Gatwick Koi Japan News Blog Updates
Finding it hard to get to breeders this week due to the international junior koi show , for some reason this show has really taken off this year in popularity , drawing entries from all over Japan . Most of the breeders are involved in setting up or running the show , so today I had already resigned to not seeing many koi . So a cup of coffee and a chat to plan out the day was interrupted by a call from a breeder we havnt been to for a while named Takano , this guy breeds superb goromo and has now started gin rin goromo . On arrival I got bowling koi straight away , only a few breeders breed budo goromo , and I soon had a few nice examples , the pond next door had some sansai , with an interesting 50cm male goshiki , it was just striking and just had to have it , along with a sansai gin rin budo goromo , some nice unusual varietys . After here we visited Marudo koi farm , and a pond was netted and we selected some nice sanke and showa jumbo tosai around 30-35cm . Lunch at 7-11 then found us driving down to the international koi show in Ojiya . We had entered four koi in all , four from Tanaka Maruju , and one stunning kikisui from Yamamatsu koi farm . The kikisui was our hope to win a gold and then may be best entry form the UK which we had already one twice in a row. We found the best 24cm and it wasn’t the kikisui , we found the vat it was in and it had one silver , really surprised as everyone had commented on how good it was , but beaten it was so that was that . As we walked around the show I walked down the row looking for my goromo , and there it was , Tanaka Maruju had done it again , gold with a little budo gormoo , three times in a row , a real credit to the breeder . We were looking at the vat , when up went another sign , best entry from the UK . That was it , I was delighted , three times in a row , best entry from the UK , all with a Tanaka Maruju koi . To say I was delighted was an understatement , a gold and silver award , best entry from the UK , with that and the success of our customers in the last year , it’s a great way to kick of the season ! We had a look round the show and was asked to go to the show party , drink and eat as much as you like ,oh go on then lol ! The time was nearing 4 pm , so as the party started at 6.30 we made our way back to the hotel . 6 pics todays purchases . next six are koi from the show , 3 koi in breeders section , aigoromo , showa and sanke were on diplay , not ours! Last pic is our four nisai from Takano , two budo goromo ,gin rin sanke and gin rin goshiki
Today we started off at Hirasawa looking for some sanke , the ones we bought on our February trip were very good indeed and unbeatable value . So we spent some time looking and bowling , prices were very good ,but not quite what we were looking for and the higher quality koi had been placed in potassium so we left and will return again over the weekend . A short drive up to mushigame found us at Kazutos , this time a different fish house to look for some nisai kohaku . Since we have started buying his tosai there is a lot of interest in his koi , and I think to understand his tosai prices you need to visit his main fish . The koi were breath taking , kohaku of serious quality , and bearing in mind a lot of dealers are coming to the end of their stocks , it makes you wonder what the quality that he has sold already is like ! The nisai were around 50cm , and some of the best I had ever seen , I mean really , the skin was unbelievable , and some of the patterns ( yes Kevin I said patterns ) were excellent , the full range , marutens , nidans , sandans , yon dans and two I stopped even trying to count how many steps they were . But as you can could imagine , the prices were to match , im not saying these koi were dear , as that would imply that they are expensive , they were a hell of a lot of money , but well worth every penny . I decieded that at the moment id stick with his tosai and may return again to select through them before I leave . On the way down to get some lunch Kaneco called and said he was free for us to visit . I couldn’t believe the amount of stock he had in the farm , we was offered another hand pick of his shiro utsuri , bigger but not quite the quality I purchased last time , but the price reflected this ! After a short while I had selected through around 30 nice shiros .From here we moved into the man pond , he had some very nice large shiros up to 70cm , very large bodies , but as usual my photography made them look worse than they are lol , the skin was amazing and I was expecting to hear telephone numbers , but I was pleasantly surprised and soon had six very nice shiros in the bowl from 52cm nisai , to 70cm yonsai .Very pleased , and I will apologise now to the people who wanted to come with me to Japan , and I said I wouldn’t at this time of year as larger koi are in short demand if you still want quality , because this time they were here and at many other farms . After lunch I realised the day was almost at an end , so we had a look at some tosai at Kawakami , and then a quick look at Isa koi farm . Here there where some unbelievable koi but mostly sold , but we were offered some jumbo tosai that im thinking about . The day wouldn’t be full without a visit and coffee with Maruhiro , a lot of the breeders were setting up the show so wernt available , so we set of up there to finsh off the day . I bought a sansai showa , a nisai one , a couple of gin rin chagoi and a gin rin matsukawabake . Today was just one of those days where the day flys by , so if the blog is a little short , ill apologise . pics to follow
