The first house in Tokyo

My sister has sent me a postcard with a photo on one side, which shows our old house in Tokyo. It was the very first house for us when our family moved there from this place. Literally a hand made house. The wall and roof was made of single wooden plates. It has only one room for 5 of us. The life standard was generally low everywhere in our country those days. However, this was one of the poorest houses, I believe. It was 63 or 62 years ago. The house is on the right upper in the photo. It was in a colony for those recovered from tuberculosis managed by a doctor standing on the left. Without his help, our family could not come to Tokyo.

The generation of our parents have worked so hard from '50s through '80s. It has resulted in the miraculously improved living standard in our country, that is, most of the people could believe they had belonged to the middle class. Macroscopically, it was the days of economically high growth period. People have been paid much more and the social security has been more successful than ever. We should be grateful to those people of my parents' generation, who made it possible with their grinding away for better life.

On the other hand, there is another thing we should never forget. Our country has not experienced any military conflicts or war after WWII. There has been the Korean war in the Korean peninsula during that period, which has brought the economic high growth to our country. While we have enjoyed it, the people in the peninsula have gone through the hard time of war. Even if we are not directly involved in or responsible for the war, we shoule never forget we owe our peaceful and wealthy life to them. Without their hardships, it could not occur.

Our prime minister or the minister of foreign affairs repeatedly states they should pressure on North Korea. It is evidently meaning military pressure. It could give rise to military conflict in the peninsula whether accidentally or intentionally. It would cause millions of victims in the peninsula and in Japan as well. Postwar mess must be hard for the international community to handle with. The president of South Korea is keenly trying to avoid such a disaster by any means. We owe much to them for our present wealth and peace. Despite of that fact, the heads of our administration don't seem to consider of those possible victims and damages due to the conflict. Looking back the modern history in this area, we could never insist to conduct military action against North Korea at present.

In the bed of death, as my sister told me, our father has grasped this photo as well as another of me at the time of entrance to the elementary school. My heart was trembling to hear that. This place of the old house and the family at that time must be things unforgettable for him.


Cold snap causing paucity of vegetables

It has been a cold snap covering our country for a month. They have had much snowfall in north west Japan. It's been far below the freezing point here every morning. They say El Nina phenomenon plus the meandering current in the Pacific Ocean causing this aberrant weather. In Australia, news says, a hot wave is hitting Sydney. In the US, there have been a hard cold snap in the East Coast while a torrential rain has caused land slide in the Sothern California.

I could not help suspecting these are an expression of the global warming. The global warming of the climate change is thought to cause shift to extremes in the weather.

This abnormal climate has caused the rise of the vegetables' price in Japan. Lettuce, cabbage and the other leefy vegtables are becoming more expensive by 2 or 3 times than usual. So are the other vegetables and even the other foods even if soaring of prices are not so marked as the former items. This means our country is so vulnerable to the climate change as for farming products. Considering of food self sufficiency rate in our country, social security for foods has turned out to be very fragile due to such as the climate change or the disturbed imports of the farming products. If the drought causing poor crop harvest in the summer could occur, the result must be devastating.

I have planted some vegetables last fall. Some of them have stopped growing or even died due to this cold snap. However, the other vegetables like this chinese cabbage have survived. There are still some spinach or potherb mustard surviving in the farm. Broccholi may survive and start growing in the spring as well.

I should get ready for the upcoming another hard winter.

A chinese cabbage harvested today. It is bitten by bugs, which is a proof it was grown without any pepticide. It would be a material for hot pot cooking soon.


A mail from a friend of mine with excellent drawings

Jack, WA6FYD, has sent me a post mail with a few drawings he made while he was in Japan back in '70s. It was more than an honor to be said in that way by him.

The drawings  are so excellent that they have brought me back to my young days. Looking one drawn the old fashioned platform, even though it was not the same railway station as I stood on in late '70s, I was touched almost to cry. I sure shared old memories with him. I have started my career standing at such a platform of a station near here in order to start my family and my career. Such a station has already been remodelled to a concrete building.

I thanked Jack a lot for these drawings. Drawings could move us in this way, maybe, deeper than photographs.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In Facebook, a good friend of mine, Reinhard DL1UF/W7, has posted a beautiful poem and song by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It sure has made my heart trembled. As soon as the iron curtain was opened in Germany, Reinhard, who had already moved from the East to the West years back, told, he was lead to Bonhoeffer's grave by his friend. Bonhoeffer must be an unforgettable person for Reinhard as well. I would like to quote his post here below.

