This trip was once yet again a very sucessfull one for Gatwick koi . I think we raised the standard of koi which we want to sell a little higher , while still supplying the kind of koi that made us sucessfull, i know Roy and Doug will be reading this and thinking he did go mad , i diddnt , it all kind of went to plan , yes of course i blew the budget , but justified in doing so , and by not as much as you think , prices were good and the breeders were willing to work with us The azuakri project worked wonderfully and was so much fun i nearly burst with excietment . Many lesson were learnt , and we wont leave so many cheaper koi , going for less koi but of much higher quality , these had a much higher sucess rate , and when on a few occasions things went wrong , like they did at Yagenji , the breeder was more than happy to work with us to make a bad situation good . ( this also is down to the smaller number of breeders that we use and work closer with ) That doesnt mean im not gonna have a little gamble every now and then . Out of 28 koi , all had a sucessfull outcome , except 2 which we gave to the breeder as a gift . as they were cheap and he had looked after us so well during the week . There are still five koi to comeout of the mudponds , so im hoping for a continued suceess rate , especially for the Sakai yonsai , and two sansai for a customer . This trip also cemented the relations further that we have built over the last few years , with some serious koi now left in Japan , and some of the best koi we have had being shipped home . When i return in jan/feb for the all japan , we will expand on that and look for more koi to leave ! I am over whelmed with the comments that i have had through websites and facebook , and can only begin to tell you who happy i am with the koi sales while i have been in Japan . I sit here waiting for our flight in Narita airport , desperate to get home , but already in my heart and brain planning my return journey , if you want to be part of experiance then call me for more details , the trip is ually the end of January , or the start of February . If you wish to purchase a fish, and remember we can over winter them for you , then email me to confirm and then call the shop to pay once you have confirmation . I will be unavailable for the next 15 hours , but will try and answer emails when i get home , thanks every one for reading and all your support , also thanks to Sue and Mark Chetter and to Rod and Diane Taylor who have joined me on this trip , untill next time.

Today was just about doing some work in the hotel room untill our 3pm train to Tokyo .After breakfast and about an hour of work , i needed a bit of fresh air , as i walked outside the hotel i was stunned to be met by stunning blue skies and warmth which we havnt had all week ! I decieded blog and website can wait , im off to the mountains , i called Rod who had his own car and he returned with the others and picked me up and we had a great drive up to mushigame .Driving round with no pressure to buy koi , or meet schedules , the atmoshere was so layed back it was surreal .We went first to the top of one of the higher mountains to near the observation point , the views were magnificent and worth the drive . On the way down we stopped and said hello and good bye to Masaki who was serving some of our friends , it was a little sad as most of his koi houses were now knocked down , its the begining of the end to one of Niigatas great breeders . driving down further we stopped at Sakai , Tanaka and said our good byes and asked if it was ok for them to hold the koi untill nexy spring as they hadnt been harvested yet , all the breeders agreed, we stopped and spoke to a few breeders along the way .Somewhere along the way we got lost round some mudponds right up very high , the road got more and more narrow untill we were all looking at the window to guide Rod along , quite funny when he asked me and Mark to get out , hows that gonna help we asked , he said you two can lift the car up and turn it round ( being the size of one of those tiny fiat jobbies ) if i dont find a turning point soon ! We finally found a place to turn around and got back onto the roads , we headed down to say good bye to the mad monkey , who was actually chasing a monkey around the road out side his farm this week , ( takes one to know one lol ) so i was told that everyone was laughing so much that they diddnt tell him that if he actually caught up with the monkey it would probably have bit his head off lol . At some point during the day we were taking to a breeder who shall remain name less , he had just done a harvest and we watched the koi come in , we were then asked if we wanted to see a special fish , of course we did , the container was re opened and a koi placed in the bowl , this was unbelievable , i said is it going in the fish house , no not for many years , secret fish house and all those assembled laughed and the fish was driven away not to be seen by me or any other gajins for a long time !! I was told no cameras but i will remember the fish next time i see it , believe me ! And to show respect i wont repeat where or what i saw , had to add it in here as it was one of thise sprecial moments that you only get when you are out in Japan and even then on rare occasions. Coming down the mountains i alwys feel the heart strings tug a little as it always hard to leave the places and people we meet , but gets easier as i know ill be back in a few months . After a uneventful trip back to Narita airport and had a meal at the hotel getting ready for an early start to ctach the plane , half way through the meal i recieved a text from virgin saying our flight tomorrow will be five hours late , i explained to the group this and we had already had a few drinks and they all thought it was a wind up untill Rod got the same text , Rod seemed to be a little un happy at the situttion , me and Mark looked at each other and shouted the word sho-da-nai ( sp ) , which means what can i do ( and various other things lol ) So we got some more beer and settled down for the night as there was now no need for an early night , and deicided much to our german friends amusment to build an empty beer can tower ! After alot of noise and beer we saw of every one in the bar and decieded to call it a night ! Pictures driving round the mountains .

