Conspiracy and censorship

Tomorrow, exactly today in the daytime, the government would steamroller the bill of conspiracy bill at the House of Representatives here. No wonder, the bill may pass the House of Councilors as well since the government parties occupy the majority at both of the Houses.

The law is supposed to go against the terrorism as the government insists. At the same time, they explain it was to join Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Our country may join it without new legislation for that. The content of this law is just to let the security police investigate anyone with suspicion of conspiracy utilizing the communication interception and so forth they are allowed to do without any limitation. The government is, administering this law, going to censor every one or every party who behaves against them.

Since this Abe administration is highly ultranationalistic, the enactment of this law is quite hazardous to our society, I am afraid. It seems there are movements toward ultranationalism based on populism in various parts of the world. Paralleling with that political movements, there seems to be tendency for censorship by the authority going on. It is a problem what world we would leave to the next generation. Even feeling tired with such a political problem, I would go against such a movement for the next generation.

Gardening and farming

It has been almost a couple of weeks since I last updated this blog. I am doing just fine. In the daytime, the garden and the small farm are keeping me busy as in usual spring. Having pulled or cut the weeds in the garden, I am pleased to have it very neat and beautiful so far. When the mid summer sun starts to shine, it will be another story.

This is newly planted tree, a kind of azalea, with tiny lovely flowers. I have planted a lot of seeds of Marygold, which I harvested from its flowers last fall. Some are already sprouting at various places in the garden. The flowers might go on pleasing us throughout the summer.

A lot of kinds of vegetables are also budding as well as growing. Tomatoes could be damaged by long lasting rain from June to July. Hopefully, we may get some fruits by that time.

While I do with the vegetables, my wife cares for the flowers. The flowers in the bed may feast our eyes for a long time.

There have been a number of problems around myself. This circumstance is, however, a real blessing to me. I would treasure every moment being with my family in this beautiful home.


Hananuki Valley in Northern Ibaraki

Looking for the fresh green leaves in forests in the mountains, I have driven to Northern Ibaraki yesterday. I went through the mountainous villages north east of here. Winding and hilly roads. Opening the window of the driving seat, I have had comfortable wind in. In spite of the vacation season, there were only few cars on the way.

On the way, deep in countryside in the mountains, I have found "carp streamer", so called Koinobori in Japanese. From explanation of Koinobori in Wikipedia, it is carp shaped wind socks traditionally flown in Japan to celebrate Tango no sekku, that is, Children's day at present. You may know how parents are thinking of their children with this kind of flags. They want their children to grow like these vivid carps flowing in the sky. It is becoming less popular tradition in this countryside. Maybe, due partly to less number of children.

Hananuki Valley. Softly green leaves were covering the mountains. Peaceful spring time.

I have taken late lunch at a casual restaurant managed by the local facility. Pretty good Soba. 

I have been to this area several times with family when the children were small. It was, however, the 1st visit for me to this valley. Some 10 miles east of here, there is the Pacific Ocean. They say it is pretty mild throughout a year there. I have been dreaming of moving to this area. I wonder if it is possible or not. 



A university orchestra concert

I went for a concert to a hall nearby with my wife yesterday afternoon. The orchestra of Jichi Medical University has played the 9th symphony of Dvorak et al there. My wife has been invited to this event by her flute teacher, whose husband has been playing flute at this orchestra.

Both of us have served residency at this university hospital. In my case, from 1979 to 1981. I could not forget enjoyment to play in an orchestra and decided to join the university orchestra there when the things in residency had settled down. It was still a small ensemble. Only about 10 members. Mostly boys. I have never played in any concert the orchestra held then but have had fun having good company, mostly, young med students. Once a week, we gathered at a class room of the school and practiced some Baroque tune. I have known a guy who played pretty good piano. We have played some piano trio with a junior high school student girl, who was a daughter of a professor. It has not lasted too long. It is still a fond memory for me.

This photo might be uploaded here before. However, it was the days of our residency at that university hospital. At the campus. More vacant space there than now. We lived at a dorm there. We have spent a lot of time for training as doctor, studied a bit, played instruments, cello with me and piano with my wife at that time and enjoyed driving a lot.

Who knew hectic and hard days were waiting for us after this peaceful days? I have been away from cello performance for years since then.

The orchestra sounded great. Of course, there were inequality of playing technique among players, especially, wind instrument players. Whenever I listen to such an amateur orchestra, however, I could not help feeling the players' enthusiasm at every moment. It might be different from genuinely deep impression but is still a fun to listen to such an orchestra. The company at the orchestra almost 40 years ago might be working hard as doctors all around the country. The graduates from this school are supposed to work for the hospitals at the area they came from. Listening to their performance, I just wondered how they were doing now.  They must be over sixties of age by now.

After finishing the program, the conductor has come to a contrabass player who would graduate the school next year and has shaken hands with him.


A phone call from Lee HL2DC

I have just received a phone call from Lee HL2DC. It seemed a reply to my e mail I had sent to him a few days ago asking how he and his family were doing. He and his family are doing fine. Not so much like panic there. They used to have an announcement by the president some more than ten years ago in a threat , which told the people to prepare for food and water in case of war. It is not so serious as that time so far, as Lee told me. He is not sure what will happen tomorrow. Mainly because Trump is not a person whom we could hardly predict how he will behave. If war should happen there, he told me he won't take refuge anywhere. The roads would be jammed with cars all around and it won't be possible for them to go anywhere. He lives only 20km away from the DMZ.

