Manuel LU5OM

A friend of mine, Manuel, LU5OM. I began talking to him often since he had entered FOC a few years ago. A superb CW operator. It turned out that he used to be CR6IK in '60s and I had worked him on 15 meters those days. The world is small. He is 67 years old and has a command of 3 languages.

I often read about him in the posts Mukai JF1TTN had made. But he hasn't been on his topics for some time. He told me he had been to his homeland Portugual in September. On the way back home, he got an gastroenteritis, that kept him inactive for a while.

Manuel and his wife Mariana

His neat shack. The antenna is HEX at "3" meters of height. He has sent me the photo of the antenna, which I have lost in the file box, sorry. He might put it up higher soon.

Visit to a place to be remembered. Pasture at the foot of a mountain nearby

It was in the last year at a college when I decided to change my profession and to be a medical doctor. I should have prepared for the entrance exam for a faculty of medicine at university. It was quite competitive to be admitted to any medical university those days. The license of medical doctor shoul be attractive to many young people then. It was the days when so called baby boomers were entering universities as well, which was causing even harder competetion in the entrance. However, it was the days of the campus disturbance at the college i was attending to, which I was involved in for months. At graduation from that college, I took the examinations for two schools without much preparation, which turned out to be failure at both.   I should go on a life preparing for the next chance.
I was attending to a preparatory school. In the summer, the school went into the days off. I wondered how to spend the precious days without getting lazy. I thought I could be lazy at home. At that time, my elder sister has just married to a vet doctor who was working in a dairy farming area on the outskirt of a mountain north of here. It looked a quiet place suitable for studying. My sister and her husband kindly let me go and stay for almost a month there. I took it for granted that they would have me at their home. Considering of their care for me at that time, I know I have made a thorough mistake. 
I could not recall on the place accurately but had an obscure image on the map. This afternoon, it was so fine and even mild that it was too bad to stay home. I drove up there. It took me about 90 minutes. It was located adjacently north of the crowded resort area. Surrounded with vast pasture and forest, it was deserted and quiet. It could be because that the cattle was gone into the ranch houses. It looked as calm as in the days when I used to stay there.
My sister and her husband have prepared a room for me in a shed house. Very quiet without any distraction. A good place for me to concentrate on studying.
Before evening meal, I was often taking a walk around by myself. I have never met anyone on the way. I can't remember what I had thought about at that time. I might have a vague anxiety for the future. I might wonder what I should do if I failed the exam in the year after. This quiet environment without any disturbing things have helped me so much. 
In a few weeks when the summer vacation was over, I headed back home in the noisy and busy town.

I could never be more thankful to my sister and her husband for having given me such a place and time for studying. I should have expressed my thanks to them before. Without their support, I could never have gone the way in my life.

When I got home, an email from my sister had arrived, reporting her trip with her elder son and his family to our brother and his wife in Sendai city. I found she had made quite a few mistakes in spelling and sentences, which I scarecely noticed in her mails in the past. She told me she would downsize her life at present. She has put an end to the chorus this fall, which she has been enthusiastic for the past 25 years. Maybe, she has realized of her own age. She told me that she had been pleased to be celebrated for her 68th birthday in this trip to to Sendai. I would see her sometime and, expressing my thanks to them, talk of the days of my stay at her honeymoon house some 45 years ago.


