9/24/2016

Japanese style Marron Glace

I have made Japanese style Marron Glace. One kg of chestnuts were boild for short time once. The hard shell was peeled. This process was a bit laborious. Then they were boiled "6 times" in order to get rid of the bitter taste. Soda was not used. They were then sweetened with sugar. Bitter inner skin was much preserved. But it won't taste bitter any longer. Rich bodied taste with elegant sweetness. Canned could be stored for several weeks.


9/18/2016

Mid fall getting closer to us

It has been rainy for the past several days. As it rained once, fall has advanced here. All the plants in the garden have slowed down their growth. It seems they are getting ready for the arrival of winter.

The garden has been neatly cleaned. The chestnut tree has been flourishing with baskets of the fruits. I have been collecting fallen chestnuts and storing them in refrigerator.


It has been a long time since I last renewed this blog. I would write what I have thought of ham radio as well as this blog in a post coming up soon. We have been getting along well. Time is flowing away fast and uneventfully.

Speaking of fall, it is the time when we should listen to Brahms. His last symphony is suitable for this season. This performance conducted by Kurt Sanderling has been my favorite since school days. Fairly slow tempo and singing every note. Listen to the theme played by violins in the 1st movement. Sanderling keeps the Auftakt tenuto. It really sounds like sighing by music.

Spending the last chapter of life, I feel I could understand and sympathize to this music even more than ever.


8/26/2016

Mahler Symphony Nr 9

Mahler's 9th symphony is actually his last completed symphony. It was what he had achieved at his culmination of composing activity. The theme seems to be on death. It has been his main concern that drove him to compose his music works throughout his life, even though it also seemed to belong to the era trend of thought. As I told before, I think Mahler tried to overcome or reconcile with the absurdity of death with the beauty of music.

The last movement is most impressive to me since it sounds like an expression of farewell to the life. Some critics point out this movement was not deliberately orchestrated as the other 3 movements since he had not corrected this movement as he always did. Nevertheless, that might mean his thought and emotion are directly expressed in this movement. It starts with a theme played by 1st and 2nd violin parts in unison. A motif composed of 32nd notes in this theme will be appearing in the extended form throughout this movement. It seems as if a theme of life, more materially, of breathing. The violin solo sings a song of consolation in the background loneliness. The atmosphere throughout the music is separated lonesomeness. The end comes with long diminishend. Viola solo and then cello solo plays a motif of dying made of downward chromatic scale. It ends with the weakest dynamic indication. The last bar has the expression mark of "ersterbend", that means as if dying. Mahler used to use this mark in the other musics like his 2nd symphony but has never put it in the very last bar. This typically shows us what he wanted to express this music.


Claudio Abbado conducted Lucern Festival Orchestra in this video clip. Most famous players were gathering for this performance. It was almost 3 years before Abbado himself passed away. I don't know if he has known of his fatal illness of gastric cancer at this time of performance. His concentration on music may tell us he was already conscious of his own mortality. In some interview or article, he told death was only a phase of existence of life. He seemed to live well through expressing death in this performance. He sometimes smiled at the orchestra performers in the intervals between the movements. In the end, it might be a planned produce, the lighting gradually got dim. He has kept the silence for a couple of minutes. During that silence, he might have wanted the audience to appreciate of the struggle Mahler has made in this symphony. Not shouting something like bravo. It is the most impressive moment in this performance. It is a theme delivered from Mahler to each of us.

 

8/22/2016

Tokyo Ham Fair 2016

I have been to this event yesterday. Being prone to be housebody myself, I seldom go out for such an event. But this is a special opportunity for me to see friends, old or new. We were going to have lunch together. Bob MD0CCE has told me to see us there as well.

Bob, a retiree being settled down in the Isle of Man, seemed to have attended a couple of DXers meeting this time. He used to work in Tokyo in '90s and has friends from those days, whom he would see after this event. Having had tutoring by his father, he started ham radio in NY back in 1961.  He had been active on the radio until '70s when the work and family affairs prevented him from enjoying it. Having retired and being settled down in the Isle of Man, he came back on the air in 2004, if I remember it right. Ever since, he has been one of the most active guys in the area. He has become an FOC member several years ago. He loves both contesting/DXing and ragchewing, the typical old timer style operator.

I also enjoyed seeing JA friends. Objectively, we might have got older by one year now. But their passion in ham radio and vivid interests in socioeconomical issues have made them look very young. JE1TRV has got ready for the mountain shack. He would run an amplifier there soon. JA1AGG is goint to stay in Detroit on business for sometime and may get on the air from there. JA7WTH is successful with his 40m long loop and is getting on 20m. Couldn't talk too much about his work. He is another pediatrician. JJ1RZG told he hadn't walked so much lately and got trouble with walking. Still working only in the morning hours as a pediatrician. JA1COR operates with his invented antenna named MU special. JL1GEL could operate only in week end and go on the right way for CW ragchewer. JE1RZR, staying home for summer vacation for 3 weeks, will go back to Uzbekistan in a few days. He told he won't operate so much getting bored with contest style QSO but spent just listening the bands there. JA1KIH, the last but not the least, won't repeat calling CQ for more than 2 or 3 times. He seems to enjoy the life in the countryside. He gets gift of vegetables from neighbor farmers. We have shared the problem of national fiscal discipline. This lunch meeting has been successful thanks to his organization.

We have spent almost 3 hours and a half together taking lunch and tea. How come we could go on talking that long? After I parted them, I went to look around the booths. I have seen some old faces and Masumi JA3AVO whom I have known on the air as well as on line for years but never met in person before. He has had his granddaughter W7AYA there.

It was a hot and active Sunday afternoon. We might meet again next summer.