I felt we must apologize to Korean people because the present mess going on is originated from the history that Japan colonized Korea before WWII. We should feel that debt to them as a kind of basso continuo. I am really angry as well at the politicians who behave like playing with fire in this region. The on going threat of war is due to OPLAN 5029 or 5055. Of course, needless to say the Kim administration is an inhumane dictatorship and should be overthrown by non military way. North Korea has not started invading the other coutries nor attacking them with weapons at present. The US president is insisting that North Korea should not be allowed to own nuclear weapon and ICBM. There seem to be some domestic problem that Trump won't get good approving rate in the US and would resort to military action which was partially successful in Syria. Our prime minister is slaving after Trump possibly thinking it would be a good chance to change our constitution to that in old era, under which the basic human right and freedom is deprived of us. Our government has recommended the school teachers to teach on the Imperial Rescript of Education. They have recently admitted "Mein Kampf" by Hitler as a teaching material. Both Trump and Abe, and of course Kim Jeon Un are playing with fire in this area. 

It seems China is trying to calm down North Korea with the card of prohibiting export of gas to North Korea. I don't know if it will work long. This situation of serious threat could be accidentally turned to war any time. In such a case, it means a suicidal war for North Korea and will give us tremendous damages and casualties in this area.


Russian roulette

North Korea and the US military are gambling Russian roulette. No one knows what will happen. Inhumane Kim regime in N Korea should be vanished. It should be, however, done with economical pressure.

Has armament export from N Korea to such as Iran or Malaysia been monitored and banned strictly? North Korean people have been sent for labor in foreign countries like Russia etc and been exploited badly there. There should be more things to do with N Korea before resorting to weapons.

The damage due to the war should be astronomically serious. S Korea and possibly our country may suffer so much as they could never recover. There will be millions of refugees from the peninsula of Korea to China or else where. I wonder if the US government has any exit plan from such a disastrous event. The East Asia should never be another Afghanistan or Iraq.

I have heard the US NSC has had more members from the military. I wonder if they are nor working for the military industrial complex. The US administration should be wiser.

Cherry blossoms at a shrine grounds

I went to a barber close to my former office. It takes me almost half an hour to drive there. The master is almost 80 years old. He told me he had had the cataract surgery at a hospital near by, which went on very successfully. He used to take his granddaughter for management of various illnesses to my clinic some 20 years ago. She has grown up to be a student studying economics at a university near by. They are like my family members.

On the way back home, I drove on the way I used to commute those days. There is a shrine named Gosho Shrine on the way. Mostly surrounded by rice farms. There are some houses or even buildings for the workers at factories in the area. The shrine has a woods behind it and stays very quiet. Very few people around there. A few cherry trees were blooming fully in the shrine precincts. Serene as well as beautiful. I stopped by there to take a few photos.

A memory of a couple of lovely siblings came up in my mind. A small child and a toddler. They were living in this district and were regularly attending to my clinic taken by their quiet mother those days. Almost 20 years ago. They must have grown up to be college students or even to work at some places by now. Hopefully, they are getting along well. It is a pity I could never see them grown up yet. It is still a fact I have lived together with them for a while those days. They still remain being my family members in my memory.

From now on, I will be busy plowing and planting vegetables in the garden farm. It is the time of hope end joy for vivid lives now.  


Military action won't bring forth any solution

I was shocked to see most people including Democrats in the US are approving the missile attack to Syria by Trump administration.

So far as I heard from news sources, Trump had let Russia know about their attack a few hours prior to the attack. Syrian government must have known of that through Russia.

I am very afraid, with this military action, Trump was intending to recover his approval rating which had hit record low. It seems like a show to me. Being convinced with the fact such show could work well for him, he might resort another military action at various places including North Korea.

Reportedly, Trump has decided to bomb Syria when he saw a TV news showing dead children due to the Sarin gas attack. Without verifying that it was executed by the Syrian government and having referred it to the UN, they have bombed Syria. It is a typical style of a populism politician. They would decide such a serious matter considering only its effect on the reputation by the people. They are always concerned about the emotional reaction of the people but not concerned about the truth. The US president has the biggest power in the world. It is really scary that he and his group like Steve Bannon have the switch for nuke attack.

It seems Northe Korea became a serious matter in the US since they have been armed with nuclear bomb and ICBM. The threat by N Korea has been present for years especially in South Korea or in Japan. The problem is that the allied military of S Korea and the US have publicly aiming at ceasing the Kim regime in N Korea. Of course, that regime has been awfully inhumane to the people and greedily dictating there. It should be ceased as soon as possible. But, I am sure, military action must cause too much disaster in the Eastern Asia. Strict economic pressure, including banning the export of arms to the other countries like Malaysia or to Iran should, be done in the international community. Threatening to N Korea by military forces won't solve the problem.


Magnolia is fully blooming

It is the time the magnolia in our garden fully comes out. Since the branches were pruned last fall by a gardener, the outlook of the tree is rather small. Pruning might be effective to have it bloomed even more gorgeously than before. I have uploaded the photos of this tree in the same season for the past few years. It is the tree my mother used to love most. It will be 6th anniversary of her passing away very soon.

It will be the time to plant vegetables very soon as well. The ancient people have celebrated this season shining brightly as well as vividly. I would go after them enjoying the garden.


