Matsuri Fish

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Exactly one week ago there was a matsuri (festival) directly on the street in front of my apartment. It lasted from Tuesday to Wednesday. As with most matsuri, there were various stalls for all kinds of fried/grilled foods, ice cream, and games.

There was one game in particular that I had seen in a number of anime and I just had to try it out. It's a special fish catching game. It's so popular that at the tiny matsuri at my place, they had three different stalls for it. Pretty much, there is a long and shallow tank with millions of gold fish in it. The fish are usually all gold but some are the black variety and even fewer are white with black spots. Pretty much, you pay $3 for a little plastic wand that looks like you could blow bubbles with it. It's about 2 1/2" across. Covering the wand is a thin layer of rice paper so as soon as it hits the water it breaks apart. Which means that you have to be pretty quick about scooping up the fish with it.

But I didn't know all of this at the time. So I called up Adam who was relaxing at home and I made him come over and win me a fish. I only wanted one black one and nothing else. Keep that in mind please. I only wanted ONE BLACK FISH.

On his first try, Adam caught both a black fish and a crappy gold fish. "Huh, that was pretty easy! I'm totally going to try that again!", he says. Welp, the next time he didn't have quite as good of luck. But the woman felt bad for him/us so she scooped up three more gold fish and added them to my bag. Adam then decided to try it again with the same result. In the end, I walked home with 6 gold fish and ONE BLACK FISH.

I had about an hour before I needed to be anywhere so Adam and I then went out to the local hardware store to pick up a tank. We farted around looking at tanks and thinking seriously about how much these fish are worth in the first place. I have heard that Matsuri fish are notorious for dying quickly so I was hoping that at least 4 of the goldfish would die leaving me with only 3 fish, meaning that I wouldn't need such a big tank.

However, as with all things, I got a little distracted. Instead of leaving with a plain plastic tank, I ended up with a glass tank (size M for whatever that's worth), a filter, rocks, fish food, a Big Beautiful Black Fish and a Ping Pong Ball shaped gold fish. (o^u^o)

I couldn't resist!!! The big black fish was gorgeous! He was so beautifully dark I couldn't possibly describe him better than by stealing the name of my good friend Dave (I'm sure you all remember Dave). Dave goes by the internet alias as "Daribold Blackerton" and I thought that it fit perfectly.

Second was the ping pong ball fish. I learned through this ordeal that it's actually called a pearl fish in English and it's native to Japan (Darkibold is native to China). Pretty much, this fish looks like it swallowed a ping pong ball. It's the cutest thing I've ever seen because the whole body jiggles when it swims around. I bought the genkiest (most active) fish in the tank because he would press his face against the glass and just jiggle back and forth. I couldn't resit. His name was Mikan which is the Japanese word for a small Chinese orange.

In the picture is Mikan, Daribold and the ONE BLACK FISH I set out to get when this whole thing began.

Let's recap just a bit, shall we:

Attempt 1: $3
Attempt 2: $3
Attempt 3: $3
Tank w/ filter: $10
Darkibold: $2
Mikan: $5

9 fish and $26 later, I was quite smitten.

Since I'm leaving for America in a week I decided that I would have Nick take the fish and when I come back he would keep most of the gold fish and maybe even the ONE BLACK FISH. I hadn't decided yet.

However, not all was well in the Nina Fish Tank where Darkibold reigned supreme. By Sunday morning I noticed that my luscious beauty was looking a bit lethargic and kind of keeping to the bottom of the tank. All the other fish seemed healthy enough so I thought maybe it was just too early in the morning for poor Mr. Blackerton. That night however, I realized all was not well.

I had heard rumors that goldfish have very acidic urine and it can kill the other fish in the tank if it builds up too much. Thing is, Darkibold is in the goldfish family! Whatever, I took him out of the tank and put him in a water pitcher filled with 2 day old distilled water. I wasn't sure it would work but it was 9pm by this time and nothing was open so I couldn't very well get those little drops for fish water. I then called up everyone I knew and the only person who was available was Dave himself. "DAVE!! DAVE!! My fish is dying and I never even got to tell you my joke about him!!!!" I screamed. "Dude, Nina. I know nothing about fish. Why are you calling me?" I then watched in agony as my fish sat on the bottom of the water for the rest of the night.

