4/15/2014

An ordinary but still irreplaceable QSO

Last week end, a guy in W6 has let me know JIDXC started. It was on 40m at 0705Z. Investigating the current rule, I knew it had undergone a big change. It lasts only for 30 hours. It is for the participants who are getting older. It may be to activate the contest as well.  I have watched it when the bands are open. Except for the beginning and the ending, it could hardly be regarded as active as it used to be. I was a keen joiner of this contest for 40m category around 1990. Even compared with that in those days, it seemed to have lost participants on any band this time.

I tried to work JAs on 40m for regular ordinary QSO. I have called CQ for several times in the daytime when the band was open only for JA. There have, however, been no callers to me at all. I realized again there were much less CW operators enjoying ordinary QSOs in JA for now. I have known of that for the past years and was not surprised at that at all.

This afternoon, between gardening works, I have called CQ on 20m, where Martin AE5KC/M has given me a call. He was originally from Mexico and has been to homeland. He was on the way back home. He told me it would take him 3 hours to drive back to Dallas. He has pulled over his car and was going to take a rest for a while.

I didn't want to bother him taking a rest and was saying goodbye to him. He interrupted it and asked what time it was in our local. I answered it was 3PM bright afternoon. It was 1AM at his place. He sounded to be reluctant to quit the QSO. I could imagine, while taking a break, he was relaxing with radio. The surrounding was quiet and dark. He could hear a JA on the radio. He was running only a barefoot with a whip. It might not be common for him to catch a JA with his mobile set up. That has made him not willing to leave there so soon. As it is often said, treasure every meeting for it will never recur. I have imagined what he thought then in this way.

Wishing him a good rest for a while and a safe trip back to office, I gave the final message to him. It was not a fabulous exciting QSO at all. It might be an ordinary QSO. It must be regarded as a trivial one to most hams. But I was pleased to have met him in this way. It could not be replaced to any other QSOs. I still would look for such a QSO from now on. I won't try to persuade the others to do the same way. I just would go on this style of enjoyment in ham radio.   

4/07/2014

Shopping in Tokyo

My wife has started learining flute about half a year ago. She has been really enthusiastic for the instrument. She always practises it at midnight. There have never been any midnight when I could not hear her making
tonguing at high pitch or blowing scales. She complains of getting rusty in memorizing fingering or performing a fast motif in music etc. Even if she has played a bit of piano in her young days, I always tell her, she could not complain of slow progress at her age.

It has been a used instrument borrowed from a major instrument company that she practised with. She found it a bit tough to go on practising that old one, so that she wished to get a new one with better performance. She has been eagerly searching what instrument would be suitable for her or where to get such an item. She wanted me to go with her. I was a bit reluctant to say yes to her because I could not tell a good wind instrument from the others. Especially if she, still a real beginner, plays them by herself. She seemed sad to hear that and told me to ask our daughter to go together with her.

In  a few days, I agreed her to go with her. She has never had such a hobby which she could be devoted to so much by herself since we had married. Maybe, gardening is another hobby for her. It has become, however, like a kind of duty to water the plants at present. I knew how it is relieving us from the stressful routine to play instruments however unskilled we might be with them. I knew it was a time when she could be free from those troublesome reality. Won't it be a good hobby for her in the retirement soon as well? I decided to support her seeking a good flute.

We left home an hour before noon here. It was in Okubo in the downtown of Tokyo where we were heading to. How long has it been for us to go for such shopping in Tokyo? When we were engaged immidiately after graduation from the school, we promised to come to Tokyo for concerts etc often. It takes only an hour and a bit more to go to Tokyo on a train. But it turned out to take us even more than a couple of hours to reach somewhere in Tokyo in door to door. And our busy work and family duties have prevented us from coming there so often. I could not help recalling the past decades when we had lived together in the countryside away from Tokyo where we spent our student days. How much am I owing to her to reach our age? Hasn't there been anything which I could do for her in our life for the past 3 decades?

We were lost when we took off at the station of Okubo of the Yamanote line. We started to walk to the opposite way from that to the shop. In a few minutes, we realized that and took a rest at a restaurant there. In our engagement days, I remembered, we had often loafed around the downtown while we prepared for the MD examination together with our mutual firends. What a time of hope and pleasure! Now, almost having finished our career in our lives, we were settled down at a restaurant together taking late lunch and coffee.

The instrument shop was in an alley in Okubo away from the main street. The outlook was not very gorgeous. But a decent and neat shop inside. Not very crowded.  Very hospitable staff have welcomed us there. My wife has chosen several flutes and has tried playing each of them at a room for 2 hours long. We asked a personnel to play each of them for us. We have chosen a model by Muramatsu, a well known maker in Japan. It was not a very expensive model but should be good enough for a new comer. My wife has contacted with her flute teacher on cell phone, who was not very happy with any products from that maker. Finally, she agreed with my wife to get it since it was my wife's choice.

On the way back home, we both fell asleep on seats in the train. A bit tired. But a satisfying trip. Watching her being content with a new instrument she got in this trip, I thought I should bring her for shopping or concerts etc more often so far we could do that.

 
In our young days when we started residency at a med school hospital nearby.

4/04/2014

Yellowtail and radish

Fresh  yellowtail is available in supermarket now. It is the season of yellowtail with radish. It is a popular dish for family meal here. Radish is boiled with rece washed water prior to cooking with yellowtail. Yellowtail is pretreated with salt and, later, boiled water to lessen its fishy smell. yellowtail is cooked with stock, soy sauce, sake, ginger and sugar etc. In 15 min., radish is put into it with some additional seasoning materials. Cook them for another half an hour.

It is really good. Yellowtail has rich taste while radish absorbs well seasoned sauce with the taste of yellowfish. A gift from nature in this season.

   

Bach Suite Nr2 played by Maurice Gendron

Recently, I have been listening to this pretty old recording of Bach's suite by Maurice Gendron. He was popular in 1960s or 70s when I was a student starting learning cello. Unfortunately, his performance has not been on the radio etc so often any longer.

The modern cellists are inclined to play them with too much exaggerations or too excessive dynamics. Of course, there are some exceptions like Yo Yo Ma. The modern cellists are playing these pieces as if they were required to add something new to those by the old orthodox. I am afraid it always end in failure.

The suites by Bach should be played without any exxagerations. It should sound as if it were a gift from heaven. Not artificial but as apriori. This performance is very orthodox. Not much variation in tempo and dynamic. As if he believes in the power the suite were originally born with.

4/01/2014

The 1st day of increased sales tax

It is the 1st day of the increased sales tax today. From 5 to 8%. It is sceduled to be risen to 10% next fall. They say it should be risen up to 20% in the near future to cover all the expenditure for the social security which is increasing in accordance with the progressed aging of the population.

I admit such taxation is inevitable to stabilize our society. But it is the problem how the government is going to use the increased revenue. So far as this rise of the sales tax is concerned, they will get 5 trillion JPY. At the same time, they have made a budget to stimulate the economy for the same amount of increased revenue. The 3% increase of sales tax is actually paid for the civil engineering business and the export business. Who knows they might go on the same expenditure from next budget on? So far, there is no trickle down realized in the economy at present which the government has insisted. Haven't they promised to use the increased revenue for social security?

BOJ has been buying the national bond without any limit for the past several years. It has started purchasing the long term national bond for the couple of years. It is hazardous. It would cause " a bad inflation". If BOJ stopped purchasing it, it would result in drastic drop of the value of national bond. BOJ could never stop issuing the national bond. An endless easing! I could hardly believe they have any means to do with progressive inflation which we could expect as a result of such easing. The people are not infromed that inflation is a transfer or money from us to the government. The government insists such an inflation could be controlled and would contribute to get out of the deflation. I could hardly believe in their both sayings.

Magnolia in full bloom

Magnolia flowers are fully coming out now.  Looking this tree with full blown flowers, I surely feel spring has finally arrived here. My mother used to love this tree. I still remember of her with smile like a child telling me magnolia was coming out.
 
My father has planted it about 30 years ago.
 
 
 
 


3/30/2014

Father's diary

It was so warm a few days ago that I went out to pull the weeds in the garden. The breeze was tender to me. I was apt to have back pain leaning forward while gardening. It was still a fun. Touching soil reminds me of something essential to living.

In some time, I would have a cup of tea in the house. I went to the entrance and tried to open the door there. It was locked. It would never open it. I looked around for any door or windows where I could come in the house. All in vain. My wife in a day off seemed to go out locking the door. I was  left alone outside. I had been afraid this might happen someday. It has finally happened to me.

I didn't have cell phone to get in touch with her. In a minute or two, I have given it up. I entered to the other house in the same property, where our parents had spent their last years. Despite of no power there, everything was kept in the same way as my parents lived there. I filled a cup with tapped water. There was a comfortable chair in a small hall, where my mother used to spend afternoon. Sun was shining in there. Everything was ready for me to spend the afternoon there. One more thing I needed. I would spend time reading some book in the book shelf. A variety of books were in the shelves. An essay written by an actor. Or one of the writings by S. Takahashi whom my father used to be devoted to. A diary of my fathers' has caught my eye.

It has been nearly 10 years since my father died. But I would not read his dairies by myself. My father used to be a keen dairy keeper for decades. Reading them might mean to me that I would invade his inner world. I hesitated to do so reading any of them even though he had passed away.

I took that diary written in 1962.

Simple description of daily life there. Just like notes to memorize what has happened. Surprisingly, he has written down of us, his three children, quite often. Most of his diary was occupied with such topics. It attracted my attention that he had written more of me than the other borther and sister. For example, he wrote that even though I would have exams at school from tomorrow, I had gone to Akihabara for radio parts. I don't remember to be told to study more for school by him. But he must be concerned about me in various ways. It was when I was in the term of rebellion in my life. Was it the reason why he had cared for me so much?

Since I have raised children by myself, I thoroughly understand what he has felt about us at that time. I asked myself if I had understood him in his late years. His hope and sorrow. I still realized that I had got away from him when he needed my concern and help. It is too late. Does father-son relationship always go in this way? It won't excuse me at all. Reading his description of me in his diary, however, I felt I had grown up under his concern and affection. If he were still alive and knew I had realized this, he might tell me "It is OK. It is your turn."

 
The red ume flowers are in full bloom.
Just in front of the house I spent that afternoon.