Six years ago in late 2014 I wanted to try my hand at something new. I was up for a challenge so on a trip to Japan bought a number of different fish for myself. The plan was that I’d leave them in azukari with the intention of entering them into one of the big Japanese competitions in future years.
Selecting fish for competing is completely different to choosing fish for selling or growing for the future, so it took a specific range of skills to carefully select the koi I wanted to purchase. I wasn’t confident, but knew that entering would be a good learning curve for me.
Time for the show
In March 2016 it was time for the show – the 33rd annual Wakagoi Koi Show – translated as the ‘Young Koi Show’. Officially the second biggest koi competition in Japan (behind All Japan), the Wakagoi Show is not based on the age of koi as it may sound, but on the size of the fish, with entrants allowed to be up to 63cm in length.
I’d successfully entered some of the lower level shows in Japan, such as the Nagaoka Show, but this was my first real attempt at entering one of the big ones. I was thrilled to be taking part.
And the winner is…
To put it bluntly the show was a massive success!
Throughout the show I picked up a number of prizes for first, second and third places, and was thrilled when I saw that I’d picked up a major win: a Tsubaki prize with my Kumonryu bred by Kawakami Koi Farm.
As the prize winners continued to be announced there was still one final prize outstanding – the Kokugyo Prize, or ‘Best in Size’. I really couldn’t believe it when my Sanke bred by Oishi Koi Farm was announced as the overall winner!
Suited and booted
I was so unprepared for winning any major prizes that I had not taken a suit with me. By the time the winners were announced it was too late to buy one so I turned to a friend for a helping hand… or should I say suit!
Takahiro Omosako, one of the brothers from Omosako Koi Farm was a star in helping me out. His suit was a perfect fit for me almost everywhere, although a couple of inches short in the leg. Needless to say I made sure my ankles were not included in the picture.