Seeing Joe AJ2Y

I and my wife have met Joe AJ2Y from Atlanta GA today. One week prior to his business trip to Tokyo, we have met a couple of times on 40m. Hearing that he had been interested in the japanese culture etc, I have invited him to our area. Arriving Tokyo yesterday, he has attended a mass at a catholic church there. He could come here on Sunday. Yes, he is a faithful Catholic christian.
We headed to Mashiko, where I took him to Saimyouji, an old temple. This temple was told to have been established in 8th century, while the buildings were constructed in 15 to 16th century. It is not a renowned place as a temple. It is still a quiet and beautiful place on a top of a hill. I hoped him  such a temple as this one, not famous as a sightseeing place at all, are still kept as a cultural monument in every countryside in Japan.
Joe in front of a straw roofed hall.
Two of us.
In front of the stone steps to the main building. 
He is working for a software division at a major related comapny. He seems to have worked for software developemt and sales for nuclear power plant management. We have exchanged frank opinions about nuclear power generation. I told him I had been concerned about the safety of such generation plant while he was sure that the latest model of nuclear power plants were constructed in failure proof. The market of the nuclear power generation plant has, however, declined since 3・11.   
He has been an avid ham for 51 years since he started it in New Jersy. He majored in Architecture at MIT.  From 1979 to 1884, so far as I understood, he has lived in Louisianna, where he had a high tower with a beam on it. In the other period, he has been enjoying radio with simple wire antennas. He is considering retirement very soon and would move to a suburb where he could fully enjoy radio with a bigger antenna.
After shopping of Mashiko pottery, one of the famous potteries in Japan, we headed to our home. He has enjoyed listening the bands from my station. He told me he had been a bug user until he started using a single lever paddle 2 years ago.

With my wife joinied us, we had a fine dinner at Oyama together. Nabe dish, fresh sashimi and the others. Even though he was not strong for alcohol, he had a glass of beer while I got a couple of them. Promising seeing again either in Atlanta or here again, we farewelled to him at the station of Oyama.


The 95th Concert of Ochanomizu Symphony Orchestra

I have been to a concert held in Kawasaki city south of Tokyo last night. It was the 95th of the university orchestra I used to play as a cellist in my med school days. I might say I have spent, literally, all my young days in that orchestra. Candidly, I havent been to any concert of the orchestra since I quit there. The main reason why I hadn't been there was that I was kept too busy at work. In addition, I might look down its performace since it was just an  amateur orchestra. This prejudice was overthrown completely last night.  
A few days ago, I have arranged the post cards and letters I received from friends in the orchestra 3 or 4 decades ago. Reading them back, I felt I would listen to the orchestra again. I had a vague hope that I might meet old friends of mine at the concert hall as well, that ,of course, turned out not up to my expectation at the hall later.
The concert hall named Kawasaki Muza was not near to my town at all. It took me 2.5 hours to go there door to door. Again, I was a bit perplexed at the crowds of the people and the unknown style of cafe etc. I had an early supper at a cafe in the same building and hurried to the hall on the 4th floor. It was a gorgeous hall with 5 stories for the audience seats. The orchestra was surrounded by the audience seats all around. There was a formal pipe organ equipped at the back of the stage. The seats on the back stage were not used for this concert. 
This orchestra had been a joint of two universities, Ochanomizu Women's University and Tokyo Medical and Dental University. It was surprising that the members of the latter, my mother school, had decreased greatly in number. Seemingly about 20 or 30% of the total at present. Instead, the major part of the members were composed of the students from the former university as well as the other universities. It is not an important issue. But it used to be led by the students of our university when I was a member. I felt a bit sorry to know there was such a change in membership.
It was conducted by a person whom I had known. He has become a vice president of a music university. Oh, such a topic is not important...

As a conclusion, I was very happy to have listened to this concert. It deserved travelling that long way to the concert.

The program was;

Wagner  Prelude of Meistersinger

Liszt      Les Preludes

Brahms  Symphony Nr 4 e moll

In the beginning, I was overwhelmed by powerfully roaring brass and lower string instruments. It might be thanks to the hall ot to the orchestra. Maybe, both have made such a sound. The wind instruments were elegant. Oboe was always fascinating in such a big orchestra. The oboeist was not an exception. They have made a pleasant ensemble as well. The string instruments were a bit inclined to be overwhelmed by the brass. It might be due to my seat positioned in the front of the orchestra on the left side.