Apres Un Reve by Tortelier and Iwasaki

When I started playing cello in the med school days, I was fascinated by Tortelier playing Apres Un Reve. The accompaniment pianist was Shuku Iwasaki. It was a live recording at a concert. The refrain of the theme is often played in piano of the dynamics. Tortelier refrained, however, the theme passionately in forte. Even with accelerando. Iwasaki was an excellent accompaniment player. She followed him with really appropriate distance in timing. Not too close but not too far either. That accompanying style was quite important to have Tortelier's tension in performance going on livelily. 

I found a video clip of this combination playing that piece. 8'15" and thereafter in this recording. This is not what I listened to those days but still reminds me of that performance in live.     

One of the fondest memories in music those days.


Bifurcating roles of doctors

A doctor has died several days ago. He has been a chief priest of an old temple named Saimyoji not so far from here as well as the president of a clinic next to it. He has suffered from pancreatic cancer for the past 3 years. I haven't had any personal acquaintance with him at all. My father used to be cared for by him for a while when father was alive.

Saimyoji is an old temple founded in the 8th century. It is located a few km aouth of the main street of Mashiko town famous for the pottery industry and is on the top of a small mountain near by here. It is one of the places I used to bring the visitors either he/she is from the oversea or not. I have been there with them or alone once a year or twice. A very quiet place surrounded with high trees. As at any old temples, I always feel as if the time has stopped there. The quietness as well as its long history may make me feel that way.

At the temple 3 years ago when AJ2Y visited us here. He is not related with this article.

There is a clinic on the foothill of the mountain, I mentioned in the 1st paragraph, where the doctor has worked for years. He is told to have done the terminal care for the patients with grave prognosis. I am sure he has worked for those people with his religious belief in Buddhism. 

The role of doctors is bifurcating into two different ways. One is to give high tech medical treatments. It is the cutting edge effort to make patients survive longer. It has been the main power which drove the medical research in the past. It may persist for the benefit of people.

The other is the terminal care. Of course, there are a lot of specialties and fields in medicine which are situated between these two roles. The more progress medical science makes, I believe, the more conspicuous this bifurcating roles seem to be. Since medical science has reached to gene science and, possibly, the
medicoeconomic limit is getting more apparent due to the high cost of the modern high tech medical treatments, standing by the dying patients will be even more important for doctors from now. Accepting death used to be a defeat for the doctors as well as the patients. Nowadays, however, oftener, we confront to the point where no further treatments will be promising cure. It is the time terminal care would work for them and in that situation, the doctors should stand by those who are accepting their death. 

We should stand by them as the same human being destined to death. It is not an easy task for us if we seriously go along with them. It is a way to live death together with them. I believe it is the time when religion shows up before us with its original value. Of course, all we should do is to stand by those dying and to listen to what they think of life and death. But not to force any religious belief to them. 

I believe this doctor, having served for the dying people in the terminal care while having had the terminal cancer for the past 3 years, has done a great job as the by stander to them. RIP to doctor Tanaka.   



May we get closer to the perfect world

It is still pretty cold here in the morning everyday. It takes me a few weeks to start planting vegetables in the garden farm. I have already purchased a few kinds of seeds of vegetables. In amateur radio, a big solar flare has been going on for a few days. It makes operating radio less attractive now. As a result, I am spending more time with cello.

Music has been a good friend of mine for years. In every practice session, I start with scale from C major, C minor, D major, D minor and so forth. For 4 octaves. For a couple of years, I have been using a tuner, which had corrected my scale so much. I have been feeling guilty to have played it with such incorrect scale for years. I was unwilling to go after such "a machine". In addition, exactly speaking, it is only the well temperament which is not suitable for string instruments performance. Of course, my scale was premature before discussing the subtle difference in tuning. It has been a pleasure for me to complete each scale even in well temperament. I regret I should have used the tuner long before. Telling myself, however, that it is never too late, I would go on practicing with it.

I believe there is a perfect ideal world of music, which must be an apriori existence in the universe. The auditory function in our brain/auditory organ must be like an interface between that perfect music and ourselves. It is really mysterious that there are different kinds of temperament, Pythagorean for melodies, pure temperament for chords and so forth. As you may know, there are subtle and still definite differences between those temperaments. We hear the very high range of audio lower than its actual tone while the low range higher. They say we should play the higher tones a bit higher than the accurate tones. The same thing goes for the lower tones. This complexity in scale may reflect, in my view, the imperfect presence of the world. The theoretical existence of music itself is completely closed in perfectionism. Our auditory function, imperfect itself, may make the actual music sound imperfect. I really hope, some day when I leave this world, I might be allowed to listen to music in perfect form.

Dreaming of such a thing, I again start struggling with cello.


Toward the Easter

It has passed the equinox. Sun is shining brighter day by day. Sprouting are the plants and the trees in the garden. It is the time of joy for vivid lives. Red japanese apricot flowers are fully out in the garden here.

In the mid April, we will have the Easter this year. It is the time for me to listen to Matthew's Passion by J.S.Bach.

I have an old score of this music published by Eulenburg. Soiled with finger markings. The cover has been torn. How many times I have listened to this great Passion reading this score! On the back of the cover, I have written that I bought it at Hongou in Tokyo in 1975. There was a music score store there, where I could walk to in 10 minutes from the med school. I was so much touched by this music that I have got this score then, I believe.

The 67th of the recitativo sung by each part of solo before the final chorus and the final chorus performed by Richter and Muenchen Bach Ensemble in 1971. A renowned performance even though the believers in authentic performance may defame it as an old style. After listening the great drama of crucification of Jesus, we reach this pieces of consolation. At least, in my mind, I could never listen to these without tears.

