An eye ball at Tokyo Ham Fair 2019

I have been to Tokyo Ham Fair on Aug 31st. It has been a week or so since I started writing this post. But I haven't finished it yet! This evening, I have met Steve JS6TMW on 40m CW. That QSO has hastened me to finish this now!

 I was rather reluctant to go that event at first. But Steve told me to come to see him there by any means. I was interested in him with career as a medical economist and also in the book he had introduced me as I mention later in this article. 

I left home earlier than it was expected to be there in time. Forgotten that the event was held in the South Wing but not in the West, where it used to be held for the past years, I was almost lost and walked around a lot in the West Wing. Finally, I asked a concierge lady about where it was held. She kindly let me know this event was held inthe South Wing. This event venue was too complicated for an old country retiree like me to get to the right place. 

The outlook of this event place nicknamed Big Site, which will be used as the media center etc in the Olympic games next summer. Hopefully, visitors from overseas won't be lost there.

At the entrance of the event, there were already 3 persons gathering. Steve JS6TMW, Yoh JL1MUT and George 7J1ATG. In a minute or so, Hiro has appeared there. I knew Steve had sent me a message through the Facebook later when I came home. No smartphone with me! Anyway, we were pleased to finally get together there. 

Since most of the restaurants were already closed preparing for refurbishment to the media center, it was tough for us to find the seats at a restaurant. When we were settled down at a restaurant, we toasted for this lunch meeting with glasses of beer. As always in such a ham meeting, we have had a lot of things to talk about.

Steve, JS6TMW, originally from NY where he started ham rqadio in his teenage days, used to study electrical engineering at UC Berkeley and has found a job at a medical instrument company. He seemed to be interested in medical service and has turned to the field of medical economy. He has gone through his career in it and is still working temporarily. His marriage with his Japanese Okinawan wife brought him to Okinawa in 2004. In 2015, he has come back to ham radio with help of his old ham friend after a long absence in it. He also inherited a lot of old ham radio equipments from his father in law, JA9BB. He looked like a teen age boy when he was talking about home brew rig, old radios or home brew antennas. Okinawa is located on a path of most typhoons and is apt to have gust of winds in summer. He finally put up a stout crank up tower and a tribander on it, with which he won't worry about the gust any longer. He has had a serious embolism in coronary artery last year right at the moment he was doing with the antenna on the roof. With good care of cardiological sureon, he could survive and has rehabilitated successfully. He was a good walker, at least, better than me.

I was interested in him as he put up a post in facebook which showed a receipt of 150 JPY for a visit to a medical facility. Pretty cheap even from our standard. It might be a real surprise for an American guy that he could have medical treatment at such a fee. I knew he had been involved in the medical service as a medical economist from his bio in QRZ.com. He was grinning to hear me saying that medical service would be possible only with the low wage and long hour duties of medical staff and it would be bankrupted sooner or later. 

In one of the latest QSOs, Steve has introduced me a book titled "The Emperor of All Maladies" written by a doctor, Siddhartha Mukherjee. It depicts on the history of cancer. It was awarded Pulitzeer Prize. Since it was a pretty voluminous book, at first, I was hesitating reading it. Reading it, I knew how attractive it was. It surely reminded me of the days when I was given training as a resident. My very first patient was a girl with intractable leukemia. She has died after spending hard days with various chemo for a year. This book has brought me back to the days I was anxiously treating that girl every day. I could never forget her asking myself if it was the best choice for her or not. The description of each episode the author wrote in this book is backed by his experience. It makes readers zealous at it.

I have worked George, 7J1ATG, for many times especially since he built a remote control station in Izu peninsula. He has started his career as a radio operator on ship and has made voyage all over the world. Later, he has changed job to that of computer security. It seems he owns his business and travels a lot around the world. As a matter of fact, he has own stations in UK and VK4 in addition to JA. He loves making QRP radios by himself in addition to, of course, CW.  I prefered his concise operation style to those rambling on endlessly. As I told him that, he prankfully smiled at me and said I had been too quick talking on CW. I should learn his way of operation a bit more. Both of us have a daughter working as nurse. We have talked about them on the air in the past. She seems to work in VK land at present. Asked by me if he felt relieved to have such a care giver in the future, he again smiled saying she was a bit cool to family members. I don't believe that, George. He was told by Steve to join us there. It was nice to meet such a friend all after many QSOs on the air. I could not feel it was just the very first ever eye ball for us.

