Some of our exceptional koi during Koi Hacienda’s koi hunting 2016
As I have announced already in the article “Koi hunting” here are some stories about some of the exceptional koi we have found in February in Japan.
We landed on February 11 in the morning at Narita Airport (Tokyo) and from there we took the train to go to Isawa to visit Toshio Sakai.
Although Thierry has been travelling there for years, for me (Thekla) it was the first time to meet this breeder. I was very impressed with this family business. Toshio is passing the baton to his son Toshi, but also the daughters are involved in the family business (administration) and his wife is the invisible center (caring for the welfare of customers). It’s nothing special that the whole family is involved in the company, but the “how” impressed me … very calm, very aware, very harmonious.
This philosophy is also noticeable in their attitude towards koi. Toshio with his Sanke bloodline Matsunosuke has been the first to win the Grand Championship with Sanke more than 1 meter. The Sanke of this bloodline are koi which require great patience (such as the breeder): They reach their full potential at 12 years !!! So … those who want to buy one … looooot of patience ?
As I told you earlier, we could not resist to buy 5 of these nisai (= 2 year old koi) Sanke (and tosai). Jumbo Sanke with certificate of the breeder.
And one of them is “Marylin” – making reference to the American diva Marilyn Monroe.
I immediately fell in love “Marylin” probably by feminism. Marylin has a black spot on the head – considered by the men around me as default. But I took it as a beauty spot. And when I noticed the lipstick (in Japanese “kuchibeni”), I immediately made the connection with Marylin Monroe. And in the end Marylin traveled to Spain.
Our koi hunting with Chogoro was many hours selecting, but we are very happy with our “hunting” and especially proud of to have brought specialties – 1 year old – such as Sakura Ogon.
Sakura means “cherry blossom” (this year on March 30 was considered the day of the full flowering of these Japanese ornamental cherry trees). A Sakura Ogon is a kohaku with a “platinum film” turning the red into a dark coral color with a breathtaking splendor.
More koi with Chogoro: Ginga Daya, Hariwake Daya and Ogon Daya. “Daya” is a very fine ginrin, less obvious than the traditional ginrin. However this slight shine helps the koi to accentuate its colors.
Ginga – for us also a new variety – was created by Kyioshi Kase crossing a Kujaku with a Hajiro.
Varieties such as Aka Matsuba and Benigoi are better known, but it is something special to have brought them in “tosai format.” For lovers of small koi ponds, small purse and “I want to see them grow” … here are many opportunities.
However: I would like to emphasize again in “The Adventure of a Tosai”. Although buying koi in Japan, although if there they are rigorously selected … koi are living beings and it is impossible to predict the evolution. A pretty mother and a handsome father do not automatically create beautiful children. Especially not if they have 300,000 children ?
The price of an adult koi is defined by many criteria (supply and demand, breeder, colors, patterns etc.) but mostly because a person has already assumed the risk that this koi has not developed “properly”.
With Hirasawa we discovered an almost extinct variety: Mukashi Ogon. Mukashi means “traditional Japanese way” and represent a very old, almost forgotten variety. They are reputed to grow very large. At first I thought “hm …. looks like a dirty Gin Matsuba”, but studying it more closely, there are differences. The most significant is that they have like a helmet on their head. And the koi we brought, the tail is especially nice with salmon pink tones.
And now the super good news: we will have 1 year, 2 years and 3 years Mukashi Ogon.
And the most spectacular for the end.
The history of our Mizuho.
Last year we sold some of our large koi (here again, the price is NOT defined by centimeters) and Thierry went for a special one.
When we were with Hirasawa, we looked at some, we asked for some prices … and when we got the Mizuho out of the pond and put it in the bowl, the breeder himself bit his tongue.
What a beauty !
He tried to show other koi to us – much better ? – but Thierry had caught that the breeder regretted it having given us such a “low” price for a quality koi of 3 years.
We were amused to see that even the experienced experts live the same as we (sometimes).
Our moments of admiration were suddenly interrupted when the Mizuho jumped from the bowl back into the pond.
There were at least 50 cm between the bowl and the pond. He took advantage of a moment when everyone was busy, to return to his colleagues.
We were all surprised and stood there with open mouth.
Hirasawa was to take an anesthetic and went back to catch him.
A few minutes later the Mizuho seemed calmer and we approached to take pictures. But when Hirasawa came to measure it, he still showed great energy and almost jumped again.
At the end we had no choice but to put him inside the sock in the anaesthetic water … and wait a some good minutes until he calmed down definitively.
Since it has really been a fight to get him, we have named him “Tatakai” (fight in Japanese).