguchi said does Gary like high quality males ? Hell yes i replied , so we were at another pond looking at high class male tateshita . The price was not too bad but needed to be better , so a deal was done on the back of buying four of the very expensive tateshita . Before long we had 11 in a bowl and the four expensive tateshita , happy days ! After this was another big decision for me , last year we bought 3 very expensive tosai to leave in the mudponds . The results were outstsnding , two females were shipped and sold , but the third was male , but omg what a male ! He measured at 57cm and was the fastest growing nisai at the farm this year . He was supposed to go to the All Japan show but had a lifted scale which prevented this . This koi is now ok will now be shipped to the uk ! We have turned down a few offers in Japan already for this koi , even Sekiguchi tried a cheeky little bid that was politley refused . After dinner with the breeder we headed back to Ojiya stopping of at Satoshi Tanaka , this guy always has a few nice surprises , this time we had ine for him lol, at the nogyosai show last october i bought a showa from him at the show to leave in Japan for one year , this koi has now been sold so needed to be shipped . Not a major problem but paperwork involved so we needed to go and see the breeder to sort it out . While there i took a chance to buy a few very nice quality nisai , a shusui , shiro utsuri , kindai gin rin showa , the gin rin showa that is sold , all female and a male kujaku . Very pleased with this , that left a problem as we had arranged to leave a koi , one koi we had selected and another very nice nisai kindai showa was selected to be left in Japan for one year . With only a few hours left we decieded to pop up to Yamaju and meet the breeder with a view to have a close look at the asagis we saw the day before . We arrived and found that only one that was in the pond was any good for what we wanted . He then said there are some in the main pond , so we went and selected two more females out of there . Three sansai nice asagi , two female and one male were then purchased . Driving back down the mountain we stopped for a couple of tourists pics and then called it a day and returned home to the hotel early for a change . pics to follow

Today had all the hall marks of a great day , appointments made and fish available and off first thing feeling pretty positive ! Arriving at Yamazaki koi farm we soon had some nisai bowled up , mainly platinum ogons and gin matsubas.After this i struggled a little bit and decieded to move onto our next appointment at one of our favourite dealers Sakai . Once again things diddnt go to plan and it looks like he has sold all his nisai and older koi . We were then offered a chance to select from some of his tategoi tosai ponds , there were some stunning sankes and amazing shiro utsuris , but they were very high vaue and the decsion was made to pass . From there to Marudo to view jumbo tosai and arrived to find he was sold out , starting to get the feeling the bad day i hadnt had in a few trips was returning with a vengance ! We then joined Tanaka for lunch which is always an amusing time as his English is very good , along with his sence of humour , he had arranged for us to be part of a television programe that was being made . So we spent an hour being filmed by NHK for the news and a follow up programme later . After my attempts of trying to be a movie star we went over to see Hosakai koi farm . I know ive said it before , but one of the reasons i love Niigata so much is that you never know what may or not come along with the breeders you visit . Trying to keep a positive head on when youve visited some of your faourite breeders and not buying much at all doesnt bode well for your next visit. After arriving at Hosaki and looking around and thinking there was a few koi that intereasted me , we were offered a chance to look at some higher grade nisai , after following the breeder to another set of ponds i havnt seen before we were soon bowling up some nice showa , shiro utsuri and goshiki including a nice Maruten one , all koi were niasi and 40-50cm . After this we looked at a nice kohaku and a very strange doitsu goshiki , very unusual ! Few more koi were then bowled , mainly showas , a nice kin matsuba and a very clean kin showa , and last but not least a nisai female kujaku around 50cm! So around 15 nisai purchased at the end of the day . So not too bad a day in the end . once again we have appts for selecting tosai tomorrow , go sanke and may be some very high grade jumbo tosai so watch this space .Pics to follow