Chairman's Blog - January 2024
Date: 11/02/2024
The Japan Trip - Part 1

Firstly apologies for a delayed Blog, some of you will be aware I have been in Japan for 16 days.

I hope you'll enjoy me covering a few highlights of the trip, and not to bore you, I'll keep the updates short and sweet, and I'll of-course also bring you any other Society News in the process.

Returning to West London via the Pacific, Alaska, Greenland and Iceland on Friday night, and having experienced two dawns and two dusks, a phenomenon I still find strange.  The International Date Line is an imaginary line, drawn North to South over the Pacific and what essentially controls the start and end of each day, i.e. who (where) sees dawn first.

Getting used to the time shift on the way out to Japan did take a few days to overcome, although we were suitably busy when we landed in Tokyo on Thursday morning.

After checking into our Hotel in Hamamatsucho, meeting up with a number of other UK hobbyists and Judges who were also visiting the show, we jumped on the Monorail and headed off the the Tokyo Ryutsu Centre (TRC), a short ride from Hamamatsucho Station (300 yen) to see the show benching take place.

Our National Koi Show usually sees between 300-400 fish being benched, however the All Japan Koi Show (AJKS) sees between 2,300 - 3,000 fish benched - this show is indeed vast.

Friday morning we again headed off to the TRC, to collect our Shinkokai Press Passes, as both Koi Zanmai (Europe) and World of Nishikigoi (U.K.) were covering this event, along with Rinko Magazine, and Steve Gibbons who was looking after the YouTube Livestream for the Show.

The Judging of the GC and other Major Awards is done very differently to the U.K., it is also worth pointing out that this is a organised and run by both Nishikigoi breeders and dealers alike, known collectively as the Shinkokai.  Any shows in the U.K. are usually organised by hobbyist clubs, with dealers usually in attendance, or perhaps acting as show sponsors.

One of the reasons for The National Show recently introduced our Shinkokai Award; we want both dealers and breeders involved with The National, as this brings the best possible clarity and breadth of knowledge.

At 10:00 some 75 Judges, comprised of international Shinkokai dealers and breeders start the process of awarding GC. Votes are duly cast and counted, and the 'contenders' are bought to the front of the Hall, to be placed into their own vats. A further round of Judging then takes place to choose the Grand Champion.

54th AJKS GC shows the moment the GC was chosen from the 4 main 'contenders' (three Kohaku and a Sanke, all over 90cm).

On the Friday afternoon, I'd organised a meeting with the Zen Nippon Airinkai (ZNA).  The ZNA are essentially the BKKS counterparts, looking after the hobbyist element of Nishikigoi in Japan, and like the BKKS, also provide International Judges and support for koi shows.

Forging strong links with the ZNA given the almost identical history, is something myself and our Show Chair(s) are firm believers in, this also takes us back to my earlier point, where in my eyes at least, the U.K. hobby needs as wider 'pool' of knowledge and expertise when it comes to judging.

Various topics were discussed, and I ran through a presentation covering the History of Nishikigoi in the U.K.

After a nice meal in Tokyo on Friday night, Saturday was mostly spent chatting with other hobbyists and some breeders, firming up our plans for the following week, and looking at the huge array of koi (varieties) entered. The show also featured a Dream Koi exhibition, a separate area of the show where breeders can display their fish.

This year, not only was Mike Snaden of Yume Koi Japan judging, he also had fish on display in the Dream Koi Event exhibition - it was great to see Mike's participation, and chat to him on the Saturday.

I'll leave Part 1 here, and pick back up on the Sunday of the show, and an unexpected honour.

Other News

January is usually a quiet month in our hobby, given we are still in the depths of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. We'll be having both a show and society committee meeting in February, with the Society's AGM planned as usual for April.

As we stand there are no standing orders or other changes tabled for this years AGM; we'll be providing our usual wider update and reports for the AGM in due course, and these will be duly circulated to all our members.

Until next month, enjoy the hobby.


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