This trip was always going to be a bit tricky , we didn't really want to buy too many koi as we purchsed over 200 nisai and above in the Autumn , but this is about the time alot of breeders start selling out so you need to stock up again , also its difficult to select tosai as its a bit early and the breeders havnt done alot of thier selecting so prices for hand selecting can be very high ! For those who read the blog you will notice that the days of running round 40-50 dealers are over , we have started to sow the basis of future relations with breeders that we seem to get on with . Now we are seeing this come to fruition . Even some of the more famous breeders seem to be keen to do more and more buisness with us , as for the others , we will always take customers to them , but for our own koi we have now settled on about 10-15 breeders and judging by this trip was the right direction for our comapny to go in . This has to be one of the best trips for prices i have ever seen , fish purchased from Maruhiro , Sakai and Sekiguchi i have seen lesser quality for five times the price elshwere this week ! I know every trip seems to be better than the last , but this must rate as one of the all time best , i could have stayed for longer and kept buying koi , but room and money always run out ! Highlights of the week ,the all Japan show hand selecting high quality tosai at Sakai , kaneko and Tanaka , selecting at Maruhiro as always can be the most enjoyable way to make a living , renewing old relationships with Marusei .Not to mention buying the best showa i have ever bought from Sakai This takes nothing away from any of the breeders , some of thier fish could have been sold 6 times over ! So now i have to think about booking my next trip in April for slecting Tosai and anything else we can find! Another enjyable trip , if you want to join me in April for slecting koi and a visit to the Baby koi show , please call the shop !

Pictures are as follows - sansai showa 60cm From Sakai , the pics of Iwashita nisai from the autumn i promised -gin rin asagi, 2 x gin rin matsukawabake , 5 x shiros and showa from Kobyashi , another asagi from Iwashita , 43 nisai from Maruhiro.

With the snow really falling down , i was starting to worry about how we are going to get round and get everything we needed doing sorted out out . Due to the snow things were becoming more and more difficult , a five minute drive round a mountain now becoming a hour drive .Another hand selection of tosai had to be cancelled due to time running out . So we missed lunch and went staright to Tanaka to pick up the certificates for the tosai we selected earlier in the week and they look really nice After that we drove past iwashita and couldnt ring him as we know he wouldnt be abe to get to his facilty in this weather , as i know some of you like his fish , ill put a few on that i havnt still put on the website from the autumn , these are still not even in the shop yet ! So really as we needed to get to Maruhiro to measure and photograph all the koi we have growing on there , it was best to get ourelves round there asap before the weather really set in . When we arrived it was obvious we wouldnt be going to the other facility as the snow was getting too bad , so we settrled in with a hot cup of apple tea and set about catching some koi for the last time this trip . I had to pick alot of normal standrd koi for our wholesale facilty , so we picked around 50 nisai including chagoi , sorogoi and many others including doitsu mixes . After that i made up a nice box for the shop of mainly go sanke and another aka matsuba .. After a while i started to struggle on the smaller nisai so Hinori san started getting all koi from all ponds , he really is a class act sales man , he doesnt stop trying and we love him for that .Every trip i get he tends to do somthing for me on a nice koi as a thank you for the buinessnes .This time he bowled a sansai gin rin kohaku , around 55cm and a great body shape , very similer to one of his sansai tategoi that he would not sell me .Along with some others from the same pond we soon had a couple of bowls filled up , the price for the whole lot was given and just couldnt refuse so another 20 odd koi were purchased . We said all our good byes and made our way down the mountian to go back to the hotel , ill miss this crazy guy we have such a great time there and he always looks after us , cant wait untill April when i return for selection of high grade tateshita and anything else i can get my hands on ! Driving back we were discusing that this had to be one of the best days ever , then the phone rang , it was Sakai , did we want the showa we had reserved , in the excietment of it all we had forgotten to go back and see it , desicion had to be made , i guess this is where even a dealer can get caught up in the moment , i diddnt need to go back , i had pics and video so the paperork could be just filled in and dropped round later .Ok , ill take her , that really was the end of a perfect day , in a perfect week , of a perfect trip .........................Ill add my thoughts on the trip on Sunday when im back in the uk . Pictures will follow in about 20 minutes as i need to get ready for the taxi now lol . Photos are of the sansai gin rin kohaku , and nisai from 30-45cm , including a nice gin rrin sanke , these seem harder and harder to find, and lastly the certificates for the tosai from Tanaka ! See you all Sunday when ill finish the blog and add the rest of the oics of the chagoi etc etc ............Gary

A customer has asked us for a 80-90cm chagoi , So first port of call had to be Marudo , he has some fantastic koi that will normally hit a metre and do it very quickly ! Ive always bought my better chagoi or karashigoi here based on the results myself and customers have had with his fish . We gave him the budget and the fish we were being shown would not have been to the customers tase at all . There where better ones , and way better ones , but a budget is a budget so i took a few pics and promised to pass them on to the customer From here it was time to visit Marusei koi farm , famous for just about everything we hadnt really done a lot of buiness there over the years , but hearing very good things from my dutch colleges we went there the other day and got some nice koi and even some higher quality for a very good price , hoping that this would pave the way for bigger and better things later in the week , it certainly did . One thing Marusei is famous for is his hi utsuri , this koi grow big , are a very dark colour and dont seem to get shimmies ike so many others. Within a few minutes i had bowled a couple and they were close , but no cigar , then i saw another two i liked , the first larger sansai was near on 60cm and the slighly smaller one was 55plus ,When the first one went in the bowl i was impressed , show quality and simply great , price seemed fair as he is not normally cheap on these koi , but when the second one went in the bowl and he said buy both and gave me the price i couldnt shake his hand fast enough ! Although very impressed with the qualty and price of my two purchases , i realised that many people still couldnt or wouldnt pay the price of these two koi , the answer was staring me in the face in the next door pond , 35-40cm nisai hi utsuri.Spent the next half hour catching some up again very pleased with them , and also smuggled in a very nice showa that we did have a good old fasioned haggle on . The breeder was talking to our agent and i gathered from my limited Japanese that he was pleased we were doing buisness again,while chatting he asked where we had been today and we told him about the order for the chagoi , within a flash he was asking us to follow his van . Minutes later we were through the utogi tunnel at thier old facility ,hadnt been in here for many a year and memories of my early trips spent with Dave Rice and Toru came flooding back , happy days ! He bowled an 82cm chagoi that was just what we where looking for , and once again as so many times this week the price was way better than i thought , the agent said good for your customer budget , take picture and email him , the breeder said that was ok , i did a quick mental arithmatic and i said no , we will buy her anyway So i am now the proud owner of a chagoi that will , in the breeders own words go through one metre in three years if looked after all right .That is now the biggest fish i have bought today so im over the mooneven if the customer doesnt want it .Then as we where gonna call it a day the agent recieved a call asking if we wanted some small kumonryu , we arrived very shortly after and picked a few doezen . All in all a very good day , from the small to the ridiculous . Pictures as follows ........Two sansia hi utsuri , nine nisai hi utsuri and one showa , 82 cm chagoi.