Today is the last day with our agent , so with the Nogyosai show tomorrow and traveling back to Tokyo on Monday , this will be the last day of buying like mad ! Today we started at Marasaka , this farm does mainly metalics and doitsu , there were many small nisai of fantastic quality , but unfortuanetly it was mostly koi that we had already bought . Out side there were many sansai at a very affordable price , buy again varites we had already purchased . Our next appointment was at NND , but on the way we had a quick look at Yagenji , as i had a customer that needed a larger kikisui. They had some very nice ones , But we couldnt bowl them as we had to get to NND for an appointment . One koi really stood out and i was hoping that it would still be there later , fat chance as there was a few people in the farm when we left . On our arrival at NND we were made very welcome by the owners , and shown round and given prices . I was looking in one pond , and if im honest i was not seeing koi anymore , it can happen when looking for koi day in and day out , Oomo started bowling some sankes and i wasnt very intereasted , i heard the word recomend , so i looked to be polite and wow there was a sanke with a kind of Maruten , three step going on .It really grew on me , and by the time he had finsihed talking i had already in my mind bought the koi , then Tanaka San , pointed at the koi , sorry , i think its a customer koi , aready sold .A real shame as i wanted to buy somthing form this farm to leave in Japan . But there are plans to do this may be later after i return to the UK . A quick phone call to us revealed that Maruhiro had left his work at the show ground to help us finish off sales at his farm and sort out the azukari fish to ship and to leave . On arrival at his farm we set about bowling chagois and some fair priced go sanke , a box was soon made and the customers who had finished buying wanted the rest of the afternoon driving round while we finished up with Maruhiro . We then set about getting loads of bowls full of koi , too many to mention here , but sansai hi utsuris , tanchos of all varietys , kogani ochiba , go snake and gin rin go sanke of all qualitys and all budgets . Great way to spend an afternoon with some one who ive grown to call a friend ! A great conversation was had about how serious we were about the azukari project , it was decieded that although we still might have a gamble , it was time to up this anti at this farm as well , on going through the koi we had harvested HInori san was brutal , as i wanted him to be , ship this , leave that , shouldnt have bought that ! This was another step in cementing how are two companys would work closer in the future ! After agreeing to see him at the show tomorrow we parted comany and headed up to Yagenji via Sakai to get a kiksui . Sakai was in good form and again another discussion on the koi we had at the farm took place ,and when the rest were being harvested , it was decieded what was to be left and another discusion took place on how we wanted to work closer with his farm , all going in the right direction and ill say what koi we are leaving later on . As we drove up to Yagenji i really hoped that the big kikisui had nt sold , as i had broken my golden rule , buy it when you see it ! On arrival she was still swimming round the pond so i got the koi bowled with a few others . The box ended up with two shiros and a kikisui . Discusions then took place on leaving a koi in Japan , a stunning gin rin kindai showa was in one of the big ponds and the breeder said it was female , so in the bowl it went with the intention of leaving her for one year , the brother checked the koi over and said it was male , so no go on the azukari , which was a shame as it was my kind of koi , but you cant win them all ! The brothers then took us to another fish house where we were shown two more koi , a sansai and nisai kohaku with intentions of may be leaving them in Japan , they were both stunning but a lot of money , so im thinking it over . So they day ended on visiting three of my favourite breeders and couldnt have rounded the buying off any better ! Tomorrow we will be visiting the Nogyosai show , one of my favourites as it the biggest annual show in Niigata ! Pics are just some of Maruhiro nisai and sansai we purchased today , last three are Yagenji nisai shiro utsuri , and Kiki sui sansai , all female .

