Today I was leaving for Tokyo , for an over night stay and an early flight back to the UK , so I just wanted to see a couple of breeders before I left . Last year , I left a small nisai kohaku with a breeder we call Abe san . Although breeding from brood stock such as SFF and Dainichi , he doesn’t like growing on koi too fast . So the nisai I left in October 2015 was around 32cm , amd wasn’t harvested by the time I left Japan last October , so I was keen to see it , It was placed in a bowl and I was very happy , skin quality was good , and although the kohaku was believed to be male , it had a really good shape . We then selected a few nisai around 30cm , to travel in the box with the sansai which was now around 40-45cm .


Today we started off with a visit to Otsuka , havnt been here for a while , as we are trying to build up good relations with fewer breeders , its not that we don't want to visit lots of breeders , it makes more economical sense , to spend more money at fewer breeders , and get better prices . So once we have done that  , we then visit any one else if we have  the time available . So not having seen any asagi , we decided to visit Otsuka . He like lot of others , was almost out of nisai , and the asagi wernt of the quality we were looking for . In the main pond he did have some high quality , but I mean these were real  high quality , so good in fact I knew not to ask lol ! The sansai had some nice karashigoi / kigoi , but these were way bigger than I was looking for.

A lot of people have been asking for showa of all levels , and to be honest , havnt really seen many around ! So we had a chat with Maruhiro and he said he would check his stock ponds away from the farm . So with that in mind  , we headed up there first thing today . In one day I couldn't believe the amount of new koi he had moved into the sales ponds . Soon had a few examples in the bowl , and some surprisingly good for the money ! Soon had 8 in the bowl , with a ki ursuri , and a gin rin ki utsuri as well . From here we looked around the more expansive ponds and found larger nisai hi utsuri and sanke , both female around 45-50cm . Among them there was also some smaller better quality showa , so we decided to purchase them as well . Then we started to bowl up even more better quality nisai  but I really didn't like what I was seeing , so we called a halt , and moved on to the best pond ( apart from the circle one , and we all know why we don't buy from there lol , but saying that's 3 of my koi reside there at the moment lol ) There was some sanke , showa and kohaku then bowled for the purpose of Azukari ( to leave in Japan ) . Then it all went wrong , Mark Gardner appeared from no where like the shop keeper in Mr Benn, and then a long discussion involving koi being returned , then caught up again , only to be returned once again , poor old Hinori , he didn't know what was going on , but in the end I settled on a kohaku 69cm  yonsai , and a sansai 60cm sanke , ni dan pattern and superb skin quality . The third sanke that was returned , caused great debate , and in the end someone else bought her , but it was an interesting debate lol . From here we joined Hinori and his wife for coffee and food.

First appointment today , was at Shinoda koi farm . Famous for his doitsu , gin rin and hi utsuri . I had  a few orders including a high quality hi utsuri , but when we arrived there was really only one pond left with nisai in . But on the good side they were all female so we managed to select some gin rin showa , and a couple of hi utsuri . Like most breeders , Shinoda is almost out of nisai , and that is what we have found driving around Niigata , a lot of the breeders we don't need to go back to now unless they have some tateshita , this are koi that have been released for sale after the tategoi selections have been made . From Shinoda , we also have a lot of chisai nisai ( small two year olds ) , these will be going on the website today , doitsu and gin rin go sanke .

Over night snow had left its mark on the town of Ojiya , first thing in the foyer of the hotel , I heard many complaining about treacherous road conditions already , Diddnt bode well for me with a pair of wellies that I couldn't get on due to the swelling of my leg , plastic trainers it was then ! We set off towards Hosokai koi farm , and had to drive slow due to the wind blowing snow all over the road . I think sometimes we take it for granted over here , driving round mountains with 50 foot drops , in snow covered roads , oh well , as some one once said , what we do for these stupid koi ! On arrival at the farm , we spent an hour looking round at what was available , once again I was seeing a repeating pattern , lots of nice koi at reasonable prices , but varietys and quality of what we have already . The breeder then got a phone call saying that a car was stuck in the snow , it was some customers on the way to see him and had driven a little close to the side of the road . We decided to leave as it looked like he would be busy with the car for while . We made a call and then it  was off to Marudo koi farm . When we arrived we were shown some very nice tosai , and was offered a chance to hand select , the kohaku looked extremely nice , so set about netting the pond and selecting some 20-27cm tosai . After selecting 25 , I looked at what I had chosen through , and then decided to take another 25 as the quality was so high . Another pond was netted , and we started selecting sanke , again around 20-25cm . After selecting for a few minutes , I had to admit I was struggling , and I suggested we stop ,I could see that the breeder wasn't happy , so decided to take a box for politeness sake . Once selected , the fish were placed in clean water , and I realised the fish were way better than I first imagined , and was very glad I had carried on . After all the pics and videos were done , I was asked if I wanted some higher class tosai , this happened before , found a pond and got selecting only to find that that there was higher quality available ! This time I wasn't worried as the 75 tosai we had selected were great quality , so I considered this other pond to be a bonus . Once shown the pond , I was told the price was way more than the others , so a hard debate began about the price . Earlier on we had been offered some nice Yamabuki at a sensible  price , 65-70cm and yonsai . Being the great negotiator , I explained that we had selected three boxes already , could we buy two ogons and get a better price on the HQ tosai , until then we had been dealing with the daughter as the father had slipped down some stairs and had to go to hospital , he had just returned in mid negotiations , and as a master of price debates , he came back and said ok Gary san , you can have your price on the tosai , but ONLY if you have 4 Yamabuki ogons , I had to laugh as I had been out manuvered by the boss ! So 4 ogons later , we set about selecting through this new pond , I was shocked , the quality was way beyond what I had expected , and very quickly I had 25 very tasty tosai kohaku and a few sanke . Feeling very happy , we went and grabbed a sandwich , and went to Kaneco koi farm . sometimes its nice to select tosai here , his shiro utsuri are very nice as are many other varieties , this year the tosai were a little smaller , so we passed and decided to call it a day and returned to the hotel . Driving home I thought we were having an early day , it was already 5pm ,time flys when your having fun !