Connoisseur Koi

Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Sunday 25th

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2009 at 3:57 pm
Well thats the end of yet another trip – I need to get some sleep as I am catching the 6.28am Shinkansen back to Tokyo.  I hope you have enjoyed a little slice of this Autumn’s wonderful harvest. 
Our koi arrive on Thursday so we should start putting the pictures and details on our website from next weekend.
Thank you for visiting the weblog and look forward to hopefully seeing you soon.
Kind regards
Geoff san
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Saturday 24th

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2009 at 2:43 pm
Sorry very light on content today as I was trying to tie up loose ends prior to the shipment later this week.
Bumper day tomorrow though as there are 2 koi shows!

Friday 23rd

In Uncategorized on October 23, 2009 at 6:27 pm
There is a saying in koi that "It starts with Kohaku and ends with Kohaku".  Which just about sums up our day.  We were the only westerners to be invited to Nogami’s special harvest today.  His mudponds are old and established – this one is 4 metres deep and in beautiful wooded surroundings.  It was just so tranquil and it was a joy to watch him wading nervously surveying the size and condition of the ponds, 32 inhabitants of mainly sansai, with a few yonsai as well.  Our best result was one of our customers koi that had grown to 70cm and looked brand new – it is just so fresh looking and it will be fascinating to see what she achieves with another years growth.
Back at Nogami Koi Farm unloading the fish had attracted a great deal of interest, including Mark Gardener who as always was taking many pics for his site.  I managed to select the best of the Ochiba Shigure left at Kaneko – I needed to get these as the first two sold out within 24 hours of posting on the blog.  Also picked up a lovely Tancho Showa that had been winking at me for a couple of days and as it is not so expensive I am sure it will quickly be sold.
Taking some more pictures during the day of our customers koi we got back to Nogami around 4pm and I went on a spending spree with some more fabulous nissai Kohaku – now with their tickets booked for the journey home!

Thursday 22nd

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2009 at 2:35 pm
The Champion Pond Ikeage day has arrived.  In a break with tradition instead of the larger koi that have normally been grown in this pond this year it was 29 3 and 4 year old koi.  The stock went in during mid April and initially the feeding regime was 80% sinking and 20% floating food.  From June the feed rations were increased by 5% each week and at the end of July were either raised or lowered by 5% dependant on water clarity which demonstrates how much or little food has been eaten.  Because of a large increase in Black Kites all of the pellets were changed to sinking by the end of July.
The resulting harvest was quite spectacular with many sansai harvested at 69 to 71cm.  I was very lucky this time – I had 5 koi being grown on for customers and all had developed towards their potential.  A nerve racking but immensely satisfying harvest.

Wednesday 21st

In Uncategorized on October 21, 2009 at 4:43 pm
A day with not much planned turned into a real cracker.  We dropped into Marudo first to check out the koi.  C Koi Holland were looking for some nissai Chagoi and we found some that hit the spot at the right price as well.  Size 45 – 50cm they are a lovely pale green/light brown and are super fast growers coming from an Oya goi that is 95cm!  Before that I had some great news at the Takiya facility of NND.  My missing five koi from our mudpond that contained the Grow and Show had been harvested and really did look drop dead gorgeous and I can’t wait to get them home, especially the stepped Shiro that really does demonstrate the real Omosako/Kaneko traits of fabulous sumi – a real Shiro to watch for the future. 
Travelling up the mountains the change in tree colour is really becoming noticeable as day bu day the colours become more pronounced and vivid in the autumnal sunlight.  The scenery is quite spectacular but then suddenly my attention was grabbed by a snake slithering across the road.  I know I’m a fisherman but it was genuinely over a metre in length and the biggest I have seen in Japan.  We watched it disappear into a hole by the roadside quicker than we could get a camera out.
Winding our way up to Mushigame we were invited for a cup of tea from Toshiyuki Sakai, popped into Shintaro and finally ended up at the dry goods shop near the petrol station.  In the back of my mind I had the sneaking feeling that it might be "Goshiki Time" so it was off to Yozaimon or Hiroi as it is also called.  As we got out of the car I heard the news I had been waiting for as Kaz shouted from the fish house "Geoff san, nissai Goshiki".  I’d been looking every other day or so for ever so it was time to pick up a stunner for a customer plus a couple of other corkers for our stock.
From nowhere the day had turned on it’s head with some blinding purchases

Tuesday 20th

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm
A rainy overcast day today but you can’t really moan as the weather for the past few days has been superb.  We worked our way along a well worn path to Yagenji to check out a kohaku reserved yesterday evening.  Got it in a bowl and it ticked some but not all the boxes so back it went followed by a wonderful Maruten Gin Rin Kohaku.  Dodgy pic but quite amazing koi – a superb female at 55cm for a 3 year old.
Marusho pulled out all the stops with a lovely female 50cm nissai Sanke that was very attractively priced and will be coming back next week.  Kaneko returned from harvesting a two year pond with some wonderful koi including many Tancho Showa that really had me scratching my head.  The best one has it all in spades – except a pattern!  The white is amazing, the tancho is near perfect and what black is on the surface is jet but I just don’t know what the sumi pattern will look like next year.  I am emailing the pic to a good customer who is looking for such a tancho showa good enough to grow on.  My gut feel is that this is it – but ……if only koi cold speak.
Yasuaki was also in turmoil with pricing the fish.  He has priced it as if it works out well and reaches its potential next year.  If it does it will be a cheap koi but if it doesnt ….
Other high spots were the two pretty as a picture Ochiba Shigure having a quite wonderful caramel pattern and great robing on the grey.  I found another really impressive Ochiba but doitsu this time and again this is being emailed to a great customer for consideration.