From left to right, JA1AGG, JA7WTH, JJ1RZG, MD0CCE, JA1COR, JL1GEL, JE1RZR and me. I should diet like Atsu!! Where are JE1TRV and JA1KIH? Taking photo?


Minimal FOC gathering in Tokyo. From left to right, JE1TRV, MD0CCE and me. I have felt I became an old timer. I became a member in 1988. The other two after 2000!!

8/21/2016

Abnormal or normal?

Already 3 days ago, when I was working with a good old friend of mine, Curt, N5CW on 20m, I was interrupted by a contest style caller. First, I thought it was a DX caller in a pile up because he did not ask if the frequency was occupied before starting calling on our spot. Curt told me it was CWT. Yes, it was the moment when the nightmare event for ragchewers had started. We were talking about our mutual friend Orville K5VWW who had been sick and hospitalized. The more serious topic we were talking about, the more anger I felt toward such a rude operator as well as CWT itself.

I posted an article on this problem this time in a group of Facebook for CW funs. I honestly expressed my question if such an event would contribute to the development of overall CW activity. And I seriously wondered if they could occupy the bands as with CWT so quite often every Wednesday. As expected, there were a lot of objections, some of them being too emotional, to my post.

The opponents' points of view as for this issue are as follows;

1) CWT is already a established as well as fixed event. The non participants should avoid the frequency range of each band for CWT or move to the WARC bands.

2) CWT occupies only small amount of time/band width. Someone said it was only 1 or 2 %. Each session lasts only an hour. Only 3 sessions in an event. 

3) CWT participants are asking QRL? before starting calling CQ CWT. 

I have fully argued against these points in the previous posts here.  I hope readers to read what i think about these points in those articles. 

My re-objections to each point are, however, as follows;

1) CWT is a unique contest held on a plain week day. It has disrupted the rule any contest should be held in week ends. It is a factor often making trouble with the others. Anything won't excuse abrupt interruption to the other QSOs going on. Regarding 2), the occupying time/bands are not small in fact. From the standpoint of non contesters, every week end is filled with any contests, mostly, a number of contests being held at the same time. Together with CWT, 3 days in a week are messed by contest activities. It occurs every week. Messing the on going QSOs mostly occurs at the very beginning of CWT session. Three sessions a day are making more interruption to the others than the ordinary single sessioned contests. As for the point 3), I have never met anyone asking QRL? before starting calling CQ CWT or calling another CWT participant. Actually, I have been told by some friends they had been disturbed by CWT participants all of sudden. 

Through the discussion in the Face Book Group, I knew it was a real endless as well as fruitless dispute. The difference between the CWT defendrs and us comes from the point if CWT should be regarded as an intrinsic right for them to operate or as an unacceptable event. CWT defenders quietly force us to move out of their contest range of bands while we could not accept it.

We, either defending CWT or opposing to it, should quietly reconsider if it could be an acceptable event or not. How many hams are involved in it? How to avoid the mess at the beginning of each session? Considering of the numbers of participants for CWT, is it acceptable for them to occupy the bands so frequently?

In my point of view, it should not be concluded the other way than too much and too frequent. Extending the contest to the week day is also a serious defect in the rule of CWT. If aother group would start a contest on plain week day, who could blame them? The bands would be occupied by contesters every day.

Too much conterst activities may suppress the overall CW activities. It is my personal impression without any statistics. But from my career as an exclusive CW operator for decades, I suspect the recent trend of more and more contests is inflating contests themselves. Before and after any big contests, there are less activities on CW. I must say I scarcely meet those CWT defenders on the air for ordinary conversational QSOs with few exceptions. If they seriously consider of the future of CW activities, they should put an insight toward these phenomena as well.

I haven't mentioned on the use of WARC bands. It is a matter of licence system as well as the set ups different from the the problem. The basic problem is if they could force the others to move to elsewhere or not and if such as CWT could be acceptable by all of us.    


8/19/2016

Dvorak Symphony Nr 8

I could not listen to this symphony without tearing. It is the only favorite work by Dvorak whose music is not generally my favorite. I used to play this piece in the university orchestra. Lots of lovely melodies for cello part. This symphony expresses the nature, forest blown with wind, birds singing lovely songs, rain fall with beautiful rainbow and so forth. It overlaps with the memory of my young days. Aren't you fascinated with the theme in the beginning of the 1st movement played by cello and horn? I clearly remember of the orchestra days when we practiced this piece.

I am going to join the orchestra of Fukushima University which will perform this piece in the next concert in this coming Dec. Fukushima, yes the place where the people have suffered from the nuclear power plant accident 5 years ago. It is also a place with the personal memories as well. I am really looking forward to playing with the young students there.




8/16/2016

Brahms Piano Trio Nr3 in C minor

Now, recognizing losing a little bit but certain amount of hearing ability, especially the higher range of audio, I am hastened to appreciate various kinds of music. I thought I would lose chances to experience good music in my life. I still find myself, however, coming back to the pieces familiar to me since young days. Is it due to having lost sensitivity to beauty? No. I should convince myself it is a blessing that I could enjoy such a music.

This is one of them. Piano trio Nr 3 in c minor by Brahms. Power and will for life are expressed. The first theme of the 1st movement is full of such motivation. But, as the other works of Brahms in his late years in his life, it is replaced to resignation and consolation for life. When I was young, I used to feel, in such as the 3rd movement, Brahms must have lost creativity due to his aging. Simple structure with serene accords. I believe now, however, these are expressing what he felt in his old age. I still sympathize with it now.


No need to hurry up. Enjoying such a piece as this one, I should slowly go on appreciating every moment of this time in my life.