25

Jan 2016

Category: January 2016

After a good nights sleep ,( when i say a good night i mean four hours straight through is good by my standards on my first night  in Japan ) we set off to visit Hoshikin koi farm , famous for his kohkau , and more recently showa as well . We purchased some over the winter , and were very pleased with them , so wanted more for our customers who like his fish . On arrival at the farm , the quality was absolutely stunning , plenty of great kohaku and showa to choose from , the higher grade pond had some serious koi in , and was pleasently surprised when some of them were in our price range . A 50cm female nisai was selected , amazing skin quality , and very suitable for showing . This was purchased along with two showa that i just couldnt leave behind .After purchasing at Hoshikin i was feeling a little brave so decieded to visit Isa , a little disapointed as when we arrived he had more or less sold out of nisai , a conversation was held about purchasing some tosai instead , and once again i was suprisd that there were koi here that were affordable .We were shown a pond of tosai , that had very nice quality , but couldnt select , and to be honest , i diddnt care as saw very few in there that i wouldnt want in a box of koi shipped to me in the UK . So we will buy some of these koi , but again asked about some even higher quality , and was taken to another pond , these were even better , sencing an oppertunity i asked if the whole pond could be purchased , no chance , as usual at this time of year , the pond still contained tategoi had to be selected through .But he did offer to hand select some out of this pond , and a price was agreed , so this year we will have plenty of Isa tosai , at an affordable price . ( Affordable by Isa standards any way lol ! ) Two grades that should be able to supply most showa fans , and even at this time of year , they are already 20-25cm . Next to visit was Kawakami , this breeder has very impressive koi nowadys even to all Japan standaards , especially his goshiki and shiro utsuri . This time he diddnt have that many goshiki for sale that were of the standard we are looking for , but still managed to find some shiros . As we were driving Rob planted the seed of a hot meal in my head , normally we just get a sandwhich form the 7-11 , but it was so cold the idea of a hot meal sat quite well with me , especially when he spent the next five minutes driving to the resteraunt  describing his favourite dish the serve the, fried liver , now i was really looking forward to it , as he finished his description we pulled into the resteaunt to find it closed , oh its Monday i forgot the are closed , talk about anti climex , oh well onto the next place for curry and rice  which was handy as we bumped into the owner of Marusei koi farm , so agreed to vist there after lunch. I am never failed to be impressed here , there are so many varietys at all kinds of level of quality , and prices are very fair , so its never hard to buy koi here . We spent the next two or three hours bowling mainly sansai , sanke, kujaku and aka matsuba  . I think the lack of sleep finally caught up with me and i have totally lost count of what we purcahsed there , all i can say is the pictures are once again the pics are not as good as the koi . After buying from these ponds , we were taken to another where they were  littlle bigger , around 55-61cm , once again the pics diddnt do the fish much justice , and to be honest yoshiuke was in a good mood , and giving great prices so i diddnt want to spend too much time taking pics , so got videos as well . So many koi were bowled and purchased , it was late in the afternoon , so we decieded to drop into Miyatora , there were koi available , but everything i liked was sanke , and after going mad at Marusei , last thing i needed was more sanke  , so we moved onto the tosai house , and was given some intereasting options to think about .It was then time to return to the hotel after a very productive day . Sorry about the pictures , please take time  to look at the videos .First three pics are the Hoshikin showa and kohaku , nisai and 50-55cm . The second and third are female, but be sure abouthe first one . The next ten koi are all sansai 45-50cm plus , very good value for money . Next six are also sansai from Marusei . Last six are larger sansai from Marusei .

24

Jan 2016

Category: January 2016

Ill forgo the usual explanation of travel across Japan , and what seems compulsary pics of planes and the bullet train , with exception of a mntion of the snow , its been a mild winter by Niigata standards , that is untill i arrive , seems theyve had more in the last 24 hours than they have had all winter !!!!!!!!!

After being picked up at the train station we went straight to Maruhiro koi farm , it was good to be back after missing the Autumn trip due to my leg injurys , the breeder as ever had a smile oh his face as we met , which turned to a frown when he saw me take two crutches out of the car and hobble across the snow . After explaining its just to take the weight of my new knee injury we had the compulsary 3 cups of coffee , and then it was time to start some bowling . Have i ever told you how much i love this place ?? Well i guess i may have mentioned it a couple of times before , well once again the breeder diddnt disapoint again , selected some nice nisai , andthen went into the better quality ponds and wihin a short time i had more koi than i needed , so selected out the ones that wernt required and returned them to the ponds. Then i had startedbowling some very nice nisa and sansai . Ended up buying some very nice showa , and three sansai kohaku , and one yonsai i have reserved , apart from the last one , all other koi were purchased .So a quick afternoon and around 35 koi purchased already , signs are good that this trip will be up to our usual standards ! Pics are mainly nisai , except last three kohakus which are three sansai and one yonsai

19

Jan 2016

Category: January 2016

Well the day has finally come , and im sitting in terminal 5 drinking coffee ( surprise surprise ) and waiting for some breakfast . With the news ive just been upgraded to club class everything is looking good for this trip ! This trip how ever will be a little differant , my friend ( and i call him that now as that is what he has become ) that normally drives me is absent this trip due to some incredably difficult times he is going through at the moment , if your reading this Chris , all my love to you and yours , will miss you this time round ! So this time im joining with a very old friend Rob from the same company, he is very experianced , but brings with him some differances in work style . All the agents we use have great relations with all breeders , but some agents can have better relations with certian breeders ,  ie they all have thier favourites . So this time there are a few breeders we will be visiting  that Rob has a very special relation ship with while still visiting the breeders Chris and i have dealt with over the years , so could be a very intereasting trip , so look in tomorrow for more news