As reiterated in this blog in the past, my mother has suffered from the big earthquake at a nursing facility far north in Sendai. She had to spend a few days there without any infrastructures like power, water or heating. In a few weeks, she got seriously ill and passed away quietly at a hospital as if a piece of fire of candle had disappeared. Her only wish was to return here her birth place and to live with our father, who had already passed away by that time.

Recalling of her and of myself in the past years, I would concentrate on this music again.


Working memory in conversational CW

I have met Chuck N6UOE again on 20m in morning a few days ago. It was last Sept. when we met for the first time. It was a couple of weeks since he had come back on the air after 45 years of absence. He was 77 years old retired professor from UC Davis. His specialty was communication social science, which I had had least idea of.

He seemed to have been active on CW ever since. We have, however, agreed that there have been much less conversational CW activity on any bands. I was glad, despite of that overall low activity of conversational CW, he had still stuck to this enjoyment of CW.

He thought the reason why it had declined was that they had dropped the requirement of CW skill from the exam. And the internet has taken it over as well. I agreed fully with him about that. It might be very boring and take too much time and labor for young hams to train themselves for conversational CW.

In addition to the reason above, I thought of the old timers whom we missed, mostly retired R/O, so proficient in CW and kind enough to do with new comers and eventually to educate them to be good CW conversationists. I could recall dozens of such examples who were active from '60s through '80s. Sadly enough, most of them have gone inactive or even silent key by now. It was those old timers who had conveyed the art of CW from the previous generation to us.

Lastly, it seems to be the most important reason to me that few question about the essence of the pleasure to converse on CW. It may be too obvious for them to question about that. Some say CW is a handy mode to work DX with small set up. The others say CW QSO is so quick that it won't take much time. These may be right but seem to be only secondary. What is the essential question to be asked? It is what makes us feel pleasant and relaxed to converse on this mode. Without asking and realizing about it, we could hardly tell young new comers why it deserves to learn CW spending that too much time and work.

 Even after having been on this mode wondering about that question on the intrinsic aspect of conversational CW, I have not reached any definite answer yet. Recently, I have thought that working memory in our cognitive function might be a clue to answer this question. Working memory is a functional concept of cognitive psychology, which deals with the cognition and memory with the short and long term memory cooperating at it. It is closely related with the secondary language acquisition. Recent advance in functional brain science with f MRI is revealing the anatomical sites in brain responsible for this function as well.

CW reception is comparable to reading printed materials as I have reiterated in this blog. That highly intellectual process may progress in working memory. Long term memory provides the code memory itself which is almost dealt in subconsciousness in a proficient operator. In case of non English native, translation process must be made with another long term memory. The information of the other we talk to might come from the long term memory as well. So called head copy requires the short term memory. In this process, we need to comprehend what it has been sent and to conceptualize it, which may help to store the information into the long term memory. This is a pretty rough sketch of the working memory hypothesis in conversational CW. It is important that conversational CW is a highly intellectual process in our cognitive function, where we should activate the whole working memory. When it successfully works, it might give us satisfaction. This is what I believe we still adhere to this primitive as well as slow mode of communication even in this modern era when we could utilize the other modes.    

When I mentioned a bit of this idea to Chuck, he has agreed with me. As the usefulness of conversational CW, he thinks, it would work to prevent the aged people from suffering from dementia. That may be another aspect of conversational CW as the intellectual process, described above. It could be a rehab or prevention of dementia.

I am far from understanding the working memory hypothesis of the essence of conversational CW and even the working memory itself. The above mentioned observation is only very primitive rough sketch of the process. It seems to deserve studying about that, however. That will make me consent to have spent so much time and energy for this mode in my life, which is the basis we could recommend young people to start with it with confidence.


A hot pot dish with hand made meatballs

It is the last hot pot dish in this season. Meatball is available as a commercial item at super markets. I have made it by myself this time. Chicken meat was mixed with small amount of minched radish and japanese leek. Onion was added to keep it soft after being cooked. Seasoned with soy sauce/salt/pepper. It tastes better than ready made meatball. 

The soup is egg flip one. Seasoned with chinese chicken soup powder.

About half of the readers of this blog seem interested "only" in these dish articles so far as I have heard in QSOs.


Mike W7LPV passed away in last Dec

I have accidentally talked to Tony W4FOA on Facebook a few days ago. I have known him through a good friend of mine Mike W7LPV. In short messages, he asked me if I had known Mike had passed away in last Dec. What a sad news! I haven't heard Mike for months and was wondering how he had been doing. I was going to ask Tony about him.

I have been talking to Mike through CW for many years, possibly for 15 years or longer. The span of our friendship is not long for me. Each QSO has always been made in the interval of months. But it won't matter.

In one of the earliest QSOs, he used to tell me he quit working in his late 30s of age and entered a graduate school in order to study philosophy. He wanted to study on an epistemological question; could we congnize any thing and how could it be done? I was impressed at his way of life. In the middle of his life, he has stopped to dwell on such a basic question of life. Very few people could do that. Most of us are losing ourselves in the routine of lives neglecting such a question as he has had. I thought he was a person who lived his own life in intellectual way.

In addition, he loved music. He has been a good pianist since young days. Whenever we met on the air, he always told me what piece he had practiced and where he would play it. He used to play piano at church and, later in his life, at hospice. Even after he had lost his wife, Karen, he was even more eager at playing piano. There are a few performances of piano by himself left in Youtube. This is the 1st movement of the Moonlight sonata. Wearing eye mask is a homage to his piano teacher, a visually handicapped person.

