A morning walk

It's getting cooler in the morning here. I have driven south in the rice farms and took a walk yesterday morning. The sun has just risen. Even though it was still a bit humid, breeze coming through the window was comfortable. It had been the commuting route to my own clinic until I retired 8 years ago. 

The rice plants were almost laying on the ground possibly thanks to its weight. I always wonder how farmers harvest those plants. I have met only a lady walking in the same place. A quiet and serene place.

The mount Tsukuba was seen south east of the place. As depicted elsewhere, it is the highest mountain in the north eastern part of the Kanto plain, even though the absolute height is only 877m asl. From its conspicuous figure, it has been an object of the folk religion in this area. 

As also written before, in this season, having the car windows/sun roof fully open, I often drove to my office, listening to G Dur String Quintet by Brahms or h moll Orchestral Suite by Bach at maximum volume. What a joy it was! I won't return to that time but still recall those days for a fond memory. What I thought those days came back to my mind together with the memory of such commuting trip. 

This is repeatedly taken up in this blog, a Bentenduka tumulus. A tomb for a big person in this area possibly over 1000 and several hundreds years ago. As an object for the religion for the ancestors, it might have been worshiped by the people. Ever since the days when it was built, there had been eras of battles continued until the feudal system of Edo was established. In the battle era, people seeked relief with such a folk religion for this tumulus, I believe. Thinking of that, it won't stay being a historical monument but is imminently approaching to our mind as a symbol of the people's thought those days. 

It was another refreshing morning walk. I would return there from time to time.

It is the day today when I drive to my sister's home in Tokyo and to enjoy ensemble with my sister and her daughter, that is, my only niece. My nice, working as a head nurse of novel corona virus infection ward in a big hospital in Tokyo, was anxious that she could bring the virus to her parents. But, in the declining phase of the infection so far, we have decided to get together today. Loading my instrument on my car, I will leave for Tokyo in a few hours. A big trip, though only a couple of hours drive, for me.


Jean Guihen Queryas plays Unaccompanied Cello Suite Nr3

The unaccompanied cello suites by J.S.Bach has been deemed as the old testament in cello music. Technically, they are not so difficult to play just after the score as modern or romantic pieces for this instrument. The content is, however, profound and is like a mountain towering never conquered by climbers.

In its Prelude, I feel hearing the creation of the universe. Modern quantum theory tells there was a time when certain harmony was present immediately after the big bang of the universe creation process. Of course, it was not this suite itself which rang in the primitive universe. Something musical was present in the universe when it was born. This fact makes me touched a lot. And the spirit might be comparable to what we are impressed with this music.

Queryas is one of the best contemporary cellists. He plays this piece as if telling a story of creation. His concentration on the music is incredibly deep. There must be an effect of the reverberation in this recording. Together with it, his cello sings the song of creation with various nuances. Whenever I listen to his performance, I am lead to the world of creation. It is, in other words, a description of our inner world as well. Very fine texture and deep emotion. 

Anner Bylsma, another great cellist recently passed away, used to tell we should play the unaccompanied suites as if telling stories. Queryas is a cellist who has realized his saying. 

A long way to go for me to learn this piece.

This week end, I will have a chance to practice the cello sonata in e minor of Brahms with my niece at my sister's home. And a piece for soprano, cello and piano for a poem by Jukichi Yagi composed by a senior friend of mine in the medical school days. He has given that piece to me. It has been almost 20 years since I played it at a concert before the composer. I wish to play it again for him and other orchestra friends someday.


Chinese dumpling

 I have cooked chinese dumpling yesterday. I am inclined to make it too much at one time. So did I yesterday. It tastes not bad but is still boring if we take it for 2 or 3 consecutive days.

It is still a joy for me to cook dinner. But, honestly, I sometimes wonder if it is the duty I should do all after my career as a pediatrician. 

I still remember I have promised my wife to do house chores half by half at a date on a bench of a lake in Ueno. I was too innocent to imagine what goes on later as today. Actually, I owed much for house keeping and chores for the past decades. 

I persuade myself it is my life and I am destined to do that.



What was the past 7 years and 8 months for us?

The prime minister Abe is going to resign very soon. What does this 7 years and 8 months of his administration mean to us?

I believe two points should be noted as for what this administration has left and what has enabled it survive such a long time.

First, fairness and justice as the ground of democracy have been lost, or exactly, intentionally destructed by him. He has dominated the government bureaucrats through personnel affairs. So has he done with not only administrative personnel but also that of legislation and justice. The right administration was to serve not for the people but for the government. 