Yoh, JL1MUT, was another guy whom I met for the first time, even though we have had a few QSOs in the net, named All Asian net? managed by Lou, VK5EEE. Possibly due to the similarity of the suffices and our high activity on CW, I have been sometimes counfused with him by oversea guys. The youngest ham in this lunch meeting. He is working for a communication equipment company and lives in Kamakura. It seems he has loved CW for a long time and has been involved in the net for years. Since Lou has gone to HS land this spring, the net has had fewer members now as he said. We have discussed why Japanese hams won't enjoy ragchewing on CW despite of studies in English devoted mainly to preparation for the entrance exam of universities. As a young, at least among us, CW operator, hopefully, he would lead the younger CW operators from now. Steve has been a regular participant in the net and has told Yoh to join this lunch meeting. 

The last but not least participant was Hiro, JA7WTH, whom I have known for the past several years. He has actually started learning CW for the past 5 or 6 years. He is an experienced pediatrician. He is a graduate of the med school my brother did as well. That is why I have become close to him. He is enthusiastic for remote operation at present, which I know nothing about. He has brough the system in a snap bag. He is a great challenger for new tech and CW. 

Spent a couple of hour at the restaurat, we got out of there. Steve headed back to the hotel where his wife was waiting for him. Too bad that I have not taken a photo of him and the others.

At a cafe, we have spent another hour without Steve. This is a photo of three of us.

Hiro was setting up the remote control to his home station. From left to right, Hiro, Yoh and George. Hiro successfully worked with a station in JA7 using this tiny set up.

We have parted there promising QSOs on the air or in eye ball in the future. A fun time. It was worth going to see them from this countryside.


Night Owlers

Late at night a few weeks ago, when I bored with practising the 7th symphony by Beethoven, I turned on the rig. It was before 14Z. Pretty late for the path to the west coast on 40m. The band was still open that way and I could have a few contacts with W6/7. 

For the last time before closing down, I called CQ and was called by VK4YD. This call sounded familiar to me. But I could not recall Dave until I looked up his call with my PC log. We have had several QSOs years ago. 

He used to be VK3ABR before '80s and VK4CEU there after until he got the present call sign some 10 years ago. I met him first time in 1968! He is 81 years old now and still have very sharp memory. He told me he had just called our mutual friend Tim VK3IM on the land line. Tim told him he had been getting along well at his home with aid for routine by someone. Tim seemed to have been at his own home in Mt. Eliza, a suburb of Melbourne. As I have written elsewhere in this blog, I have had wonderful chats with Tim on his way back home from the work in Melbourne. Tim has had, however, the same health issue of chronic pain which annoyed him for the past years. I only wished him peaceful days with less pain now.

In '70s through '80s, Dave told me, there had been several hams in or around Melbourne area who used to be active on 40m at their midnight. Such as Ron VK3BRC, Frank VK3FC, Snow VK3MR, Tim VK3IM, Dave himself and so forth. They have called themselves as "night owlers". They have enjoyed QSOs with Ed W7COB or Merle K6DC, formerly W6ULS then. What a surprise I have worked all of them either in '60s or '80s. Merle used to be an elmer for ragchewing for me those days. Sadly, all of them except for Dave and Tim have gone SK for now. 

As I repeatedly posted in this blog, there used to be a schedule between K6NB and VK2NS on 40m around 08Z or so almost every day. There used to be several patticipants in it around the Pacific ocean. I was the last one joining it from time to time. It was a real fond memory for me. I am sad to have shared it with very few ones for now. I was, however, delighted to know this night owlers group having kept a regular round table over the Pacific Ocean at almost the same time, or at least, sometime in common. CW was taking the place of the internet at present those days. Ham radio, especially CW, was the only window open to the world for me and for many young people those days.

