“Could you put off your visit to Japan until the virus calms down?”

A disappointing week in Little Siberia. I received a message from my Japanese relatives asking us to reschedule our trip. The news reports have been filled with warnings about the spread of coronavirus in Japan. So just over a week away from departure, I cancelled our flights and lodgings.

So many fun things were scheduled for our trip. Kevin Pham , GenkiKoi, had arranged for a special one-day trip with a local guide, Nagatori-san. Mr. Nagatori was scheduled to drive just the pond builder and myself out from Hiroshima to the Sakai Fish Farm, Taniguchi koi farm and  Omosako koi farm. I was particularly interested how the Sakai farm visit was going to pan out. Our day trip was for a Sunday and the farm is closed.  Kevin said, ‘no worries, it’s been okay’d and you can go in to look around, Nagatori-san will have a key.’ Hmmmmm…I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to see these farms.

Another huge disappointment was canceling our three great gardens itinerary. This year the cherries are blooming sooner and spring in general is early. I was fully expecting to spend hours in the gardens , enjoying my favorite time of the year. Greens are always greener and blossoms look so fresh. Some of the gardens would still have had their winter structural supports up – yuki-gakoi and yuki-tsuri , which I wanted to see up close.  You often see photos of trees supported at the Hotel Kanbayashi  Senjukaku. We had booked a stay here to enjoy onsen, fabulous kaiseki and a walk to view the snow monkeys. Maybe the forces of nature will align during a future trip to Japan.

In Little Siberia we’re heading ever so slowly towards spring. This weekend we should hit 40 and stay above freezing for many days. There are a few days forecasted for the 20s but it’s definitely an upward trend. The pond builder always likes to break the pond ice as soon as possible. Last weekend he shoveled snow, swept off the surface, then took an axe to the aerator holes. We did get some more snow a few days later but the holes are still open. This weekend we might do some lilac trimming to get fatter, thicker plants in the spring. We will also need to schedule large tree trimming for our oaks and the maple next to the driveway.  If our oaks get too large, we could have problems of large limbs falling/ruining our ponds.

In preparation for koi coming home in a few weeks, the pond builder added a small filter to our current set up. This will start up the bio and we can pull it off to be the quarantine  tank filter. The pond builder is a little bored so he’s always thinking about building something else for the indoor pond. I think ‘it’s fine , why mess with it?’  Nothing new with the koi – always looking hungry and bored.

On the local front, I completed picking out some tosai for our club. We are donating a few Japanese koi for a season long project with our club. I’m hoping we will be able to have a few koi keepers tend to 2 or 3 koi each and we will make observations/comparisons over the year.  Half of the koi will go up for  our club auction this fall and the other half will be auctioned off in Spring 2021.  Small koi are always a gamble and these were very affordable. I selected these from our ‘local’ supplier, PS Koi out of Indiana. Hopefully these tosai will eventually put a few more pennies into our koi club bank account and members will learn something about koi keeping. I personally do not want to raise any of these tosai because they always get lost in our larger pond. We find them in the skimmer, they disappear for days, etc. Of course it is fun to grow little tosai out – unexpected good developments always make you think you got a deal.

March always signals the start of the koi show season. There is a large show the first weekend of March in San Diego. I would have loved to go see it but I thought I was going to be in Japan. Now that I am not going to Japan, I need a little asian fix. Southern California and my sister’s hospitality is a good alternative. And oh-by-the-way…there’s a koi show going on! The pond builder and I are always trying to convince my sister and her husband that they need a koi pond. They are very resistant. My brother-in-law is going to visit the koi show with me – maybe he can be converted…

Hopefully the coronavirus will run its course soon. I am also hoping that COVID-19 quarantine sites will not move into Orange County while I am visiting. Per my sister, a biochemist, I’ll be carrying plenty of cavicide germacidal cleaner wipes with me…