Viva 49ers!

Without being conscious of that, I found I had not posted anything to this blog for such a long time, even though I decided to continue posting every day in the beginning of this month. There have been many things to talk about regarding myself as well as the society. The busy garden work, especially pulling the weeds, tires me a lot by evening hours. Having a glass of cold lager, I could not stay awake but fall asleep a bit. Then, at night, I spend most of the time with cello and listening to music. Not renewing this blog may mean everything is going on well for me.

Strawberry is ripe at present.

Harvesting them in the daytime, we enjoy them like confection at night. My wife has brought some to the staff at her office.

The news today tells the strawberry in the market in Japan has too much insecticides. Mine isn't polluted with it at all! Too bad farming products are contaminated with insecticides etc in our country.

Tomatoes are growing as well. Hoperfully, some of them will be ripened by the beginning of the rainy season next month. They hate too much rainfall. 

In 4 days, I will turn to be 70 years of age. Where have my young days gone? It is a joke. I won't complain of the past days but would like to enjoy what old age brings to me. This prospect for senility reminds me of my parents. I sure could understand what they thought of lives, the family and so on. How little I have sympathized to them! Anyway, whatever I might think of it, time is going on and we get older. Viva 49ers!! 


Fishhead soup

Fishhead soup of red snapper. Much ginger was added in it.

Around 40 years of age, in late '80s, I quit a job at med school hospital. Before starting at another hospital, I have taken a bit of vacation. I have made a drive trip to Shinshu area, a favorite place surrounded by high mountais and a memorable place where we used to have the summer camp of the university orchestra back in '70s. 

Driving along Himekawa, running in the western end of Fossa Magna, I have gone through a steep valley. Very few cars were running. There used to be a bad damage from massive rain fall thereafter and the road was modified to a straight route from central Nagano to Itoigawa city at the coast of Japan Sea. At that time of my drive trip, the road was going on the bottom of the valley or the slope of the mountains in either side. Driving that winding narrow road was a bit risky. I still enjoyed it. On the way to Itoigawa city, there used to be a open air hot spa at a river beach of Himekawa. The big bath tub like a swimming pool, a dug one, was filled with hot spa water from elsewhere. Very few were bathing there. A small plain area was spread at the end of the way. It connected to a truncal road running along the Japan Sea. At that place, there used to be a restaurant mainly for truck drivers, named Goyoh Suisan. After a long tiring drive, I have taken lunch there. The menue was fishhead soup. I can't remember what kind of fish was featured in it. It was still gorgeously delicious. Sure I felt revived with that dish.

This menue reminds me of that drive. I wonder if the restaurant is still running there. Someday, I would visit there again.  


Faure and Kuebler-Ross

Nocturn by Faure, or exactly, piano solo music by him has been a genre in his repertoire I have not listened to much. The other day, I was caught by a clip of his nocturns played by Doyen. Faure has composed 13 nocturns at various stages of his life. The last 3 composed in the end of his life have interested me a lot. Among them, the 13th sounded the real best one to me.

The 13th starts with a fugue of 4 voices. Sounds like standing on a bleak and lonesome hill where cold wind is blowing and sunset is coming soon. Of course, it is not a program music but essentially an abstract music. In the intermideate part, it flows fast. Throughout the music, it utilizes discordants and sometimes sounds close to atonality. What difference from the works in his young days! His music was full of sweet dream and romanticism in the beginning of his composer life. In the late years, he has changed it to this bitter and aparently unaccessible style. I used to be surprised to find this same kind of motion in piano part of his piano trio, not just jest but even insulting to the audience, on the background while the other strings play long lasting melodies with yearning for something. In his last years of life, it seems to me, his mind must be rebellious or desparate to life. Getting through those years, he could reach the calm and serene style of his 2nd piano quintet or string quartet at the very last time of his life.

This idea brought me to "Death and Dying" by a psychiatrist Kuebler-Ross which I have read in young days. Death and dying process had been rarely handled in clinical science until this excellent psychiatrist did in '60s. Her works have been the backbone of hospice movement afterward. She has classified the process of acceptance of death in seriously ill patients into 5 stages. As a psyciatrist for dying patients, she has observed there was always a process of rebellion and denial to their lives. This might be generalized to how to accept senility when unavoidable death looms in the near future. This last works by Faure may reflect that process of rebellion and denial in his life. Despite of its apparently gremacing and difficult outlook, but still beautiful, it may still synchronize our mind through the universality of life as Kuebler-Ross described.

I used to listen mainly his chamber musics in my young days. Those have been a treasure in my life. As I get older, I could understand his these music as it was composed in his later life. Getting older is not always bad but sometimes giving us presents in life.

I will turn to be 70 years of age in 11 days.


Wearable computers and haptic stimuli

Wearable computers and haptic stimuli might help us to learn Morse code as this paper suggests;


It is amazing that "subconsciously" it has been done in most cases.

I don't like playing computer games, though.

In addition, it is another story to master head copying.

The conclusion on this paper should be that this won't make CW survive as a communication mode.


The old tomb in spring

I have been trying to learn when and how this ancient tomb, named Bentenduka, was constructed, which I had posted on this blog for a few times. Unfortunately, no definite info was found. Comparing it to the other tombs with the same size and at the location near to it, it might be built in 6 or 7th century. In the last age of ancient tombs. It is always amazing how many such tombs are in this area. Dozens in the norhtern Kanto area.

