I have been communicating with Oom for many years now and have always enjoy his sincerity and pleasantly warm attitude. He always have deep respect for his seniors and appreciate those who have mentored him in his ranchu journey. Many years ago while in the company of Mr Thana, Vice President of the Thailand Ranchu Club, Mr Thana mentioned Oom as one of the young groomer that he hope will help carry on the good ranchu tradition in Thailand and I honestly believe Oom will fulfil that role very well. Oom is always very clear about his role in his club and fully support his club activities..impressing me with the attitude of club before self.
In 2010, while attending the annual All Thailand Ranchu Show, I witnessed Oom tosai fish which he groomed extremely well and it grew so large that it was entered in the adult Oya Class. Not only did Oom won the Oya Champion during that show, but that tosai also won the overall title of Grand Champion which is a remarkable feat. Never one who takes glory all for himself, he expressed gratitude to those who helped mentored him and helped him achieve so much success in the competition.
Just two months ago, Oom shared his trip to Japan where he spent some time with his Japanese mentor, Master Takahasi and he managed to bring back some very nice Takahasi black babies. I was very fortunate to acquire through Oom's assistance, a female Takahasi that I hope it can help improve my broodstocks.
These are Master Takahasi breedings as shown on Kingyo magazine
I managed to visit Oom at his home on two occasions and have come away impressed with his fishes. Oom stay not far from Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Some of Oom's grooming...
His set up and tubs all filled with surface duckweeds....
"If I knew what it was, maybe I could run in the right direction. But I always seem to end up going the other way."The late Well Beloved Country Singer...George Jones.
That roughly sum up what I been doing over the past few years in my breeding adventure. Knowing how to go about spawning and grooming, but because of my physical disabilities, I was very much hampered. I have to improvised much of my keeping as changing water and walking to neighbourhood fish shop to buy my supplies of frozen bloodworms was a very tedious chore.
Glad to put all these behind me and after my second successful knee replacement, I am finally healthy and can spend much time fruitfully and hopefully for 2015 Breeding Season. As always before embarking on breeding, the seed fishes were all taken out and quarantine and salt treated. I started spawning in early December 2014 and by my third spawn, I was already feeling the pressure as the hatch rates were very good and in my third spawn, there were literally thousands of fries...
These are some of my breedings for the year 2015....
Hope to carry on having another spawn or two as my past years breeding seed fishes are all coming into adulthood.
An immensely talented ranchu keeper with that cool, confident look and that warm hearted approach in the way he present himself and his fishes. If Atit is a Chef, he will in my honest opinion be Michelin Class...after all how he confidently present his fishes and shared his masterly opinions is a great show of his ranchu knowledge.
It was a good hour drive away from the Grand All Thailand Ranchu Competition and we intended just to spend an hour or so, but with this visit which all three of us were totally absorbed and mesmerized by Atit's presentation of his fishes, we ended up spending the whole afternoon. We only magnaged to rush back to the competition to witness the final placings and the presentation of prizes.
Atit started by bringing us to see all his fishes which lined up along one side of the house. The first impression is how clean his tubs and how spread out he keep his young fishes...no impression of overstocking and all his young fishes are healthy and full of vigour. Just some past memories flashed back and I remembered the same feeling when I visited Boss Ranchu where all Boss fishes also live in very clean , spacious environment. With much irony Golf mentioned that Attit used to work for Boss Ranchu and I guess the culture of good habits in Ranchu Husbandry rub off from Boss Ranchu to Attit.
Out came three stools sitting three basins and soon Atit placed some of his finest breedings for all of us to see and shared his opinion of certain features to look out for in the selection of young ranchus.
It was an usually hot day for the month of December... by Bangkok standard, and soon Atit brought us tissues to wipe our sweaty face and drinks to quench our thirst.
We could have spent the whole day at Atit and enjoy his witty comments and hospitality, but rush we have to and we happily left with a few bags of young fishes from Attit.
Oh yes... as a footnote, in one of the many tubs we saw some very good ranchus and Atit said it belongs to A Chonburi. To me that was an immense and happy surprise to know that A Chonburi is finally coming back and enjoying ranchu...below is one very good fish groomed by A Chonburi.
