Connoisseur Koi

Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

Thursday

In Uncategorized on March 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm
It is sadly over too soon – the final purchasing has been concluded, paperwork sorted and all that is left now is to pack away the laptop and printer, fhrow my clothes into the bag and get some sleep ready for the early start in the morning to get the first Shinkansen back to Tokyo.
I hope you have enjoyed following our journey and hope to see you on our Open Day in late April.  The shipment arrives back next week so pics will start appearing on the website the following weekend.
Thanks again
Geoff san
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Wednesday

In Uncategorized on March 17, 2010 at 7:10 pm
A mammoth day in every respect.  Bright and early we arrived for our 9.00am appointment with Hisato Nogami and it was straight to the Tosai House to get stuck in. The end pond has the frame of the house sitting on one wall so the only way to harvest it was for Nogami to get into the pond with chest waders and take the net to one corner whilst his lady staff member worked the other end of the net along her wall.  With seamless efficiency the haul was very soon all in the net and it was a case of Nogami sorting his very best tategoi out for me to take pictures to email to my customers.  In this pond was an astonishing Inazuma Kohku and quite wonderful Showa wih striking chevron patterns down its back.  Both are truly wonderful tategoi with massive potential.   The interesting think with all of his tategoi in the fish house was the colouration of the heads – they were all yellow!  This is due to the water temperature and feeding regime.  Last year we bought several and was blown away when we saw them in the Autumn with the purest white heads imaginable.  The other fascinating thing was the poor clarity of the water having a green tinge, but I am not knocking it – the fish look quite superb. Nogami finally agreed to let me have 5 top grade Tancho Kohaku which look quite brilliant and I am looking forward to getting these home.  Many more wonderful tategoi were selected and will be a great addition to our Spring Collection.
Lunch was an event in itself with Nogami taking us to Apori, the nearby restaurant known by everyone who has travelled to Japan with me for its curry rice, stupendous it was too.  At the same restaurant was Oomo, Marusho, Torazo, Kazuto Igarashi and Miyaishi – it was like a Who’s Who of the koi world plus of course Shirley and Alan.
There was no time to dally though tategoi needed bowling!  Round 2saw us net yet another pond where we found his very very best koi.  As always it was a true privilege to be allowed to see fish of this calibre in a bowl before your very eyes.  Expensive, yes of course but if you see them I’m sure you will agree with every penny, or should I say yen.
There are so many good koi but precious few great koi but today we saw greatness in abundance.
I know what I will be dreaming about tonight!

Tuesday

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2010 at 12:12 pm
A big day today as it ws our appointment with Kase san at Koshiji Koi Farm but first it was Tategoi Shiro Utsuri time at Takiya.  Yasuaki Kaneko and KB swiftly netted the pond and we went large selecting initially small size 15-20cm and then moving onto the larger sized 18-25cm in the next pond.  What beauties we got – from the firstpond we selected an astonishing Ochiba Shigure as well as a Doitsu Ochiba and quite superb Gin Rin Kohaku.  Out of the net I also selected bright and shiny Gin RinHajiro, Kumonryu as well as of course the Shiros.  Moving to the next pond the dip produced absolutely mouthwatering Red Kujaku and many real tategoi Shiro perfect for enjoying growing on this summer.  Moving up further in size I chose a really nice Kohaku with a very classy Maruten head pattern as well as topping up my stocks of Marusho Sanke and Oomo Showa.  A really nice Italian restaurant, Japan style, refuelled us all before moving on to Koshiji with high expectations.  As always I was not disappointed!  Buying 43 high class tosai in a wonderful selection of varieties.  Just wait until you see the pics of a Pearl Gin Rin Hajiro, New Ginga or what about a metallic Ochiba?  The doitsu Kase san produces were attracting very serious bids at the auction.  Seeing them today up close and personal is a true privilege.  We finished off by covering their holding pond and I’m dreaming of seeing them back home in the UK. 
Big treat tomorrow is Nogami Koi Farm – dont miss the pics.