For the second place, but not less, his economic policy has resulted in a big fault. The astronomical quantitative easing has left much more debts to the government. Our national bank, BOJ owns more than 5 trillion of national bond to implement monetary easing. It has not brought any solution of the economic and financial problems in our country. Only the debt has increased. The market of national bond has been dysfunctioned. With enormous amount of national bond owned by BOJ, the credibility of BOJ could be lost easily, which results in decrement of credibility of our currency as well. Without hard landing, it seems not to be solved. 

Then, why has such a deteriorated government lead by Abe maintained certain level of endorsement? Someone may explain that with the government's control of the mass media. The mass media have undergone drastic change in this Abe era and have given up the right and duty to watch and criticize the power. Press conference for the prime minister and the spokesman of the government have become like fixed games. It is now the place for the public advertisement of the government. NHK, which used to be an excellent public news media, has undergone a drastic metamorphose to be the public advertiser of the government. This change has been well plotted by the government from its beginning.

 The most important reason or fact is that certain number of people still approve this government whatever fault or fraud they might commit. Of course, the problem in the election system, that is, the single seat constituency system, which could elect majority in the diet with small number of votes. The opinion polls, however, says it is not the definite factor. Our country is on the process of decreasing the economy and our standard of living. Despite of that reality, the majority of the people believe they belong to the middle class. Exactly, they wish to stay being in that class. That wish won't lead us to reformation but to keep things in the same way however rotten they might be. Both the people might not be able to forget the high growth period in '70s through '80s.  

The opposition parties should show a manifesto which let us see the reality and direct the way to get out of it. It won't be a rosy future but a hard way to go. We should look straight to it and change our paradigm. The corona virus pandemic might be a good chance for us to make a turnaround to a real law abiding country.


A drive trip to the coast area in Ibaraki

For a change of life from normal routine packed with chores, I have driven to the coast of Pacific Ocean in Ibaraki Prefecture 30 or 40 miles east of here.

It is the place I used to drive family in our young days. Time has passed and it is the time for me to go there by myself. I have already posted on such a drive to this area in this blog a few times.

In the city of Hitachi, the biggest city in this area, I was going to purchase fresh fish for Sashimi. But the store along the coast was closed. I was lucky having left home after taking lunch earlier. 

Headed north along the coast, I have seen beautiful houses with white wall and orange colored roof, which reminded me a bit of the scenery in the West Coast in the US.

It was the Cape of Sea Cormorant which I visited. Cormorants were told to be wildly living in that cape. There is a famous public hotel facility named after its place. It is so popular and famous for its beautiful location that it has been quite difficult for anyone to book it in the past. 

When we drove there, we used to tell each other we should come and stay this hotel someday. Our busy duty has made it impossible. 

The hotel looks gorgeous. It was notable, however, there were only few cars in the parking.  

The cape is about 2 or 3 km in width covered with low to medium sized trees. A few promenades were prepared in it. I walked up to the peak of the cape. The breeze coming from the ocean was a bit cooler than in the inland area. Walking for 10 or 15 minutes, I have had much sweating.

There were a few wild lillies blooming. I have met only a few people on the way.

There was a beach just next to the hotel even though it was not allowed to go down there. An epitaph said Tsunami in 2011 had reached to the height of the cliff.

On the beach north of this cape, there was a group of surfers camping. There would be many more in the usual summer without the corona virus outbreak.

 At around 3PM, remembering of cooking duty, I headed back to my home. 

At the exit of the parking lot, there was a young staff taking a bow. Wondering if there was anyone leaving hotel, I looked around there. But no one beside myself. She was bowing to me. I have checked if there was any vacancy at the hotel when I came home. The web site said there had been some vacant rooms on plain week days. I suspect reservations were not so many as before. That was why the staff was courteously bowing even to me who just parked there. 

It took less than a couple of hours. May I take my wife for a visit there some day. 

I still love this area. Some years ago, no, even now, I have dreamed of moving there for retirement. This old place my parents and aunt have lived would never allow me to do that, though. I would visit there from time to time, even though, honestly speaking, I am not very excited to drive there any longer. Aging... 


Something being lost in this hobby

On Aug 20, a good and old friend of mine, John, W1ITU, has submitted an interesting story to Facebook as quoted below.

On that day in 1968, the Warsaw Treaty Organization, lead by the USSR, has invaded Czechoslovakia which was in the process of democratization named Prague Spring. Ham radio has worked as almost only information transmission medium when the other media like broadcasting were shut down at that time of this historical incident.  