Wondering if there were any people who knew of these round tables over the Pacific Ocean, I posted on this topic in a group of CW lovers in the facebook. But no one has shared this memory with me there, even if they were mostly newbies on CW in that group. Anyway, the fact there used to be such hams enjoying ragchewing over the Pacific Ocean is passing into oblivion. There is still a memory that I have participated in such excitng groups on this old mode those days. 


Fall is ushering in quietly

There are so many things to write about in this blog. However, I have been too busy to concentrate on it now.

One pleasant thing. When I pulled and cut the weeds in the yard, I have mistakingly give a cut to a small water melon with mowing sickle. Luckily enough, it turned out to be ripe. It tasted elegantly sweet and fresh. Needless to say it will be a desert after evening meal.

The traditional calendar says the fall season has started August 8th. Several days later than that day, it surely has become cooler in morning and evening. It may take several weeks until we feel fall in the air. But the cool breeze early in the evening ushers in the arrival of fall soon. 

Tomatoes are past the peak of harvest for now. We still enjoy several fresh ones for the dinner salad. It has been a good year with them this year.


74th anniversary in Hiroshima

It is the 74the anniversary of nuclear bombing in Hiroshima today.

This photo shows a boy carrying his sister died from the nuclear bombing in Nagasaki. He was waiting for her turn at a cremation site. His attitude, looking straight forward with his mouth shut tightly, tells what an absurdity he should endure at that time.

The Japanese government at that time could have surrendered to put an end to the war much earlier. The cult of imperialism has daren't do that in order to maintain the emperor system but never the lives of the people.

We should never forgotten the Japanese imperial military has killed tens of millions of people mainly in Asia and Pacific area. Together with the memory of the victims in Hiroshima/Nagasaki in addition to Okinawa, we should remember all those people killed in the war by our military.

It would be the end of human civilization if nuclear war is started. But the threashold for use of small nuclear weapon is lowered. They are developing "usable" small nuclear bombs. INF has just been withdrawn as well. There should be military expansion of nuclear weapons starting now. Why won't we be able to deny any possibility of war or conflict where they use small nuclear weapons? 

Our government has declared our constitution won't necessarily ban the use of nuclear weapons recently. They should have ratified Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty quickest among the other countries since we have experienced the tragedy of nuclear weapons and the accident of nuclear power plant in Fukushima. However, it seems they won't go that way. They rather would increase the tension with the neighbor countries.

Again, we should never forget what this boy has experienced in the tragedy. 


In the midsummer

World Meteorological Organization says last July was the 2nd hottest month ever. In 2016, it was the hottest month of July by the record. It was due to a big El Nino phenomenon. This time, El Nino was not so remarkable as it could explain of this heat. I am afraid global warming is steadily going on in the world.

The rainy season has finally finished here several days ago. The fine weather is welcomed after a long wet days. But the sunshine is too intense for plants to grow. The leaves of pumpkin are half withered. It might be to avoid direct exposure to the heating sunshine. This heat wave may deteriorate crops later, though.

A pumpkin was harvested the other day. It has been dried and prepared for a dish;simmered pumpkin with japanese broth and minced pork.

Pumpkin was not so sweet as expected. But it still tasted fresh. When a fresh pumpkin is first cut, it orders like a fresh fruit. Maybe, it has produced aromatic compound when growing.

Corns have been finished. With long lasting rain, it has not grown so much as we expected. But still sweet and crisp. Each grain of corn was freshly vivid. We call it lively cell membrane in our family. As soon as harvested, they have been boiled in a pressure cooker.

My father, when he was alive, used to make this boiled corn for us everyday. Bringing one piece, he went to the window of our daughter's room and whisper to her to wake up and to get ready for school. During her high school days, father used to take her on his car to school quite often. We should remember how our parents or grandparents have done for us. Unfortunately, we scarcely remember of such a thing while they are alive.

