Massacre of handicapped people

Yesterday, 19 severely handicapped were killed and 26 were injured at a care facility for handicapped by a guy who used to work for them over there.

It is a real cruel event. An abyss of absurdity seems to open before us. It is hard for us to explain or understand why such an event has occurred at once. It is not right for anyone to try to explain or strain the reason why he has done such a thing without elucidating the problem by professionals like psychiatrists or criminologists. I would just wait for what they will unveil what made this guy execute such a cruel crime. Though I should shut up my mouth here, however, I would add a bit more that seems important to me.

The criminal seems to be a psychopath or a psychiatric patient. He declared that he would kill the handicapped people when he worked at that facility. So he was sent to a hospital by compulsory admission in this February. He turned out to take marijuana as well. In a couple of weeks, the doctor in charge has judged he could discharge. And then he has committed this horrible crime as he predicted. This might mean current compulsory admission system, which deprives the patient of his human right, has its limit in avoiding such a crime. When the person hospitalized with this system is a psychopath, it might be quite difficult to prevent from such a crime. we should not "hold out" those involved in this compulsory admission/discharge even if it is necessary to investigate how and why the guy has gone out of the hospital.

I suspect the guy has reached this idea while working in the care facility. There could be a hard working condition for him, which might make him reach such a cruel idea. But his circumstance won't excuse his conduct at all. His history of life in the past as well as his personality might be more responsible for that.

The massacre of handicapped, which he has declared at the facility and in a mail to the House of Representative chairman, is reminiscent of Nazism. In that mail to the chairman, he said he would kill 470 of handicapped for Japan as well as the world. It is an insane idea. It is also tinted with the idea of Nazism. A news says he has been following the famous ultra right wing politicians/those in the mass media in Twitter. It should be revealed if the thought of the ultra right wing has influenced on him or not.

We should still be silent before such a depth of crime until the cause/reason is elucidated. 


Aso's ridicule

The Minister of Finance Aso used to tell in a press interview that they should learn how Nazis had taken the teeth out of Weimar Constitution. When it became a problem in the mass media, he explained that his intention had been not to have our constitution done in that way. Even if his excuse was true, it was a terrible example to preserve our constitution.

In the last national election, the ruling parties have occupied more seats in the Diet than that necessary to initiate the referendum for constitutional change or addition. Even though they have not discussed on this issue in the election campaign or rather avoided discussing on it, they immediately started discussing about addition of the article of the national emergency right or the rights of necessity in the constitution.

Our present constitution already has a system to deal with the emergency situation such as serious natural disasters. The rights of necessity has been intentionally excluded from the constitution based on the reflection that the prewar and wartime governments had abused that rights.

The rights of necessity the ruling parties, exactly speaking, the Prime Minister Abe proposes have the whole administrative function of the nation belong to the Prime Minister. It assumes the limitation of the fundamental human rights. If the rights of necessity is executed with the military power, it would be the martial law itself. It is highly suspected that the rights of necessity would bring about dictatorship in our country.      

If the referendum is done in our country with the mass media on the side of the government, I am pretty sure the addition of the rights of necessity would be passed. It won't be a reform of constitution but scrapping of the present constitution.

Aso's ridicule is becoming true in our country,


Seeing one of my old friends' daughter and granddaughter

Two days ago, I have met Bob W6CYX's daughter Teresa and his granddaughter Laura here. They have traveled Tokyo, Kyoto and Hakone. In the last of their trip, they came here answering to my invitation. Bob has been one of the oldest friends in ham radio, whom I first worked in 1960s and since 1980s we have piled the QSOs up to 1249. I have visited Bob and his family at the foot of a mountain on the east side of San Jose. It has a stunning view overlooking the whole bay area. Bob has treated me with great hospitality whenever I was there. When I found those ladies at a station near by, I felt having seen someone very close to me.

We have been to Nikko and Chuzenji lake in the mountain area. The weather was unfortunately overcast and sometimes drizzly. It has made those resorts very empty of the tourists. In addition, at Chuzenji lake, we have had some sun ray breaking through thick clouds.

Laura, a student of SJSU majoring in mechanical engineering, was a quiet lovely girl who loves musicals and singing. Teresa was a lady working for a medical device company confident in her profession, raising kids and her life itself. An active and intelligent lady. She seemed to enjoy her life in the Northern California. We have talked a lot about politics, emergency medicine, bureaucracy and so forth. She is a great discusser as her father is. In her view, politicians are not believable at all even though she still believes in the free trade without the regulation by the authority. When I named it as positive anarchism, she was smiling at me. Through her profession, she seemed to know much about cardiac emergency. It was a real fun and stimulus to me to talk about those things with her, even though I have already totally retired from clinical work.