The reasons why his post has moved me so deeply are double.

First, Bonhoeffer was the author of a book titled Resistance and Submission, which a reading circle of a  bible class took up back in 1970 or 1971. I have attended that class so impressive to me, who was wondering what to do in the future. Even if I have left the belief in Christianity later years, Bonhoeffer has shown how to live own life. Now we are confronting to the Nazis or its equivalent movements of politics not only in Japan but also everywhere in the world. "Nazional" means not national but of the people. That political movement was pretended to be for the people. The slogan "certain country first" reminds me of the party platform of Nazis. The 1st article of the platform depicted the movement was for the people. It was based on the racial discrimination. Isn't it what is going on everywhere in the world? I am overwhelmed at the reality going on in the world now. I never thought I should go through this crisis in my life. The same crisis as in WWII won't repeat. But I am still afraid there would be devastating events due to this authoritarianism. Some episodes of conflicts or of civil wars are going on in Africa and Middel East. This East Asia won't be an exception in the very near future. We should be ready for such a crisis. We belong to the generation who has never experienced any total war. It is looming to us in the other way than total war. Bonhoeffer tells us we should be ready for that maintaining the belief we are secured and guarded in any occasion however tough it might be.

Secondly, related with the first written above, I used to have a good friend at the reading circle. I could not forget that circle held at a small hall, quiet and comfortable, in Tokyo, where I have had acquaintance with him. He was a med student at that time. He was a kind and faithful Christian and behaved like a real borther to me. Since he graduated the med school of Tokyo University, he had been working as a neurosurgeon and a med school staff as well as one of the responsible staff of JOCS : Japan Overseas Christian Medical Cooperative Service. He has done a great job in some developing countries as well as at a med school, where we have worked at the same time for a while. As a neurosurgeon, he has treated my father suffering from subarachnoidal hemorrhage due to an accident. He was so kind that he always briefly asked how I was doing etc whenever going across with him anywhere in the hospital. He was invited to his mother school as a professor at his early fifties. In a few years, however, he has found to have memory dysfunction with himself, which was later diagnosed as the early onset Alzheimer. He has resigned his position at the school and has publicated on his illness to people. He has been advocating on the illness to people for a few years. Gradually progressed, his illness has made him bedridden losing the way of communication to the others including his wife. She told that she would see what God would do for him until the end of his life. I could not help imagining what he had thought on himself when he knew he had had the illness. He must have had many plans as a professor, a doctor and a father of children for the rest of his life. What disappointment and despair he has got through! Whenever I hear the name of Bonhoeffer, his story comes up in my mind with deep sorrow. His life seems to overlap that of bonhoeffer in the tragedy even though their lives are/were spent in different ages and in different situations. I believe, however, on behalf of himself, I should do anything I could do against the present movement toward authoritarianism in our country. I believe he has been strongly against the present trend to the authoritarianism.

Here is the post Reinhard has given to us in Facebook;


Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident, wrote the poem “Von Guten Mächten wunderbar geborgen…” in a concentration camp on Christmas 1944 not too long before he was executed. An amazing man… One the family’s favorite songs. Brother Volker sent this link just before the start of the New Year in Germany
By loving forces silently surrounded,
I feel quite soothed, secure, and filled with grace.
So I would like to live these days together,
and go with you into another year.
Still matters of the past are pressing our hearts
and evil days are weighing down on us.
Oh Lord, to our souls, so scared and sore,
give rescue, as it's that you made us for.
And when you pass to us the bitter chalice
of suffering, filled to the brim and more,
we take it, full of thanks and trembling not,
from this, your caring and beloved hand.
But if you want to please us, over and again,
with our shining sun and wondrous world,
let us muse on what is past, and then we shall,
with our lives, in all belong to you.
Warm and bright be our candles' flame today,
since into gloom you brought a gleaming light,
and lead again us, if you will, together!
We know it: you are beaming in the night.
When silence now will snow around us ev'rywhere,
so let us hear the all-embracing sound
of greater things than we can see and wider,
your world, and all your children's soaring hail.
By loving forces wonderfully sheltered,
we are awaiting fearlessly what comes.
God is with us at dusk and in the morning
and most assuredly on ev'ry day.


