Question – ‘Waddy, CAN ‘KOI APPRECIATION’ BE TAUGHT’?
Answer – ‘NO’ Peter’!
Question – ‘WHY’?
Answer – ‘BECAUSE IT’S A VERY PERSONAL THING THAT CAN ONLY EVER BE EXPERIENCED FIRST HAND’.
Question – ‘Then if this is the case you say it is, why do expert Koi breeders and famous Nishikigoi people attempt to teach us Koi appreciation with lectures, photographs, videos and printed articles’?
Answer – ‘Because they wish YOU to believe they CAN and many out there DO’!
Question – ‘Can they’?
Answer – ‘No’.
Question – ‘Can you’?
Answer – ‘No’.
Question – ‘Can anyone’?
Answer – ‘No – apart from yourself’.
Question – ‘So if you do know Nishikigoi appreciation, you can’t possibly teach it to others’?
Answer – ‘Correct’.
Question – ‘So you can now appreciate Koi in this sense’?
Answer – ‘I think so’.
Question – ‘So how did you come to be able to appreciate Koi’?
Answer – ‘Well, I studied them closely, read every Koi book imaginable, memorised all the photos and varieties, collected them, bred them, joined Koi societies, took part in shows and even went to Japan several times to see them and buy them’.
Question – ‘So that’s how you learned to appreciate Koi’?
Answer – ‘No, it took me 14 wasted years of enthusiastic studies before I finally realised that I hadn’t a clue about Nishikigoi appreciation’.
Question – ‘What happened next’?
Answer – ‘At first I thought it best to find another job until I realised I had many existing commitments, so I decided to do something about the appreciation thing instead’.
Question – ‘And’?
Answer – ‘Instead of simply looking for the Koi I knew my customers would like and those that were easy to sell, I started to study very closely every single Koi I saw before me – less speed assisted me greatly.
I’ve spent many years of my life in Yamakoshi where millions of Koi can be studied at certain times of the year and very gradually the appreciation thing started to fall into place.
Of course attending all the major Japanese Koi shows also helped enormously’.
Question – ‘With assistance from the breeders presumably’?
Answer – ‘Not really, there was still a language barrier that didn’t allow us to discuss the finer things that I wished to ask back then, but many were always proud to show me their best tategoi’.
Question – ‘So viewing all these tategoi gave you a real insight to Koi appreciation’?
Answer – ‘No, that’s not the case at all, some breeder’s tategoi are other breeder’s tateshita’.
Question – ‘So you decided to learn Koi appreciation from only the top breeders’?
Answer – ‘That would be a foolish thing to do; Koi breeding is simply ‘farming’ where seeds (fry) are planted in spring and harvested in autumn.
Quality of crops varies annually, lesser-known breeders can also produce some gems – and they do’.
Question – ‘So to put it all in a nutshell, years of studying ponds of Koi, attending all the major shows, observing all the tategoi and the Champions led you to be able to appreciate Koi’?
Answer – ‘Well that’s a part of it but it’s not nearly all of it’.
Question – ‘What else is there’?
Answer – ‘Simply walking away from it all and flying back home leaves many unanswered questions like –
‘Did that particular Koi ever turn out as the breeder expected’?
‘If I had bought that Koi would it really have taken GC at the BKKS National’?
The only real way to complete the full circle is to buy them and take all the risks in shipping them – obviously that’s a job for the big boys.
After that, you can see the future results for yourself and not rely on heresy or promises’.
Question – ‘Can breeders help with advice when you get them back’?
Answer – ‘That’s so funny Peter – right after you’ve paid the breeder and the Koi has left his premises, that’s it – finished – you’re on your own!
I’ve bought many very expensive Koi from the breeders over the years and so have my customers – not one breeder has ever asked where it’s going to be kept, what temperature range it will be kept at or what food it’s going to be fed.
These guys are businessmen and also very cute ones, their job is to sell and then concentrate on the next customer’.
Question – ‘But surely the breeders must know ‘Koi appreciation’?
Answer – ‘If they do, it’s only with their own Koi – aside from those who buy stocks from other breeders.
Even the smallest breeder subscribes to every Japanese Nishikigoi magazine possible and studies them all very closely.
In there he can see the latest ‘trends’ and these latest trends are the ones he knows he has to aspire to’.
Question – ‘And who sets these latest trends’?
Answer – ‘The judges of the day by results given, together with whispered words from those within the Japanese Koi industry, it’s a bit like the latest fashions or new music releases’.
Question – ‘OK understood, but can’t we get advance information about ‘special Koi’ by knowing the name of the mother of the offspring or by attending the twice-annual auctions held by the likes of SFF; Momotaro; Dainichi and others’?
Answer – ‘Knowing the mother of the offspring is absolutely meaningless when you’re trying to appreciate Nishikigoi.
It’s only a promotional gadget anyway – something that proud overseas customers can place on their walls.
Tell me, if YOU had a ‘surefire certainty’ of a Koi you owned that would definitely take GC award at the All-Japan in future years – would YOU offer it for sale today at tosai, nisai or sansai’??????
Question – ‘You keep mentioning ‘Japan’ and ‘the Japanese’, shouldn’t Koi produced in other countries be included in Koi appreciation’?
Answer – ‘From what I’ve seen to date – no, and if you’re talking Go-Sanke, definitely not.
Enthusiasts can purchase every variety and quality they require from Japan, where there’s a far greater choice of Koi for sale from many different breeders who are all competing with each other’.
Question – ‘Isn’t that a bit of an elitist stance to take Waddy’?
Answer – ‘No, I say this with both feet firmly on the ground.
I’ve seen Koi bred in other countries take a few awards at very minor shows that get few entries, but they can’t possibly take these same awards at important Koi shows’.
Question – ‘Never’?
Answer – ‘Not unless you’re talking oddball varieties that pick up minor awards because judges think them to be cute’.
Question – ‘Would you say that good Koi shows are important in improving appreciation skills’?
Answer – ‘Definitely, no doubt about that – and not just for appreciation values, there are also health issues to note at these events’.
Question – ‘Health issues such as’?
Answer – ‘General condition, lustre, skeleton, pigmentation quality, unwanted skin blemishes etc.’.
Question – ‘OK, back to the beginning, regarding the question – Can Koi Appreciation’ be taught – I take it from your replies you still believe it can’t’?
Answer – ‘Absolutely impossible Peter’!
Question – ‘But once again, why do those in the Koi industry who are greatly admired by many, contradict your view and continue to give lectures, produce videos and write magazine articles in order to teach us all how to appreciate Koi’?
Final Answer, (by way of a rhetorical question) –
‘If I told you I can teach you everything there is to know about the appreciation of fine paintings and sculptures – would you believe me’?