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 

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 to fllow in while

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 !

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

The spring trip can be a little more frustrating than the Autumn one , in the sence you can struggle a little more for what you want , ie quality , quantity and even varietys . Today was a little like that at times . We started out at Yamazaki koi farm , i love this farm as he has so many varietys , ive been asked for some non go sanke so what a great place to start . Started of in a pond of nisai , which seemed to have most varietys , soon had some great doitsu hariwake , gin matsuba ogans , benigoi and many others .Then moved onto a better quality pond for some gin rin hi usturi and shiro utsuri , much bigger than the 30cm one we were picking before , these were 40-45cm with one smaller really nice shiro utsuri .Aftr this an intresting discusion took place about some special tosai mixes which i am mulling over . From here it was off to Kanno to hopefully hand select sone high quality tosai , on arrival first disapointment of the day as the tosai wernt really ready to be selcted . So we started chatting generally about koi and the uk market , he asked how many of his koi had we sold , when i replied nearly all , he smiled and uncovered a pond and pointed and said buy some more . I shook my head and said low quality , bearing in mind last vist i selected 25 nisai and knew he had no more to harvest . He replied that these were better , moved up frm the bette koi house so it could be used for tosa . I loooked in and saw that these were indeed were very nice. Nervously i asked the price as i had bought from the other fish house and its not for the faint hearted lol , not cheap , but not unresonable.So i selected three female goshiki , and asked for him to  t recomend two selections, first a very nice male goshiki , and then a female sanke which he had high hopes for good growth , it had amazing skin quality so very happy . Fom here we went to Kaneko , although i was happy with the koi i had selected , i was getting worreid about selecting better quality tosai , and he always has tosai to select .On arrival the tosai were much smaller than usual so i passed , but ended up buying somevey nice nisai of all wierd ad wondefull varietys adsomevey high qulity includng a small tancho sanke . After here we went to Shintaro where we alway select tosai ,again getting disapointed awaited , Saito showed us his tosai , they had  already been well picked trough .Now i was getting seriously worried that tings were looking bad for better quality tosai , a quick vist to Yagenji soon changed that , all though not allowed to hand select he made us a offer on some very  nice tosai which helped me out . So after a day of  ups an own things were not so bad . Thinking it was time for coffee , we decieded to ring some breeders to save time, fortune smiled on us , One of the breeders had tosai avaiable to select through on Thursday , result ! Then another call resulted in another breeder having some very high grade tosai to  select  through on Thursday.Things were really looking up , just as we were going to drive off , the phone rang , it was another breder , would we be intereased in hand selecting tosai first thing Tuesday morning , well i had to think about it for a milli second. Today finished up great , and now tomorrow was already shaping up quite nicely. !!!