The Beautiful, Koi-Filled Rivers of Japan

May 25, 2012

Fish Kiss

This was a great bit of luck. These koi are from this river in front of Yamaguchi’s Prefectural Office. It’s a pretty nice place; there’s a wrought-iron fence that reminds me of old England, and the garden area is something of an east-meets-west cross. Koi fish are numerous in Japan. You find them swimming randomly in little rivers throughout the city. Interesting fact: all the koi fish in natural habits in Japan are officially property of the Japanese government. That means, tempting as it would be to spirit one of the huge, majestic creatures away in the night, to relocate to your backyard, it would also be against the law. It’s also illegal to hunt or kill them. 

They’re great goofs. I had some stale bread and a raisin bun that I was breaking up for them. They go wild for being fed by humans. Albeit, it’s a really clumsy sort of wild. Because there are so many of them, they sort of bellyflop over each other in the water to try and get the bread crumbs before the other ones can. It’s really cute to watch. They can  also be quite coy (you see what I did there?) and will only come up to show off their colours if they think you have food. One of the swans that shares the pond with them got interested and came over when it saw I had food. The swan was picking on a couple of the koi, and when it swam away, this one fish followed and started drafting behind the swan. Now, you could tell the swan knew something was there, because it started turning around in circles, looking behind himself, trying to find out what was hiding behind its tail. The koi was too clever though, and eventually swam away without the swan noticing.

Also, this trip to the pond cost me my house keys. I was bending over the rail (the river bank is set about 3 feet up from the water) to get a shot, when all of a sudden I heard this fateful ‘plop’. Of course, I was the idiot bending over the river with my keys in my loose shirt breast pocket. The river’s about a metre deep in that area, and has a little bit of a current. Juuuuust enough to make me consider them a lost cause. Oh well, when I come back from my buddhist temple adventure this weekend I’ll have to get a new one made at Daiki (Japan’s version of RONA).


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