Opening to the Western Eu at midnight to dawn

Getting up early in the morning, around 3 AM, today, I have cooked the 2nd lot of strawberry jam. Too much strawberry has been harvested now and I decided to store it as jam. Since I was too awake to get back to bed, I switched on the radio. Twenty meters seemed to be wide open to Europe. "Wide open" means that there is a good path to the Western Europe".

Once calling CQ, I have had a small pile up from Europe. Among endless calls of big signals from the Eastern Europe, there were modest signals from DL or G land calling me. I tried to pick them up first. I have had nice QSOs with them in chain for a while.

I asked good friends of mine, Knut DK5AD and Rupert G3SQD, how the ragchewers' activity was there. I thought the desperately low activity of conversational CW could have been a regional problem. We are far away from the areas with dense population of those operators in North America or Western Europe. Both of them, however, answered of pretty low activities there. Rupert was optimistically telling me they had gone for some other activities in summer. Knut was a bit more serious. He has mentioned of the high activities of contest on the contrary to declined ragchewing. I wondered if there had been more ragchewing going on in the Western Europe, which we could hardly listen to due to the hard path over the north pole.   

In response to Knut, I told my rather pessimistic view on the relationship between contests and conversational CW. Recent surprising increase of contests in number must be based on the recognition of those organizing their events that there is a sharp drop of overall activity in ham radio. They must be intending to activate it with contests or with other competitive events. Ironically enough, it seems to have suppressed or decreased the overall activities other than those events. That reverse relationship might be explained in a few different ways. Basically, ragchewing and contesting are heading quite different ways. The old timers used to enjoy both. But, nowadays, contesters are doing their activity as if it were a game. No human relationship in it. I haven't told Knut up to this depth. It is still what I think of this problem.

Anyway, it is not good to make any conflict with those enjoying contests. We should do what we believe right and enjoyable. If young new comers enter this hobby, they might judge which is more enjoyable and ever lasting. Thinking of such a thing, I have enjoyed very nice chats with them and a few others. I would get up early and try to catch them again soon.       


67th Birthday

It is my 67th birth day today. Not a deep emotion at all but I feel I have reached this point of my life now. I still feel as young as my 20s of age. But the physical condition or the environment makes me convinced I have come this far now.

It is one of the most beautiful and comfortable seasons here in a year now. Crystaline blue sky with tender breeze. Crisp and dry air. I am still grateful to my parents who have given life to me at this time in a year and have cared for me with mush affection. I know I owe not only to them but also to many people around me, dead or alive. For example, I used to ask a constructor who was a patient's father to build the fence all around the property. At that time, I was very critical to those constructors since I had experienced bitter things with them in the construction of my clinic. I was critical to that person as well or have not believed in him. Now I know he has done a great job with the fence. I should have thanked more to him. Other than this, I still remember many people whom I should thank for their kindness and faith in me. It is the time when I often recall of them and thank to them in mind now.

This photo was taken at a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients my aunt had managed around WWII. Me as a toddler between my father's knees. My sister on the left of me. Aunt back left of my father. I was born there and had spent a few years until my parents decided to make Exodus to Tokyo. It was a small society based on Christianity. We were all very poor but have had hope and love as the name of this sanatorium expressed, the Sanatorium of Faith and Love. I have written about this place in the past post. I should appreciate all the love my parents have given to me there. My aunt had also taken care of me even after I grew up. I often remember of them and ask myself if I haven't had anything I could do for them.     

I feel I am getting free from the desires I have had. No need for a good car nor good clothes. I should get ready for the further elderly days. But anything more is unnecessary to me. This might reflect the change as a living being getting into the elderly age. But being free from these things is a real blessing.

Two things I would pursue from now on. One is to study more about history, politics and the other knowledges the old people have left us. I am feeling dizzy when I find so many things to study. But not time limit is imposed on me. I would go on reading and thinking of those things.

The other hope is that I would play cello a bit more. Since I have had the cataract surgery, I have almost perfect vision, so that I could read score of music almost freely. It was another blessing to me. I know it is quite difficult for me to progress with it for now. But I still do with it and have fun in music.

It is a reality my memory is getting worse and physical capability is getting lessened day by day. It is the time to lose things more than to obtain at this time in my life. But I still believe that the good thing is left ahead in my life and, with appreciation and gratitude to the people and the circumstance around me, I would go on this year of 67th from today.


Strawberry jam

Strawberry is getting ripe at the same time. I have harvested over 1 Kg of the fruits. Strawberry is difficult to preserve. 

A friend of mine suggested to freeze them. When eaten, they should be broken to pieces and be sprinkled with some sweet. I have frozen some of them and enjoy them in that manner in mid summer.

The rest was used for jam. Much sugar and lemon were added to the fruits and cooked until they became liquefied. It was stored in boiled glass wares. 

I remembered my father used to make the same kind of jam by himself. Some bottled blueberry jam is still somewhere in the kitchen. It won't be edible any longer. But it tells us how he has lived.

I wish there were some friends or kids close to us. I could have given them some of the jam products. 


Helmut Rilling

Yesterday, I happened to find a set of CDs of B minor Mass conducted by Helmut Rilling with Gaechinger Kantorei and Bach-Collegium Stuttgart. Before going to bed, I listened to it for a while. It sounded in the same way as I had listened to him conducting Stuttgart Bach Ensemble playing Matthews Passion in Tokyo in late '70s. Warm hearted Bach was there.