Plans had been made earlier during the week to meet up with Toshiaki from Sakai koi farm to allow us to hand select through some of his tosai ponds .Im always concerned about this as theres always a reason why it cant go head , just fed them , still tategoi in there , etc etc , as we walked from pond to pond , it looked like it was going to be the tatego reason , understandably they havnt sorted out the tategoi as its way too early in the year . So we were given some prices during the week , and now that seemed to have doubled , still tategoi in the pond was the explanation given . There was still some that hadnt been selected yet , so im now of the opinion everything i select will be taken off me and placed back in the pond , he said no , at that price you can take what you like .I diodnt need a second invitation , the koi were around 18-23 cm and very high quality ! The pond was netted and we soon had the bowls and mets set up and we were away . As they were of such good quality , only 20 to a box , but i found two i couldnt leave behind so we ended up with 22 koi , of which Sakai pointed out 4 that he considered tategoi ! Great experiance and really enjoyed myself , in fact it took me back to talking to Gary Pritchard a BKKS judge last year when he asked me if being a dealer killed the hobby for me , It would have taken a sledge hammer to take the smile off this boys face today , me with what i consider to be one of the most important breeders in Niigata , chatting laughing and selecting fish of outragious quality , dont think i could enjoy the hobby any more if i wanted to ! Feeling a bit cheeky i asked if any more ponds could be netted , so it was off to another fish house for a repeat performance .This time the price was a fraction of the price of the pond before , and when i looked in the pond i thought i could see why , but when the fish were netted and we started selecting there were some very nice koi amoung them . Just over 30 selected including some tancho sanke , once again very happy ! Pictures are of some of the high class tosai we selected today .Followed by some of them in a bowl with the breeder pointing to what he thinks is tategoi . Some of the smaller tosai hand selected today . Sorry just fell asleep , need some shut eye so going to bed , ill carry on later.

Due to the late harvest last year , we still havnt seen all the koi we have left in Japan last year . So today we started with a journey up the motorway to Sekiguchi koi Farm where we had yonsai showa that we needed to see , These guys specialise in showa , and thier quality is superb , but as most of you are aware that comes at a price ! So i wasnt really getting excieted about buying much today as i usually only buy one koi there in the harvest . When we arrived we went into the small koi house where you can normally buy chisai nisai ( small two year olds ) The brothers turned the air off and dismissed the pond and said mainly males , i smiled and said it wasnt a problem , especially when there was pearl gin rin and some nice kindai showa .You have to feel sorry for the breeders after all we are always in there banging on about female this , female that , customers in the Uk want females , untill last year when i bought an ouragiously expensive male showa from this farm and sold it staright away ! So lesson learnt i started bowling up koi and soon had a nice collection of kindai showa and a gin rin matsukawabake , shiro utsuri , pearl gin rin soragoi and a pearl gin rin bekko . These koi were all around 30-50cm , and two kindai showa we found he thought might be female , i then found four tanchos around 18-20cm including a pearl one and got a price for the lot , once again i was pleasantly surprised so bought everything i had bowled . Moving into the nisai house we had a showa bowled up that we had left last year , now 70cm im hoping the customer is very happy ! Iasked if they had any nisai left and they did , but when the air was turned off the whole pond looked very expensive , into the thousands of pounds range . Bowled up a female kindai showa , and the price was ok , but it really diddnt do much for me as i had seen better in the pond .I asked for another to be bowled ,and this was way better but told male , so i thought this is gonna be expensive at the level , but to be honest i was very surprised , not cheap but very fair for this quality , Thinking i was on a roll i asked for two more that were also male to be bowled up , the guys seemed surprised i was prepared to buy males , i just shrugged and said good quality and good price , Then the other two koi came in the bowl and i was blown away , they diddnt look male at all , i said if they are the same price ill take all three , next thing i know the breeders are shaking my hand and thanking me , there English has improved and i got the deal i wanted ! Somtimes you want to haggle , its a natural thing , but this time i knew the price was very fair and diddnt argue with the price of all three together . We were soon on our way to Satoshi , we have bought a lot of koi from the young breeder and have a great relationship with him , but the last couple of visits havnt produced the right koi , when you like a breeder and his koi its always dissapointing when you leave empty handed and you always worry what the breeder my be thinking , but we will return in April to see what the tateshita selecion will bring .Sensing my dissapointment the agent suggested a quick egg sandwhich and a visit to Marudo and Maruesei to cheer me up , he knows me so well ..........................Nisai and chisai nisai pictures from Sekiguchi , first two believed to be female