Whenever we met on the air, we talked on life and music. Each QSO has been memorable to me in fact. It has been a real joy for me to see him on the air. Such chance is eternally lost. I should have visited him in Sedona in our trip 5 years ago. Whenever we met on the air, he always asked me when I would visit Sedona and added the door was always open to me. I sure miss him.


Today 6 years ago

Today 6 years ago, we have had that big earthquake in Tohoku and Kanto area, followed by the serious nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima. Nearly 20,000 people have been killed while about 2500 are still missing. More than 120,000 are still evacuated all around the country. 80,000 of them are gone from their homeland in Fukushima due to the nuclear power plant accident. A large portion of them should never return home. As told before, they have been socially killed losing their home, their neighbor community, their work and so forth. At temporary evacuation houses, more than 1200 evacuees have lost their lives. Some areas in the vicinity of the destroyed nuclear plant are released from the evacuation order by the government based on the estimated radiation of 20mSv per a year, which is only a criteria of the radiation limit for residential area immediately after the accident. Those returning to the post evacuation order areas will lose the right to have support from the public. The suicide rate especially of young people is getting higher in Fukushima while the other disaster areas have less rates than Fukusima.

From these abstract statistic data, however, we could not understand what pain and anxiety those sufferers have. Recalling spending nights at home without infrastructures like electricity, water or gas, we should do whatever we could do for them. We should go on protesting to the politics that the support from the government should be directly given to them, but not enriching only those constructors, university staff or those retired from the governmental offices.  

Researchers have warned we are now in the seismologically activated era around the Pan Pacific Volcano/Earthquake belt. The densely populated area of Tokyo is still highly probable to suffer from a big earthquake. All of the nuclear power plants scattered around our country should be abandoned since we learned any nuclear power plants could never spare a big earthquake in the near future. Seismologists predict such a disaster in Tokyo in the coming years. We should be ready for such a disaster and should cease nuclear power generation immediately.

It is the day 6 years ago today.


Choice of the future

A throwback Thursday. This was taken at the entrance of Dept Dentistry when I succeeded at the entrance exam to Dept Medicine of my mother school. I was applying for the entrance to the school. Almost half a century ago. Why before Dept Dentistry? I can't remember that. Stubbly beard wearing sandal?? Terrible outlook. Have not imagined what would follow this. In the end of March somewhere in Tokyo.

I have told about it somewhere before. While studying mechanical engineering at a college, I felt it was not a calling for me. I would like to learn something more human. At first, Russian literature or something was in my mind. A vague idea to be a teacher after studying literature. Later, I was fascinated by psychiatric humanology or philosophy. I have read the works of Jaspers, Minkovsky, Frankle or Kamiya etc. Understanding each individual from the psychiatric or psychological standpoint seemed really attractive to me. Of course, the fact my parents had worked as medical staff at hospitals was another factor which lead me to this profession.

Studying medicine at the school, I knew there were only limited ways to treat psychiatric patients those days. Philosophical humanology might work, I thought impudently at that time, to understand the patients but give us little chance to treat them. I was more inclined to do with the sick children, who were more responsive to treatment than the patients in psychiatry, which was another prejudice, if it was proper. Anyway, at graduation, I have made up my mind to be a pediatrician. On the other hand, I told a girl colleague to be a psychiatrist. She was so naive to follow my advice. Yes, she is my wife. I have never asked if she had been happy with that choice of specialty. So far, no complaint to me.

Years have passed.


Takemitsu, Tarkovsky and Matthew's Passion

It was the 21st anniversary of death for the renowned composer, Tohru Takemitsu, on 20th of the last month. In her essay, his wife has told how he had spent the last days in his life.

Two days before his passing, he told his wife to go home sooner since it was heavily snowing and it might take her long time to get to home. On that evening he spent alone at the hospital, he has by chance listened to the Matthew's Passion by Bach broadcasted on the radio. It was the most favorite piece in music for him. Snowing quietly outside and this music resonant to our existence flowing at the hospital room he spent the night alone.

The day after, he told his wife how wonderful that piece was. When he started composing something, he always listened to the famous Aria, Er barme dich, mein Gott, which was the best in this music for him.

He also loved the movies of Tarkovsky. In Tarkovsky's last work titled "Sacrifice", that aria in Matthew's Passion was impressively featured at the last scene. Tarkovsky has told we could live with certain sacrifice in the world we never knew of its existence.

When I am quitting this world, I sure would like to listen to this music as Takemitsu and Tarkovsky might have done.


March of spring flowers

Japanese apricots are coming out. White ones followed by pink ones. Daffodils are budding out. In a month or less, magnolia will be fully out. In a month, cherry blossoms will decorate the playground of the junior high school nearby here. This march of spring flowers is realized in the same manner as usual. It is still impressive to us.

I am starting to plow the soil for vegetables in the garden now. Tomatoes, potatoes, beans, eggplants and so forth. 

It is the days of living things. 


A corner toward nightmare

Our government is submitting a bill of the law against organized crime preparation. They insist it is to do with the terrorism for the Olympic game in Tokyo in 2020. There is, however, no "bill fact" to hasten legislation of this law. The appearance of this bill is a law against terrorism. Terrorism preparation could be, however, well managed with the existing laws, as criminalists say.

