As some of you already know , three years ago i sat down with a very close friend of mine and some of yours , and started to map out a five year plan for Gatwick koi , my aims my dreams and where i wanted to be in five years .This involves raising the level of the quality of koi slowly but surely over said period of time . I knew i had to start supplying better quality koi of all sizes to customers who were showing , and to those were showing and NOT customers !!! ( and also starting to whole sale koi to the trade to get better buying power ) So i had /still have alot of work to do , but every time i come to Japan i think we achieve a little more than we did the last trip .Trying to get a whole shop and two quarantine facilitys of expensive and high grade koi is may be a bridge too far , but with the sucess that our customers have had at shows over the last few years , we certainly are moving in the right direction , even supplying our first open GC to the Worthing open show this year , some may say well it isnt the national or the South East , i grant you that , but we are only half way into the plan so give me a chance lol !!!! So to the relevence of all my waffle to the trip you might ask ??? The relevence is that to move on further , we have to raise the bar a little more , and i feel after a day and a half of being here , i already think that this could be a major raising of the bar once again , and with some of the koi we are buying , im not sure that this trip will not be a quantity trip , but more about the quality ! So in the hope of buying some larger go sanke at the right price we went to Marusei koi farm , we bough some smaller koi , but really struggled for what i wanted , it was just a case of the right koi not matching the right price ,which was a little frustrating , so after an hour or so i decieded i diddnt want to waste the breeders time as you know when things wernt going to change however hard you look , and belive me there are plenty of koi here to choose from ! After a brief discussion about some 75-85cm koi , he offered to take us to another facility where he had many at this range , due to us picking my customers up from the station we declined as i knew it would take too long and make us late . On the way to Nagaoka , a breeder called that we had try to get an appointment with , and as luck would have it we were 30 seconds away , nice one ! Kawakami has always used to have a reputation of lots of nice priced koi and unusual vrietys . All that changed when he started producing some amazing shiro utsuri , and also some goshiki up to all Japan standard ! A s we pulled in another party was already there , and had got there literally secs before us . I looked in the ponds and there was some very nice shiro utsuri , and i thought my luck they will buy them all , as luck would have it , they were only looking for small nisai , so it was nets and bowls time ! Prices were given and within minutes we had two sansai shiros that were a very nice quality , also another sansai of higher quality , and a yonsai shiro as well , all female from around 50-58cm ! i was happy with my lot untill i saw a stunning Goshiki , the agent asked and i once again heard the Japanese for expensive , so i had to ask again , the reply came back very expensive , so before i could repy how bloody very expensive , the breeder explained it was super quality , but male so he was having trouble selling it ! To me this isnt a problem as we have customers that will buy males if they are high quality and a sensible price . It was duly bowled and a prive given . It wasnt as shocking as i thought , and just goes to show , get the koi bowled and get a price ! ( how many times i have heard or said that ) We had a hajiro in the bowl , i looked at him and smiled , put the hajiro back , and left in two bowls the perfect amount for packing in two boxes ( al be it two expensive boxes !!!!! ) The breeder looked at me wide eyed as said , " all " im not sure who was more shocked , me , the agent or the breeder !!!! A little haggling was done as these were still expensive koi , a deal was struck and i think we were all very happy campers . I will apologise for the pics as the light outside was unforgiving in casting reflections , as soon as these koi are in the uk i will retake the pics , trust me these are all very very nice ! After leaving here we drove to the station to pick up Rod and Diane Taylor , and Mark and Sue Chetter who will be joining us for the next week or so . After a brief visit to the Nagaoka 65th show , which was one by a Nogami kohaku , we decieded to visit Shinoda as we knew he was harvesting and was in need of Doitsu showa . When we arrived he had harvested nearly 80 of his bigger fish , which was an amazing sight to see, these monster hi utsuri really are a sight to behold ! After being given prices we started bowling in a tank full of doitsu , after a minute or two i knew i was struggling to make up as box of doitsu to the quality i wanted , so i thought why not have a look at the gin rins , may be better to have good gin rins than doitsu you are not happy with ! Right choice and i soon had 9 nisai from 34-44cm doitsu and gin rin and one hi utsuri . The breeder said ony 7 to a box . and i diddnt really want to struggle more nisai to make a box , the breeder said put two in a box and buy a bigger koi as well ! Great sales pitch , with in two minutes i had a kindai showa that was stunning in a bowl , and a very resonable price , slight clip on one of the pecks , but those who folllow the blog will remember the other showa that was similer last year , when that left the shop it was simply stunning and was hardly noticeable when picked up by the customer , and this showa was way better quality than that , so purchase duly made , and then it was back to the sweat box for the blog and website work . pics in order : Shintaro sanke at the show , Nogami kohaku that one Gc today , Yagnji sanke at the show , two pics of Kannos vat ,next four are the shiros from Kawakami , first yonsai 58cm , next sansai 57cm ( both measured !) the next two sansai were around 50cm , and then the stuunning male goshiki , sorry about the pics but believe me these are all very nice . From shinoda , gin rin kindai showa, gin rin showa , doitsu and hi utusuri , all around 37-45cm nisai and diddnt sex as i thought they were such good value i diddnt want to offenf the breeder . Last and by no means least the sansai nearly 60cm kindai showa , love this and it could be my best fish of the trip so far , as its just my style ! Ill post video links in a minute !