In the midsummer going on right now, I feel signs telling fall is ready to come. Such as withered corn plants in the farm or a bit cool breeze going through while pulling weeds. Time goes by slowly but steadily whether or not we are conscious of that.

Accindentally looking up the Indian Lilac along the entrance, I found some flowers had already come out.


A National Election

We have the vote for the House of Councilors tomorrow. Nevertheless, the mass media won't broadcast programs about it if not nothing. There are a lot of serious problems such as sustainability of the public pension, joining the coalition of the willing in the Mid East, elucidation of numerous scandals by the government and PM Abe himself and so forth. They say, since the ruling parties depend on the organized votes by the workers in the major industries for LDPJ and by the believers of Soka Gakkai for the Komeito, the government has ordered the mass media, especially, TV to restrict political debates in their programs. The government is also characterized by authoritareanism. It has the principle to make people rely on but not to let them know about what is going on.

A few days ago, when PM made election address in Sapporo as well as in Ohtsu, there were a few opponents who shouted against him or held a sign asking PM if he was for restarting the nuclear power plants or not. The police has excluded them out of the place. It is not based on any law. Years ago, the supreme court has decreed that jeering or hooting, so far as they are not too loud, is not obstruction of an election campaign. Excluding the opponents was clearly an abuse of police power. The same incident has occurred at two different places at the same time. It must mean the central police office has ordered that action to the regional police guarding PM making political address. It is a preliminary or the ealiest sign of authoritareanism in politics, isn't it? 

The government is aiming at the constitutional amendment once they get 2/3 of the seats at both Houses after this election. The main issue, so far as I knew from the draft of the constitution the LDPJ has published, is introduction of emegency clause into the constitution. It enables the cabinet issue cabinet orders equivalent to the ordinary laws without diet questioning and answering. The emergency situation is defined quite vaguely. It could be prolinged as long as the cabinet wants. It is comparable to the Enabling Act with which Nazis has destroyed the Weimar constitution most democratic at that time in the world.

The biggest problem in the politics is that young people are not interested in politics or, with superficial knowledge in politics, approve this ultra right government. There must be some different reasons for this issue. I suspect they are in a kind of nihilism for the politics. For example, they often say anything won't  be changed if they vote in the election. They won't believe in any social movement which could develop reformation. In our young days, the youth generation was the front runner in such movement. Political age has gone. It seems there is only nihilism in politics left among young people. No quick solution or prescription for this problem. Maybe, we, the older ones, should go on movement for change in the society and let them, the younger generation, know it is possible.

A bright side of this election campaign is that a new group named Reiwa-Shinsengumi has been founded by a young politician of the House of Councilors. This news from Reuter introduces its movement;here. They have chosen the candidates from those who have struggled at various situations in the society or who have lived as handicapped under stigma. The candidates are all from sites of social issues. Two handicapped are supposed to get the seat prior to the others if they get enough voters in the country. It has amazed me a lot how they selected the candidates. It is a real paradigm shift in selection. The founder, Taroh Yamamoto, says let's make the society where we are allowed to live without any worry about economy etc. That also sounds unique and attractive to me as well as many others who think the present government won't work for us but for only the rich and the major enterprizes.

Almost all of the result of the vote will be determined by midnight tomorrow. I would closely watch what is resulted in from the election.


Utilizing green beans ripened in the farm

Now it is the time when a lot of green beans are growing and harvested. I could hardly find any cooking recipe featuring them except for salad and certain simmered vegetables. They were sometimes abandoned in the past.

Cropping them the other day, the idea to freeze them came out in my mind. Why haven't I realized that? Frozen green beans commercially available is a typical material for cooking. 

Collecting dozens of green beans in the farm, I was going to boil them. Another idea lit in my mind. Green beans and carrots rolled up with pork. I have ever made it in the past and possibly have posted the photo here in the past. I was glad to remember of that recipe. This is it;

Seasoned with sweetened sake, soy sauce and sugar, this tasted pretty good. I could spare green beans being withered now. 

It has been too wet and cool for the past weeks. But, hopefully, it may get hot and fine in a week or two. It will be the beginning of midsummer here.