As most of you know , im partial to a good old moan from time time to time (arnt most of us ) , but buying koi in these circumstances with the snow has not just become hard work ,id say its now bording on seriously dangerous ! From 4 wheel drives losing traction and skidding , to going round a bend and stopping 5 yards from a massive digger with the front blade up at head hieght ! Even walking to the breeders from the car has become a major truama , the hill to yagenji was unpassable by car , and 100 yard walk through the snow was bad enough but slipping over and falling into deep drifts many times on the way down was enough to try the patients of a saint , let alone me ! The last straw was at a visit to Tanaka , we walked down a long hill to the tategoi house to find out that none was for sale , after slipping and sliding and falling for 100 yards on the way down , i thought that walking on the fresh snow next to the road was a good idea , apparantly not , when Tanaka saw where i was walking he face went a bit pale and said , "Gary please come back to the road with us " i replied that it was much safer where i was thinking i was the next Scott of Niigata , he counter replied " thats not actually true , you are walking 5 metres passed the edge of the cliff , and there is nothing beneath the snow you are standing on " id narrowly missed a 50 ft drop and hastely beat a retreat to the road , never knew snow was so strong ! The whole day seemed to be full of misadventure for me , but as usual The Niigata magic cast its spell and it all was worth while for the few fish i did eventually buy .So when im back and if you visit the shop and i say , " you dont know what i went through to get these fish ", look below and ill show you a few examples and you know im not exadgerating ! First photo shows the main road up the mountain passed Torazo , you can see the snow is over 3m deep , and its not the snow ploughs pushing it up , its actually total snow fall ! Next is further up the same round to show you how much snow is sitting above you , many times today we had to wait as machines had to come in and clear the mini avalanches . This next one is my favourite , ive not gone off piste , this is the entrance to oya koi farm dug out by hand , and remember i stand over 6 feet tall , and there is two or three feet of snow under me ! Last snow picture is of one of the dutch guys outside oya koi farm , again there is no hill there , that is just settled snow !