It is good to inculcate good habits and many a times, good habits are from the good mentoring from our teachers at school or from some other elders at home. For example as I am preparing myself mentally and physically to start breeding again, I will make sure that all my utensils for breeding, my fishes and myself are all ready for the task ahead. As Singapore is in the tropic, I have to wait for the monsoon season to bring in the rain and cooler weather for breeding activities to happen. Meanwhile I start buying my few cans of brine shrimp eggs and if I have some older stocks still in the fridge, I would take it out to test hatching them.
Recently I received a small bag of brine shrimp eggs. The hobbyist who gave it to me was hoping that I can hatch them as he tried without avail. The sad part is this hobbyist friend did not do his pre spawn preparation..he did not experiement to see whether he can hatch this bag of brine shrimp eggs nor did he experiment feeding the eggs to any of his bigger fishes. So since he already spawned and fries are free swimming and fries need food..in desperation and since he couldn't hatch the eggs, he fed them to two of his recent spawns...the young spawns all died.
On opening the bag, I smelled very strong bleach and since it is decap eggs, I figure that the eggs were all bubbled in bleach solution and once the outer shell of the egg were burnt off, the eggs were sieved out and dried before being pack for sale. Feeding the eggs without curing the bleach would kill any fries and even older fishes. To counter the bleach problem, I used vinegar and bubbled the eggs in it for 20 minutes to remove the bleach and followed by washing under tap water. On the bag, instructions did mentioned no hatching required but I tried hatching the eggs... it will not hatch and I deduced that the bleach solution used to decap the eggs is extremely strong and the eggs are just not hatcheable. Since I did cure the eggs, I fed them successfully without mishap to some of my fishes.
Sometimes being senior in age and experiences, these are life learning experiences that I share with fellow hobbyists hoping that less will make mistakes that can be avoided and that irregardless of what endeavours we undertake, it is good to have good discipline and always think and plan ahead. Looking forward to breeding season again and it is much ado about planning...
A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door... Confucius
It was a good field trip up north to Bangkok for the mid year All Thailand Ranchu Comp and also some farm visits. The weather was extremely hot hovering around 38C and from the airport, my Thai friend, Golf drove 2 odd hours to visit Prapun and to enjoy his manificient Oyas.
The Thai Comp held under a recent coup threw up many surprises. Last year at the All Thai annual comp and because of the political climate and fear of unrest, entries were affected(130 bowls), but this mid year comp(supposedly smaller comp vs Annual All Thai)held under a recent coup and martial law surprisingly drew entries of 170 odd bowls...quite a few late entries were shelved because there wasn't any spare bowl left.
Just the three Tosai classes yielded 100 odd entries and were mainly dominated by their local breds and three Thai breeders namely Sumo, AorTg and Navamin figured prominently.
This year thus far have been a very busy year for me with breedings and work and with the proliferation of Facebook and Watsapp messaging, I been kept continuously in the ranchu loop. As I hunker down at this mid year break and it is definitely going to be a break.....
It can be obsession and personally to me .... Good Obsession ... Everything about ranchu is swimming. The value of a ranchu is ultimately valued on how well it swim. I know some might put me on the back burner, thinking my obsession with swimming overwhelm every other beauty/aspect of ranchu...its okay...I feel good having this strong view on swimming and believe that as much as I might be different or whoever else is different, we as fellow hobbyists should give each other space to learn...to express and to make mistakes...wouldn't you think so too?? Being compliant and never questioning and never pushing the boundary of knowledge will just keep us stagnated and forever bobbling in the middle of the ball park. So what exactly is swimming and what is a "good swim" when we look at ranchu. If we look back at my earlier blog about riding a bicycle without handle bar.....
it literally express in very simple understandable form how a ranchu without dorsal fin, in its movement is just like a human riding a bicycle without handle bar. To go forth, riding a bicycle without handle bar...the power of control and movement is all shifted to the waist and the legs. In ranchu swimming, the ranchu is man made without a dorsal fin, the power to swim forward is all thrown towards the back of the ranchu and shifted through the peduncle into the tail. So how does one view a ranchu swimming as good swim....what is swimming??? In the mid 2000's where there wasn't much guidance from ranchu seniors or Japanese Masters as ranchu was just taking off, we were all blessed with the advent of youtube. Suddenly hobbyists get to see downloaded videos of ranchu swimming. Below is one video of one of my early ranchu and I repeatedly come back and look at it and have shared it many a times with hobbyists on the basic movement of the ranchu tail when it swim...this video is very simplistic because the ranchu swim in a casual leisurely manner and carry its tail with nobility. Please note that this is not a perfectly correct ranchu and might be just borderline comp grade, but it display the swimming that is (imho)deemed ideally basic in good swimming...the swinging widely of the tail in a rhythimic manner and consummating power in the swing of the tail... gracefully and powerfully.