Sometimes this trip in April/May can be very frustrating , sometimes its hard to still find quality as most stocks have been heavily picked through , sometimes a pond that may have been overwintered gets harvested and sometimes you get a phone call saying a breeder has just selected his final tategoi and the tateshita is available to purchase . Sometimes it can be very frustrating , like yesterday afternoon , visiting breeders that you like one after the other , and finding nothing .After our first visit of the day at Yamazaki , I started to feel that today was going to go the same way .We looked through all that he had available , there was nothing that I really needed . So a discussion then took place on where to go , Oofuchi was mentioned , but at this time of year he really has lower quality nisai , and nice tosai . As we were struggling a little for appointments , as a lot of the breeders were getting ready for the forthcoming show this weekend , we decided to go and visit Oofuchi and see what the tosai that were left were like . On arrival we first went to the nisai house as the breeders were there with someone else . This turned out to be a great piece of luck , there were loads of nisai there , and of quite good quality to some excellent ones . I started netting straight away , and got some very nice sanke , tanchos , kumonryu , kujaku and a few others . I seemed to be getting box after box , and it wasn’t until the paper work was done , I realised I had caught and bought 42 nisai , from 30cm to 45cm . This was a real lucky break , as this week I was happy with the quality I had bought , just worried about the quantity , so joking and laughing with spirits raised much higher , it wasn’t until about 20 mins later someone said , “ errrr we diddnt look at the tosai “ , I really did want to see them , but wasn’t complaining as we had really got some nice koi at a great price ! From here it was 7-11 for lunch , loads of calls trying to find breeders that wernt setting up the show . Kase seemed to be the only one in , so off we went . Kase has started to breed shiros again for the last few years and they are very nice , on arrival he still had a few nisai left , so 10 were selected and then we looked at the sansai and nisai showa . There were some very nice showa , he breeds from Sekiguchi / Dianichi parents , so I bowled up a female yonsai , sansai and some nisai including a tancho showa , Kase asked if we liked males , of course I replied looking at the bowl of females wondering how we could get the price down a little , so before long a second bowl of showa was filled up and five were selected and a price was given and rapidly accepted for all the koi . After a great day we took a few minutes out for pics of the last blossom and decided to drive up to mushigame for some scenary shots and have an early day . We crossed through Ojiya and started up through the mountains and passed Maruhiro , who was sitting outside drinking coffee , he must have seen us as immdediatly the phone started ringing , coffee ??? Oh go on then .We were soon joined by a few people who decided that his farm is also a great coffee shop , including a couple of Australian koi keepers who were touring around , must have been very frustrating for them , as we see koi we cant afford , they see koi they cant buy full stop , due to Australian laws forbidding the import of koi . As much as I felt bad for them , time is money so I bowled up some koi , and soon had a great sansai showa 66cm , and 48 cm sanke , both to be returned to the mudponds this summer . As we started looking before we knew it Hinori san got netting koi and showed us a 64cm sansai gin rin sanke , and a 60cm sansai kohaku , these were purchased and time to call it a day . Pics to follow as usual within a couple of hours
First appointment this morning , was at one of my favourite go sanke breeders Kazuto. Always known for his high end koi , and some would say high end prices to match ! We have been dealing with this guy for some time now on and off , but the last two years we have started buying a lot of his tosai , and suddenly prices seem reasonable , or at least affordable ! Last year we purchased around 60 jumbo tosai , this sold very well and were around 25cm , some smaller and some larger , one even went on to win baby champion at the South east koi clubs new spring show . On arrival , this grade of koi were already sold to one customer ,a problem that seems common now with the Asian market growing rapidly . We were shown another pond but these were three or four times the price of the ones we purchased last year , but around 30cm and way better quality ! After working out how much they were landed , I decided to pass and was taken to another pond , these were nice tosai , and around 18-22cm , so I selected through these around 30 nice go sanke and was very happy as these were very affordable for the quality . I took a last look at the Jumbo tosai before we left , I was a a little miffed to be honest at being pipped at the ones we selected through last year if I was honest , these grew very well only be fed three times a day , so we started talking to the breeder and after a while a new price was agreed on , but only for picking three boxes , I was over the moon , this new level of tosai was really where I wanted to be , the price was still very high , and they will sell for way more than last year , but are way better as well . The whole pond was netted , and soon we had selected around 50 pieces , and we selected through these to make my final selection , The skin quality was awesome , and the patterns suited to shows in the uk . Most were around 30cm , some bigger and some a little smaller . Feeling pretty happy I returned to the car after doing all the pics and videos , I know if I had worked out what I had spent landed in the uk I wouldn’t sleep tonight , so i diddnt think about it again , wont be looking at the buying file for a couple of days lol ! After this we went and had lunch with Maruhiro , and then selected some tosai at his place in Kawaguchi , some nice examples of go snake and unusual non go sanke including orenji ogons , very clean and one or two gin rin ones as well . We the returned to his main facility , the night before we had found 4 very nice sansai showa , they looked really good , but the light was bad so we needed to see them again .On bowling them up they were nice , but not at the level we were looking for , not the breeders fault , this time of year the koi have been selected through and through , and even Maruhiro runs out , but a good reminder of why we don’t buy later in the day when the light gets bad . We then spent the rest of the day visiting various breeders , but diddnt really see what caught my eye , Marasaka had some nice sansai , but again not what I needed , same at Hirashin . A quick coffee at Hasegawa and we were shown some amazing Kohaku , but bearing in mind what I had bought that morning we decided to pass . Although only buying at one breeder , it was a very successful day , which ended on a great night spent with Hosakai at a French resteraunt in Ojiya , after returning to my room around 11 I was ocver come with the need to sleep , so very sorry but everything will be running late on getting the koi on the website . pics to follow .
