With my current schedule and workload it seem inevitable that I’m not going to catch up the few days I’m behind in my posts, the highlights of which have appeared on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/niigatanishikigoi.  With that in mind, and the fact that we are getting to the ‘meaty’ bit of harvest season, I’ve decided to fast forward to this morning’s action, the harvest of Nogami’s number 1 mud pond.

I’ve only ever been to one Nogami harvest, a semi secret one in 2009 which included the harvest of the 2008 Niigata Nogyosai GC.

Hisato Nogami is without question one of Japan’s premier Kohaku breeders, he has won the Niigata Nogyosai in 2008, 2011 and 2014, the Nagaoka Koi Show in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Grand Champion at the All Japan Rinyukai Show in 2010, and runner up at the All Japan Koi Show in 2011.  It’s pretty exciting to think back that I’ve witnessed all of that happen.

What needs to be considered with that amazing record is that Nogami Koi Farm has been, until recently, Hisato Nogami, no big team of staff, just one guy, trained under Minoru Mano, founder of Dainichi Koi Farm, indeed Minoru Mano was his uncle.  Now his son, Chikara, 24 years old yesterday, is learning the ropes having been to university in the USA.  Like many of the ‘bright’ young breeders, he can speak English, something that will surely stand himself, and the farm, in good stead over the coming years.

We rendezvoused at Nogami san’s home at 8.50am, myself, Baba san of Gekkan Nishikigoi magazine, Donald Kerr from the UK who owned several Koi in the pond, and Ricky Stoddart of Koi Wholesale who has been a long time associate of Nogami san, indeed he appears on a DVD with Nogami san when, if memory serves me right, Hisato Nogami declares him’the youngest Koi dealer in the world’.

From Ojiya the mountains in which the pond to be harvested was situated was completely shrouded in mist.  Indeed when I first flew the drone above the pond it soon disappeared from sight, and the pond just a blur through the mist.  Thankfully it was clearing rapidly as the sun gained strength.


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Nogami number 1 mud pond

Nogami number 1 mud pond

Donald was my passenger as we drove to the pond, and as he rightly remarked, the Koi look tiny in the pond from a distance.  When you consider how much water has been drained from the pond, you can still get a sense of the volume of water each Koi is given, something to bear in mind next time you think azukari fees are expensive, that a serious piece of Nishikigoi real estate they are spending the summer in!

Koi in Nogami number 1 mud pond

Koi in Nogami number 1 mud pond

Koi in Nogami number 1 mud pond

Koi in Nogami number 1 mud pond

Drawing net around number 1 mud pond

Drawing net around number 1 mud pond

Drawing net around number 1 mud pond

Drawing net around number 1 mud pond

As the net sliced across the pond all of its residents were enclosed within it and were cajoled to the bank where the truck was waiting.

Drawing net around number 1 mud pond

Drawing net around number 1 mud pond

Drawing net around number 1 mud pond

Drawing net around number 1 mud pond

Koi almost ready to harvest

Koi almost ready to harvest

The task of lifting the Koi within the pond fell to Chikara.

Chikara lifts the first Kohaku

Chikara lifts the first Kohaku

I’ve had an ongoing joke with Nogami san since I attended a Dainichi OB Kai event back in December 2008.  Nogami san had Kohaku and Showa on display.  I stated to I really liked the Showa, he stated back, ‘I am a Kohaku breeder’.

Second Koi out was a big Showa, you can see it further down the page, I’m sure you’ll agree he breeds half decent Showa too!

Chikara lifts a Showa

Chikara lifts a Showa

Whilst it’s common to see wives working with their breeder husbands, female staff are rather a rarity, the lady on the right has worked for Nogami as long as I’ve known him.  They make them of strong stuff here!  This pond has the luxury of concrete steps.  Nogami san used to look after ponds for Masao Kato, and they had steps built in, I don’t know whether this was one of the ponds he used at some point in time, it certainly makes the task of carrying Koi a little easier, it’s still hard work though.


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Nogami san's wife and staff carrying Koi up the bank

Nogami san’s wife and staff carrying Koi up the bank

The breeders make it look so easy to lift Koi of this size from a bowl into the transportation tank.

Hisato Nogami lifting Koi on the back of the truck

Hisato Nogami lifting Koi on the back of the truck

The Koi continued to be picked up into the child’s paddling pool a few at a time, and then carried up the back to the truck.

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

Chikara picking up Koi

2014 Nagaoka Grand Champion

2014 Nagaoka Grand Champion

Chikara and Ricky look on as Hisato Nogami lifts a Koi

Chikara and Ricky look on as Hisato Nogami lifts a Koi

Hisato Nogami lifting Koi on the back of the truck

Hisato Nogami lifting Koi on the back of the truck

Hisato Nogami lifting Koi on the back of the truck

Hisato Nogami lifting Koi on the back of the truck

Hisato Nogami lifting Koi on the back of the truck

Hisato Nogami lifting Koi on the back of the truck

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Close up of Nogami Kohaku

Close up of Nogami Kohaku

At the end of it all Nogami san had a big smile, something that is almost always present anyway, but a sure sign that the harvest went well.

A smiling Nogami san packing the net away

A smiling Nogami san packing the net away

Packing the net away

Packing the net away

Chikara's new pet

Chikara’s new pet

Back at the Koi house each Koi was carefully picked up, measured, and some photographed.  Most of the Koi in the pond were customer Koi, and I’m sure there will be happy customers tonight.

Unloading Koi at Koi house

Unloading Koi at Koi house

Unloading Koi at Koi house

Unloading Koi at Koi house

As mentioned, Donald Kerr owns the Koi which won the 2014 Nagaoka Koi Show, a Koi which continues to reside in Japan, and a Koi harvested today.


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Last year the Koi got a stone embedded in its mouth resulting in it not feeding, losing weight and condition.  This year it is looking great, although Donald felt the body wasn’t back where it was.

Donald Kerr filming his Nagaoka GC

Donald Kerr filming his Nagaoka GC

Nogami Kohaku - GC 2014 Nagaoka Koi Show

Nogami Kohaku – GC 2014 Nagaoka Koi Show

Below some other Koi harvested today.

Nogami Kohaku

Nogami Kohaku

Nogami Kohaku

Nogami Kohaku

Nogami Kohaku

Nogami Kohaku

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84cm Nogami Kohaku

84cm Nogami Kohaku

84cm Nogami Kohaku

84cm Nogami Kohaku

 


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