A famous shop that offers a delightful array of cute goldfish goods and a goldfish scooping game that can be enjoyed year-round
“Kochikuya”, located in the center of Yamatokoriyama City is a famous goldfish shop. The shelves of the store overflow with colorful goldfish goods such as hand-towels, fans and tin toys, making Kochikuya a must-see spot for tourists from both Japan and abroad.
Next to the store, a number of goldfish aquariums can be found, and you can see name plates of goldfish scooping rank-holders proudly displayed on the wall. That’s right! Kochikuya is also a famous tourist spot for its renowned Goldfish Scooping Dojo (training facility).
It’s a place where disciples go beyond the simple fun of catching goldfish, and hone their skills at the various techniques of goldfish scooping. Currently, approximately 370 pupils of goldfish scooping come from both Japan and abroad to learn the techniques of the dojo master, Mr. Yasushi Shimomura.
What are those famous techniques which draw so many people to the dojo?
How many can you catch in 3 minutes?
Goldfish scooping that’s just like a sport
Mr. Yasushi Shimomura, the master of the “Kochikuya Goldfish Scooping Dojo” and a former champion of the All-Japan Goldfish Scooping Tournament, is a legend in the world of goldfish scooping. “Yamatokoriyama City hosts the tournaments, but didn’t have a single place to practice. So I decided, ‘I’ll make one myself’” says Mr. Shimomura, sharing his motivation for opening the dojo in 2009. Since its opening, he has worked tirelessly to spread the appeal and techniques of goldfish scooping.
One turn at goldfish scooping costs 100 yen (for 2 “poi” nets). Mr. Shimomura tells us, “Above all, loving the goldfish is important.” Contending with the goldfish while also feeling love for them is the basic philosophy of goldfish scooping. Even so, good technique is an absolute must. We will now share Mr. Shimomura’s secret arts of goldfish scooping.
First, you must choose your “poi” (the net used for scooping goldfish).
The truth is the battle starts the moment you begin choosing your net. You must look carefully at the thickness of the paper and strength of the glue on each net and select the one that calls out to you as, “the one.” The net should be inserted into the water at a 35° – 45° degree angle, or straight down, starting from the frame.
The net must only be moved parallel to the water’s surface. Water pressure will cause the net to tear if it is moved up and down against the water. When scooping a goldfish, place the net directly beneath its belly, and follow its movement with the net when the goldfish tries to flee.
Gradually lift the net at an angle to catch the goldfish, and place it in your bowl. The most important thing is to never hurry or lose patience. Closely watch the movements of the goldfish, and create a gentle rhythm as if you are speaking to them to scoop the goldfish. You must always have a calm heart when scooping goldfish.
So, how many goldfish do you think you can catch?
The hit All-Japan Goldfish Scooping Tournament draws goldfish scooping masters from throughout Japan
Every year the All-Japan Goldfish Scooping Tournament is held on the third Sunday of August, which is the “Goldfish Scooping Day”, and the 23rd tournament will be held in the summer of 2017. Champions from regional tournaments throughout Japan gather to decide who will hold the title of All-Japan Champion.
The winner will be the one who can scoop the most goldfish in 3 minutes. There are both team and individual competitions, with astonishing records of 173 goldfish scooped in the team competition and 87 goldfish in the individual competition. Some contenders even appear in costumes of goldfish, making every tournament a lively and colorful event that draws much attention from far and wide.