I managed to talk to various people at Niigata Nogyosai in Ojiya, Niigata, held on October 27- 28th, 2018. The five people I interviewed are all heavily involved with Nishikigoi in various ways. Please find out!
If you ever visit Japan, you will notice that it is very densely populated, and a house with a big garden is a rare luxury. Not to mention a big pond in the back garden with nishikigoi (Japanese coloured carp) swimming gracefully in it. Nishikigoi themselves are expensive; a big and good quality one can easily cost a few million yen. Thus, being able to have nishikigoi in one’s garden is a sort of status symbol in Japan. If somebody says, “on weekends, I enjoy feeding my nishikigoi in my garden,” you can be pretty sure they are boasting. For most of ordinary Japanese, nishikigoi are something to enjoy when they visit famous temples’ beautiful gardens.
Thus, I was surprised to learn that there are quite a few people around Manchester who keep expensive nishikigoi in their own ponds. I found out about it when I somehow bumped into a man who belongs to a Nishikigoi society. I had a chance to visit his house one day, and after having a tea in the living room, he said, “Would you like to take a look at our nishikigoi?” and opened the door at the corner. I was assuming that the door would lead into another room, so guess my surprise when I saw a big, beautiful pond in the next room! Well, it was a sort of a conservatory, only, with a big pool in it. In the pool, there were many beautiful nishikigoi swimming. He and his wife sat at the lounge chair next to the pool, and said, “You know, it is quite relaxing watching the nishikigoi here.” I bet!
So I realized that there should be nishikigoi dealers around here in Manchester. And I found one! Since I live on curiosity, I visited there as soon as I managed to make an appointment.
Now, please check out this video.
This place is called UKNishikigoi, which opened in 2008. One of the owners, Chris, said he had been keeping nishikigoi as a hobby for 25 years, but one day, realizing how big the demand for niskigoi was in the UK, he decided to become a dealer. It seems someone brought back nishikigoi from Japan for the first time in the early 1970’s, and since then, its popularity has been steadily growing.
All the nishikigoi they purchased in Japan arrive in London in around two weeks after they were purchased at Japanese dealers, then they have to go through 8 week’s of quarantine. This process is necessary to make sure there are no bacteria on them and to allow them to recover from a long, tiring trip from Japan. Nishikigoi are put in a plastic bag with oxygen and a little water, and it takes up to 36 hours to get to London, so no wonder they will be tired. Chris and John sometimes buy as much as 2 tons of Nishikigoi, so the cost of transportation is really substantial. However, Chris said the best thing about this business is going to Japan once a year to find and buy good quality nishikigoi.
UKNishikigoi takes care of everything you need to keep healthy nishikigoi, starting from designing a pond for your garden and maintaining good water quality for the pond. So, all you have to do is to visit them, if you are interested in nishikigoi.
I would like to express my thanks again to UKNishikigoi!