Monday 15th March

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm
First thing this morning guess what?  Yes you are right – feed the fish!  It was after they had been fed that I asked Fujio about the amount of uneaten pellets.  Rising to the challenge we were treated to an impromptu Master Class in growing tosai to jumbo proportions.  The start point is knowing the total weight of koi in the pond and then calculating 2%  of the total body weight  and feeding this amount of high quality food on a daily basis.  This is split  over 5 or 6 feeds spread equally throughout the daylight hours.  Regularly the situation is checked as Fujio aims to have uneaten food on the surface for between 40 and 60 minutes after every feed giving the fish the opportunity to mooch around and graze much as they would in a mud pond.  But, and this is a big but, the temperature must be at least 23 to 24c.  The reason for this is that the kois’ metabolism is really firing and super effective at this temperature and the digestion system is at its most effective in terms of conversion of food to genuine body weight rather than fat.  But please the temperature is key followed of course by good aeration.
It was then off to the Breeders Auction which took place at the same site that the Nagaoka Show was held in October.  Benching was from 8.30am with each breeders koi swimming in their own vat.  Starting from 10am the breeders began bagging their koi before an early lunch and then the off.  With the introductory speech completed it was straight into the first lot. The team had began moving the bagged koi into line waiting for their turn to be placed on the auction trolley before being walked up and down the runway between two rows of chairs filled with excited buyers.  The auction is open to breeders and dealers who need to register to receive the auction listing and a numbered table tennis bat.  Before the fish were bagged everybody had the opportunity to view the koi swimming in the breeders vats and make their notes on those koi they were interested in.  As each lot is about to be auctioned details of the breeder, koi variety, age, size and sex if known are read from the auction listing in both Japanese and English then the auctioneer is observatly taking bids from hopeful buyers either side of the runway.  A starting price is also given which ranged from 10,000 yen to 50,000 yen.  It was fascinating seeing the incredible prices achieved by some small metallic fish with Maruten head markings and Tancho Kujaku especially attracting a serious premium.  Some koi were that expensive that as a dealer I could not have even sold them for what I paid for them!  Equally some fish were as cheap as chips, but truthfully if it was any good the prices were strong.  There was a lot of interest from two major Japanese buyers but there was also some major buying occuring from Chinese buyers.
What was really good was that the lots were mixed up so often following a spell of competitive bidding there followed some light relief with low priced lots.
What a great day it was – scary seeing how some koi sold for prices that appeared out of kilter with the perceived quality – but I guess that is what auctions are all about.

Sunday 14th March

In Uncategorized on March 14, 2010 at 11:52 am
A truly sunny day as we were shined upon in many ways.  There was unfinished business yesterday at Marusho’s so I returned to be allowed to select just 3 amazing Yamabuki Hariwake.  They are a lovely delicate yellow with stunning patterns backed up with some cracking Chagoi, Soragoi and Ochiba.  The best however was yet to come!  I had spied a pond of amazing Beni Kumonryu which, once netted, resulted in being able to select the best three tosai of this variety I have ever bought – see for yourself from the pics.  When I get home and do some proper pictures they will fly out.
It then just got better still as I was offered 5 quite delightful tosai Sanke for this years Grow and Show contest.  If you are interested please register with Tina by phone or email to grab a place.  They will be grown on for the summer in Japan and are likely to reach 50cm.
Off to the Breeders Auction tomorrow so will update you then.

Saturday 13th March

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm
Let’s do koi!
We went large today with some awesome koi bought – that is after a disappointing weather report in the lift,  annoying accurate as usual I’m afraid.  A rainy drive to NND at Takiya saw Fujio opening a letter of thanks from the BKKS (penned by Sue san – Happy xxth birthday on Monday).  The letter was in response to 10 sets of the Visit Niigata flags.  Fujio will be passing this letter, which is very much appreciated, to the project Head Office. 
Formalities out of the way we dived in at the deep end with jaw dropping tategoi Sanke from Makoto up to 49cm at 10 months old.  This Autumn they are hoping for 65cm and 75cm at Sansai – serious s**t!  Rude not to take pics of the No.1, 2 and 3 – it would have been disrespectful.  We then moved down to slightly smaller in size tategoi from 31cm to 37cm with Alan, Shirley and I having an exciting dip.  Then up to Yomogihira to look at some really lovely Izumiya nissai Yamabuki grown on at NND from tosai.  Finishing off with a stunning Doitsu Kindai Showa and a Racing Kindai from Oomo. 
Sorry my words are slowing as the jet lag kicks in and as it is now 11.45pm it is time for a well earned but very contented shut eye.

12th March 2010

In Uncategorized on March 12, 2010 at 11:15 am
Here we are again – the traumas of the last few months seem a million miles away now as the March sun recharges my soul through my very own solar panel (I did not have my hat on today it is that warm).  The view from my window has changed again as work is now fully under way for the council offices on the site of the old car park.  It is schedules to take another two years to complete and will be 4 storeys high – its a shame but I guess things have to move on.
Shirly, Alan and myself checked out the stocks at NND and seriously impressive they looked too with a tosai Marusho Sanke at 47cm and 10 months old!  I will be back again many times this week.  A neat pic of ground water being pumped from their 100 metre deep bore hole.  Measuring 16c who needs heating!
Hurtled round to Nogami to set an appointment for Wednesday when we can select superb tosai.
Watch this space as the Spring Collection hunt has started!