Japan Live – Day I & II

Arriving quite late into Nagaoka on the Wednesday, we were eager to get straight out to see some Koi. Where else ? Dainichi of course. Not a bad farm to visit first!

Wandering around the Koi houses at the main facility we viewed the monster Koi and show winners which were looking mightily impressive as you’d expect! One of which was the Nogoysai Runner Up last week, this looked in excess of 85cm.

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Moving onto one of the Nisai fish houses, we were explained which ponds were available and which ones were sold from the recent auction. We attacked the male pond first. Jostling for bowls, nets and positioning around the pond, another group were trying their hardest to make their presence known. I picked up a net and started catching Koi, these ponds were pretty big and these Japanese wooden nets are ridiculously slow through the water, no need for a gym when using these nets all day! Taking longer than normal than it ought to, we finally had a handful of fish in the bowl. Narrowing it down to 5, a price was quoted. We should have sat down before that one! Unfortunately the prices were female prices, for male fish! Never mind, we’ll be back later in the trip when there has been more harvests. Video of the koi under artificial lighting (as it was dark outside now).

 

 

That was all we could fit in to the first day, onto the next!

Day II

The jet lag now setting in, getting to sleep wasn’t the issue, waking up multiple times throughout the night was. No time to waste though as we had a harvest to get to!

Up and about early, we were invited to a Hoshikin harvest of 50 pieces of Nisai Kohaku. Driving up into the hills through the mist and fog, we arrived at the pond. This pond was the same one we harvested last year, so we knew the results were going to be good this time around. 

Lee and I donned the chest waders and in the water we went. Katsuyuki-san, his Mother, and his Son carefully dragged the net around the pond, making sure the net was not tangled on release from it’s crate it was stored in. 

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Katsuyuki-san waded through the middle of the pond periodically pulling the net up out of the silt. Mother and Son took the sides and were dragging the net around the edge of the pond. Within 10 minutes the 3 generations of Hoshikin had congregated the Koi to one corner of the pond. One by one, Lee, Katsuyuki and myself started handing the Koi into the bowl. All beautiful Kohaku with strong bodies, all around 55-60cm. We then bagged up the Koi and they were walked up the bank, onto the truck and placed into the holding tank. Katsuyuki-san thought that a few were missing, so we pulled the net once more and 6 more managed to be caught. 

Saying our thank you and goodbyes, we arranged to meet Hoshikin back at the fish house tomorrow so we can see the harvest fish in the pond, and see what else he had for sale. No doubt we’ll be filling our boots here. Always a farm we like to do business with and our relationship gets stronger every trip.

 
A short drive away we visited Koda Koi Farm. Breeder of Gin Rin Kohaku, Goshiki, Gin Rin Goshiki, Showa, and associated varieties. Viewing various ponds for sale, we decided on one pond to pick through which had new additions from a harvest earlier this morning. Selecting 25-30 koi, we singled them out to check for issues and rejected a dozen or so. In busy ponds there is only so much you can see while the Koi in the pond, on bowling them this is the time to check them over and compare one another. 

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Finalising 16 Koi, photos and videos were taken. These range from £175 to £245 and are now on the website for sale. 

Leaving Koda our next stop was lunch, tasty ramen topped with pork and boiled egg it was much needed as our bodies adjusted to the hunger levels jet lag can cause. On the phone to Yamazaki, we asked him if we could meet him at his koi house, unfortunately he was on his way to a harvest but we could still go to the koi house and pick fish without him being there. 10 minutes later as we were paying the bill at lunch, who walks in ? Manabu-San of Yamazaki. He never fails to make us laugh. Questioning us as to why we were still here and not picking his fish, we said to him why aren’t you harvesting!! Manabu left the restaurant to go harvest, and we drove the other direction to his koi house. 

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Viewing the ponds for sale, we spent the first 10 minutes trying to net a 10 yen coin on the bottom of the pond. It may come in handy when negotiating! Failing miserably we paid attention to the actual fish. We were a little disappointed with the numbers of Koi here. Last Autumn we picked around 50 pieces. This time we only managed 6 fish, but very pleased with the quality for the money. All now on the website and for sale. 

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Following Yamazaki, we hopped around a handful of breeders to scout out what Koi they had in. Marusei to look at cheaper nisai, and their bigger girls. Tsuna for their Doitsu Sanke and Kin Ki Utsuri. Then finally Odakan to see what fish he had left over from his event he held a week ago and to catch up with some Koi that we narrowly didn’t purchase back in Spring. We’ll be back to Marusei and Odakan to spend more time there in a few days time. 

Finishing up at Maruboshi a stones throw away from Odakan. A sea of red and white glowing under the lighting. Quoting us prices on a number of koi in a pond, the prices seemed reasonable so we definitely need to come back. 

Tomorrow we start at Kanno, then see what the day brings! 

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