A ranchu that swim well will not use its head to swim...just like a tiring runner crossing the finishing line with both arms fraying...a badly constructed ranchu will repeatedly jerk it's head to generate power just like rappers doing their shoulder lean. A good ranchu swim with its tail and not its head.
Once one understand how to see good swimming, the viewing of ranchu in a bowl takes on new dimension and it will be just a matter of time for that understanding of good swim to generate interest in learning/understanding the structural anatomy of the ranchu and how it affect the swimming.
AC/DC....An Australian Band I used to rock to during my younger days and what an appropriate way to remember AC/DC as two nights ago, the air hose to my Black Babies tub was dislodged from the main splitter and I suffered much casualties.
As much as I am careful and do have two AC/DC air pumps to back up my ever steady Hi Blow, but there wasn't any air outlet from the AC/DC to back up my Black Babies tub. If there is, at least if any power trip or dislodgement of air hose, the AC/DC pump would provide additional 6-8 hours of bubbling. In this case, there was a dislodgement of the air hose; so it is human error and I lost quite a substantial amount of Black Babies. It is good to once in a while check all air tube connections.
Breeding is time consuming and energy sapping. Just as I thought I can sit back and enjoy this year spawns, mishap happened. Nevertheless I hope I can spawn again as what I have left from the set back is good enough to spur me to breed again.....I wish I could have save more of the Black Babies... I have to cancel some sales agreement and also cancel some decent culls that I intend to give some new ranchu players.
I enjoy this comp as much as I would have enjoy any other ranchu competition. I do see much improvement in the Tosai and Nisai Classes comparing it to last year Oozeki Competition. The atmospehere was great as the weather is cooling and there wasn't much distraction from other social activities which usually coincide and uses the same venue.
The story of Ubasuteyama has been used to enforce morals of taking care of the elderly and to be a dutiful son (or daughter). In one story, the dutiful son from a poor family took his aging mother to a mountain on a snowy day, but decided to bring her home despite local customs of leaving aging mothers on a mountain to die alone. In the story, the local Daimyo heard of the incident and asked everyone to come up with an idea of taking care of their aging mothers. Long time ago in a poor remote village, elderly on their past sixty has to be taken to the mountain and be abandoned. A mother on her sixties said to her son " My son, I'm already sixty. It's time for me to be thrown away in the mountain". Hearing what his mother said, there was bitterness on his face. It's such a great courage to take her to the mountain and desert her. " I can't be cruel to you, mother" he said. " The old woman next door and the old man next block were already taken to the mountain, so you have to take me also. It is a regulation in this village that old people had to be taken to the mountain." Upon hearing that he was forced to do what was asked of him.
He carried his mother on his back, trudged through hills and valleys until he was deep in the mountain, far away from all human habitation. He brought her down under the shades of trees. At the moment of parting, the son was hesitant to leave his mother alone until the sun started to sink. "It will soon be dark, she said. “All the time you’ve been carrying me here. Hurry and get home safe". Saying so, she bid him farewell, bowing with her palms together. Left alone in the mountain, the old mother had no means of returning home over fields and hills.
The son can hardly take a step away from his mother feeling so guilty of letting her die there. Not far from the place where he left her, it began to get darker and he lost his way. While looking for the way home, he stepped on twigs scattered on his way. He eventually thought that his mother dropped them one after another to serve as signs on his way home. There was so much pain in his heart after knowing that even in such a difficult situation and facing her own death, his mother has not abandoned him even if he has abandoned her. The son hurried back to his mother, took her back home and hid her in his barn.