The aim of this bill seems to be maintenance of public order. Since Abe and LDPJ have been trying to revise the system of our country back to that before WWII, they must have thought it was a good chance to legislate for maintenance of public order. Public order means the regime of those revisionists. When the law for maintenance of public order was introduced to our country before WWII, the government insisted that it was to accuse and punish rebellious traitors. Actually, it was interpreted in an extended way, so that a lot of innocent people who seemed to have any idea against to the regime were accused based on that law.

In this context, they are going to revise our constitution in the near future. They aim at the authoritarian regime based on the cult of nationalistic Shinto. There is an ultra right group named Japan Conference on the back of those revisionists. They would deny the basic human rights and drive the people away to be only subjects under Emperor but not individualized citizens. This idea of nationalistic Shinto includes a kind of elitism which says our country is a selected one among the others owing to the unbroken imperial family line. Even though this dogma is historically a clear falsehood, those revisionists believe in it or pretend to do so for the sake of their own political power. This may lead our country and neighbors to another nightmare.

We are at a corner to that devastating future.


Continued from the previous post

Continued from the previous post. 

There have been many photos showing the garden here. Since my father moved here from Tokyo back in early '80s, he has enjoyed farming a small farm and keeping the garden as he wanted. A lot of flowers and a number of trees were growing. Some pets or even chickens were kept as well. He has spent very hard time in WWII in his young days and has worked hard to raise us in Tokyo after having moved here in '50s. However, he could spend peaceful retirement with us, even though it might be a bit tough thing for him and mother to care for our children. He could make it come true to work with me as a part time clerk at my clinic for a few years. It was what he had dreamed of, I know. I am feeling a bit satisfied to be able to help him and mother live their peaceful days here.  

Arranging things my parents have left

For the past several weeks, I have been busy with a number of family affairs as well as the political situation in Japan progressing to nationalism. I have been writing articles about the latter in my Japanese blog. It doesn't mean I have forgotten about this poor blog yet. I would still keep renewing it as a kind of memorandum for me.

One thing having kept me busy was discarding things unnecessary at my parent's home and arranging things in order there. Thousands of books, tons of photos and dozens of their clothes etc. For the last few days, I have been involved in sorting out the photos for each person taken or related with. I will distribute them to each person soon.

I once thought to discard most of them. It might be a trouble for them to receive those old low quality photos, I thought. While looking them through, however, I felt they were testifying that my parents had lived their lives on the earth. If they have any value to the people related with the photos, I thought, I should send the photos to each of them. It was a fascinating idea to scan and digitalize all the photos, I thought for a while. But I had to give it up due to too many numbers of the photos.

Some of the photos from my parent's albums;

My parents with my sister on mother's lap. It was taken a year or two after the WWII when they got married and settled down at the tuberculosis sanatorium as workers. It is right at this place where we live right now. A wooden cottage is seen on the back, which was used as patients' room. Such tiny houses were scattered around this place with pine trees between them. A quiet and peaceful place for those patients who had waited for the last time without any treatment. They have had firm belief in Christianity. My parents, of course partly thanks to their young age, look hopeful and positive from this picture, despite of their poverty. It also seems to be attributable to their belief. However, with antibiotics effective for tuberculosis being invented in a few years after this photo was taken, this facility was destined to lose its reason de etre. It was the time when our family departed to Tokyo. 

This photo shows me and a good friend of mine at the college days. Somewhere in Kamakura, I can't remember. Both of us were around 20 years of age. We used to be together all the time like sweet hearts! We have talked a lot on literature, philosophy and so forth. Also grumbled a lot on our specialty, mechanical engineering. Later, he has gone to a faculty of philosophy while I have chosen the way to be an MD. It has been decades since I last met him. I should look for him by some means. 

Our family taken some 20 years ago. My parents used to celebrate certain anniversary at this time. My sister now aged 70 years has been working as a nurse while brother 63 years now has been a psychiatrist. We owe so much to my parents who have given us chances of professional education. I have never heard them complaining of that burden on them at all. Now I know what it has been for them to raise us. They are surely missed.

Again, the thought how fast time is passing comes up in my mind. These photos will be forgotten by any folks in a few decades. Of course, it is due to oblivion of ourselves by them. It is not a pessimism but a reality. We are apt to forget this fact very easily. We are just travelers on the earth for a while. It is true that the more transient our lives are on the earth, the more serious we should be at living. However, at my age, I feel I should get ready for the end of life. Filled with good fond memories of the past in my mind, those photos showed to me, I still felt that way. I am a traveler on the earth.        


A Hustler Mobile Whip story

Coming back on the air in 1980, I started operating mobile on HF bands in mid '80s. The antenna I was using then was Hustler Mobile Whip. It was an intermediate loading type with the total length of about 2.4m. I set it at the rear bumper and operated CW with a paddle on the lap and FT757GXII on the side seat. 

I have had a lot of fond memories with this mobile whip.

In the mid '80s, I was busy at the work in the medical school hospital. I was constrained at the hospital for a long time. Once in a week or so, I was on the night duty for the emergency clinic. Parking my car with that mobile set up, I sneaked operating radio there while I didn't have any patients. The guy I often talked to on 40m was Steve, WA6IVN, whom I had known since '60s. Having had many impressive QSOs and vigorous outdoor activities, he passed away in early '90 due to complications of long lasting malignant lymphoma. I have admired him for that energetic activities. He might be, however, trying to fullfil his life with them. He let me know the whip made a bit of gain, S1 or even 2 units, toward the heading direction. I still remember Steve's QRQ CW flowing beautifully. We have talked too much, so that the loading coil got a bit hot when I touched it after QSO with him. Together with QSO with Steve, I have often met Bob W6CYX, whom I accumulated QSOs over 1200 times for now. Bob kindly invited Steve and his wife to his present home in San Jose at the reception dinner for me. Soon after that, Steve has passed.  

