I am now almost a full week late in updating the blog. I do harbor some ill-feelings against myself for not finding the time sooner to update this sooner because now I have too much to write, and I’m now unsure as to where I should start. If this entry ends up being quite lengthy (and/or dull) I hereby extend my apologies before I begin. If it turns out to be more entertaining than I (or my audience) anticipates, YIPEE! 🙂
I know I posted on facebook that I meant to update this last night, but obviously I was unable to; and I have a very good reason. That reason is best encompassed in a single word: KARAOKE!!!!!! So Devin and I drive into , WI last night and pick up Mr. Mike Swanson (a.k.a. the Father-in-Law) for a late night dinner. We hoped to get in earlier, but rush hour coupled with road construction makes for a very poor combination. After checking into our hotel (Side Note for Football Fans: we are 2 miles from the legendary Lambeau Field. Quite surprising how residential areas surround the stadium-I’m certain there is not shortage of football fans living there), we headed out to find a place-any place-to grab a late night meal. Wouldn’t you know it, there was a Thai Restaurant (closed) attached to a Pub (open) that was serving bar food with Karaoke on the side! Naturally, I got all excited, but pretended not to mind where the boys decided to eat. “Wherever you wanna eat is fine with me” was my nonchalant statement. You would never guess where we ended up. (I give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.) Yeap: Karaoke bar! Devin and I were surprised at how there were quite a few good singers here, and I have to admit, it was kind of nice not having to wipe off the blood from your ears when you leave the bar. Naturally, despite having to make the boys wait half an hour longer than they were planning to stay, I got my karaoke number. Another “YIPEE!!” for me!
Another cause of delay was the sightseeing agenda that Devin had planned out and “claimed” to have told me. We ended up spending four more days in Virginia to take in all the sights Washington D.C. had to offer, and what an experience that was. Growing up, we were always aware of not just our own culture’s history, but we also got a little taste of world history; America included. That being said, because there was such a broad range of histories that was to be learned, we only studied the general overview of everything. Visiting the Smithsonian, seeing the original American Flag, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Monument, and the World War II Monument for my own eyes helps make you realize the true significance of everything I read about in books. The historical significance was further highlighted by the fact that this weekend marked the tenth year anniversary of the monumental events in New York City. 9-11 is a date that will forever be engrained in everyone’s hearts and minds throughout the world.
When Devin arrived in Virginia, he called to let me know how the whole area was completely flooded by the recent hurricane that had gone through. (Yes, he called me. Don’t ask why we weren’t there together. Bottomline: I arrived the next morning.) Upon landing at the Regan National Airport, I had my first taste of taking a train in the United States, and I was pleasantly surprised at how convenient the Metro System was. When I arrived at the show site, I was greeted by many familiar and friendly faces, and once again I saw the spirit of Friendship through Koi shine through. Dale and Patti Gingerich was there to assist in benching and computer work (Side Note: Dale looks absolutely fantastic! I almost didn’t recognize him with the amount of weight he lost!) The ever-supportive Charles and Carolyn Phelps were also there to assist both in benching and in judging. Phil Gray and David Hicks also joined in to help in the benching of the many fishes along with Scott Kendall, accompanied by his wife Joni. Incidentally, Joni supplied us with sustenance in the form of wonderfully gooey and crunchy chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies. Yummy! It was a wonderful surprise to see Art and Nicole Lembke, and I am only sorry that I was unable to spend more time with them. I also ran into Dennis Longenecker and saw his Koi, named Minami, who has grown quite bit since I last saw her: both in length, girth and skin quality.
One of the members of our TOMiGAi Dealer family is Dan Phillips, whose first time to attend the show as a vendor happened to be that weekend, and might I say he did a fantastic job. Not only did he sell out completely of all the Koi that he brought in, it was also through his booth that I met a few fellow Filipinos who lived in the area. Needless to say, we were quite happy to see a countryman so far from home and on an occasion not typically what you would call a “meeting place” of Filipinos. Thank you very much to Joseph and Beth for the friendship and support that you showed TOMiGAi and our dealers.
Jim North did a fantastic job once again this year as the Show Chairman, and TOMiGAi would like to thank him for allowing us to be such a significant part of the show this year. Last year, Jim and I were having a conversation about how they would like their show site to look more professional by upgrading their splash guards. He invited us to perhaps sponsor this, which TOMiGAi was happy to do, and thanks to the wonderful work my father does in creating beautiful designs, we were able to come up with a suitable output.
Another hobbyist that I must make mention of once again is , of whom I wrote about in the previous years’ TOMiGAi Hobbyist. Last year he brought quite impressive fishes, which he raised himself in his “little that could” (read about it here). With most people, bringing their fishes to show stresses their Koi out because of the constricted space and absent filtration; for Turelle, however, bringing his fishes out to show is like bringing them out to vacation! However, Turelle has managed to upgrade his facilities so that he now has not a “little pond that could” but “little pondS that could.” It comes at a price, however, and that was at the section of the deck that his wife once claimed to be hers. Luckily, she has been bit by the Koi bug herself.
Incidentally, there were a couple of birthdays celebrated that weekend, that being said, Belated Happy Birthday to Jim North and Pamela Holmes! Only the true Koi Kichi would voluntarily spend their special day putting up, participating in, and tearing down a Koi Show.
The wonderful Mike Frady similarly did a wonderful job this year not only as the Club President but also as a participant at the show. That being said….
Congratulations, Mike Frady!
He won at the Louisville Koi Show with a beautiful Momotaro Sanke he named “Mimi”, and she reigned supreme once more at the ZNA Potomac Show claiming the Grand Champion Trophy. (A complete list of Show winners will be uploaded soon.) The show had an impressive roster of judges who did an excellent job, headed by the wonderful Dick Thomas together with Alan Stein, Robert Johnson, Charles Phelps, Gary Chin and John Sprinkle.
The total number of Koi at the show this year was 216. 2-1-6. Very special number. That was the exact same number of Koi that was entered last year. I’m taking those numbers and betting on the lottery now! 😛
Devin Swanson of Koi Acres gave a talk this weekend about his life in Japan as an American, and although I might have heard it quite a number of times both formally and informally over dinner, a cup of coffee or just through the course of regular conversation throughout the day, I never seem to get tired of it. It was such a special experience and I feel lucky to be married to someone who has gone through so much at such a young age.
I’m looking forward to posting my father’s photo journal of his experience at the Washington State show, which he had judged that same weekend. I heard many wonderful things about that show and just like you, I am looking forward to see the pictures, which is coming very soon, so stay tuned!