Spring 2018 – Day Nine

Another sunny day in Okayama today we drove a little further afield to Omosako Koi Farm, then to Sakai and Tamaura (accidentally). Lovely scenery as we passed the low lying towns in the valleys.

 

On arrival the brothers were netting and bowling some of their larger specimens! Big Shiro Utsuri all near and beyond 80cm. These were being loaded on the truck to be taken to the mud pond for the summer. Never in doubt Omosako produce the best Shiro in the world, but seeing these just reinforces this!

 

Not expecting to see any Nisai left for sale and already having our Shiro Tosai fix for the Spring trip. We had a different approach to Omosako today. We, along with 99% of others come here for Shiro Utsuri. On this occasion however, we were after Kujaku. Takahiro had prepared some Koi for us to look at. Lovely Shiro Utsuri, a Goshiki and Kujaku. Wonderful Shiro Utsuri offspring of Othello, the skin was super bright, whites were good and nice sumi quality. I always find myself being over critical with Shiro Utsuri. Especially when looking at the bodies. Appreciating the fact they were being fed heavily up until a few days ago, the bodies were quite full. The proportions of the body to the head just didn’t seem right and I asked myself, if they look dumpy now. Imagine when they’re Nisai. I wasn’t happy with the proportions. Comparing the koi in the bowl to some of the fish in the other tategoi ponds, I wasn’t confident enough to make the purchase although the price was attractive. When they’re not the right koi, the price can be irrelevant. 

The Kujaku’s in the bowl were not of interest either. I asked Takahiro about particular Koi in his tategoi ponds. Twisting his arm a little bit, he bowled 3 more Kujaku. Two which were very nice. A little on the pricey side though as he wasn’t 100% on the sex of them. He priced them as Female so effectively a Nisai/Sansai price we considered leaving as Azukari. Yet our Azukari record at Omosako hasn’t exactly been the most successful. See other blog posts for those stories! 

 

While in conversation I showed Takahiro a Kujaku we had bought as part of Naritas R’s Collection in Autumn. He thought for a moment then a light bulb turned on. “Ah yes, it is here!” He said. A little surprised as I assumed it would still be at Naritas. Takahiro turned the air off to the main customers Koi Pond. Spotting it straight away it looked amazing. One of, if not the best Kujaku we’ve sourced to date. Really chuffed for our customer who purchased it. 

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Prize winner at this years All Japan Young Koi Show. 

Leaving Omosako we made plans with Takahiro in Autumn to see some of the Tategoi Kujaku as Nisai. Unfortunately we didn’t come away with any new purchases from Omosako, but some good news for our customer. 

An hours drive away we pulled up at Sakai Fish Farm. Knowing already that they had little for sale we started the hunt for our two Azukari Koi. A mission that would prove impossible. The size of this farm is immense, industrial in its size the whole valley littered with koi houses belonging to Sakai. Some being the size of football pitches. 

Thankfully Matsuura-san came to our assistance immediately. Showing him photos of our Koi. Within 2 minutes we were gazing into a pond at our “Zig Zag” Kohaku. Hopping into the next Koi house, staff were already seine netting the pond our Maruten Sanke was in. Great timing!! As is the size of this farm, their organisation is impeccable. Dozens of staff constantly working. Fish every which way you look. I get worried when I have a couple hundred sold koi in the shop, Sakai must have thousands upon thousands, worth billions of yen. 

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While the staff were busy netting the pond with the Sanke in, we bowled Zig Zag first. As ever she was looking in good nick. Now Yonsai her beautifully thick beni was colouring up nicely. Matsuura-san didn’t want to bowl her out of the pond as the water was warm and the koi were very active. Bowling the koi in the pond, her conformation, skin, and colour was stunning. Purchased two years ago as Nisai, she is now Yonsai and 75cm. No proper video of Zig Zag unfortunately, the sunlight and angle proved impossible to work with. Matsuura-san kindly emailed me their latest photo of her. Another year as Azukari for Zig Zag.

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Releasing Zig Zag back into the pond we walked into the opposite fish house. The staff had managed to net the whole pond and were catching Koi moving them into mud ponds and other growing ponds. Again, not wanting to bowl the Koi outside of the pond, Matsuura-san netted up the Sanke and placed her in a bowl in the pond. This Sanke we purchased as Tosai, unbelievably she was still only Sansai. Yet a monster at 72cm and catching up with Zig Zag. Seriously pleased with how she was looking, Matsuura-san commented on her great growth rate. In the next year or two she will slow down and this will allow her pattern elements and skin a chance to tighten up and be conditioned. Excuse the video, nearly facing into the Sunlight, the glare was just about manageable.

 

A surprisingly quick visit to Sakai, no time was wasted so we hit the road and went to Tamaura….totally by accident. We meant to put Takigawa in the Sat Nav. 10 minutes later, we saw Tamaura’s fish house. Oh well! We pulled up and could see the staff and Tamaura-san looked very busy preparing for a big shipment of Koi. He greeted us with a big smile and welcomes us to go look at the Koi houses but apologised for his absence while he prepared for the shipment. A slight chance we may visit back tomorrow if he has some time but unlikely.

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A great spot to build your koi houses especially with such fine weather. At a leisurely pace we skipped from one koi house to the next, taking in the gorgeous landscape, the cool fresh wind passing through the open sides of the poly tunnels. A very relaxing place to be. Cracking Koi in every pond, no different to when we were last here in Autumn. One thing that really stands out on Tamaura fish, the skin is blinding. Couple this with his deep red thick beni. The Koi really are impressive, especially when they breach the waters surface and catch a ray of sun.

Looking forward to coming back here in Autumn. If I had space for 100 of his Nisai, I’d love to spend a few days selecting here! I’ll continue to dream.

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Spending a while at Tamaura we viewed all of his ponds. Seeing some great prospects and making note of some koi in particular to try and see back here in autumn should they still be for sale. Spending a lot longer here than we should have, gazing into the ponds of Koi I could not buy on this occasion was painful!

Tomorrow we head to Momotaro for a few hours, then head to Nagoya for the Jumbo Tosai Event the day after.

 

 

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