The lord ordered his villagers to make a rope out of ash. The son told his mother "The lord ordered us to make a rope out of ash. We tried it but it's impossible. If somebody can't do it, we will have to pay more tribute to him." "My son. It's a piece of cake. I'll teach you." The young man made a ring of straw rope, put it into salt water, dried it and burned it as he was told to do. Then, he carefully brought it to the lord.
"You are a skillful man. It's wonderful. I'll give you a more difficult question. This is a stick. You must tell me which end of this is the root and which end is the bough in a few days." He took the stick back to his house. The young man was at a loss with the stick and asked his old mother for advice. "It's a very piece of cake. You only have to bring a basin full of water." The young man prepared the basin and put it into the water. "Look! One end in the water is the root and the other end up the water is the bough."
The young did the same thing in front of the lord and he was admired. But the greedy lord did not give up to give a more difficult question. "You're a very clever man. I will give you the most difficult problem. You must make a drum that will make a sound without being beaten by a man."
He came home pale with a drum and went to his mother for help. "That's very simple. You only have to get a few bees in the mountain. The mother loosened the leather of the drum a little, put the bees into it and fastened it again. The drum began to produce sound without being beaten.
The young man handed the sound drum to the lord. "You are great, young man! Did you solve the three difficult problems by yourself?" "My lord, forgive me for cheating. The truth is... it's not me but my old mother who solved them. I know that you gave an order to throw away the elderly in our village, but I couldn't do such a cruel thing to the person who had loved me more than herself. After trying to leave her in the cold depth in the mountain, I found the twigs she dropped one after another to serve as my guide home and so I got back to her, brought her home and hid her in my barn. She solved all the difficult problems you gave me. It is to say that the elderly know more things than the young, though they cannot work harder." The lord silently thought a second and said "Young man, you are right. I was wrong to misjudge the elderly. From now on no more taking the old in the mountain to die and instead, I want everybody to take good care of the old very well." Ref:
Affectionately known by his name Sumo and a soft spoken giant of a man, Sumo is one breeder that I been wanting to visit for a few years now. He is a business man by trade dealing in health related products and his free time is spent managing his fishes which are all housed in 15 tubs on the roof top garden of his home.
Sumo started out playing ranchu as a student and refined his craft along the way and all in all he had 15 odd years ranchu experiences.
I really enjoy this trip to Bangkok...the food and the hobbyists I met are great and I get to learn much from Sumo especially the genetic side of breedings. Here is a breeder who is very confident in his fishes and have in depth feel of what might come out in his pairing of his seed fishes. Like quite a number of hobbyists and breeders in Thailand, Sumo is very into Okayama fishes especially Kashino. He have deep respect for Master Kashino and have glowing words of Kashino fishes and how he uses Kashino bloodline to develop his own line. From the three spawns I saw at his home...the uniformity in type and high percentage of good identical large tails are exemplary. I hope I have many chances to visit Mr Sumo again over the coming years and learn from this young master of his ranchu crafts.
It was with much deliberation and after much consultaion with my Thai friends that I decided to attend the 2013 All Thai Ranchu Show. Also on the agenda was the idea to visit some ranchu breeders. The political upheavals have caused much anxieties, traffic jams and escalated violence and the comp site was just 10 minutes from a university where students fought with police, someone got shot and a bus was burnt.
Nevertheless the only event I saw was this huge colum of cars all carrying the Thai national flag and from what I was told...they were heading to one of the TV Station to exert pressure on the Television Centre to broadcast their grievances.
According to the All Thai President Nattavut, there were much thoughts by the show committee deliberating whether to go ahead or to cancel this annual event as fear for safety of contestants and visitors is a heavy responsibility. Also will the turnout and participants be a dampener. As the event unfolded, entries dropped about thirty percent and instead of the two hundred odd bowls for this annual affair, this show only garner 150 bowls...taking into consideration the crisis facing the nation, those in attendance and participating must be true blue ranchu keepers.
Below are the winners and as the show was held in door with artificial lightings...the photos weren't well taken...my apology and also my photo skills are just click...click....click.
Oya Class Winners.....
Nisai Class Winners......
Tosai Class Winners...
Small Tosai Class Winners....
Junior Tosai Winners.....
The Oya winner and the Grand Champion Mr Prapun....