15

Apr 2015

Category: April 2015

Im finally in the hotel after a 21 hour journey . Things were not looking to good for me getting here , on Friday I offered to help a contractor run a whole length of two inch pipework underground in a void next to a swimming pool and spa . This void was about a meter high and 80cm wide , now as you now im not a small guy so with two of us down there all morning temp was around 30 degrees , so we put on a bit of a spurt to get out as quick as we could .Climbing over the racking for pipes and cables , I must have strained something in my hip , as the next day I got out of the car and twisted again and then found I could hardly walk . Then I also found out my upgrade was cancelled to economy , so in agony and facing the smallest seat id flown in for years , I was getting a little concerned . Sunday morning founded me loaded up with every pain killer known to mankind and I just about got in the taxi . Arriving at the gate for my flight I was asked to hang on to the end , and the staff seeing I was in pain finally got me back my upgrade , very lucky indeed as I don’t think I could have sat for 11 hours in a economy seat , even with the aid of every chemical company known to mankind ! The flight was great and I managed to get a bit of sleep , but to my surprise when I awoke I found the my hip pain had eased up and I could get around a bit easier . Got through the airport and did the usual monorail , tube and bullet train and found myself in Nagaoka by around 12 , in the first breeder for 12.30 ! I know what your all thinking , Maruhiro ??? Well your wrong , Tanaka has a new fish house for selecting tosai , and its on the way to Maruhiro so it was just logisitics and we know we could hand select tosai . Tanaka Maruju is an amazing farm , we always manage to find great koi here , his skin quality is superb on his koi . We started looking at some great nisai , go sanke and gin rin go snake , but then the topic changed to tosai , he gave us a fair price on some tosai which were very nice and could be hand selected , I was going to select a few when he showed us another pond , these were individually priced and very expensive !!!! So I jokingly said I was looking for something in between the two ponds , and he replied yes I have , just sorting the ones I want for tategoi and then you can select them , that’s why I like Tanaka , always obliging !!!So tomorrow we will go to see the other pond and decide which to select . We then drove to Marusei , I never fail to get impressed by this farm , even in April he is fully stocked , fish of every variety and quality . Unfortunatley they were very busy doing a shipment so we had a quick look and thought it best to get out of the way . From here , yes that’s right , Third breeder we went to Maruhiro . As most of you know , I love this guy , we met years ago when we were both young men and he was the younger brother working at Hirasawa koi farm . Since he went on his own we have helped and supported each other and become firm friends , always plenty of fish to be found , again like his brother many varietys , size and quality . Over the last few years the koi at this farm have taken a serious increase in quality , his gin rin showa and kohaku are second to none , but his showa are doing very well in the uk , sumi development is incredible . They say that there is a fine line between genius and insanity , well this breeder takes that to a new level ! The afternoon was spent selecting nisai , and he is as crazier as ever , but his koi just get better and better . He is also very easy to deal with , what do you want , what do you want to pay ? Right lets get some bowls then , great no nonsence approach . Soon had around 45 koi in bowls , from nice quality go sanke and non go sanke , right through to some larger and better quality go sanke . From this I selected 28 up to around 45cm and all nisai . Some interesting koi including ki utsuri and gin rin ki utsuri , so not bad for half a days work

08

Feb 2015

Category: January 2015

Back at home now , and thinking back over the week , and what a week it has been  ! I think this trip has flown past quicker than ive ever known , seemed only a few days i was packing and leaving for Japan , let alone packing to go home ! For those who follow the blog will probably realise there has been a change in direction for us whilst buying in Japan . I think the days of running around trying to visit every beeder we have ever met are gone . Better to spend more time with less breeders and really build on the relationships that we already have , and are already we are seeing the benefits of this . We have about a dozen beeders we work close with , and we always seem to find more koi than we need , this time we broke all records , and went 65 percent over budget . ( What the hell , targarts are supposed to b broken lol ) Id like t think that it wasnt me being carried away , but the right koi and the right prices and buying more koi from less breeders .Highlights of the week ? Far too many to mention , the days of having a bad day are long gone lol , afternoon at Hosakai buying koi of all levels , hand selecting tosai at Shinoda , Tanaka and Kaneko  , visit to Sakai , Hirasawa and Maruhiro buying all the koi we did there all good visits . Once again we have purchased koi at all levels , some people have mentioned that we are still buying alot of small nisai , yes we are , as thats the  business thst got as where we are . We do mean to buy higher standard of koi , but wont turn our back on the cutomers which he have supported us though the years . Thats why we like breeders such as Hosakai and  Maruhiro , nisai from 30 to almost 60cm , its a one stop shop for the want of a better expresson . So once again another very good trip , cant wait untill th next trip in April. Thanks fr reading and see you all soon ..................Gay 

05

Feb 2015

Category: January 2015

Last day today , and definately a mixture of ups and downs .Trying to hand select tosai , running round trying to see all the koi that belong to us , that were harvested after we left in October . We started off at Tanaka Maruju in Mushigame , here we started selecting through around a thousand plus tosai , very pleased with the resuts and ended up with around 80 koromo , showa , gin rin showa , kohaku and sanke . Not the cheapest koi in Niigata , but certinaly amoung the best , ive always said you get what you pay for in life , and these fish prove that . We finished around 12 ish and were invited to join Tanaka for lunch but had to sadly decline due to another hand pick tosai appointment . This next appointment if i was honest , i was a bit sceptical about .The reason for this was it was at Kaneko koi farm , we had visited earlier in the week to pick shiro utsuri but found they were too small and with very litte sumi . After explaining this to him , he took us to another fish house and offered to pick through some way better examples , he said that this was his tategoi and the price he gave reflected this . Now ive always been sceptical about picking through so called tategoi , so i asked why , he simply explained that his tosai this year was so good that he had selected way too many tatgegoi , and if wanted to pay the higher price he was happy to let me select through , now bearing this koi were mainly 3-5 inches it was a gamble , but he who dares wins . We couldnt select then due to the fact that he was still feeding , so the machines were turned off for our visit today . The pond was netted and most were caught up and i started selecting , i can honestly say it was one of the hardest jobs ive done , the level of koi was outstanding , and it was nt a hard job trying to work out what to take , but what to leave behind !!!!!! An hour later the job was done and i had selected 40 very nice tategoi shiro utsuri . Along with these selected tosai and some deals with have done with other breeders im very happy with the smaller fish we have this year , and i think the older fish speak for them selves . Last visit today was to Sakai koi farm where we had some fish we needed to see , that were harvested after we left in October . The news wasnt all good as some of them hadnt come out and one was male . I cant go into details as some of these were customers koi , but he has promised to sort somthing out to those involved which i hope is a reflection of the good relation ship we have with him . As to mine , the showa came out way bigger and way better than i ever could imagined , she had reached nearly 60cm , and only went in at 42 , her skin was stunning as was the beni , and the body was huge , so at least one very good result . As to my one that i lost , he said he had nothing good enough to replce it , so i asked about may be a older koi and ill make the differance , he pointed to one that was swimming around , i had noticed it earlier but thought it was out of my leauge , so he bowled it her and she was stunning , a little thin but remember it hadnt been fed since October , so i asked what were we were going to do . I like to think i know this guy quite well , he has a smile that he gives when you know he is happy or when he is joking , he told me the differance , and if im honest i diddnt know whether he was happy or joking . It turns out he was happy , and the deal he offered was superb and ive got a superb 4 year old sanke around 70cm coming back with me . Although there was a little diapointment it was a great day to end the trip , we then spent the rest of the afternoon drinking coffee and lughing and joking , unfortunatley i cant go into the conversation , but it was funny . Sakai is a tremondous guy , his koi are fantastic and i hope one day to remind people in the uk how good they are ! Now its off to Tokyo to start the journey home ..............................................................pictures to fllow in while

