1984. Gamo Koi farm – Yamanashi prefecture.
I mentioned this outlet very briefly earlier but, at the time, I had no real opportunity to see his Koi for reasons I will explain now.
Toshiyuki Gamo has produced some of the most superb Showa I have ever seen. At the time of my first ‘real visit’ he owned a small house in Isawa which was cared for by his father. Toshiyuki’s real home was in Nagano, some 100km distant and he divided his time between these two locations.
Attached to his Isawa house was a huge metal greenhouse, the glazing of which had long since disappered. In this house were 8 ponds and all were 3 metres deep. Furthermore they were all filled with Isawa water which is ‘tea coloured’. It was impossible to see a Koi below one metre.
In order to actually see the stocks for sale one had to make a prior appointment and Gamo San would slowly drain these ponds down to around half a metre in depth which resulted in the wastage of hundreds of tons of mature water.
He would have to climb down into the ponds by ladder to catch any Koi one was interested in.
I must point out here, I have descended those ladders many times and the pond base is far more dangerous than an ice rink!
However, my first memory of seeing Gamo Showa clearly for the very first time will stay with me forever. The pigmentation was just as incredible as the Sanke produced by Toshio Sakai, a close neighbour of Gamo San.
Much more to the Showa here, Gamo San is a truly wonderful human being and has taught me so much over the years. He is not a ‘pushy’ salesman and gives his time and experience in answering many of my questions over coffee after purchases have been completed.
Around 1990, Gamo San closed down his Isawa outlet and is now trading from newer premises in Nagano, roughly mid-way between Nagaoka and Isawa.
My first impressions were that of ‘complete and utter trust’.