This morning I awoke and laying in bed contenplating the day a head, and suddenly aware of a feeling that somthing was wrong, a quick look at the alarm clock confirmed my worst fears, it was 8.00, and had 5 mins to get ready, breakfast was already a lost cause! Running out of the hotel camera in one hand boots in the other I nearly knocked down the agent coming the other way, lucky he was running late too! Off to sekiguchi again where there wasnt a lot of koi as he had been very busy since we left, some of our group had some yonsai that had been growing there that they had to photograph and it was on then to tanaka who had 3 sansai and yonsai including a 70cm chagoi and a yonsai shiro utsuri which was an off spring of white tiger (I believe a fanmous omosaku koi), and a sansai gin rin showa, I purchased all 3 and then we left. Back on the motorway towards ojiya we stopped for lunch at moes burgers and more of that great corn soup. The afternoon really was a wind down visiting mushigame for the last time, I felt I just couldnt resist a last box from yagenji koi farm and again wasnt disapointed, a box of what I would call doitsu karashigoi, around 50cm, nisai and all female. The trip was supposed to last untill tuesday with low funds and some pressing news from home I managed to get a flight home earlier so this will probably be my last entry, so to answer what a lot of people are asking, was it a good trip and did I achieve all that I wanted? Yes it was, and hopefully we have raised the level of quality again this year, we have left more koi out here than ever and although not where we want to be, we are certainly heading in the right direction although I know we still have a long way to go. I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings through niigata, if you have and feel that you are mad enough to join me, ill be returning to Japn at the begining of feb 2010 to go to the all japan show and then on to our buying trip, we visit most breeders and have access to all levels of quality and sizes of koi so please feel free to contact us in the shop, once again thanks for reading ...................Gary

World exclusive!!! === World exclusive!!! === World exclusive!!!

Was it an amazing tategoi? a show winning koi? a record breaking size chagoi? no even beter, seven hours sleep!!!!! For those of you who havnt been to Japan you will wonder what the hell im talking about, for those who have or know me must understand that I am the king of the 3am zone, that time when strong alcohol or a good book or anything will not send you to sleep, so after falling asleep at the laptop again last night at 11pm I decieded to call it a day, you can imagine my surprise when im awoke at 6.15 am, 7 whole hours sleep. I can honestly say I was ready to take on the world, let alone the breeders of Niigata. So after a hearty breakfast I really did feel on top of my game, setting out to Maradoh I felt really positive and wondered how I would feel having sleep everyday! Any way back to the koi, Maradoh is great guy who has some serious quality, his go sanke is unbelievable again this year but having filled my boots with go sanke I decided not waste his time asking prices and headed straight for the chagois, when I asked for chagois I think there was a mistake in translation before I knew it I was looking at 100 chagoi, mukashi ogon and other varietys all way over 80cm and some over 90 (and yes before you ask, there was that many, and I hear he has another hundred or so out in the mud pond). Feeling a bit embarresed I asked if he had any smaller, of course he did, 4 chagoi and karashigoi were purchsed around 52-58cm, female and nisai. Just as we were walking out he asked if I wanted any yamabuki ogons, nisai and around 25-30cm, I asked will they grow really big? the resulting laughter made me feel I said the funniest joke in japan, someone pointed behind me, you guessed it, a whole of yamabuki ogons all the 74 - 85cm. I now had to buy a box just to make me feel better. A stop at hoshikins to look at kohaku to leave out in the ponds drew our first blank as he was mesuring customers koi, and we didnt want to interupt so we had a walk across the road to dianichi, no one was there but we had a look around and it was amazing, the fish were just incredable, up to mushigame and to visit masaki, he wasnt in either so I quick peek at hiroi, sakai and miyatora resulted in no koi being found, as this may be my last day I decieded to go back to Yagenji Koi Farm, the two brothers have to be the nicest guys around, and I love thier koi and the prices are nice as well. Today we had been joined by a dutch dealer who asked for a yonsai to be bowled, and did the koi make the whole place go still, it was incredable, the whole package was superb, watch out the people in europe as this fish is staying in Japan for a few years yet and will be coming to compete, a deal was struck and the best fish I have seen this week was sold.