In Nikko, we have enjoyed dishes made of bean curd named Yuba. It must be new to them. They seemed to enjoy this pretty rare full course of Yuba. In the Chuzenji lake, after walking ant taking photos at the shore of the lake, we have had coffee and cake at a restaurant which belongs to the oldest hotel in the area named Kanaya Hotel. Back to the plain area, in the biggest town in this area named Utsunomiya, we have had my wife there coming from her office. My wife used to visit Bob 4 years ago and was looking forward to seeing them this time. Since she has not used English for years, she could not communicate much with them in that tongue. But she still had fun seeing them.

It seems they have had a trouble with the flight which was supposed to take them back home today. I hope the substitute flight will bring them there tomorrow. Thanks for visiting here, Teresa and Laura. Next time, I will invite you here at our home and serve my hand made dishes. Good luck with the study, Laura. Keep up your good work for the people suffering from serious heart illnesses, Teresa.


"My Grandfather's Clock"

In the end of August every year, we used to go to Shinshyu for training camp of the orchestra in my med school days. I have sometimes mentioned of that camp in this blog. In a year or two after I joined the orchestra, I got a new cello which my parents bought for me. It was a cello made in East Germany. Not very cheap for my parents but one of the instruments for the beginners. i brought it to that camp. Unfortunately, it was found to be broken. The neck was detached from the body, which repeated later and turned out to be a weak point of this cello. What a shock it was for me to have had such a trouble with my brand new instrument at that time! In an hour or two, however, I regained control of myself and decided to bring it back to Tokyo. There was a back up instrument at the club room in the university. I could carry on the practice of the orchestra with that it.

Early in the morning on the day after, I went to a railway station nearby with my broken cello. There were several friends of the orchestra coming to farewell to me there. When I was going into the train bound back for Tokyo, exactly, Shinjyuku, they started singing a famous nursery song "My Grandfather's Clock" for me. Hearing their harmony on my back, I took on the train. This song is still reminiscent of this event in my young days.

I am not very sure this photo was taken then. I was wearing wooden clogs! What did I point out with hand? I can't remember that. How I have been encouraged by them singing for me! It was a warm harmony. It is still vivid in my memory.

The club room was of course empty. I took the back up cello, hardly regarded as a deluxe instrument, and headed back to the JR station of Shinjyuku. It was already night. There was a train bound back for Minamiotari, one of the station in the mountain area. I got on it. The other passengers were almost mountain climbers. They wore the clothes for climbing mountains while I had on the ordinary shirt and trousers, in addition, with that cello. It was a slow train and supposed to get to the mountain area in the morning of the day after. 

I could hardly sleep all the way. The passengers gradually got off the train. When it ran in a valley near to the destination, it dawned. Very cool. There was fog covering all around the valley. Only high ever green trees were seen in the fog. Despite of the cold temperature, I felt my heart warmed getting closer to the camp my friends were still playing music together. 

This is one reason why I still like driving this area. I used to go there on my car quite often in the past. But it has become tough for me to drive all the way by myself now. Maybe, I will take the train to that place, not the night train but a daytime one.    


Right wing cult and impoverished people

The House of Councillors election has resulted in the big win of the ruling parties. The main party among this parties is LDPJ, Liberal Democratic Party in Japan.

They have intentionally avoided discussing about constitutional change in the election campaign. As soon as they have won in the election, the Prime Minister Abe announced that they would put it on the agenda.

Abe, the grandson of the former Prime Minister as well as of one of the war criminals, Shinsuke Kishi, is well known to have craved for recovery of the prewar regime of the Emperor system under Shinto. It is a regime of the unity of religion and state. It is the denial of the modern democracy as well as the regime of San Francisco Treaty after WWII.

The background of this ultra right ideology is told to be in an organization named Nippon Kaigi. Here is a simple explanation of this organization. It is based on Shinto and the other cults. This organization has been reporeted by the oversea media for years but scarcely by our media.

The fascism looms in an outlook of reformer with redundant investment and quantitative easing which give them transient euphoria. The fascists won't forget emphasizing the military threats from the neighbor countries. It will excuse the expansion of the armaments and the deployment of the military to overseas. The impoverished people would welcome this change to fascism as patriotic fanaticism. They could be equal in the fanatic patriotism, whether rich or poor, accomplished or not. If the patriotism is colored with fanatic cult worshiping the emperor as a living god, the system is perfect.  

There are two major problems. The ghost of the prewar regime and the general impoverishment in the people. These are related with each other and seem to lead our country to fascism.


Reunion with John 9V1VV

It has been 8 years since I met John 9V1VV at our home last time. It was also early summer. A bit earlier in summer, maybe. As I have written about it else where, I have brought him to a rehearsal of the orchestra where I was playing cello. We were practicing Nr2 symphony of Brahms. There was a cozy breeze blowing at the hall then. Whenever I meet or think of John, I could not forget that scene together with this refreshing music suggestive of early summer. It is what I was impressed by his personality as well.