Sunday morning was a good chance to catch up on alot of the internet work that needed doing . Around lunchtime the weather cleared and it was time to get down to the show . Isa won the show with an amazing showa . I had a good couple of hours walking round the show and putting my terrible camera skills to use and chatting to fellow koi nuts from all around the world . I bumped into Satoshi Tanaka cooing over his vat of koi , a long discusiion then took place about how good they were , i love his gin rin showa , and before i knew what was going on i had walked head first into a sales picth ! He wasnt sure about the sex of the koi , but he guarenteed it was 100 percent male or female ! Thanks that narrowed it down a bit , he is a funny guy with a great sence of humour , and then he explained thought it was orinally female , once taken to the show he wasnt sure at all now , so he said he has a male mudpond and would put it in there . Along with the doitsu kin showa that we had already agreed to ship, a price was agreed and we know own both , along with three little chisai nisai , shusui ,kin showa , doitsu kin showa around 16cm . These are kept in a concrete pond instead of going to a mudpond and fed good colour food to finish them early for koi shows . First pic is the GC showa from Isa , next is vat from Sakai Yamamatsu . Third pic is a stunning aka matsuba , the real deal ! , the rest are all from the show and none of them are our koi except the doitsu kin showa , the gin rin showa and the three small nisai , shusui , kin showa and doistu kin showa .

This morning we were really looking forward to getting back to Shinoda today as we hear he had harvested more doitsu showa , but before that we had two appointments with other doitsu breeders , which in reflection turned out better than expected ! First of all we headed though the moutains to Ikarashi , here he had some amazing varietys , incuding a tancho yamabuki ogon , yes a yellow koi with an orange circle , if it wasnt the 1st of April i wouldnt have believed my own eyes ! We started looking round all the ponds and were blown away by the massive varietys of rare and wonderfull varietys ,but keeping to the plan of better quality koi in the harvest , we found a pond of better quality ochiba , after bowling around half a dozen i had a good look and the patterns were amazing , but alot had black marks on which is probably net rubs from the harvest , but at that price i diddnt want to take a chance . After leaving here through another set of mountains through to the master of doitsu and the wierd , Kase . This guy must be the nicest bloke in Niigata , so helpful and the guy who works for him is just as good ! First we went to look at the bigger koi , i bough some sansai doitsu and metalics , then onto the nisai house and there was so many he must have just harvested ! So we looked and looked and realised there were many doitsu showas , and a whole pond of hi showas .I have a rule in Japan , if you see something buy it ! dont worry if Shinoda has more , especially doitsu showas , you can buy even more as they are one variety you just cant get enough of ! After getting a great box , a little discount was offered on another , so off we went with the assistant of Kase helping us , my god this young fella has a quick eye , get finsihed in a pond and ask him to find one more , and he always comes back with somthing you missed ! So many doistsu and metalics i cant remember , metalic ochibas , doitsu showa , hi doitsu showa , doistu sanke , gingas etc etc . left there for ....................gues what ??? Egg sandwich , you got it ! Realising time was getting close for our Shinoda appointment we raced though the villages to get up the other side of Ojiya and into our reguler haunts . On arrival we were greated by the father as the son was at the koi show , he gave us some very good prices , but ufortunatley the doitsu showa had all been gone through , lucky i filled my booots at Kase ! Even looking through the higher grade ponds we just couldnt make the numbers up for a box . Today was going to be a day of a lot of driving around , as the breeders we visited were quite away from each other , the next stop wasnt going to change that . Back on to the highway we drove to koide , here we saw some very nice quality koi , once again many varietys , gin rin showa , showa , kujaku and too many others to mention . I soon had two stunning Kujakus in a bowl , along with two super rare doitsu kin ki utsuri , ( please note when viewing the pics remember they were in a light bowl for a long time , so the colour wont look as good ) a nice kindai showa , there was also a koi we were allowed to bowl but could not buy untill Monday , a stunning doitsu kin showa , real show quality , in fact so much that we were only allowed to reserve it and couldnt buy it untill after the koi show this weekend , as it was being exhibited by the breeder , i can tell you now , wether it wins are not , this koi will be ours by sunday night ! With some very high quality koi purchased i was feeling very happy with the days buying . On the way home we dropped into Koda koi farm , here there where many ponds with what looked like stunning fish and we all set about bowling up koi , after a few minutes we realsied we were wasting our time , we had lost the light and it was time to return to the hotel , we hope to return this weekend to see these koi in the day light .pics in order ...Seven of the 20 doistu and metalics nisai from Kase , three of the sansai from Kase , two high grade kujaku form Satoshi ,two nisai from Satoshi , beni ginger from kase . The rest are now on the website .