Recently, I have learned about a military commander named Masakado Taira, a descendant of the emperor Kanmu, who used to be a power in this area and to have died tragically after rebelling to the emperor in Kyoto. He is believed to be one of the origins for Samurai. It seems there have been a lot of wars or of conflicts between powers in this as well as the other areas in Japan those days. People were, intentionally or unintentionally, involved in the wars/conflicts. I believe people have had a pessimistic view of life in the age of wars and might depend more on religions, whatever it might be, than the later ages.

As I told before, in such a hard age, people in this area might worship at this tomb for their ancestors as a primitive religious behaviour. Knowing of the history a little bit, I could not help feeling this old tomb closer to me. It has seen so many people who got tired of or discouraged living in this world.

The farmers have watered in the paddy around this tomb. They have started planting rice by now. This photo was taken in the end of last month.


A memory of sushi dish

When I visited my wife's family in Shikoku for the first time in this season in a year, her mother made a great sushi named Oshinuki for me. It is the dish shown above. It features spanish mackerel and green pea. Both materials were in the best season in a year. Oshinuki might mean something pushed through. I believe it was made with a "mold".

It has tasted very good even though I could not fully enjoy it before asking them to let me marry with their daughter. Having only two daughters, they wanted us to live with them. Her father used to mention about a newly founded med school close to their home, which he seemed to want me to work as a resident. It was hard for me to accept that plan. When I didn't say yes as for the training plan as a doctor, he answered to me he would consider of our marriage with a kind of gremacing on his face. He looked serious to me. How could I enjoy that sushi in that situation?

Later, my wife told me they had already agreed with us as for marriage at that time. Father in law has made things in right order not answering to me immediately. Those days, there was no bridge between Shikoku and Honshu. While seeing my wife saying good by to me with a big smile, I thought that could be the last trip to Shikoku and she had been too innocent.

Anyway, I could have this Oshinuki 2 or 3 times since then. Sometimes, I asked my wife to learn how to cook it from her mother. She always answered it had been her role to enjoy it but not to make it. At least, the tradition of cooking this sushi in this season would be abandoned at this stage of the family tree. Mother in law is still too old to teach this dish to the others for now.

In stead, I have tried sushi with minched tuna. Ugly shaped but still pretty good. Should I learn cooking Oshinuki by myself?


How I got through engineering major

I have attended to a college in Tokyo before going into medicine. It was Tokyo Metropolitan College of Aeronautical Engineering in a downtown area of Tokyo.

I had been crazy for ham radio in jr. high days and was told by my parents to study something of practical science which could help me to be engaged in some job as soon as I graduate the school. I didn't have any distinct idea or dream at that time. Vaguely thinking to major in engineering or something, I have admitted  the mechanical engineering faculty at that school. Later, I knew I was more interested in human being than milling machine.

Anyway, I have spent 5 years at this school from age 15 years. Most of my friends since jr. high days were quite busy preparing for the entrance exams for universities, while such hectic competition was a thing in another world for me and class mates at this college. The professional subjects at this school class were levelled as high as the mechanical engineering course in universities. I was not interested in those professional subject class and the practice of machine operation at the factory in the school. One time, heavily tired with the work with milling machine, I took a bit rest sitting down on the floor. It was when I was kicked from behind by a teacher instructing us at the factory. I knew engineering was not my profession in the future. Among various books I have read at that time, some of the books concerning psychiatry have attracted me. Such as Jaspers, Frankle, Minkovsky etc. It was an interest in the psychology or, rather philosophical anthropology. It might be a phase of wandering in adolescence. Whatever the reason might be, I have given up studying those professional studies but, at the 5th year of the college, have started preparing for the entrance exam for med school. It was the time when I quit operating radio as well. I must be quite serious at preparation for the entrance exam or could not be successful at it. It took me another 10 years to come back on the air and to meet many old friends again.

This kind of college system is historically pretty new. Around 1960, there have been political enthusiasm among young people, especillay, university students, who were strongly against renewing the Japan US Security Treaty. I believe the business leaders didn't want young people to be too political, especially, against the capitalism. Younger engineers without any consciousness of political issues were highly needed from the standpoint of the business and political leaders. And they have invented this kind of college where students would study profession as much as the university faculty students did while they were given minimum liberal arts studies. I am sure they have tried to educate young engineers who won't complain of or even strike out for labor dispute etc. It seems the aim has been half accomplished. But nowadays, more than half of the graduates from such college would go to university for further study. It might be too short for them to study their profession sufficiently.

I don't know what has happened to me if I went on studying engineering. If not medicine, I might go to a university to study the other subjects. Maybe, I would have spent my life as a school teacher. It was another interest for me. No one knows which was better for me. It might be meaningless to imagine that. Now going on to the last chapter of life is what I should do.

This is a photo of the college, a bit modified from the days I attended there. The campus still brings me back to those days.   

It has had a big garage for air planes. As the name of the school used to mean, the origin of this school was a school for aeronautical engineering before WWII. Though I was a student of merely mechanical engineering, I had a few classes on air plane design etc. By a stupid governor of Tokyo, the name has been changed to another one without aeronautical engineering. I hope this school will maintain the tradition of aeronautical engineering.