Japan Trip 2015: 1st day in Japan has been amazing

I've been awake for 29 straight hours and my body is starting to tell me I need some sleep... so, just a brief update on the day, and share a few pics I took along the way.
I woke up early on Wednesday morning in the UK to finish packing for the trip, and caught my cab at 8am. The flight at heathrow was delayed by 1,5 hours which was a bit of a concern because I had arranged to meet Gary Pritchard at Tokyo train station just before our 12.32 shinkasen train to Nagaoka , and even with the flight running to time , there was some pressure to make the meet point on time,
The pilot made up some of the time during the flight and the security and immigration side of things went smoothly at Narita airport. Travelling with only hand luggage brought an additional time saving at Narita and i got lucky with the Narita express train timings , and reached the meet point with around half an hour to spare.
Gary is well travelled in Japan and in particular, around the koi farms and my trip is based around travelling with him for the few days I am in Niigata.
We arrived at the hotel around 2.30 and headed out soon after into the mountains.
We stopped at two koi farms - Kaneko and Yagengi; it looked like both farms had moved on much of their stock recently and were awaiting further harvests. There was a mix of tosai, nisai and sansai looking koi at those farms, and then we saw some fish for sale in a pond in the middle of Mushigame that were at least as good as the best that we saw at those two farms - and it was just a pond outside someones house; not even a well known koi farm!

some equipment from outside one of the koi farms - harvest season clearly underway

Some people at Yagengi Koi Farm selecting through the farm's nisai harvest, I suspect, looking for fish to purchase.
this little pond facility situated by the side of the road, - not even in a koi house - had some of the best koi we saw today !

We visited Shintaro at the end of the day, and he was just finishing bringing in a harvest from today. Gary found out that Shintaro was harvesting again tomorrow and we are taggin along to watch the harvest - which is fantastic.
Before heading back to the hotel, Shintaro invited us to his house for a tea and we were joined by Mark Gardener and Seth Alden - a hobbyist from the USA. A green tea, and some good chatting later... and we headed back to the hotel; Seth is also staying at the New Otani hotel in Nagaoka, and the three of us went out for dinner at a cafe adjoining the station in Nagaoka for a traditional Japanese meal.
I took a few pics during the day - and with light fading by the time we reached the koi farms' premises - it was a bit dark to get good koi shots, but I'll try and get some good footage tomorrow at the harvest.
Thats all for now.... more tomorrow :-)