Was most remarkable performance Brahms. Among his 4 symphonies, this one, the last symphony for him, is rich in content, expressing yearning in resignation in the end of life. We could hear what brahms has felt in the end of his life. The orchestra has performed with breath of youth, though. The famous variation sung by flute in the 4th movement sounded like walking in a tree lined street. Even if the trees are in a riot of color in fall, the steps are that of young people. I prefer a performance as if the player was almost falling down in this variation to this youthful vivid one. It was a limit of such student orchestra but was attractive to me as well. I used to spend young days as they do right now. In my mind, I uttered "It was your turn. Enjoy your young days and don't forget the days you have played this touching music now." The theme of 4th movement was realized. And it rushed into a brilliant ending of the symphony. It has moved my mind a lot. I have never had such a feeling for a long time.

Going out of the hall, I found a cold evening there. My mind was, however, full of deep satisfaction. I should return to such a concert from now. I hurried back home.


Camellia sasanqua

Again, these trees are the gift from my father. He has planted them years ago. Has he imagined it would come the days we appreciate them so much.
Among trees and plants dying this season, this ever green tree bears beautiful flowers. It is as if they told us it was not a bad season now when everything was going to die. Lives could shine throughout a year.
A close up of the flower.
Fallen flowers on the ground.


A small but substantial step

It has been a year since my wife started practising flute. In the beginning, she has complained that it was terribly difficult for her to remember fingering or to make good tone etc. Practising it for a couple of hours, literally, every evening and attending lesson every Tuesday, she could play some pieces now. I was impressed at her diligence for the instrument. i have not expected her such enthusiasm at flute. If she worked so hard at her profession as with flute, she would have been promoted at the med school. She might be able to devote herself to music since it was not her profession but her hobby.

She has brought me a score of flute trio, a tune arranged for 3 flutes, last night. It is the famous Disney tune titled "When you wish upon a star". I am supposed to play the 3rd flute part while our daughter would be forced to play the 2nd part with violin. Even if it is the 3rd part, the range of tune is pretty high. All notes are written in G clef. It is a good practise for me to sing in high positions. Confirming every note with a tuner, I found my scale was not so accurate as I expected. It is a good chance to learn the scale in high position again.

Tonight, before our daughter is cominb home tomorrow, we have made a secret ensemble with part 1 and 3 only. Some portion sounded like an ultramodern music with discordants. But it sounded pretty good as a whole.
A warm and peaceful moment.

It was my dream for a long time to make an ensemble at home. It is a very tiny piece that we are going to play now. My dream is, however, still being realized now. Our daughter has stopped playing her violin in her teenage days after practising for almost 10 years. This chance may let her start playing violin again  I hope this ensemble will grow and flourish from now. May we be able to play something like Bach, Corelli or Quantz in the future!

Another elmer, Bill, WA6YVT

Bill WA6YVT was another elmer for me. I used to work with him on 40m CW in my teen age days. It was usually early in the evening in our time when his sharp bug CW was coming in here. I can't remember what we talked. Only thing I could remember is that he used to tell me to come to his home and to study there. Even though it was impossible for me to go abroad for study, I was delighted to hear such an offer from him. I first knew how open minded and generous an American could be. This impression for American people has never been changed in my mind thereafter.
I have kep this photo of him at his shack. The receiver was Drake R2B while his transmitter/amplifier should be home brew. What a big consle on the floor! BC342 is on the shelf as well. The antenna should be a vertical. On the opposite side of this photo, he wrote his age was 65 years at this time. It also touches me a lot since I am now at the same age as he was at this time.
I haven't met him on the radio since I came back on the air in 1980. When I visited the states in '80s for the first time, I have given him a call. I wanted to thank him for his kindness to a teenage boy in Japan in '60s. His family was on the phone, telling me he could not speak on the phone but was thankful to me for calling. Few years later, I knew he had gone silent key.  

This is his QSL. He was a pioneer in ham radio starting radio in 1921in the era of spark as 9DWX. He was a member of QCWA. He might have loved CW so much throughout his life, I believe. He wrote in the remarks that it had been the longest QSO he had with any JA. I might already be oriented to ragchewing in those days.

Nowadays, such an old timer is decreasing in number. I sure miss him. Maybe, he would tell me it is my turn to be such an elmer for the beginners on CW.