John has experienced the exciting event through ham radio as he described here. 


 I was out on a very late college date when the news came over the car radio that the Russians were invading Czechoslovakia. A few hours later, I went over to our college ham radio station and fired it up. There was a Czech station on, sending in Morse code, who had attracted a very large crowd of mostly West Europeans (we had both short and long skip that morning) and he was working one after another, repeating the same short message in English “I protest the Russian invasion and occupation of my country.” The reactions were very sympathetic, even from the Yugoslav stations. Then he was called by a Russian ham from the Moscow area. I thought, “this is going to get interesting.“ The Czech just repeated his same message. But the Russian didn't respond, and he just went away. The Czech worked a couple more stations and then all of a sudden, UA3KAA, the USSR Central Radio Club station in Moscow called. I recognized the station even before the callsign, because it had a very peculiar rattle on its signal. And it was almost never in the main part of the 20m code band. It stayed up higher, running a USSR-wide Russian morse code net. I used to copy them to practice receiving Russian morse code – and the Russians send beautiful code! Anyway, the Czech went right back to him, repeated his message, and then added, in Russian, “Pochemu? Pochemu? (Why? Why?) The Russian op answered in English, “Because old man your country has been in crisis.” I can still hear it! Everyone thought the contact was over, and started calling again. But underneath, I could hear UA3KAA still sending, but now in Russian, and he was flying! I would have given anything to able to have copied that, but the others calling over him made it impossible. And, then, suddenly, the Russian went down, and the Czech went down. It was over!


Everyone knows the Western countries or the UN have not substantially succeeded endorsing and supporting the democratization in Czechoslovakia. The USA was deeply involved in the Vienamese war and could not go out of the line of the detente with the USSR at that time. The other Eastern communist countries were concerned to be influenced by Prague Spring and were strongly against the democratization process.

The people in Czechoslovakia should wait for the reformation for democratization until 1989.

I remembered of this news at age 19 years, when I was going to wind ham radio up and to start getting ready for the entrance exam to medical school. Without knowing such an exciting drama has been on ham radio.

Ham radio was an important tool for communication world wide at that time. Such a historical event as this invasion of the USSR to Czechoslovakia has been handled by ham radio operators. In personal perspective, ham radio was more humane then. Ham radio was almost the only way to communicate with others in real time. There were a lot of chances to know the others in person.

I am afraid this human aspect of ham radio has been lost, if not all. It has become like a game without humanity itself. If they say it is just a trend irresistible for us in the history, we should accept it as it is. I still wonder if we are doing anything to go against it and to keep something essentially human, seemingly being lost, in this hobby.


A walk early in the morning

 I knew working in the garden farm had not been enough as an exercise to maintain own cardiopulmonary function. I started gaining some body weight as well. I should have moved the center of the gravity, that is, should have walked. Long lasting rain in the rainy season and the cruel heat wave have prevented me from walking. I decided to take a walk early in the morning again.

It is becoming a bit cooler in the morning hours around sunrise. Breeze is leaving comfortable touch on my face when I walk in the farms. 

I found a farmer lady working for an egg plant farm. She seemed to harvest the plants as well as to trim them. I greeted and asked her how she was doing that. She cut unnecessary branches of the plants in order to nourish more to the fruits. Even thinking it was too commonplace words for me to give her, I told her it might be too physically tiring to do that. Showing bright smile on her face, she answered to me "No, it is rather interesting to work for the plants." I knew how wonderful it was to do with something alive. The more we work for them, the more they will reply to our efforts. 

I have a couple of egg plants at home, which have yielded a few in a day for the past week or two. I have been grilled them with sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and so forth. Very simple dish. It's still a wonderful one for this time in a year. I have written about it in the post on Aug 1. They may give us a bit more of egg plants until fall starts on a full scale.

Farming, which has already been an essential work, will become more evident as for its nature from now. As reiterated in the previous posts, our country has only 37% of food self sufficiency rate on caloric basis. If there is crop failure world wide or in certain regions in the world, which is pretty likely to happen, we could easily starve. The politics and we ourselves should consider of its importance. 

Working for something living, whether it is animal or plants, needless to mention of human, is always a fun in addition. That farmer lady must have known of that by herself. A great work in fact.

So far, I am still going on walking. It's sometimes still hot even at sunrise. But it won't take too long before it gets that fall breeze full blown.