After a 30 min taxi drive , 3 hoiur train journey , 12 hour flight , hour and a half coach journy ,another short taxi drive we all arrived home safe but very very tired . I couldnt stay awake so i had to sucombe to the early night which has led to the inevatable event of me waking at 3.30am and not being able to sleep . We still have some work to do on the website which i am about to make a start on , there are still many koi to put up , including 25 smaller nisai showa from Shintaro and Skeiguch around the 35-40cm , some of which are very attractive koi and very resonable prices . There are about another 20 other koi to put up as well . Some koi are now sold so i will mark them up over the next few hours . There are 3 more koi of ours to come out from the mudponds so we will put them on here to show thier deveoplment as soon as we recieve them from our agent , so keep a look out on the news and japan blog . There are still koi we are looking to source as you cant always get round everything in ten days so again keep a look out on here .

Provisional shipment date for the koi is Friday the 12th November .

As i write this its 4.45 am and im packed and ready to go home . This was another fantastic trip and im very pleased with the koi we have bought . The fish we had left all came out with fantatsic results , and im looking forward to next year when we see the next lot that are harvested that we purchsed this week . The only thing we diddnt get to see was the three sanke we have left at Yamamatsu , two of those are now sold to a dealer in Europe , so only one of them is now my property , im sure my agent will forward the pictures of the koi when they are harvested .I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog as much as i have writing it , any conclusions ,? The weak pound isnt helping the industry or the hobby , most breeders are really trying to help in any way they can , and if im honest , the fish prices out in Japan are some of the best ive seen , unfortunately that doesnt translate well landed with the shipping into pounds . For the dealers who were flowing the trade page im sorry i diddnt offer more , but with my hospital visit i couldnt contact enough people to make it work properly , how ever if there is anything you see on the website , please feel free to contact me .Hopefully we have raised the quality of koi that we are buying now , thanks for all your emails and comments , it is appreciated . Next years trip is already going to be planned in the next month or two as i already have a few people intereasted , if you fancy joining me next year , feel free to call the shop or email me .When i get home ill put some pictures of sceneary that i have taken on the blog as many of you have asked ......................Gary

Niigate will always be the place for me , i know there are some fantastic breeders down south , but i just find everything i need here . The old myth that Niigata fish dont grow so quick doesnt ring true anymore as there are some breeders whose nisai are around the 60 cm mark , the varietys available are so varied and with so many breeders around there is no time spent travelling around .Also , i am starting to feel that i am building good relationships with more and more breeders , and as a small company that has to be a good thing .Todays blog will appear in stages as im so tired i keep deleting things and losing browsers , thank you for the emails about the blog , im glad you are enjoying it .Todays outing was to start at Nogami , we havnt really bought there much before as there are so many breeders its hard to get to see them all .As Nogami was in China he was late harvesting so the stocks were very low , very disapointing as i really do like this guys koi , he did have a stunning inazuma kohaku but alas a little to expensive . So from there it was off to Kaneco , this guy never fails to impress , this time the nisai quality was not so good and i diddnt think this was reflected in the price , so we went round to the main pond and the quality was outragious ! Shiros and kujakus , nisai and sansai that looked so expensive i diddnt want to ask , but i did and regretted it as these two varietys we had already bought enough off , the prices were very very good and and made his cheaper nisai look expensive , but i might sneak back later if i have enough money , you cant have enough good shiros ! While travelling up the mountain we popped into Tanaka Yoshinori , the fish here where again amazing , goshikis that were out of this world and once again the main pond was very resonably priced . I bowled up a 60cm gin rin matsubakawabake and nearly bit his hand off at the price , untill i noticed a bad rub on the nose and she wouldnt be ready for shipping , shame .Two other fish caught our attention , a 3 step doitsu goshiki , and a doitsu goshiki sanke , very unusual but our party were looking for gin rin goshiki so on we moved .Another breeder we have visited before but never bought from is Yamanaka Ohya , main variety is shiro utsuri but he also does stunning bright yellow hariwakes . The quality of his shiro are amazing , and he has a lot of them , dont know why this guy is not better known in the uk .But as we had enough shiros we diddnt buy today ,the ones i needed were small nisai and the pond i liked were all sold ! With some orders for hi utsuri our next port of call would be Shinoda , the hi utsuri pond had been well picked through and i wasnt happy wit the level left , so ill try again when he next harvests .Today was intereasting as we got to see a few breeders we dont visit much and some ive never been to at all , this the case with a breeder called Miya , very impreesive koi indeed , some outstanding showa , gin rin showa , very high class indeed , a 64cm kohaku was bowled , it had a beautifull flowery pattern and a resnable price , but unfortunately the sashi on the koi was a little poor and so we passed. 7-11 For lunch , ie egg sandwich etc etc and we were on our way to takahashi , ive been buying this breeders tosai for years but have never been there . Once again i found the prices kind of up side down , the cheaper nisai wernt so cheap , but the higher quality sansai were very resonable , a sanke for me and a showa for Rod was bowled, the showa was good and a great price , and the sanke excellant with a pattern that was out of this world .The showa wasnt as good as one we were looking at again later at Kase, and putting the sanke in the box on its own made it expensive so we passed . But we will go there next year for definate , very impressed .It was then decieded that we needed to go back and look at a showa that we had bowled earlier in the week , so we drove through Ojiya city to Kase . This showa was great , the fact Kase would return it to the mud pond was impressive alone , it has a great frame and at 62cm Sanai he thinks it may come back from the mudpond at 70cm next year , that did it , we needed to buy this koi ! It was way over budget but a deal was done and both sides shook hands and looked very happy . As we left i felt the need to buy more koi today as one wasnt enough , so where do you go ? Yagenji , its obvious .On the way we called and had some good news , my shiro utsuri had been harvested , two minutes later the phone rang again , it was my friend Jerone from holland and he had been at the Yagenji harvest , he said tell Gary Kanoco showa is very unusual and we will see him later . Showa ? , that didnt sound good , with visions of my little " Nicky " dripping with secondary beni i laughed and said oh well , three out of four is not bad , and we all laughed as it wasnt an expensive koi .On arrival the brothers set about bowling the koi down the far end , i thought is it that bad that they dont want any one else to see it ? Any was as i peered into the bowl my blood boiled , it was another big joke , why does every breeder and dealer seem to find it funny to push my blood pressure up 20 points , the koi was beautiful , a massive strong body , great skin and she had grown well , cant remember exactly how much but she looked great , as i said it wasnt expected to come out no where as good as this so i was over the moon , 4 out of 4 , outstanding , the father even said it was the best out of that mudpond . So feeling happy i decieded to buy some more koi , i asked for the brothers help to find some more femake go sanke , and they did , 3 great sankes , one of which they wernt sure of the sex , but the quality was so good we bought it any way , and a stunning kindai showa .Great end to a great day , well , that wasnt quite the end , yagenji and maruhiro joined us for a meal and a drink , but the details of that Mad Hatters Tea Party are not really for the blog . As i said before , just a perfect day .

