Last year I purchased my first Japanese azukari koi. Kevin Pham (Genki Koi) had been looking for an inazuma pattern kohaku for some time for me and Taniguchi Koi Farm had one available last fall. A price was set including care by the breeder through the following year. The first year of azukari is guaranteed a live harvest. I had hoped to see this koi in October 2018 but I was a few weeks early for mud pond harvest in the Hiroshima area.
Through much of October and November, I saw many koikeepers on Facebook, visiting koi farms in Japan. It seemed like Kevin was there for weeks and while he was in Hiroshima I texted him to find out the status of my azukari koi. How did she look? How much did she grow?
Sadly I received unhappy news. My koi did not make it to harvest. I think it could not be found and the most likely reason is the flooding in early July. The Hiroshima area had three days of torrential rains and the worst flooding in years. Over 200 people were killed, roads and buildings washed away – just terrible. I texted my cousin who lived in Mihara and she said it was like living under a waterfall. Perhaps my kohaku swam up and over the mud pond edge and ended up being covered with mud and sand. 😩
Well I’m ready to throw in the towel on future azukari koi. First opportunity and I already have a fail. I’m pretty sure Kevin felt bad as well since any dealer wants their customers to have the very best experience when koi are cared for in Japan. The usual conditions at koi farms is that should the koi not make it to harvest and a live harvest was promised…the breeder will offer a comparable koi as a replacement. Well now we run into another little problem. A comparable kohaku with an inazuma pattern was not sitting among the Taniguchi tanks. Big sad face. Not much news the rest of November since, Taniguchi-san was a pretty busy guy with fall sales. Finally, Kevin and Taniguchi-san were able to have a few conversations about koi that were available to replace my azukari that disappeared.
I was offered three very beautiful kohaku koi. The girls were all lovely, good conformation, pretty much a decision about looks.
So then I have a few hundred texts with Kevin, a phone call or two since I am that pesky customer. What’s this that I see on koi 3? How big are the koi? What do you think? I do like to hear the dealer’s opinion and in this case Kevin also relayed points that Taniguchi-san made about the koi. I really thought I might have gone with koi 2 or 3 and then Kevin reminded me of some traits that I have always mentioned I like. (See a good dealer always remembers customer quirks.) I like the redder beni and the pond builder and I always like something different. A two step pattern is not something I would normally gravitate towards but it’s simple and classy like the little black dress we all have in our closets. I used a photo editor to balance out exposure so that all the blue bowls were the same shade and you can see the difference in shiroji and beni in Koi 1. Kohaku 2 and 3 are lovely and I think many of us have koi that look pretty similar to these two koi. I shared the photo with my local koi friend, Michelle G., and she texted back that she had a koi that looked almost exactly like Koi 2. So I’m hoping Koi 1 will come out of the mud pond next fall looking bigger and better. She has a slight imperfection on the left pec but I was assured this is temporary and will grow out. I’m very pleased with this new selection, even if it’s not an inazuma pattern kohaku.
Azukari is once again a happy experience. Between Genki Koi and Taniguchi Koi Farm, I feel they tried their very best to make a disappointing experience positive again. Crossing my fingers that this koi makes it to fall harvest 2019!