Monday 19th

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm
Another day, another harvest!
This time at the Kaki Machi Complex. Fujio introduced the event in his own inimmitable way.  It is a very big pond but only 27 top grade koi were placed in it throughout April. Fed twice a day by hand morning and late afternoon to check koi conditions and of course fed by solar powered auto feeder.  They have mainly been fed sinking food which contains silkworm pupae for additional protein and fat content.  Another great harvest with one of our 3 year koi being harvested at 70cm!
There was anchor worm on many of the koi due to a small glitch in the medication cycle.  This will not be a problem as all koi once back at the facility were anaesthetised and the anchor worm removed with tweezers and their pond treated with Dimilin.
Our koi were measured and photographed before rushing to Nogami who had just returned with a Nissai harvest.  Yet more great Kohaku and needless to say we obliged with a dip – these high grade Kohaku will represent great value for money.
Next stop Chogoro for some more eye damaging Radio Active Platinum Ogons as the first 5 have already sold out.
Final breeder was the Yagenji boys taking a cup of coffee and customary sweets.  I found an amazing Kikisui that looks like a reverse pattern Kumonryu – not the best of pics but I will get a better one for our website.

Sunday 18th

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm
First stop this morning after recharging my camera battery ( like a complete muppet I was charging my spare before I departed and forgot my charger and spare battery) was to Nogami Ko Farm to show Michel of Connoisseur Koi Holland 3 Sansai Kohaku that Nogami had grown this summer.  Off then to Yamazaki then Chogoro.  I saw Chogoro san at his village show on the other side of the road. He was of course unable to sell us koi but we agreed to come back in a day or so.  The show was the biggest I have ever seen and it had attracted quite a few visitors.  We couldnt hang about as we were on a mission.  Back down the mountain via Izumiya and the compulsory stop at Torazo where C Koi Holland bought some exceptional Kohaku which I am sure will sell well then they get them home.
Lunch break then Kaneko who had some other customers there so we moved up the hill to Yagenji where another couple of 3 year Yamabuki were purchased.
But then we cold put if off no longer – it was back to Yomogihira for Marusho’s Number 1 Sanke nissai harvest.  Just 11 koi in a beautiful pond had grown big and strong with incredible volume averaging 58 to 60cm.  I had a real interest in a sanke of his that I saw in March which was my firm favourite.  Anticipation was enormous and we were not disappointed!  I can honestly say it was the best quality harvest I have ever attended.  Makoto cheekily tried to hide the best koi til last – but I guess it had to come and when it did – wow.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

Saturday 17th

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm
A bright and early start saw us at the mudpond behind Fujio’s old facility next to the rail line.  This is a Grow and Show of two halves.  Makoto and Fujio pulled the net through twice but unfortunately the water level was a little too high combined with a lot of mud in the pond it was very tricky to harvest.  There are a total of 22 of our koi in the pond but today we only managed to get 15 out.  We will drop the level further and net the remaining koi by Tuesday so more of an update then.  The results however were excellent with sizes up to 53cm.  There will be some very happy customers.
Back end of the day saw the harvest of a very special Tancho Showa bought this spring by one of our customers plus some very special Kujaku from which I selected another 4 to ship back.
Michel of Connoisseur Koi Holland arrived today with Marcel and Jeanette so tomorrow we will be back in the mountains with avengence.

Friday 16th

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2009 at 4:02 pm
We left Nogami’s at 9.00am for the few minutes drive up to his idyllic mud ponds.  Filled with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation, hope and fear.  I had 2 of my own koi growing on plus another 7 for our customers.  Walking to the edge of the pond I was amazed to see the inhabitants really clearly as they swam round wondering why their environment of the last 5 months was getting shallower by the minute.  As soon as the water reached the right level the team swung into action like a well oiled machine.  Quietly and without any fuss the net was drawn round the perimeter of the pond all the time Nogami’s mother was ensuring that it fed out smoothly.  It was only as the circle of the net began to close that the koi started to kick up the bottom that the clarity went.  Then for me the exciting bit – once the koi are bought into shallow water and they break surface for the first time in the intense sunlight it is electric.  One by one I counted our koi in.  At the halfway point the truck took the koi back to the farm before returning for the second half.  If we are growing the koi for another year these are loaded back onto the truck and taken back to a mudpond for another month before being harvested for a second time and then overwintered in a fish house.
What a peaceful environment it is up in the mountains. It is such an emotional experience and for me it is always quite a humbling one recognising that these household names actually lead a very simple life.  What a harvest – there was an unbelievable growth rate and the condition of the koi is amazing.
Harvesting a pond with Fujio and Makoto containing tosai put in this spring – watch this space…….