For 13 days I had the chance to plan our expedition for 2019 during a Japan trip and to check the conditions on site. This was so cool and I am really looking forward to this expedition! We will start in Nikko about 160 km from Tokyo. There we are going to visit the temple complex and other Japanese sights because everyone who travels through Japan wants to see a little of the attractions of the country. But being a fish enthusiast I am curious what is going on in the river flowing beneath the impressive red bridge in Nikko. Do shrimps or fish live there? To be on the safe side I had packed a 6 mm thick diving suit with gloves and a dive hood because it gets very uncomfortable without gloves and a hood below 14 °C. Indeed the water had a “pleasant” temperature of 11.5°C! The current was sometimes so strong so that you had to start by finding a spot you can enter and leave the river unscathed. It is always awe-inspiring to enter torrential waters. My yield was low because I didn’t have much time to fish: a small ugly goby – nothing else! But the “torrential mountain river” experience was unbelievable.
On we went to Niigata, one of Japan’s three bastions for koi. We visited koi breeders which we already had met at the British Masterclass and we were greatly impressed by the quality and size of the koi. I got permission to take underwater shots of the koi despite the fact that the Japanese are usually very careful about what is allowed to enter their koi basins. It involved disinfecting camera and arms, taking photos, disinfecting again and so on. But it was worth it: the first underwater photos in Japanese koi farm systems have now been taken! Kaneko San was very enthusiastic about the samples of the new JBL ProPond pond food, which we brought along and he even posed for photos while he fed.
In a few days we’ll tell you about the second part of the preparatory trip, which was quite close to nature with its dives and jungle trips.