The Japanese carps - Koi - are vivid colored, ornamental varieties of the common carp. Extremely popular in Japan, you can see them everywhere, in small aquariums inside the restaurants or in temple ponds and park lakes.
Actually, koi, written in kanji 鯉 or in katakana コイ, means just “carp" and the proper name for the ornamental variety is nishikigoi - 錦鯉 or ニシキゴイ - “brocade carp".
But the word koi, written 恋 also means “in love” and because of this the Japanese carp is also a symbol of love and friendship.
I saw in Japan huge koi, like those from New Otani, and I understand that they are about 50 years old… But they can live a lot longer, it was scientifically verified that a koi named Hanako lived 226 years, between 1751 and 1977!
During winter, the koi eat just algae from the bottom of the lakes, but during summer they become gluttonous. I took this photo at a temple from Ueno, from a small bridge, probably exactly the place where they are usually fed. When they sensed me on that bridge, they started swarming and jumping, eagerly awaiting the food…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: