Today was going to be a little tricky ,as it is the Nagaoka koi show , so a lot of breeders will be there . Yamazaki said we could visit , and we met with one of his staff , for our first appointment . We had a look round , and he had some very nice sansai , but I really wanted nisai goshiki .
I looked through all of the nisai ponds , and couldn’t find a single one ! But while I was in the better grade pond , I found some very nice gin shiros ( metallic shiro utsuri ), one the sumi was stand out , really looked good in the bowl . This was followed by a few more of the same , kujaku , kin ki usturi , asagi , gin rin hi usturi and a doitsu orenji ogon . Some very good quality examples , of rarer varieties .
As we were in Kawaguchi , it made sense to visit Chogoro , and buy a few more koi , to go in the box .with the two kikokoryu , we purchased the other night . I soon had three more , one being female , and again another quite nice example .
We really needed goshiki , so we called Kawakami , he had some , so off we went . When we arrived , I was shocked at the size of the goshiki , they were huge , 45-50cm , some bigger ! Not bad for a breeder know for his smaller nisa ! This left as with a problem , as the were too big for our orders , and although the price was fair , not in the budget of what we were looking for . So we went off for some lunch and called Hosokai , and made plans to go after lunch .
This breeders quality is getting better and better , with many awards for his koi at All Japan level . Although some of his koi , are of serious standard , he still has koi for all budgets . With that in mind , I thought I was in Goshiki heaven , loads of them in every pond . I started bowling them , and soon realised that they wernt what we were looking for quality wise so they were returned to the ponds . We visited the other koi house , and there where some serious koi , we were shown a very high quality showa , good enough to show in Japan , I am thinking on it , but it was ony 54cm , at sansai .Bred from an old Takeda lineage , it was beautiful in every way . I really needed customers orders . so will have a harder think on it . He then showed me the tancho showa we had left in Japan , it had a small mark in the tancho spot , so will talk again with the breeder , and see whats the best way forward , ie another year in the mudpond . So for the first time I can remember , we left empty handed from this breeder .
Kaneko rung , and said he has some more tancho showa , so we decided to go there , and then Maruhiro , to finish off the trip this week . When we arrived , we found that he had harvested quiet a lot , and we went to the main pond , he had some stunning fish in there , and two tancho showa were bowled , sansai , and serious quality . He then showed us a third one , way better skin quality , but very little sumi , but I could see it coming through the spot , a little bit around the face . He asked if I liked it , I said skin was way better , and he agreed . He then started talking about the sumi , as a tosai , it has a lot , but receded as it got older . He really liked the koi , but it was a gamble to keep , or a gamble to buy . Who was ready to gamble , being a gullible idiot around koi , I was of course ready to gamble , and I explained this to him , and he laughed . He went quiet for a while , and was obviously thinking about a price . Tanchos are now demanding an outrageous price everywhere , what ever variety , it doesn’t matter , if you want one , and a high class one , then expect to part with a lot of money . This one was a gamble , and with that in mind , he gave me what I thought was more than a fair price , shook his hand , and then went to look at the nisai .
I explained I was looking for some thing , different and good quality , not much then he asked lol ! He showed me a small goshiki , it was in a more expensive pond , and only around 25-28cm , I queried the price , and his answer made me laugh , it had a nice pattern on it , and so I thought I could get good money for it , we all laughed , well I did ask , and at least he was being honest , but he then gave me a better price. Then we talked about Matsukawabake , I love of mine , as you can see from the amount I have bought this week . He showed me an example with not much sumi through at all , the gin rin was great , the white excellent , good body and with being female , it soon joined the goshiki .
Two shiros were bowled , totally different , he explained the light patterned shiro was female , and nice quality , the other one obviously had an excellent pattern , but was male , the sumi was so striking , and very sellable , I said to Kaneko ,better buy both ! We had a few gormo in the bowl , and one budo was selected , it had a stunning pattern , and superb white skin , and I think this would be ok for showing . we had many doitsu , and the breeder caught up a very nice doitsu Kujaku , another variety I also like . Good quality , so that joined the rest . I was looking at some of the doistu he had caught for us , and they wernt really doing it for me , so we returned them . I caught up a few showa , a male kindai showa , very nice pattern , but as I was selecting another koi , I saw a nice kohaku swim buy , but my thought changed as a saw the pecks , I pointed and said showa , he laughed and grabbed the net , she was bowed , and looked very nice , great pattern , very soft beni , really my style . He described the koi as tataegoi , one with promise ( rough translation ) . It was also female , I really like this show , so a price was agreed on all of them , so we shook hands and said our goodbyes . This was the best week I have ever had with the breeder , some times I hear people say , he as nothing , or too expensive , next time you visit , don’t just look and go , talk to the breeder , and bowl some of the koi , you might be surprised !
Last stop Maruhiro , this wasn’t to go as planned , everytime we had visited , he was packed out , or harvesting, a very busy breeder indeed . This time was even worse , may be 40 or 50 people , totally crazy , and no way to buy fish . So I called him over , thanked him for the harvest , had a quick chat and said good bye . Literally only bought around 20 koi from his this visit , I explained we had visited many times , he understood , and we shook hands and off we went .
As we travelled down the mountains , it was suggested a vist to Torazo was in order , so we did , and very glad I did . I saw a very nice sanke , but was worried as he has a reputation for being a little expensive , I was given the price , and was quite happy , so I purchased this , female and around 55cm , good quality and very pleased . I asked for a nice kohaku , one with a great body was produced , great body , and superb pattern , he said sorry its male , n o problem for me , price was acceptable , so both koi purchased , and off to the hotel , ready to pack our bags , and move to our next destination …………..Isawa .