Today was our last day and it wasnt to disapoint at all ! We started at Hosakai in Ojiya , this is the premises of the younger brother and he has some very nice koi .High light of the visit was a 75cm doitsu ki goi which was out and out the best ive ever seen , not for sale at any price , i can see why .There was some lovely asagi but all sold , so it was off to Hoshkins . At his large facility there were some excellant kohaku , but way out of budget , even the small ones were double the price of last year , but in fair the quality was up , but still expensive for koi that were mainly male for me . A quick look in Dianichi , but there was no one there , and i guessed that i couldnt even afford to turn the airline off ! We had a little spare time so we popped into Marudo where he had harvested some enourmous nisai sankes , but as he was very busy we decieded to leave and quickly pop into Oomo .The new facility was amazing and i had never been there before , very impressed , but not many showa so again we moved on to Marasaka where nothing was seen that needed bowling . Then our agent suggested Suzuki , this really pricked my ears up , this guy breads a large number of kindai showa .We have been there before the earthquake , but the village he was in really suffered during earthquake , and he has really only recently got breeding again . When we arrived i was shocked to only see a few buildings , even Suzuki had lost his house , but thankfully the fish house remained . Really only looking for a few kindai showa i was amazed to many of them along with a few other varietys so i bought around 16 , very happy as we are always being asked for kindai showa , and at around 30-35cm they are ideal for growing /quarantine tanks .As usual , we had to go to Yagenji last to say good bye , also i had a word with the guys about a koi to leave out on a small budget , he said he would sort out 4/5 for me to choose from .As soon as we got there he bowled up a kohakau ,a gin rin kindai showa , some shiros , a sanke and a strange looking showa .Then Jerone from Holland arrived and Mark Gardener , so with the agent , Rod and Diane all looking over my shoulder i felt under pressure , so i asked everyone for thier imput , the kohaku was amazing with a massive frame and was very big for nisai , but i had issues with the beni down one side , and as it was the most expensive it was returned . The collection of shiros were narrowed down to one and that left the four : sanke , gin rin kindai , shiro utsuri and weird looking showa . Feeling complexed i asked the breeder for advice , he asked if i was a gambling man , feeling brave i said somtimes , he said the wierd looking showa , ( at this point the word wierd was replaced by mysterious ) , that threw me as i thought it was going to be the next to be put back . Jerone is a dutch dealer who buys many , many high grade koi , he through his weight behind yagenji on the "mysterious showa" , so somtimes you have to go with experiance and him and yageji have plenty so the showa was pciked .Yagenji then said "just one for Azukari ? " , so i thought in for a penny , in for a lot of pounds , i liked the shiro very much , it had similer layout as Nicky the shiro that had just been harvested , i thought it was too good a sign so i choose the shiro as well , Jerone gave a nod of aproval and i thought yagenji smiled as well . The shiro im very pleased with , the showa every one agreed was a gamble , so she will now be known as Vegas . Looking back at the gin rin kindai showa , i diddnt want it to go back in the pond , it wasnt the sort of koi to leave in Japan so i put it in to the equation with the two Azukari and got a very good price on the whole lot , as long as i bought another 3 gin rin yamabuki ogons to ship with the kindai , not a problem , photos taken and hands shook and i left the Yagenji farm feeling very satisfied . I usually like ending the trip at Yagenji , its kind of like a tradition , this year it wsnt to be as we had to go and buy another nisai to ship with my two step from Torazo . When we arrived we looked around , and although the fish were magnificent , we could not find a fish as good the two step in the same price range in the better quality nisai fish house . It was decieded that the koi could be shipped in a smaller box , saving the shipping costs a little as opposed to spending a lot more money on a second koi .Once again we were met by Mark Gardener from who took some of the photos for us . At this point i would like to take the time to thank Mark for helping us out with pictures and taking time out of his busy schedule to join us for a while .If you are a dealer reading this who comes to Niigata , id seriously think about sponsering Mark through his advertising on his website .Mark does a first class job on reporting to the world what goes on in Niigata and can be very usefull seeing he is based out here all year round almost .Mark once again stepped in for photo duty and annoyed the hell out of me when i thought i had a great picture of the two step untill he emailed me his , perfection ! Professional person for a professional job !!!!! Anyway , to the two step , she is beautifull and has fantastic skin quality and sums up to me what Torazo is all about ...............Class. May be ending the trip here was as good as anywhere .pics are as follows , showa and shiro which are staying out , gin rin kindai and ogons which are coming back . Two step kohaku from Torazo .

