The 17th/18th I made the trip to Tochigi for the NIPPO (Nihon Ken Hozonkai) National Exhibition. The weather the first day was grey, cold and overcast, the second, sunny, cold and windy. Luckily the rain forecast for the first day held off till after dark.
The opening ceremony at 9:00am.
The first day is traditionally for the medium sized breeds. Since there are generally next to no Hokkaido, Kai, or Akita at NIPPO shows, this day is for the Shikoku and Kishu. We had 97 Kishu entries, 89 Shikoku, and 9 Kai.
Shiba entries for the second day totalled 562.
The winner of the Prime Minister's Award (Best in show), a Shikoku male named Iyo no Gakushun. There was a bit of drama at the end of the second day when the best in breeds went up against each other. Gakushun's handler collapsed in the ring and had to be taken away on a stretcher. After a short pause, the judges went on to award Gakushun the Prime Minister's award.
The Shiba best in show was a male named Daigorozakura.
I went on to visit my good friends at Sai no Kuni Inoue So, a Kai kennel, on the way home. I was treated to their always amazing sushi, and got to look at some of their new dogs.
It was a busy, but definitely exciting and eventful weekend, with people from all over Japan, and overseas, in attendance. I showed a female in the 'waka 1' class for one of my friends, and though we did pretty poorly as far as substance goes, the bitch is excellent, and we placed 5th. 2 of her siblings were also in the ring, with one of them taking 1st place. She was shown by a friend and fellow NIPPO Chiba branch member.
We had some other successful placings out of the Chiba branch, and some disappointments, but I think we managed to drink enough to melt the weekend into its proper place.
I had the pleasure this year of meeting the members of the Norwegian Shiba Club, some of whom were attending the NIPPO national for the fourth time! I have an immense amount of respect for their efforts in making such a long trip to learn and see the Nihon Ken in its native country. Their respect for Japanese culture and the NIPPO members who have spent life times preserving and protecting these breeds was evident to all, and it was a true joy to help translate for them. My good friends from the Shikoku kennel AKASHIMA, Katja & George, attended the exhibition as well, and afterward went on a whirlwind tour visiting many of the best Shikoku kennels in the country. See you all again next year?!