Its 11.30pm and ive just set my alarm clock for 4.45 for the early cab ride to the train station . Bags are packed and the pc is the only thing not packed away so i can check emails etc etc before i leave . Every time i arrive i get a call from a certain customer that i knew who loves how things work out here and always wants to know how i feel about the whole trip so im going to sum it up at the end of every trip . This year i always new the trip was going to be differant , things have changed at Gatwick koi so much over the last few years with us now having three facilitys , supplying to the trade and now even winning major awards at koi shows .( Which reminds me , congratulations to Ian from the Worthing section of the BKKS for winning GC at thier closed show before i left with a Kaneco shiro utsuri selected by us in the spring before last !) . It wasnt long before this would have an effect on what koi we would buy out here . This year more than ever i hope that all of you can see we have increased the level of koi we have purchased , even the breeders are remarking that they are hearing from other breeders about the koi we are buying , but i guess thats up to you folks out there to decide , you are the judge and jury on that one ! As for the koi , personally i feel some of the the breeders have left it late before they started harvesting , with some not even having harvested before we left , but saying that we havnt had any trouble finding the fish we needed to buy bar some customers orders , I know alot of you are still worried about the yen and are holding on waiting for it to rise befoe coming on a buying trip , heres some news , it gonna come back to what it was for a long time if ever , but to be honest with the changes in the way things work over here and the breeders understand the need for us to watch the prices , things arnt that much differant to what they were . The only thing that has really gone up is the shipping , and you only really notice that on the cheaper koi . If you are just reading this , please scroll down to see saturdays blog as i have done 2 today . also dont forget that ill be travelling for the next 24 hours so cant answer emails , but i will monday mornings , or ill be in the shop tuesday morning , but give me till after 11am to catch up on things . So to sum up , a very good trip as usual .Even with an emrgancy dash to hospital , bag getting stuck between train and platform and breaking , phone not working over here , 11 earthquaqes in one night , a major lossed sale due to another phone not working in the mountains in time to reserve a koi , nine orders not being found , it was still one of the best buying trips ive ever had . High lights , once again so many to mention , Torazo selling us all some stunning koi at very resonable prices , Buying 4 very high class tategoi at Sakai ( which will appear in the KIJ section when i get home ) to leave in Japan for up to three years to grow to the right size for competeing for gc at koi shows in the uk . Shinoda , a breeder we havnt used for ages supplying some very good koi at very good prices , in fact so good i have sold half before i have even left Japan , the meal with Sakai was just unreal ,watching the koi coming off the truck at sakai and being able to select through them then and there ! finding amazing one off fish like the shiros at kawakami , yagenji and yamazaki .Getting some big chags at Marudo and two lovely showa , Finally my old mate Maruhiro san , all week i struggled to get the fish i needed out of him , we told him and then he came uo with the goods , even if it was right at the last minute , this guy gets bigger and better every year and mark my words , his gin rin Kohaku will be the talk of the world , all ready im seeing body shapes on them that not many can seem to match . So if you are thinking of coming to Japan , and read this and it seems that we are larking about and joking , we are , we enjoy what we do , every one who has travelled with us should tell you what a good time they had , but when the koi are bowled its all serious buisness and we work the onky way we can , to give customers no alternative to travel with any one else other than us around Niigata . Already we think we may have two trips booked for next winter so if yiu are thinking of it , get in quick while we have space .We are also looking at booking our trip for the all Japan show around end of January /February . Finally id like to thank the following people for making thsi trip possible , firstly Sue , and the Ginger chav and carl for keeping things going at home , all of the breeders who we enjoy working with so much , Rob , Chris , Alex and Ichi San , Ojiya hospital , Mark Gardener for being himself ! , Gary and Heather for helping make this one of the best trips ever ,7-11 shops , vitimin c and d drinks , and boss coffee for this late night entires on the blog , and finally of course you guys , the people who read the blog and face book who send the hundreds of messages that keep me going when im bloody tired and have doubts about my own sanity . Thanks to everyone , and i think the photo below sums everything up ..............see you for the All Japan trip !