For those who know , Azukari is what is asked when a koi is wished to be left in Japan to go to the mudponds .A few years a customer and i had a bad experiance with leaving koi in Japan , and last year i decieded it was a bit like falling off a bike , ie you need to get straight back on ! So with this in mind i left 7 koi to be returned to the mudponds , and im so glad i did . The koi at Sekiguchi and Tanaka came out so improved , but today was the big one , the Maruhiro shiro utsuri . But ill come back to that later , lets start at the begining ........So far the rain had stayed away , but last night there was a big down pour and as we set off for Kase at 8.30am the sky had a grim and misty look to it ( wish i had nabbed the towel from the bathroom ) , but not to be deterred we arrived at one of the nicest guys around , Kase koi farm . The small ponds were teaming with nisai of every doitsu or metalic variety , including some lovely doitsu goshiki . After having a good look round we moved on to the sansai house were he had a pond of lovely doitsu ochiba , but more intereastingly a pond of sansai showa . Two koi were bowled and the first dismissed as it was lacking in body shape for future growth , but the second was another story , with a fairly high price tag we decieded we would think it over , while doing so we forgot to take a picture so we may return there over the next few days . After seeing such an imposing showa we decieded we needed some comparison , so as Suda was near by we thought we would pop in and have a look . There was some very impressive fish in the yonsai pond . But even more in the sansai one , Suda wasnt around so we will have to come back later as well . As we were in Showa mood there was only one place next and that was Isa koi farm . The main pond was absolutley amazing , and scary price looking , so we moved to the smaller pond where the quality there was also excellant , between Rod , Diane and my self we picked around a dozen fish out of around 150 we were intereasted in , only to be bowled over by the statement , sorry all sold , one customer bought them all !!!!!!!!! At the nisai house we couldnt find anything and then the phone rang , it was Maruhiro , he had harvested the shiro utsuri . We were there with in 12 minutes with me jumping up and down like a lunatic ! As we walked in the breeder had a solom look on his face and looked down on the ground , i though this doent bode well . Then he looked up and laughed his head off and said " its beautiful Gary San , high class " , the thought of the Mad hatters tea party came back and i couldnt help have a little chuckle . The koi was bowled up and grown 5cm to 59cm , a little less than expected , but it was the skin and sumi development that excellant . The koi had improved beyond all expectations . So while there i was compelled to buy somthing else , so the breeder just started bowling up koi , and the prices were so good i just kind of got caught up in the good mood thing that was going on , result was a superb gin rin shiro , gin rin ochiba , ochiba and gin rin saragoi , all of a very high quality , nisai and female . I then decieded that the only decent thing to do was leave another . so within a short while we had found a nice showa around 55cm and sansai , a deal was struck and off it went , not to be seen for another year ! We then stopped for guess what ? Curry and rice again , then off to Yagenji once more where we where to meet Mark Gardener from , having some nice fish and rubbish pictures we asked mark if hje would kindly join us for a while and take some photos . There was some great fish at Yagenji including a stunning gin rin benigoi , and a great 3 step sanke which looked like one we purchased last year , unfortunatley there was a slight deformity on the gill so we passed and are still thinking about the benigoi . With Mark in tow we stopped at Sakai to get a professional photo of Rods shiro and then returned to Maruhiro for the same with shiro that has come out the mudpond , and the showa that is going back .When taking pics Mark seems to wait for what seems to be an etrnity to start , then click , click ,click "finished " , dont you just hate people that are gso ood at what they do ! Ill wait for marks photos to put up on here . But while im waiting for those , here are the nisai from Maruhiro . The pictures of the showa , and two shiros are courtesy of Mark Gardener . Also forgot to add we bought another box from Oofuchi today , Tancho sanke , ki-kikikoryu , ochiba and doitsu platinum ogon , all very good quality , nisai and female around the 45-50cm mark .