27

Apr 2015

Category: April 2015

Today was supposed to be pack away and get to Tokyo and have a day doing the tourist thing , but the weather was so nice we decided to have a drive around the mountains instead , aand leave a little later .As much as id love to look around Tokyo its not much fun on your own , and I never tire of the views over the mountains . So we set off around ten thirty and visited the cake shop intent on returning some of the hospitality shown to us by Hinori and his wife , but he had already left for the coast to start putting koi back into the mudponds ( the ones there are much warmer earlier in the year ) So we sat and ate the cakes with Maruhiros wife while he had the lads were off working ! Today was never about working , just taking some time out , so we drove all over Mushigame and popped into a breeder we use quite a lot , he had lots of tosai left , but one pond really caught my attention , there were some very nice go sanke and other varietys , and a price was discussed for the whole lot , so I may take up that offer later tomorrow , hence while im not naming the breeder . After what seemed the umpteenth coffee we set off again sight seeing until I couldn’t put off the inevitable , and decieded to head towards the station .Half way down the mountain we met Tanaka going the other way , he said he would be back in five minutes and meet at his new facility for coffee , no sleep tonight then ! As we were round the corner from this tosai facility it wasn’t out of our way to stop and say goodbye . Once here I realised that we needed to ship the koi from the koi show , so Shigy said ill net the pond and we can take ten and add them to the other pond , sounded like a plan until it was noticed there was no seine net . Shigy said no problem , only ten we can catch them with normal nets , 45 minutes and two litres of sweat and some random swearing in Engish and Japanese the job was done . These koi houses are like saunas come the end of April , glad I wont be here in May ! Tanaka farm specialises in selling high class tosai , you select if you can pay , no problem at all , and I love his koi , they have great skin quality and are getting serious body shapes , major player very soon I suspect ! Looking through two smaller ponds , there were some amazing examples of high class tosai , all go sanke and gin rin go sanke , a bowled a sanke around 25cm and stunning , with sumi through already like a balck gloss , brilliant pattern and great for a koi show , the Nagaoka show was discussed , no good Gary san , this will go through 50 cm may be , 45cm cut off for the size you are looking for . So with heavy heart I placed it back and asked about a showa I saw in the pond , a price was given and bowled straight away , I couldn’t believe it , this koi was amazing , Shigy asked what I would do with it , I replied I don’t care ill buy it ,Once I calmed down Shigy explained how good the koi was , he really did rate the koi as we all did , and im sorry , for once in my life , im not going to sell this koi , not just yet anyway , its going back into the mudond this summer , and ill decide its future then , also when it may be possible to sex it ! Shigy added that fatal phrase , its all about the sumi on this one , I laughed and said isn’t it always , he then showed me what he thought and hoped what would happen , if it does this koi has endless possibilities , and I couldn’t think of a better way to end the trip . Ill add my thoughts as usual when im back in the uk . Thanks as ever for having a read of my trip , hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

26

Apr 2015

Category: April 2015

Awoke today to a massive hangover , and a new found respect for saki . It’s a nice drink and goes down well , but never mix it with beer said the guy at the hotel when he saw I was suffering , horses and barn doors come to mind ! Any way I was up and ready to go to Hosakai for an early appointment as we had to be back to the show for the presentation ceremony . Once at the farm we started bowling koi from a few different ponds and soon had 12 nisai 40-50cm and all female except a doitsu goshiki and a showa . Four kohakus were bought first and the skin on a few of them was amazing , a few nice showa one of which the breeder mentioned would get to 90cm , and one very nice showa that ticked all the right boxes . A sanke with stunning skin quality , and a nice smaller shiro utsuri . Hosakai had come good again and certainly become a big part of our plans in the future. His showa and shiro utsuri and very good , also does kujaku amoung other things , so all my favourites in one place , and that he just comes over as a fair and nice guy ! We had to rusg the pics and skip the videos as time was moving on and we had to be at the show very soon . The show was very good , and for koi below 36cm , ive heard many arguments for and against shows like this , for me im all for it and wish we had a show like it in the UK . Just think of all the people that would show a koi as they are more affordable at this size and many people buy them , great way to promote koi and get people into the show scene ! The whole show was very professionally run and is being taken every serious by the people involved and is growing every year , cant wait for the next one . We decieded to have a drive up the mountains and take some pics , on the way through we passed Maruhiro so we stopped for a quick coffee , we were all staring in the pond of koi that were sold , and suddenly a very familier tancho sanke swam past , dawned on me we had forgotten to do the shipping papar work for it , and needed a few koi to go with it to help shipping costs .Hinori diddnt need asking twice , I wasked for some small higher quality nisai and soon had some tanchos of all varietys , a stunning kohaku , and some gin rin kohakus all around 35cm . A sansai gin rin kohkau was bowled as well around 50cm and I purchased them all . We were talking about bigger koi , Hinori then showed us a yonsai sanke at 71cm , impressive body shape on it ,and the breeder hopes it will be high 70 s or eeven nearly 80 if we put her back in the mudond , so back she will go ! We then spent an hour driving around the mountains and taking some scenary shots , as I promised some people back home that I would . As usual , pics to follow in a short while