I was in the anatomy training at that time. The 3rd grade of medical faculty. One time, a teacher asked us if there was anyone who would like to listen to that Matthews Passion right on the day. I raised hand for that. Earlier than ususal, around sunset, I hurried to NHK Hall in Shibuya, where the concert was supposed to be held.

It was an overwhelming performance. One of the very few musical experiences that I was moved not only emotionally but also in the depth of existence. Warm heartedness in this tragic passion has kept me. I still remember Rilling conducting passionately and the bass singing the part of Jesus. That bass singer has sung the bass part of the chorus in the final piece hanging his head down. It seemed everyone has devoted to the music in that way. My anxiety. worry and difficulty in life was, even if for a while, relieved listening to that performance.

Wondering how Rilling was doing now, I have googled about him. He seemed to have retired at the age of 80 years 3 years ago. I knew that he had been working at Oregon University. It was a surprise that Bob W6CYX had told about him being invited as a conductor at Carmel Bach Ensemble years ago. I guess I have already told about it somewhere in this blog. I felt Rilling had linked me and Bob through the concerts in Tokyo and Carmel.

A video clip of a lecture concert in oregon in 2010. He must be around 77 years old at this time. Still very sharp and active. He gave a good lesson about the first 3 pieces of this enormous work. Based on his hard work on Bach, his performance still sounds warm hearted to me.



Contesters' activities

It has been a few years since I joined CWT last time. I am the least and last foundation member of CWops. I knew why they have founded this club. And I wanted to activate it by own way. But CWT has become only a contest, which I am least interested in. I won't do that again. 

My concern is that there are very few CWT participants heard in the other occasions than that event. I wonder if they are content only with that event and won't operate radio any more. Before it started, quite some of them could be heard for plain QSOs. It might not be my business but just curious to know how they are doing.

If someone takes statistics as for how the participants of CWT are spending time on the air in a week, it must be an interesting one and suggests something about the relationship in contesting and the other type of activities.

Honestly, I feel contesters won't make any conversational QSOs and could be very inactive before and after any contest. I won't blame that. It is up to them. But if the new comers are getting into this contester's way of operation, it may lead to vanishing this hobby as communication.

Seeing a friend in UK

I woke up this late and, as usual, sat before the radio. Forty meters was already dead for NA. I came up to 20m, where I found it fantastically open to Eu. G3XZG, Jeremy, has given me a call. I remembered that we had met a year or two ago even though I forgot of his name or the set up. He was running barefoot with a wire antenna. It was not difficult for me to read him with that set up tonight.

Jeremy is 63 years still working. He runs a straight key very fluently. I was impressed at his smooth keying as if perpetuating. He had come home early and started watching the band then.

I asked him how the news on Panama Papers had been handled by the mass media there. He answered it was not in the topic any longer. The issue if UK should stay in Eu or not has been on the mass media. I knew it was a really important thing for the people there. UK is, however, involved in the tax haven at various places in the world, I guess, so that the issue of Panama Papers should have been reported more.

He told me his daughter in law had been working at Toshiba Co. there. She has been worrying about its problem. Yes, the top management staff had been involved in a series of accounting fraud for years, so that the financial results were terrible for now. She knew a division of the company had been sold to make up the big deficits. The division sold was a company manufacturing medical devices, which was located some 20 miles north of my home. She knew the things were getting better. I told him the real reason why Toshiba went into such a financial crisis that the management staff had to make the accounting fraud was their failure in investment into the nuclear power plant business. Anyway, I wished her good luck for her career. The world is really small. And we are related each other in this way. I learned that from this conversation.

Unfortunately, it is often difficult for us to enjoy such meaningful conversation on CW nowadays. Nevertheless, when we could do that, it gives us much satisfaction. I  would catch Jeremy again soon and want to know if he could transit to retirement successfully as he plans in 2 or 3 years.

A trip to Tokyo

I have been to Tokyo yesterday. I was going to attend an ensemble class in a downtown named Shibuya. Though it is a famous place in Tokyo, I have never got off the station of Shibuya for decades. The outlook was quite different from what I had known of the town. There were a lot of new buildings. Construction around the station was also going on. I was totally lost by the drastic change of the town. When I told them about being lost on cell phone, a person in the class has kindly come to bring me up to the place. He might have taken me for an old fellow from countryside being lost. It was not really far from it, I must admit.

Having been lost on the way, I could not take lunch before the class. And the program of the class was different from what I had heard of. The other string quartet of Haydn was practiced there. It meant I had to play it at first sight. Even pretty simple quartet by Haydn was a terrible torture for me to play at first sight. All of these made me deadly tired even though the class itself a young violinist had taught was stimulating and informative to me.   

Almost falling asleep on the train back home, I was wondering if I could go on coming to Tokyo for ensemble or orchestra from now. It reminded me of a memory that my father used to attend to a bible class held in Tokyo once a few months. He used to attend it every Sunday when he lived in Tokyo. But, owing to the distance from Tokyo and to his age, he could not go there in that way any longer. Wasn't it the same as my trip to Tokyo for music activity. He was always looking forward to going there. It seemed he had literally revived after attending to the class. Seeing old friends must be a factor why he had become vivid that way. Whatever the reason might be, he was really lively and refreshed after the trip to Tokyo. I might look a bit vivid after this trip, as my wife told some time ago, even if I felt physically very tired.

Maybe, I would return to Tokyo for another music activity. But I wonder how long I could do that.

I got fallen asleep on a couch before TV and woke up this late again.