End of quote

Sorry for the grave and serious content of the post for the very first one in this new year. I hope this will find you in good health and hope for this year. 


In the end of 2017

Saying farewell to this passing year 2017, I would write about what it has been to me. It is a year which I have devoted myself very hard to house work and gardening/farming. I am full of gratitude for having been able to spend this year blessed with good health working that way. Regrettably, it was not a very happy year for me in public as well as private sense. Mainly due to that reason, I could not help omitting sending the season's greetings to friends of mine. I have received Christmas cards from a few of my friends. This is to reply them as well.

For music activity, I have played a piano trio in Tokyo in the beginning of this year. The 2nd movement of Brahms 2nd piano trio. Otherwise, the orchestra I was asked to join from this summer to fall was the only chance I played cello in ensemble this year. I am feeling weakened to play cello at any orchestra for now. It is laborious for me to attend any orchestra with the instrument far away. It is not the time for me to give it up yet, though. I will have another chance of playing piano trio next month with the violinist, whom I have played chamber music for years, and a new pianist. I would go on playing it as long as I can. I have not kept the promise to post my or our performance in Youtube yet. Maybe, next year.

As a listener, I have been more attracted by Mahrer's 9th symphony than ever. The yiddish tune in the last movement sure reminds me of the solitude toward death. It is not a pleasant tune but is still relieving me a lot as if telling me it is not only me who is in grief. The excellent chamber music by Brahms, Faure, Franck and the Franckists have also been soothing me. Bach's pieces have been a real relief for me as well. At my age, it may be dificult for me to find something new in repertoires of classical music. But I still would like to look for any music which satisfies my mind. I have renewed the audio system beside my bed. I am amazed how well it sounds like. The position of each instrument in chamber music is much more stabilized than with the previous one. It is a joy before going to sleep.

Ham radio, especially CW activity, seems to suffer a big change at present. The operators enjoying conversational CW are drastically decreasing in number. Some CW operators were absorbed into the digital modes. There have been contests on plain week days that also reduced the chances for chats on the bands. I won't blame or complain of this trend. I have told at occasions how important it was for us to recongnize the psychological process investigated with the new technology of brain science, that enabls us to tell confidently to the new comers what attracts us most with CW conversation. But, sadly, that idea of scientific approach to CW reception process won't attract most CW operators' attention. CW conversation has been carried out and lead by ex professional R/O. Unfortunately, they are disappearing from the ham radio world and are even being gone silent key for now. CW conversation's art is now going into the museum of vintages for now, I am afraid. I could not help feeling thankful for I could spend the most brilliant age of CW from '60s through !00s.

In Japan, the administrative office and the related organizations like JARD are enforcing a new regulation, which requires us to pay some money to go on using old gears. Old vintage equipment won't be actually used any longer. It is based on the new regulation by ITU, which tells to get rid of any interference to the other communications but won't question about the spurius emission from each equipment. On the other hand, the authority requires us to record the actual spurius emission with each equipment with any proofread measurement device. It is a big hurdle for us. Or they require us to pay some money to JARD, which is closely related with JARL and the authorative office. Surprisingly enough, that payment is to aske them to have the equipment guaranteed for the sprius emission regulation. The guarantee is based on PAPER only. It is like a Yakuza's blackmail. A criminal behaviour. JARD is accepting the former directors from JARL and some retirees most likelily from the authority. It is a matter of despair that former JARL directors are involved in this corruption. A real system of corruption. I am feeling disgusted at such a system. I am sure, in addition to the existing complicated license system, the same concession for the beurocrats and the related merchanst, this will lead the ham radio in our country to the extinction in the future. As one of the peculiarities in our society, there are very few voices against this concession corruption among ham radio operators.

I am feeling it won't take too long before I quit this hobby. I have had a real great time in the brilliant age with so many good friends all over the world.

As for politics and ecomomy, the present administration grasping overwheming power is getting also corrupted. Many cases of corruption or fraud are being open to us. The government and the PM won't answer to the denouncements for those cases. A lot of lies, cover ups and pressure to the bureaucrats involved in their doncucts. While this administration has violated the constitution as for the collective self defence and so forth, they would change the constitution. The change includes the emergency provisions, which are comparable to the enabling act by Nazis. These movements toward authoritarianism is based on the trend toward conservatism based on military power revailing among the people. Who knows where it will bring us to? I am still going to behave against this trend even though it is not helpful. In order to leave the better world and the better couontry to the next generation.