While commuting to the med school hospital from '80s through '90s, I used to operate 40m or 20m from the mobile set up quite often. One of the QSOs which I regularly made during commuting was a round table on 40m with JA3ASU and JE8MFG. Both of them were MD, the former a physician and the latter an anesthesiologist, as well and were also commuting to their hospitals. It was quite thrilling for us to have a round table with mobile. It has lasted only for a few months from spring to summer possibly in mid '80s. I have met JA3ASU in person in his home town Kyoto when I went there for an academic conference. He kindly took me a gorgeous restaurant for japanese dishes there. I haven't heard him since around 2000 or so. He might be around in his late '70s for now. I have met JE8MFG on UHF repeater for the first time when I went there near Sapporo for a driving tour. Ever since then, we have had regular contacts once a year or so. He is already in his early '70s and is planning to retire in a couple of years.   

It was when I was operating the mobile station on the way to the med school hospital that I met John K5PKA, later WG3U and W1ITU in around 1990 after over 20 years long absence. I have posted about him earlier in this blog. It was exciting to make such a QSO after so long since the last one. Without this mobile set up, we might have not met each other.

In '80s, when I was working at the med school hospital, I used to go for an extra work at another hospital once a week. On the way to and from there, I used to again operate CW from the mobile. I still remember having worked Kurt N5VV and Shido AH6JF on 20m. Kurt was a very active proficient CW operator. I always enjoyed listening to his excellent and elegant CW. Shido is a Japanese being licensed in Hawaii. We talked on japanese Morse code then. It was a fun as well as an excitement for me to talk to them on mobile with manual transmission those days. Both of them have not been heard for years. I only hope they are doing well.  

This Hustler Mobile Whip has made my ham radio life in this way. Since I quit operating mobile about 20 years ago, however, it has been asleep in the storage room. I believed it could work well and recalled of a friend of mine, Aki, JJ1TTG/6, who is operating radio at an apartment with a short mobile whip. I asked him if he would use this whip, even though I knew he always likes operating radio with simple and small set up. This Hustler may give him a bit better result, I believe. Even though there are some problems for him to utilize this antenna at his place, he told me he was interested in this whip and would use it somehow. The whip has already departed to him yesterday. Hopefully, it may go on working for him soon as it used to be for me.

Before it departed;

The coils are for 40, 30, 20, 17 and 15m.


It won't take too long before spring comes

Yesterday, it has been snowy for a few hours. A bit wet and heavy snow has covered the ground. It has melted away on the sunny side today. It still goes on being cold today.

You may see the small flakes of snow falling obliquely on the left side of this photo. Such snowfall is rarely seen in this area. The 2nd time this season so far as I remember. 

Even though it is not a pleasant news, I knew recently a friend of mine, a younger doctor, had suffered from severe autoimmune disease since last summer. His new year's greeting card has told me that.

I have given him a phone call. He told me, in a morning last summer, it was difficult for him even to get up due to severe arthralgia on limbs. It has assaulted him all of sudden. Actually, he had known of the illness, with an prior accidental lab exam, in subclinical condition a few months before it developed overt. Despite of being in such a condition, he was still working at the hospital. He has good knowledge of the illness, natural course, treatment choices and complications due to the illness as well as to the treatment. He let me know of that as if he explained to one of his patients with the same illness. Quite serene and objective attitude as for the issue. Sometimes even chuckling himself. Who knows what conflicts he has had in his mind? Thorough knowledge of the disease calms him down? No, I can't approve that idea. Being a doctor may make us more perplexed than the non medical people since we could know exactly what happened to us and should decide the ultimate decision for the choice of the treatments by ourselves. I only hope some new medicine will lead him to remission and to enjoy retirement in several years. A medicine of the biological genre he started to take several weeks ago seemed to have achieved some good effect on him as he reported to me. I wished it would benefit him further.

I should also get ready for such a thing in my life. May my mind maintain serenity and quietness in the future whatever may happen to me.

I found japanese apricots' flowers were budding now. It won't be too long before they come out fully.



Yearning for something lost

I have never paid attention to such as plants or trees in my young days. It was the mid forties in my life when I all of sudden found they were very close to me. Their lives have become so vivid and intimate to me at that time. Looking back that experience, it was coincident to the occurrence of male menopause. Actually, I have had the symptoms of autonomic nerve dysfunction at that time. It meat that I won't have the vigorous energy for life as in my young days any longer. Loss of that energy has made me head toward the other living things. being with the living things, which might live longer than myself, is a kind of relief to me. I was not aware of that. But at the subconsciousness level, I have become more mature at least with this respect.

I sure feel almost the same thing about liking of music. I used to like serious and complicated music in my young days. However, I am inclined to love more of the simpler and lively music nowadays. A few days ago, when going to sleep, I accidentally chose the Nr 5 string quartet by Beethoven, OP18-5, which was composed in his late twenties. Honestly speaking, I have looked down or thought little of those works composed at the same time with the opus number starting with 18.

What a lively, vivid and beautiful music it was! Of course, not like the later string quartets, it was taken the form of the precedent great composers like Haydn. It still sounds vivid and full of joy of music, I should say, or of life. Except for the dramatic OP18-4, I have paid too little attention to the other 5 string quartets of OP18. Emergence of such early string quartets of Beethoven as an absolute attractor to me may be because of the same psychological dynamics, that is, the attraction of young, lively and energetic things being lost by such an old man as me. Just listen to this lyrical and lively music. OP18-3 D major.