When you have been dealing with different breeders on and off over 30 trips to Japan , you learn never to expect the expected , and always expect the unexpected ! Ok so that may not make sence , but to other dealers who have visited Niigata , or customers for that matter , you will know what I mean . You can visit your favourite breeder and turn up some great koi , then next visit nothing . Very pleased that diddnt happen to us on our first appointment today which was at Hosakai koi farm , although when I first walked into the farm I thought that was going to be the case , every pond I looked in delivered nothing in terms of quality on our last couple of visits , so getting worried and assuming the better quality fish house would be sold out at this time of year I started to feel this trip would be a disappointing to one of our favourite breeders , trying to remain positive we ventured into the other koi house .I needn’t have worried , plenty of koi of all varietys and fairly reasonable prices . First of all I bought 4 female nisai 45-55cm , shiros and showa . There were some great male koi and the prices again were very fair , a two step kohaku of show quality , showa , stunning skin quality shiro utsuri and the last described by the breeder as a goromo showa , not sure that id agree , but worth a go as the skin quality was very nice ! On making the last box up , I felt a little brave so went and looked at his best pond , two nisai around 50cm grabbed my attention , when I pointed at them I heard the words we all hate , ah Gary san totemo takai , loosely translated as very expensive . I tried not to laugh as being in his best pond I had kinda worked that out ! I got them bowled and we spoke at length about their quality , and along with four more female nisai , showa , two sankes were all purchased once again with what I thought was a very fair price , one shiro it was decieded should stay in Japan for the summer , very very pleased , a great mornings work ! We then visited the tosai house and was offered a hand selection of very nice koi around 16-20cm , the breeder then pointed out some other tosai in various other nets all around the building . These were not cheap , but once again the quality was outstanding , so it was a case half a dozen from here , hald a dozen from there etc etc , and an hour later a bowl of outstanding tosai ( shame my pics don’t do them justice ! ) A few very unusual varetys as well , including two kage shiro utsuris , one of which had the darkest sumi I had seen for a long time . From here it was off to the 7-11 to grab a well over due egg sandwich and hot coffee from a tin . On the way back to Ojiya city we visited Chogaro as he had some tateshita goshiki , I decieded to pass on them as we had already purchased quite a few from Kanno on our last two trips . It was off then to see Maruju Tamaka and have a look at some more tosai to select from , unfortuanatly we visited the nisai house and it all went wrong , we always have a chat and a laugh as Shigy has a great sense of humour , this time he was being serious and started chatting about his koi and explaining more and more ( as he does every visit ) about his koi and the great skin quality they have , before we all knew it there was half a dozen nisai 40-45cm in the bowl ,he started talking about which ones and why they would be good to leave in the mudponds , did some one say Azukari ? that was it , I was hooked line and sinker and ended up buying three . The first was a female sanke which was absolutely stunning , skin quality off the charts but with a little secondary near the tail , this was very close/on top of some underlying sumi , so hopefully of all goes well ………………….. , next a gin rin showa , this was not only gin rin but the whole koi had a metallic lustre about it and again anther destined for the mudond , this time the breeder couldn’t be sure of the sex , so readjusted the price which reflected this , so this was purchased as well , thinking id got away with just two nisai ( as this really is a tosai based trip and ive already bought way too many nisai ) Shigy started recommended another sanke to be left in Japan , a maruten female which again had great skin quality but along with a body shape to match , so again purchased to be left out in the mudponds . With three nisai purchased I had to push on to the subject of hand selecting tosai , the breeder laughed and said oops sorry , I havnt taken all the tategoi out , ill do it tomorrow ! Oh well , the nisai were a great buy and I like to see his fish come out of the mudponds , so something to look forward to in October !!! From here we started the drive down the mountain only to see that Sakai was in his fish house, as he hadnt seen us i banged on the door with my flat hand , he really did jump , more than I expected , and as I looked round I saw the reason why , he was just making a cup of coffee , and at the precise moment I banged the door he was just lighting a rather large gas grill , he must have thought his days were numbered lol ! He took it well and we joined him for coffee along with Mark Gardner , and soon the conversation was down to its usual unprintable subjects . One sensible thing that came out of the conversation was he had entered my little koi into the forthcoming international baby koi show , but more about that another day ! It was getting late so we popped into Maruhiro on the way back to talk about tosai selection , and once again the subject was delayed by the process of bowling larger nisai and sansai , showa and sanke , these were of very high quality and this time I had to take some time out to think about what he has offered me , so all koi were reserved until tomorrow when we will go back with a nights sleep behind me ( hopefully !) . As usual , pics to follow in an hour or twos time ……