Over the last few years we have tried / gambled on leaving koi in Japan . Its always a gamble and i have to say so far we have had alot of fun and always had good results , and hoped it was a way of building up a good collection of larger koi suitable for showing in the uk . With Satoshi Tanaka koi we have even got firsts and seconds at the nogyosi show in 35 and 45 gin rin with his showa that we have left in Japan . So it was off to this breeder first thing this morning as last year we bought a high class nisai gin rin showa and , and his number one sansai . We arrived to a big smiley face and entered the koi house and was pleased to hear that both koi had come out of the mudpond . The nisai/sansai was alittle dissapointing as some secondary hi had emerged along the top of the flank , and the sansai /yonsai hadnt grown at all . I was told that due to the lack of rain the water had dropped and the koi not fed properly so no growth . I had heard this already from other people who had left koi last year so was prepared for this , Satoshi apologised and said he would return the yonsai back into the pond again next year free of charge , a very nice gesture , so i asked him to keep the other showa as a present .This may have seemed harsh , but with shipping costs so much it wasnt worth shipping the koi , You have to remember that leaving koi is always a risk , and you have to take the good , the bad and the ugly ! , some of you reading this may be a little surprised and expecting me to blew a fuse and rant and rave , may be ive grown up a little , or may be i undertsand koi a little more every year and somtimes you have to take whats happened and move on , for those of you who remember Bill Mcquirk , he had an expression i could never agree with when he said it , Gary thats koi , and one day you will get it , i guess i do now !. With the yonsai showa going back to the mudponds and Tanaka having very low stocks we shook hands and moved onto Seijero , another showa breeder .The breeder wasnt here so we had a look round the facility and again stocks were very low so we popped round to another breeder called Kobayashi who has white tiger bloodline shiros , and my god they were white ! Only three sansai took my fancy , one being sold and the other two a little too pricey . Oofuchi then called and asked when we were coming round , having visited three breeders and buying no fish , how about ten minutes was my reply ! Oofuchi is one of my favourite breeders , you can get many many varietys for a fair price , and every year its the same , fill your boots and four to a box .Somtimes a couple of bigger koi and its all good !This visit was a little differant , i found myself really being fussy , the reason s that was i could , the quality and quantity was pretty good . After many many visits to Japan , you start to get a feel for how the breeders work , I know Oofuchi likes you to get there , get your fish , and go so he can harvest again , the more koi you can buy ther better as well ! As most of you know i try to take pics as i go along , this time i knew oofuchi was really busy , so i decieded to spead myself up , within ten minutes we had nearly 20 koi in bowls , may not sound alot but these were all sansai and yonsai with some fish near and over the £1000 mark . I spent a minute or two checking and sexing the koi , most were female ( i cant tell you which is which as i have left my book at Yagenji which i will get tomorrow and fill in the missing details on the web pages ) after a small amount of haggling a verry good deal was done and the fish seperated into bowls , two more fish were needed to make a box so i got two very nice Kujaku and the breeder gave a price which i thought was a little high , he pointed to the larger kujaku and raised his hand up , this seems to be the international sign for better quality / expensive etc etc etc , i looked at him at him and said thanks for explaining and pointed at all the bowls full of fish and he made a new price that i was happy with . He then looked a bit glum and asked if i wanted to do all individual photos , looking at an hours work i said no , ill take a quick one of the bowls and he seemd to get even happier and said much better , much quicker , a man of few words . All done and dusted in 40 minutes and the fish were taken away to be prepared for shipping . The agent came over and said Oofuchi was very happy and said that Gary was very quick today , that was the general plan as i had customers with me that wanted to get up to his better quality pond and wanted him to be in a good mood . At the other facility we spent ten minutes looking and looking , we then bowled a 65cm aigormo which was great , a showa bred from isa and dianichi parents and a stunning 70cm shiro utsuri that as