Had a shock this morning when the agent handed me a list of what I had bought, im really running out of money and still have 5 days to go! The agent then asked when do I leave, I said tommorrow, she laughed and said you very funny Gary, I didnt have the heart to say it wasnt a joke! So out we headed to visit Tananka, here he had all sorts of varietys but his speciality is gin rin showa, male shinoda gin rin parent and dianichi female. Tanaka won best gin rin 35cm at the last ojiya show. When I asked if he was showing again he said yes and preceded to bowl 3 excellant gin rin showa, he pointed to one and said number one, and asked I we could buy it, the price wasnt too bad, so I thought get the price on the next two and save a bit of money (english thinking)!, the price came back and was 3 times the price, totally dumbfounded I had to ask why, he replied these two were more finished so easier to sell (japanese thinking) while the number one will be much better in the future but much harder to sell. Well I understood what he was saying and said id like to purchase the cheaper one and grow it on in the mud pond, he said yes and I was very pleased as he doesnt normally offer this. We then moved on to what he said were cheaper grade fish and we bought a bowl of shusui, midorigoi, gin rin hajiro, gin shiro utsuri, kin ki utsuri, showa, kin showa, the showa is for someone who has emailed me and asked for a showa so I hope you like it (bullit), if this is his cheaper koi then we will doing a fair bit of buisness with him in the future. Then off to Sekiguchi the showa breeder, I have heard alot about this guy and have bought his jumbo tosai before and have always been very pleased with the koi, but have never visited the farm. Well was I in for a shock, being a lover of showa I lost my breath when I went in the nisai house, outstanding quality and very good size for nisai, cannot recomend this farms quality enough, but after asking two prices I knew I was out of my depth somewhat. Looking around I found one showa and really thought it was very attractive and had a great head pattern, I had to ask the price and was very surprised, and even more surprised when they said yes to growing the koi on. Size now 40cm, expected next year 53-55, happy days..........................somewhat dazed from finding two koi in one day to grow on we went then to another breeder which I wont discuss for a day or two as im thinking about a very serious little shiro utsuri and chagoi. As these breeders where a long way off by the time we got to ojiya there was time for a quick look at marahiro who had harvested again, this guy has some serious gin rin kohaku, and then it was off to uncle hirasawa for coffee and a chat about the finer points of nishikoi and life in general, actually thats a load of rubbish but I cant really say what the conversation was about on a public blog, but through the translator he had us in fits of laughter and was a perfect end to another perfect day.

One thing I will say, there is a box of very special little fish for people who want something to grow on, ill explain more later...........

Today we started off at oofuchi looking for more unusual varietys, never disapointed we bought two sansai doitsu hariwakes and a sansai tancho sanke. Last year I noticed that he was producing some nicer go sanke, so we bought some and have to say were very pleased with them, at the time they had that matsunoske look to them, this year he even better quality so I purchesed another 3 and a doitsu platinum ogon again all sansai and female. Curosity got the bettter of me and I had to ask, he laughed and said you know already, seems that even ooffuchi can undertsand a little English! With an added bonus of the female over 90 he said there is no reason that the off spring cant do the same, happy days!!!! It was then off to look at 2 fish we had left last year and here the story gets complicated and I will go into more detail later. Another curry and rice for lunch and then off to sakai to look at what we couldnt afford, amazing harvets with a great gin rin kohaku that id love to own, but way out of my leauge. Then back to yagenji, why? why not! These guys bare probably the nicest people in niigata and always pleased to see you, so always buying koi from them it was time to buy a koi for azukari (leave in the mud ponds) when I mentioned it to the brothers we started talking about koi from the main pond, our agent loved a shiro that was bowled, when in the bowl the skin was excellant and a great body shape, a price was negotiated which I thought was fair, and then renogatiated due to the fact that it was her birthday and she said the new price, it was rude to say no, one condition, the koi has to be called "niki " , I can live with that, after a quick bet on the size (which yagenji won) the koi was measured at 58cm and will go through 65 next year and then on to 80 in the future. After having a quick look at yamazaki which hardley had any stocks, but worth visiting as he had an amzing sansai showa which was absolutely stunning. Also a visit to oya koi farm left us wondering what we had missed as he was low on koi but had a lovley showa which was too small to pack on its own. Taime to call it a day and head back to the hotel.

Woke up to a wet and dreary day but I wasnt going to let that get me down. Two customers wanted a very nice gin rin soragoi, so with that in mind we headed off to Hosakai round the otherside of Ojiya, when we arrived the soragoi wearnt quiet up to what we wanted, so after all recieving about 100 mozzie bites each we were keen to get away, as we were leaving I noticed an out side pond with green water and what looked like huge koi in, the breeder came out and explained just very big fish, he said around 65cm but we thought bigger so we bought a large asagi and gin matsuba for a very resonable price hoping to fullfil a order for two large koi! A drive round the corner to suda and I have to say was quiet impressed with the quality of some of the showa there, aoki next and he was out so then came an early lunch. A drive back to mushigame to visit nagashima who had a lovely selection of showa, very nice guy and good quality koi who deserves more people going there than he gets. After an afternoon of breeders being busy or out harvesting the day looked like just the big fish, everyone who breeds hi utsuri seemed to be out or not have harvested yet, frustrating when you have three orders to find. The agent then suggested we try shinoda, I like shinodas koi, but over the last few years the prices have been too high, or the quality has sold out. This time it was neither and we had two sansai females, around 50 and 55cm, and also took advatage and bought 5 nisai of around 40cm in case the two sansai were just too big for the orders. As most people know im not a lover of doitsu koi but I saw some lovely doitsu showa, a very good price and nice quality so I thought why not, and for good measure found a very attractive gin rin hi showa as well. Very happy to be buying this guys koi again as the quality was good and the prices good as well.