In the morning, Dorkibold seemed a little better so I left him and went along with my business. Erinn came over at one point and mentioned just how cute Mikan was and I convinced her to get one as a gift for her boyfriend. You just can't look at him without smiling if not flat out giggling. I told her that of any of my fish, I was hoping that the crappy goldfish would die and certainly not any of the ones I had actually named!

Tuesday morning came and Darkibold was doing worse than ever. I then took him to the store that I had bought him at and because I wasn't really able to communicate, I just held up the pitcher and gave the woman big puppy eyes hoping she would understand.

"Yup, he's definitely not doing well, huh!" She commented.

She gave me some medicine for him, water drops and I vowed that if he didn't pull through this I would flush those gold fish if it was the last thing I ever did!!!

I went home and administered the meds.

It turned the water a dark teal and made the room smell like fish. But I had hopes that it would work. I couldn't see Mr. Blackerton through it but I had faith that he would get better.

That night, I came home to check out how things were doing and before I could even look into the murky water, I noticed that Mikan had wedged himself between the filter and the side of the tank. He was breathing but his eyes had the dead fish look to them. I went to the kitchen to get a chopstick to poke him with. I figured I would just put him into the other tank with Darkibold and maybe it wouldn't be too late for the both of them!

I hadn't turned on the light in the kitchen but the light of the moon was enough for see just to get a chopstick. When I grabbed it from the sink, I saw a small shadow move. Thinking it was nothing and probably just something I did, I moved my hand in the same way just to see if I could make the shadow again (to reassure myself that it was in fact nothing). I ended up in a 7 minute battle against the first and biggest roach I have ever seen in my apartment.

By the time I got back to Mikan, I was thoroughly pumped with adrenaline and still silently freaking out. I poked him with the chopstick to get him out of the corner of the tank and instantly he floated to the top. He was still breathing so I threw him in with Darkibold and waited.

One hour later, I looked into the tank and knew that Mikan was dead.

WHY?!?!!? God WHY?!?! I was so angry! Mikan hadn't even looked like he was getting sick! He was just less genki than when I had bought him but that just meant that he was acting like all the rest of the bastard gold fish! The crappy gold fish that gave both my favorite fish a disease in the first place! Filthy Matsuri fish!!! ARG!

I took the pitcher to the toilet and threw mikan in. I then looked through the water and saw that Darkibold was still on the bottom and not moving at all. I gave up. After all this agony and effort I went through to take care of fish that cost me more than they were worth in the end, I was ready to give up. I threw him into the toilet as well. He just swirled around with the water. I was hoping maybe he would make one last effort to survive but there was nothing. He wasn't moving voluntarily at all.

I flushed.

And at the very last second before everything went down the drain, I saw Darkibold make his best effort to come to life and swim against the current. In less than a split second I realized that I had made the worst mistake ever and I completely burst into tears. Poor Darkibold! He wasn't even DEAD!!!

I finally got a hold of Nick around 11:30pm. I told him he could keep the tank and everything. For now, I'm done with the whole business. I can't handle this much stress from fish. I have enough to worry about.

This morning, I saw the ONE BLACK FISH, showing the same signs that Darkibold did on Sunday. I don't think I'm going to try and save him. It doesn't matter that I still have expensive medicine left.


3 shared their love:

Nina said...

When I came home from work this afternoon the ONE BLACK FISH was doing the dead mans float. All the crappy goldfish are healthier than ever now that there's more space to swim around in.


jessica said...

Stupid goldfish!! That's so sad, I'm sorry your fish friends didn't make it... Somehow fish always make me sadder in the end too... bummer...

Nina said...

This morning I found 4 of the 6 goldfish dead in the tank. At least one of the two remaining fish is showing signs of dying as well. There's no reason to give anything to poor Nick now. If they're still alive by the time I leave for America, I'm throwing them in the small river by my apartment and not looking back.

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