04

Feb 2015

Category: January 2015

Hi all , its been a hell of a week , only really came out to hand select some tosai and top up on larger koi we sold during the winter . But as you may have gathered from the blog that plan soon went out of the window .The problem is , as i koi dealer you obviously need stock , and sometimes when a breeder has the right koi at the right price, then you so times cant help yourself , whether you need them or not ! This is kind of my lame excuse im making to explain  the day i had today .It all started off when we met Marasaka at his tosai sharp at nine am with a view to hand select tosai . The pond he offered had obviously been well selected through already so i decieded to pass and get the breeder to make us some special boxes up . As we were near to Hirasawa the agent asked if i wanted to visit , i said no at first as i diddnt need aything there , he then replied at least say hello and have a coffee . Its sounded fair enough in prnciple , but you know where this is going ! When we arrived , it was very busy , but we still managed to have a chat and coffee .We looked around the farm , it never ceases to amaze me how big this breeder is , and how many koi he has , we guessed at the endponds my have had 1000 s of sansai and yonsai of very good koi . Any wa i was being quite restrained , untill i menioned that i might need a few koi especally somes sanke . He took us to a nisai pond where there seemed to be a nice mix of everyting ,includng sme larger non go sanke , price seemed good , untill mentioned discount on two box three box , i was off , all plans scuppred ! Four chagois andkarashigoi and a ki matsuba  around 55-60cm sansai , diddt ask the sex as i thought it might insult him , but had a peak andthe all looked female . Next we bowled some nice hi utsuri around 40cm , a doitsu white mukashi ogon , stunningly clean , loads of nisai sanke where then bowled , and some very nice larger examples includng a vry nice 70cm shiro utsuri , some better 60cm sanke , so many fish were purchased that it took us through lunch tme and into the afternon .  Plese note that today thelck of sleep and jet lag finally took its toll and i couldnt even see thecamera let alone take  decent pic , so please dont judge these koi by price and and pics ,com see them in them in person .I think i have some videos , but that my have to wait untll mjy return to the uk as time is short , once again i apologies about the pics . One of our customers wanted a showa to be left in the mudponds this summer , and of course with the sucess of his showa this year , only one place to go .....Maruhiro! Soon arrivng at the farm we had the customers showa in  bowl , along with another that looked similer in style to the one i had shipped in theAutumn , this had done very well in the mudpond , so bing its youngersibling it wasnt a difficuly choice ! A mal tancho showa was thn bought along with a sansai showa around 6o cm , once again the pics d thekoi no justicso please wait untll the video is on line , or come and see them your self . Some more nisai were selcted and i was feeling so rough i decieded time for bed, got back just after four , and slept til; 7is . So although a great for koi  , not one for my photography , added to that and the jet lag , this sticky keboard which makes the blog twice as long to produce , not so good for me , so if you hear no more from me , im in bed ill o given up wth this pc !!!! LOL ! Looking forward to some hand selecting tosai , and appointments with the breeders who have koi of ours which we diddnt see harvested in the Autumn .Pcs to follow soon ......ish

03

Feb 2015

Category: January 2015

I managed to get some sleep last night , but probably no where enough .Jet lag has well truly got hold of me so i needed a positive day to keep me going , and with a hand pick of tosai at Shinoda and some other appointmets made , things were looking ok . We arrived at the breeders farm , and everything was laid out , nets bowls and busckets , and with out any delay i got stuck in to selecting a nice variety of doitsu and gin rin  go sanke , along with some hi utsuri .Also found five fully scaled showas as well ! The koi were about 16-20cm , and with 40 purchased i was fairly happy .
 After the tosai selection , i viewed over the last of the nisai he had left available , the quality wasnt so high as we usually buy here , but when he gave the prices i thought it would be rude to leave them there .Mainly hi utsuri of mixed sex and one male gin rin showa , all arond 45cm or bigget , and the showa may be over 40cm . A quick drive down the mountain found us at Kawakami , he had many varietys as usual , i was keen to fnd some shiro utsuri , and ater ging trough the nisai i decieded it wasnt quite what i was looking for so passed .He hd some sansai that were fantstic quality , but a lot were already sold , but bowled one that im seriously thinking over , skin was excellant but sumi  quality was mind blowing ! A  quck stop for lunch and it was on the phone to track down two breeders where we has koi in the mudponds last summer that we hadnt seen yet  , but i seemed some of them were still a little behind after the AJKS , so we thought about were nex to go , Hosakai was mentioned , and it was decieded to visit and see what he had after the almost  compulsary egg sandwich and tin of boss coffee .At  Hosakai we had a good look round at the nisai , and again we asked about higher quality and was taken to another  fish house , the quaity was fantasic , Kujaku , shiro utsuri and some great showa .  Prices were asked , and once again i was pleasent surprised , not cheap but for tis kind o quality , the prices seemed fair . A superb shiro and showa were purchased , thse were around 45-50cm , along with four others , a deal was struck and we had purchased 6 very high quaity nisa that were all female .As we were retuning to the other fish house , i noticed a showa in another pond, this was the best yet ! Once again bowled an duly purchased , very happy with this koi , it hs amazing skin quality , Once we had returned to the other fish house , i was surprised a how good even the nisai were down here where , we seemed be buying in every pond . Befoe long tehre where bowls of shiro utsuri , goshiki and many others all over the place , far too many too mtion , but once again all purchsed ! After that was done i had a look at some sansai , a 60-65cm female showa and a aka matsuba around the same size , these were als bought and it was time to call it a day , we had been in there four hours !!!! But ive always said , why travel around whn th koi are all around you ! Another great day , with some amazing koi , lets hope my camera does them jusice !