Today was the return of Hiroi Conias. Having recently harvested we needed to get in quick. Arriving to the koi house it was already buzzing with people. Beautiful Koi left right and centre in various bowls. While other people were negotiating with the breeder we took the opportunity to get a net in the ponds.
As always at Hiroi there are striking Doitsu koi, Goshiki, Gin Rin Goshiki and other gin Rin variants. Gutted to have not found a Doitsu Showa up to standard, we may have to wait till the next harvest for one.
Finalising which Koi I wanted, photos and videos were taken. Wonderful Doitsu Sanke, Doitsu Kohaku, Goshiki, Kikusui and an extremely striking Doitsu Kujaku.
Next up was Sakazume, Breeder of Kujaku, Yamabuki, Shusui and other single coloured Koi. Scanning the ponds for sale, we found a pond that represented the best value for money. Sifting through hundreds of Koi, there seemed to be more Koi than water in this pond. When ponds are so full like this it can be tricky to net individual fish, you aim for one and end up with 10 in the net.
Picking Yamabuki, Platina, Kujaku and a wildcard Doitsu Benigoi, very unusual but the colour was so intense and clean we had to include it in the box.
A quick stop to Yagenji, the ponds were full up again after a recent harvest. Saying this though, I found it quite hard work picking to the different price points. Ponds here always have set prices, so in theory the game is to pick the best fish for the money. Not as easy as it sounds, especially when you’re maybe one or two fish short to make the box up. It can take 5 minutes to pick 8 fish, then another 20 minutes to pick the last 2. Looking behind me into a more expensive pond, one bigger Kohaku stood out. A Hanatsuke Kohaku, which normally wouldn’t attract me. The body, skin and Beni was very good, the ippon hi pattern on the body was interesting. As a package, it was very good and reasonably priced. In the bowl it went. A deal was done on the fish selected. Wonderful Kikusui, Kohaku, Gin Rin Kohaku, Gin Rin Showa and Kujaku.
Otsuka had now harvested a few ponds so it was time to head back and get hunting. It’s always fun selecting at Otsuka, he bases his ponds purely based on quality. The far pond contains the big girls which is always full of Chagoi, Aka Matsuba, Asagi and Kigoi. In the middle pond you’ll get every other variety he breeds from 30cm up to 70cm or so. Hunting in this middle pond is real fun, as the smaller Koi are always fantastic. Concentrating hard, doing laps of the pond trying to see fish before they disappeared. Goshiki, Kohaku, Showa, Kage Shiro, Asagi, Matsuba, Doitsu varieties and Goromo in the main.
Otsuka has got a great memory and asked to see how some of fish had progressed while being back in the UK. All of the varieties we’ve had from Otsuka do really well in our water, in particular his Goshiki. Here is one I found last autumn, the darker photo was taken 6 months after being in the U.K. It has been awarded 1st place in it’s size on a few occasions now.
Otsuka exclaimed that he was impressed and that they seem to do very well indeed!
Otsuka grabbed a net and I started pointing out some Koi to bowl. Funnily enough Goshiki was eyed up first. A wonderful Maruten Goshiki and multi step Goshiki, both picked with keeping in the UK in mind. Nice clean Beni and consistent light robing which should go dark once back home. Also in the bowl went Budo Goromo, Kage Shiro, Ki Utsuri, Shiro Utsuri and a “cute” Kohaku as Otsuka so kindly put. Blinding skin quality on the Kohaku. Running out of time we had to make haste and go to Maruhiro as we had been told about a new Nisai harvest.
Making final selections, we shook hands and off we went. We will return to photo and video later in the week. Gutted I didn’t have time to do photos, sorry for being a tease!
With the light fading fast, Maruhiro late night shopping was the plan of action. Arriving to the farm there were cars everywhere, lining the road for a hundred meters. Next thing we know, the police had arrived. Everyone inside the koi house scattered and had to move the cars before receiving a fine. As people went back into the Koi house we saw down and had a coffee while we let the mass of people finish up and leave.
After an hour or so, we finally managed to get in the koi house. Now pitch black outside, the temperature dropped quickly. In the artificial lit koi house, we got our nets in and had some fun! Filling up one bowl of koi, we soon needed another…and another…and another! Four bowls in total, with far too many fish in them, I selected down to 40 Koi. Great fish for the shop!
With the bad light, photos and videos was not going to happen. So we may return later to do these, or once back at the shop. For now, a badly shot video of all of the bowls.
Feeling, damp, cold and tired. Steak, chips, onion rings and a beer was on our mind. Oh and bed of course.
Good night !
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