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Woke up today to a sound I recognised straight away , the gentle tapping of snow on the window , it was pouring down , so with being ill most of the week , and still using crutches , I was just hoping that I could get through the day with a slip or fall .Then add to that , the dangers of driving round the mountains , I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about today . Also we were going to a new breeder , Abe san from Marushu koi farm . If im honest , I wasn’t fussed as I wanted to go and see Hirasawa , but the day before Rob talked me into going as Hirasawa was busy and couldn’t see us until lunchtime , so trying to keep my glass half full , we set off in a totally different direction I had ever been in . When we arrived , it wasn’t a normal set up , in fact it wasn’t even a fish house , an old converted barn that was used for saki making , the ponds were all built with scaffolding and I thought omg what are we doing here , whats this set up all about ? I met the breeder , and he had a real friendly manor , I mean a real genuine one , and as he showed us round you could see he was proud and excieted about his koi , and within a few minutes , I realised how wrong I had been with my earlier judgements .This guy was a real diamond in the dust , mainly a goshiki breeder , but breeds from 3 sets of parents , one that gives of that “ old style “ of goshiki , and im alittle old fashioned and I like it (If the guys from Essex are reading this , remember the big goshiki that me or Brian bought at Takano , like that but only better ! ) He also has some kohaku and some sanke bred from SFF parents , and showa from Dianichi bloodline as well .He certainly is investing in brood stock that is for sure . One thing I noticed , all his koi were not big for their age , especially bearing in mind their pedigree , so I had to ask , he said he diddnt like Jumbo tosai and growing fish too big too quick , something I do understand , and to a uk dealer like myself , he is a dream come true , 30-35cm very affordable high quality koi , and 40-50cm sansai . Don’t get me wrong , I like the idea of big koi , but it gets to the point where 55-60cm nisai of high quality are just not affordable to the general public! Any way , lets skip the politics and get onto the koi .First pond of nisai , very reasonable and took me about ten minutes to sort out ten I liked . As most of you might have guessed , we have bought a lot of goshiki , but I didn’t let that stop me lol . Next pond higher quality and soon had anither nice examples of sanke and goshiki and showa , including an anusual goshiki sanke . Then onto the higher grade pond , I hate this , you ask the price and its bara bara ( sp ) , you get loads of fish in a bowl then you get the price , then if it’s a little awkward when you have to put them back . Not here , I poinyd and got the price , asked a couple more then got to getting them out . First out was a sansai sanke ,around 40-45cm , nice pattern , great skin and sumi just showing in all the right places . Next was a coupl of kohaku , great patterns and the koi were sexed as they came out , and some of the males were too good to leave behind . A couple of nisai kohaku around 30cm , and a stunning shiro with snow white skin . All bowled and I couldn’t put one back , so someone suggested leaving a cracking nidan kohaku , although small it had a cracking body shape , it was explained to the breeder why I was laughing , and he said of course no problem ! I really was super impressed with this place , great koi and a nice chap as well , couldn’t ask anymore from him ( except to sell me some of the goshiki he is growing on for brood stock lol ) . Left there smiling and was asked , glad we came ? Of course I was , and feeling a little guilty about my previous thoughts when we arrived , but ill be back there in October to see what he has in the harvest , and to see my little kohaku ! We drove back to Ojiya and the snow diddnt let up , and it was freezing cold , so a hot lunch was called for , more liver and rice and then off to Marasaka .This is a nice friendly run farm with father and two sons , mostly unusual varietys of metalics and doitsu metalics , kujaku , chagoi and sanke from Jimbei bloodline . Today we had a look round but I couldn’t find enough fish here to make a box , so we passed on from here and headed to meet Hirasawa at his smaller facility . Coffee and chat always the first order here , then we got to the fish , was given a price for picking through the nisai pond and thought a little dear for him , so stuck a net into be polite , and once again I was wrong , there was some great koi in here , and soon has showa , sanke and a variety of tanchos in a bowl . We then went onto some sansai around 60cm , and soon had a strangely attractive maruten showa and gin rin shiro utsuri in a bowl , hands were shaken and pic and videos were taken . After this , we were taken to another fish house , here I bowled around six koi , a yonsai 66cm tancho sanke , a 61cm tancho sanke sansai , a stunning maruten kohaku 63cm and sansai , sansai 3 step sanke around 55-60 cm , tancho sansai around 55cm , all female , and what looked like a male kindai showa around 40-45cm and nisai . Koi were priced up , and then a little discount for buying them all , hands shaken job done , great way to finish another trip , and then off back to the hotel . Tomrrow a nice easy day travelling back to Tokyo , and then onto the all Japan show , ill add some pics of that over the weekend on here . Pics in order , first 5 are nisai from Marushu 30-35cm , five sansai from marushu , three nisai from Marushu , next four picks are hirasawa nisai , to yonsai from Hirasawa , one yonsai , three sansai and one nisai kindai showa from Hirasawa