I arrived at a downtown named Ochanomizu about half an hour before the promised time. Looking around books at a book store there, it was close to that time of promise. At the exit of the JR station, a tall guy was seen from fairly far away. It was John, with the same composed outlook, standing there with smile. We shook hands exchanging the words of greetings. His wife, Emelyn, and son, Jake, were there as well. 

We headed to a Japanese restaurant I looked up with the internet. It was the place of the medical university which I graduated from and, supposedly, well known to me. John asked if it had been why I had chosen this place for meeting. Yes, it was. But it has been 40+ years ago since I wandered around there carrying my cello. 

His wife working as an accountant at an American company in Singapore is a genuine Singaporean. Her parents were from Hainan. A cute and sharp person with charming smile. His 2nd son, Jaye, has recently finished his compulsory service in the army there and has started his study in mechanical engineering at a university. A handsome but a bit shy boy. He seemed to manage this trip. When I asked how they were going to the next destination, Atsu's home, tomorrow, he opened a note book, where he had recorded how to go there with beautiful hand writing and let me know that. What a joy it must be for them to travel together! I could not help feeling jealous at them 

John looked quite the same as before. An intelligent and calm person. I asked him about the environmental noise which had prevented him from operating radio for the past months. He told me Jake had helped him to put up the antenna higher at his apartment roof top, which drastically diminished that noise level. He sounded to feel disgusted at the rubber stamp style QSOs he had been forced to do with the Eastern Europeans. He, even with a bit sarcastic smile, told me he had heard me working with those in the rubber stamps John happily told me he would join the FOC meeting in UK on Oct. Even though he has become an associate member of the club some time ago, he seemed to get actively in touch with the other members.  .         

Next year, Emelyn is planning to retire from her job. Soon, they are going to purchase a house in a countryside in UK. They will spend half of a year there while coming back to Singapore in the rest of a year. There seem to be the pension/insurance issue if they live in UK. I hoped everything would go well for them. He should take an exam of ham and start with the novice call with a prefix of 2E. We might hear proficient bug keying of a novice class call in UK soon. It should be John on the key. He told me he had spent young days to find himself in such as Israel, Middle Easts or India. Long time in Singapore. Nevertheless, he would be settled down his mother country soon. It made me smile a bit.

In a context of talks, I told them I had believed John was a man of wisedom. Both his wife and son were laughing at me. I still, however, believe that. He has a diverse interests in things, from his profession to music and literature in addition to ham radio. His point of view is always agreeable to me. For example, he seemed to be against the BREXIT. I know it would only leave impoverishment of the people, especilly, those approved BREXIT. I would ask what he thought brought about the right wing swing regarding BREXIT. Maybe, in the next QSO on CW where I could be a bit more free in expressing my idea. I always feel sympathetic to his tendency toward liberalism in his point of view. I have felt that sympathy since I knew him first. Yes, it seems to me the breeze early in summer is symbolizing his personality. At least in my mind.

On a bridge in Ochanomizu. The building behind is a part of the campus of the school I graduated from.



Head copying is a unique process different from learning codes itself

As for Morse code learning is concerned, this study may mean to us head copying is quite different from learning codes itself. We should intentionally train head copying for conversational QSO. 

 2015 Nov;36(11):4512-28. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22939. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

From perceptual to lexico-semantic analysis--cortical plasticity enabling new levels of processing.


Certain kinds of stimuli can be processed on multiple levels. While the neural correlates of different levels of processing (LOPs) have been investigated to some extent, most of the studies involve skills and/or knowledge already present when performing the task. In this study we specifically sought to identify neural correlates of an evolving skill that allows the transition from perceptual to a lexico-semantic stimulus analysis. Eighteen participants were trained to decode 12 letters of Morse code that were presented acoustically inside and outside of the scanner environment. Morse code was presented in trains of three letters while brain activity was assessed with fMRI. Participants either attended to the stimulus length (perceptual analysis), or evaluated its meaning distinguishing words from nonwords (lexico-semantic analysis). Perceptual and lexico-semantic analyses shared a mutual network comprising the left premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area (SMA) and the inferior parietal lobule (IPL). Perceptual analysis was associated with a strong brain activation in the SMA and the superior temporal gyrus bilaterally (STG), which remained unaltered from pre and post training. In the lexico-semantic analysis post learning, study participants showed additional activation in the left inferior frontal cortex (IFC) and in the left occipitotemporal cortex (OTC), regions known to be critically involved in lexical processing. Our data provide evidence for cortical plasticity evolving with a learning process enabling the transition from perceptual to lexico-semantic stimulus analysis. Importantly, the activation pattern remains task-related LOP and is thus the result of a decision process as to which LOP to engage in.