This afternoon we harvested the 2nd of the ponds containing Shintaro nisai Koi, in total there are 5 ponds of nisai and the harvests will peak (hopefully) with 2 ponds containing the best 20 or so tategoi that were put out in May.

You can see the post about this morning’s harvest  here – http://nishikigoi.life/2015/10/10/shintaro-koi-farm-nisai-harvests-day-1-part-1/

The afternoon’s mud pond is one of many that Shintaro has in Sangoku Valley.  The small building you can see in the distance is on the other side of the valley and adjacent to Shintaro’s fry ponds on the road into Mushigame.  Sangoku means 3 villages and refers to Mushigame, Katsuraya and Takezawa, the 3 villages that are around the valley.  This is a much photographed mudpond by visitors to Yamakoshi as it’s one of the most visible mud pond groups from the main road.

Shintaro Koi Farm mud pond, Sangoku, Yamakoshi

Shintaro Koi Farm mud pond, Sangoku, Yamakoshi

Whenever you see a large school of Koi swimming in the shallow muddy water of a pond awaiting harvest it gets the heart racing, the anticipation of what is about to come out.

Shintaro nisai Koi in drained mud pond awaiting harvest

Shintaro nisai Koi in drained mud pond awaiting harvest

Tony Sang Oldy had the business end of the net this time.

Tony Sang Oldy

Tony Sang Oldy

I wonder if shops in Ojiya and Nagaoka wonder why people are coming to buy paddling pools in October?  Shintaro’s new ‘Marine Paradise’ paddling pool, even more colourful that the Koi it was purchased to temporarily hold during the harvest.


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Kiddies paddling pool, it's not just the Koi that are colourful

Kiddies paddling pool, it’s not just the Koi that are colourful

The anticipation grows ever greater as the net is drawn in and the back of Koi breaks the surface and gives just a glimpse of its beauty.  Will the rest of the Koi be as good?

Nisai Shintaro Sanke back breaks surface

Nisai Shintaro Sanke back breaks surface

Sometimes there are disappointments, but when the Koi looks like the one below it’s a great feeling, see the Koi in full later in the post.  A very high quality nisai Sanke.

Nisai Shintaro Sanke

Nisai Shintaro Sanke

Things can get a little crazy in the paddling pool as it fills up with Koi.

Paddling pool of Shintaro nisai Koi

Paddling pool of Shintaro nisai Koi

Another very high quality Nisai Kohaku is placed into the paddling pool, again the Koi appears in full further down the post.

High class Shintaro nisai Kohaku

High class Shintaro nisai Kohaku

Shintaro nisai Kohaku and Sanke in paddling pool

Shintaro nisai Kohaku and Sanke in paddling pool

The pond contained quite a lot of weed which, on first netting, had caused it to lift enabling a lot of Koi to escape.  On 2nd netting this one still managed to evade the net at first.  As Kensuke Saito gave chase it found itself wallowing in ever shallower water.   Eventually it swam to Kensuke who picked it up and tossed it onto the right side of the net like a rugby scrum half feeding his backs.

Nowhere to run, a Kohaku makes an attempt to evade capture

Nowhere to run, a Kohaku makes an attempt to evade capture

I’ve written in the past few days how both men and women in these mountains are made of tough stuff.  Having pulled the net around the pond twice was looking a little fatigued.


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Tony Sang Oldy

Tony Sang Oldy

Another Sanke’s back breaks the water in the net.

Nisai Shintaro Sanke back breaks surface

Nisai Shintaro Sanke back breaks surface

With the harvest completed the Saito family pack up the net ready for another day, but still plenty left to do back at the Koi house.

Masaru Saito, Hiromi Saito and Kensuke Saito folding the net at the end of the harvest

Masaru Saito, Hiromi Saito and Kensuke Saito folding the net at the end of the harvest

Breeders of course are aiming to keep and grow female Koi.  As each Koi is sorted they are routinely checked for their sex.  There are many Koi that the breeder hopes are female from a number of indicators such as the shape, skin colour depth, lack of sperm, lack of oiboshi.  However, in truth it can be difficult, the only definite can be if a Koi produces sperm, or eggs, and there is no way to know if a female tosai has eggs.  Indeed there are times when even nisai are mistakenly identified.

Masaru Saito sexing nisai Koi

Masaru Saito sexing nisai Koi

Bowl of Shintaro nisai Kohaku and Sanke

Bowl of Shintaro nisai Kohaku and Sanke

Below are some of the Koi which came from this afternoon’s harvest.

Maybe the number 1 female Sanke harvested this afternoon.  Beautiful skin quality, I suspect that sumi on the right of the dorsal will quickly deepen in the concrete pond.

Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Female

Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Female

The Kohaku that appears in a couple of photos above.  Completely unique pattern.  Beni quality is simply lovely, very soft but thick.


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Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Female

Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Female

Lovely quality, interesting pattern, sumi please come…..

Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Female

Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Female

Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Female

Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Female

Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Female

Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Female

Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Female

Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Female

This afternoon I was again on the back of the truck lifting each Koi individually from bowl to transportation tank.  I can’t recall who carried the Koi up in the bag but I do remember seeing it truly shine through the side of the bag as they did so, the Matsunosuke Gin very evident in the afternoon sun.  However, the beni looked just a little too deep.  On putting my hands into the bowl to lift it my fear was realised, its gill covers were like fine sandpaper on my thumb.  Turning it over and sperm was easily squeezed from the vent.  But I was in love, this Sanke is truly gorgeous in every single way.  In no way is this a cheap Koi (please don’t ask me the price, contact your dealer) but it is a fraction of what it would cost if female.  A great Koi to cherish for years to come.  I didn’t measure him but I would think around 46-48cm.

Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Male

Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Male

Close up of scales and 'Matsunosuke Gin' on Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Male

Close up of scales and ‘Matsunosuke Gin’ on Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Male

There were several other Koi that emerged from the mud pond as male to break Saito san’s heart.  Here are a few.

Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Male

Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Male

Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Male

Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Male

Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Male

Shintaro Kohaku, Nisai, Male

Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Male

Shintaro Sanke, Nisai, Male

Hopefully we will harvest another pond of Showa tomorrow, can’t wait for that.


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