Our koi expert Pam Spindola details koi varieties in other issues of WGI Online. Each will open in a new window for easy reference.
Introduction | Sanke | Showa | Utsurimono

Koi Hunting and Achieving a Dream, Pam Spindola Makes
A Journey of the Spirit to Japan
Page 8

Text and images by Pam Spindola
Click images to enlarge

Mudponds of Niigata
It is late Friday morning and we have an appointment to meet the Ikarashis to see the harvesting of a mudpond. Mr. and Mrs. Igarashi and one worker are doing all the work. They started draining the pond earlier in the day. When we arrived the seine was already thrown and being pulled to one side. There was a gentle hush in the serene mountainside, and all that could be heard was the air rustling through the trees and the gentle ripple of the water as the net was being guided to the edge.
Remarkable examples of koi emerged from the muddy waters. Their colors were lustrous whites, reds, and patent leather black. Each koi was hand delivered to a koi tub and then carried to the vat on a small truck. The koi were surprisingly obedient when handled. No doubt this is credit to the breeders who know just how to transport these sometimes squirmy creatures. They must have seined the small pond three times within the hour we were there. I just kept thinking how much physically demanding hard work is required to raise these koi. Watching these breeders work in their shops and at the mudponds gave me a new appreciation of the intense labor required to raise these beautiful fish. In spite of this difficult work they seem to enjoy it and rightly take great pride in the results.  

Harvesting a mudpond  

Although we didn’t physically do the work, we seemed to have worked up an appetite. Kaz brought us to one of the favorite noodle restaurants of the area. The noodle soup with barbecued pork was delicious.

^ Chef - the best
noodle maker!
Lunch - noodle soup -
the best! >>

Nishikigoi auction
After lunch, we stopped at the Nishikigoi auction where the action was fast and furious. Bidders sat in a two tiered enclosed gallery high above a stream with floating containers filled with plastic bags containing koi. At one end of the gallery was the auctioneer and his transcriber calling out the lot number and the bidding price. In addition he manipulated a series of wooden blocks that kept slamming down as the bid increased.
The containers were being pulled to the outside of the building where men in waders organized the sold koi. There were koi everywhere.  


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