This blog post contains what we got up to on Day 5 and 6 of our trip. Day 6 was bit of a write off so there isn’t much to report! Read more and it’ll make sense as to why…
Starting the day off at Nogami we met up with Chikara. Chikara wasn’t one for early mornings so he was a little late. It was only 9am so hardly early anyway!
Chikara-san netted up the pond and I then started selecting the Koi. You could tell these were being heavily fed, the colours were very intense and they all had full bodies. A very good size for this time of the year, all around the 35-36cm mark. Chikara mentioned he will keep feeding these up to a week before the shipment, so some may reach 40cm by then.
There were around 80 Koi to choose from, 90% Kohaku and 10% Showa. Ending up with 7 keepers out of the bunch, 6 Kohaku and one Showa. Very nice bodies and beni as to be expected from Nogami. All of these come with certificates.
Saying our thanks to Chikara, we went across the road to meet up with Marudo. Unfortunately no higher quality female Tosai on site, Marudo-san said he will have a selection for us in a few days time. We didn’t manage to get any high end Tosai out of Marudo last year, but previous years we’ve done very well with them. Excited to see what Marudo has in-store for us in a few days time. On the hit list are Kohaku and Sanke. We’ll be back.
A bit more hopping around, we drove into the mountains and popped into Otsuka, Kansuke and Oyaji. Otsuka is one of our go to places in autumn, yet we’ve never really done much there on Spring trips for Tosai, this trip was to be no different. Looking at his Nisai and older Koi for sale, it looked like he had a good season. Nearly selling out of of fish! At Oyaji and Kansuke there was nothing of interest.
Back down towards Nagaoka, we poked our head around the door at Odakan. As the sun was setting it was nice to take some time out and relax in the state of the art facility, sitting down with a coffee. Viewing the larger ponds at the back of the Koi house, one pond in particular stood out.
My favourite non-koi photo of the trip so far. The afternoon sun filling up the Koi house of Maruboshi (left) and Odakan (right).
Containing mostly Go-Sanke from 80cm to over 1m in length. The quality and size of Koi in here was mind blowing. If anyone wanted to buy a Grand Champion, then this is the pond to buy from! I counted at least 40 Koi that would sweep the awards in the U.K. Most of the Koi were sold fish, but there were a handful for sale. If you follow Japanese shows then the majority of these are recognisable. A phenomenal pond. I hadn’t felt this way about one pond in particular other than the first time I stepped inside Narita’s main koi house and Dainichi’s champion house. Pointing at one outrageous Koi, another one would swim over the top of it. Over and over again this happened. I’ll aim to get a nice video of this pond in a few days time when the lighting is a bit better. I’m not sure my camera phone will be able to handle it !
Needing to come back down to Earth….slightly. It was time to have a bit of fun with Odakan. Having a budget in mind for a Showa with developed sumi, I started to point out some Koi for him to price. The first one was within budget, a Tamaura Nisai Showa, extreme beni quality that is rarely seen. Super glossy skin and ink black sumi. The only thing it was lacking was body, but that is quite typical of Tamaura fish at Nisai.
One more caught my eye in the pond, one of the most pattern pattern Showas I’d seen on the trip so far. It looked good even through the murky water. Into the bowl it went. Before Odakan released it from the sock, he explained that this was one of the most expensive in the pond. Great! That filled me with confidence but also made me realise this was going to be a no go! Lets see it anyway we said. A drop dead gorgeous Showa from Isa. Needless to say it was pretty amazing. Price quoted, we had to have a sit down again. Not wanting to stress the Koi out, I took a quick video on my phone then placed the Koi back in the pond.
We’ll have to have a serious think about these. We’re pretty sure it’s a no for the Isa, due to the sheer cost of it. The Tamaura was more sensible, albeit still a big price tag! If anyone has any interest in these two, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Facebook. Make sure you’re sitting down when I tell you the price!
Next thing we know, there was a loud sound of a horn which made all of us jump inclduing Odakan while still holding the net in his hands. A delivery truck had just turned up. We asked what was on it. Omosako Kujaku and Tamaura Tosai Odakan replied. Oh dear, we knew we’d be spending now. We only came here for a coffee and chat!
The Koi were unboxed and left to settle for 30 mins prior to being unbagged. Odakan mentioned there was one Kujaku in the Omosako box, and one Koi in the Tamaura box that were separately priced from the rest. He gave us the task to find them!
First the Tamaura Tosai. 63 in total. We knew we’d be having these, at what price though we weren’t too sure! It was clear to see which fish Odakan referred to in this bunch. A blinding Sandan Kohaku. Skin of the highest order, everything about it was just perfect. This was then placed into a bowl on it’s own.
This Mix was a higher quality mix than the Tamaura Tosai we bought a few days previous. Seriously good fish for growing on in here. Kohaku, Sanke, Showa, Shiro Utsuri and Kujaku in the main. Really want to get these back to the shop and get the grub down them! Managed a photo and video in the vat they were swimming in. The Omosako Kujaku’s were then bowled.
There was only one of interest in here, and yes it was the one Odakan warned us about. Into a bowl of it’s own, the metallic lustre was on another level to the others. Finnage was perfect. Very clean and the pattern was interesting. It still had some colour development to do, but it was good enough for Odakan to mention the Junior Koi show! Having a second look at the Tamaura Kohaku, he said both should be entered. “Why not?!” we said! Fingers crossed they are awarded something. These size classes will be hotly contested.
The Tamaura Tosai will be priced once in the shop and clear of QT. The Kohaku and Kujaku are priced on the website, and include entry into the International Junior Koi Show. If you do wish to purchase, I may be able to change the entry name for the show.
Another successful visit to Odakan. Considering camping here overnight!
With no more day light hours left, Odakan invited us out to dinner with him. Having one too many beers, and copious amounts of food. We had a great night discussing all things Koi. The knowledge and stories Odakan has was brilliant. One of the most informative, funniest dinners with a breeder we’ve had to date. I could tell you all about it, but I’ll save that for another day, it would take up a few blog posts!
As you can imagine, Day 6 was going to be a late start. Very late start in fact. Totally missing breakfast at the hotel, it was all a bit late to do much Koi hunting so we decided to take a drive to Dainichi and have a look at our Azukari Kohaku, see what was for sale and view the upcoming auction Koi.
Viewing the Kohaku we purchased in autumn, her condition was impeccable. The beni was outstanding, just how I remembered it, and the shiroji had whitened tremendously. She had a little bit of secondary in the tail tube which Shigeru said not to worry about. She’ll be spending the summer in Dainichi’s Top Nisai concrete pond. Here he will condition and grow her with the hope of attending the AJKS and AJYKS next year. He has high hopes for her so fingers crossed.
Unfortunately due to the auction coming up, Shigeru hadn’t made many selections for general sale Tosai, mostly just lower grade males. Understandable that they can’t do everything at the same time we went to go view the auction fish and shortlisted a handful to make bids on next week. It always pays to view the auction fish beforehand so you can see it at all angles, and also see the way it behaves/swims. A handful on the shortlist, we’ll give our bids to Shigeru in a few days as we’ll be back in the UK by the time the auction comes around.
That’s all for this blog post.
Tomorrow we head to another famous Showa breeder to make Huge body Jumbo Tosai selections, have a think which breeder it is. It’s not a trick question don’t worry!