We have made a couple of major modifications to our home. Re painting of the wall, repairing the roof and installing a new septic tank and the sewage system. For those construction/repair, I am always considering that we won't be here longer than 2 decades from now. A personal eschatology. I am sometimes laughed at it when I mention something like that. But I still believe we should behave based on it at my age.  I am not fully understanding the idea of Rabbi Ben Ezra by Browning. However, I still would like to live in the belief something good is left in the last chapter in my life.

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year and good health during it.

The mountains in Nikko area north west of here.


Gardening in the winter

I have been busy plowing the soil in the garden and making leaf mold for the next spring. There were too much gravel and construction debris buried in the ground. I know some constructors used to do that before we moved here. Some of them have bothered the shrubbery of azalea along the entrance road to our home to grow enough. I decided to clear those bothering gravel etc from the soil under the shrubbery.

The gardener of almost the same age as mine has helped me with this project. He is a retiree from a local municipal office having worked there for gardening/park management for decades. Long before retirement, he decided to go on gardening as his profession. He has studied about gardening and obtained a national license. Speniding a couple of years under another gardener as a trainee, he has started his own business. His love and enthusiasm for gardening and trees are amazing. He seems to be happier than ever working in gardens. Looking at some tree for a while as he often is, he admires how beautiful and grand it is. I have learned a lot from him as for not only the technique of gardening but also the love for plants/trees. Being asked how long he would go on working, he answered, smiling gently, that he would do it as long as his health permits it. He is an amateur flutist as well. My wife has known him through her flutist teacher. That is why we have asked him to work at our home. It was my pleasure to know him as a friend of mine. 

With the help of this reliable gardener, I have finished this project a few weeks ago. It was a tough work. There should be even more debris left in the other parts of ground. As my wife always says, however, I would let it stay there since this is not our eternal home. The gardener has approved my idea to make leaf mold at the place where we digged out the debris. We have put the fallen leaves, which had been from the zelkova tree, magnolia, persimmon trees or chestnut tree, into the digged holes. The soil sifted to get rid of the debris has been returned there on the fallen leaves. The ground will become water maintaining leaf mold good for farming by next spring. Strawberry close to the ground will be lead to that places with runners next summer. I could grow some tomato plants as well.

I have also made flower beds in the other parts of the garden. Using the leaf mold already made from leaves etc at a corner of the garden, I have made them, where my wife has planted pansies a couple of weeks ago. The flowers are still blooming despite of this extreme cold wave. They might go on pleasing us with tiny lovely flowers until next spring.

Some veggies are still growing in this hard weather. A chinese cabbage is grown even though it has been bitten by bugs. These bites by bugs mean no chemical pesticide has been used.

It will be the winter solstice very soon. It will be the time when sun starts to shine longer and brighter. Hopefully, we could step into that season of hope blessed with good health.


The beginning of music

Recent studies show the capability to recognize the flow of sound as segments is provided a priori. It is being confirmed not only in ontogeny but also in phylogeny. They assume it is the basis for the development of laqnguage in human.

When first heard of this finding, I thought it might have brought us music. The flow of sound itself is the most primitive form of music. If this finding is right, music could preceed  phylogenetically acuisition of language. That could be the reason why music affects us most deeply in our emotion. Listening to the sound of nature, our ancestors may mimic it with their voice, that might become tune. That process seems like a kind of religious ritual. In order to share the flow of life together, they might sing that most primitive song together. When we start playing chamber music, the leader player inspire deeply as a sign of starting, as if he/she said let's start playing together. It may not be only the sign of Einsatz but also an expression to live together in the flow of life.

We are often too far from that sense of primitive communion living together. We could not live separetely. It is of no use to occupy wealth or foods by ourselves. It is against the natural rule of the flow of life. When we forget singing together in this flow of life, we could most likelily cause conflicts.

Jim, W6YA, has sent me this flashmob in the end of a year several years ago. He added saying this might serve me to restore faith in relationship with the others. It is just a video clip produced by an Italian bank. But still it could not help moving us.