it come up in the water i nealry asked him to return as i expected it to be an outragious price(, just becuase this breeder is a volume breeder you must also remember that he is very famous for his kujaku and shiro utsuri and has some stunning examples ) All three were then priced , and i have to say were amazing value for money but were still alot of money , two were returned and we where left with the shiro utsuri , which was nothing less than stunning . Oofuchi made a couple of offers and i nearly bit his hand off , and i knew i already had some very good shiros on this trip already , but couldnt leave this one behind , i think he knew one more offer and it was going to the uk , he did and it is .A very high standard koi ready for showing in the uk ! After luch we realise that we hadnt seen the Yagenji brothers for 48 hours and were soon on our way as we had also heard that my three yonsai had come out of the mudponds and were ready for viewing . On arrival i was taken straight to them and i saw the sanke and was over the moon with it , 66cm it had grown well and was well happy with her .The first showa came out and it was looking well , it had grown to 67 cm and had a little secondary beni where i think sum i has still yet to come .The third showa had grown well but not come out looking so good , every one looked at me expecting the worse , i just smilled and said thats koi !!!!! I turned to the younger brother and pointed at the koi and said present , he laughed and started to ring the other brother and i said no , its ok no problem , i then dragged him off to buy some koi as i needed to add some to the shiro i bought on saturday . I was really shocked at how well i had taken this all , three disapointments and still smiling with Bills words ringing round my head . The shiro from saturday was then bowled again and i found a very nice Maruten and waqs looking in the main pond when The older borther turned up next thing i know there is a showa in the bowl with my two koi , one box said yagenji , not my showa i replied , it is now , swap for big showa !!! A very nice gesture from one of the friendliest farms in the area , and on of the reasons why i always keep going back there . After this i found some nice nisai kujaku and selected four females and a wierd looking gin rin shiro utsuri and more Yagenji koi farm koi on the way to the UK . On the way to Yagenji we saw Saito from Shintaro koi farm and promised to visit afterwards, so we made our way down the hill and had a good look at his koi . I love this guy and his well know for his sence of humour , but ill tell you now his koi are not for the faint hearted , very very high quality with prices to match and we only buy one or to koi here a year . With it getting dark and knowing i am not going to be buying his best nisai sanke again this year , i had a look at what i thought was his male pond and found a few nice looking sankes , female he said , female , female , am i in the wrong pond i wondered ? I said oh and walked away , and he said come and look Gary , Tescos prices , and they really where !!! I looked and looked and i coudnt see anything wrong with the koi , they are NOT high class but looked very nice and attractive to most koi keepers . Bearing in mind that these koi will grow well i thought id buy a few so people can own an attractive Shintaro koi at a resonable price , but as it was getting dark and i really couldnt believe what he was selling me so an appointment was made to come back the following day when it was a bit lighter . Anyone looking for a nice go sanke please remember that these will still not be cheap but will be very good prices for sanke and nisai of this quality . Really looking foward to going back as i have reserved three with the idea of purchasing many more , one particuler koi i fancy growing myself in a year in the new showered pond . First stop in the morning is Nogami as Heather doesnt want to buy another Kohaku , so why does she want to go to one of the most famous kohaku breeders in the region ...................rude not to !!!! Photos in order , Oofuchi 70cm yonsai saragoi , 60cm yonsai kin kikikoryu , 45-50cm kujaku sansai , five boxes of mixed sansai 45-55cm to be rephotographed in the Uk , as i have said i have taken rough measurements , sexed and priced all these koi but the details are in a book i left ata yagenjis , so when the go uo on the website ill price and other detail tomorrow . Yonsai 70cm shiro from Oofuchi , simply stunning ! .Sanke and showa yonsai from Yagenji , nice sansia kujaku rejected as it had a little dent on the head , shame as it was really nice , nisia kohaku , showa and shiro all female from Yagenji . then the four female kujaku and gin rin shiro( male we think ) all around 45cm also from Yagenji .