Salmon and sliced onion/potato wrapped with chinese cabbage in cream sauce

The title tells everything. The sauce was a bit too much.

Broccoli are still growing in this cold snap, or I should say, they are still surviving in the temperature below minus 7 or 8 degrees early in the morning.

The daylight hours are getting longer day by day even though it is still getting colder. In a month or two, I should get ready for the farm with leaf mold etc. 

I am still getting on the air in morning/evening. I should say it is always disappointing me. As i always say, there used to be proficient CW operators in the US at midnight or very early in the morning there, who would do with me or the other JAs. They were old timers at that age, around their 60 or 70s. Some of them were retired R/O. I am afraid they won' be active on the radio any longer. I have experienced the time when CW was a shining mode of communication. I have tried to resist the trend of decline in conversational CW. So far unsuccessful. It might be my duty to see it through to the end, maybe.

I know there are some CW operators still active in the US. They are, however, getting older. If I am allowed to say it, their aging makes communication like two way of soliloquies. Of course, I am not an exception. It is becoming hard to have an experience of heartfelt communications from heart to heart. I still, however, look forward some interesting and moving chats with friends.


Chinese cabbage and pork

Chinese cabbage and pork seasoned with oyster sauce.

It is the big chinese cabbage that the electrician friend has given to me. I should use the rest of that big chinese cabbage soon. I would try to cook salmon and cheese wrapped with chinese cabbage in cream sauce. It is a challenge this evening.

I am tidying the things my parents have left. There are piles of the reports by the helper and folks who have helped my mother living alone in the other house in our same property. In simple 2 or 3 lines of sentences, they have vividly expressed how my mother was doing before and after attending to the daytime care facility. For example, she told a helper person that sweet potato should be planted when the magnolia is fully out. In a morning, she was looking the garden in a sad countenance. However, as soon as she was called to get on the bus for the facility, she looked vivid again and rushed to the bus. When my sister or sister in law came to care for her, she looked really happy and vivid.

Fortunately, despite of having progressively lost recent memory, she has kept her personality and even positive and vivid mind for life until the end of her life. What a blessing it was for her and for us surrounding her! And, whenever reading the reports left on the table, I become full of gratitude to all the people who have cared for her with such love and caring mind. 

It has passed over 10 years since she lived there in that way. I should never forget how she has been treated by those good people.



A friend electrician has retired

We have had a trouble with an air conditioner at our daughter's room. She seldom visits us and stays there. But it is not comfortable for her to stay there in this severe weather in winter. I have called a guy with the initial of YK who owned an electrical appliance store and worked as an electrician. As written below, we and our parents have been close each other for long time. I have asked him for any repair of electrical appliances and for new items both at home and at my office. He has always been so quick to answer to my requests. He used to work with his friendly smile for us.

His parents knew my parents at the tuberculosis sanatorium my aunt used to manage here at this place back in '40s to '50s. His mother has been so kind to my mother whom she has visited for many times even since my mother suffered from dementia. I used to bring them to a hot spa near by years ago. A gentle and kind lady indeed.

On the phone, I was surprised to hear he had closed his shop last year owing to a health issue. All of sudden, he, 2 years older than me, has got AV block in heart which caused severe bradycardia. It urged him to be hospitalized and to have pace maker implanted. With that device, he could do anything but his job as an electrician. An electric shock may have the pace maker act up and result in an ominous condition, as his doctor said to him. That was the reason why he decided to retire last year.

His mother in law, over 90 years old, needed supports by him and his wife. That is why he has moved to the mother in law's home pretty close to his original home. He told me he had been growing many kinds of vegetables. I have visited him at his old home yesterday, where his daughter told me he had moved as written above. He has visited me this morning bringing some vegetables he has harvested.

Our parents have lived in this area as good friends decades ago. Except for his mother, all have gone away by now. And it is the time for both of us, YK and myself, to live in retirement now. Time is passing steadily and fast.

Telling me he would live for only another 10 years from now, he has left here. If we have the foods and the home here, we could get through our retirement even in economical recession as expected very soon. I have replied to him.

May he be blessed with good health and enjoy his retirement!


Happy New Year

A new year has already started for 3 days. It is fairly warm here for this season in a year. It has been fine. Nothing to be complained. We have had my brother, his wife and our daughter on the New Year's Day at our home.

What a feast it has been for us! If there could be a reunion in the heaven, it might be like this. We have talked a lot. About our parents, good old days, politics, music and medical service. Yes, my brother has been a psychiatrist. A lot of laugh and hot debate. I was surprised to know my brother had been fond of Dostoevsky and boasted that he had read through Karamazov for 3 times. When I told him, graduating from the college with the specialty in mechanical engineering, I first thought to major in Russian language or literature at another university, which did not come true. I have even tried to learn Russian by myself those days. Whether fortunate or not, it did not come true. Both of us have decided to go for med school. After he has lived in Sendai city for 4 decades, he won't feel it had become his home country, as he said. Soon, he will retire from his work. I wonder where he would spend his retirement. Sister in law, a capable as well as reliable person, has recently started practicing piano. We have talked on music a lot. As I told her Mahler's 9th symphony was the most impressive music for me last year, she took a memo on it and would listen to it later. I am wondering if it is suitable for an earnest Christian or not. Anyway, it is good to know she has been interested in classic music so much.

I really felt as if our parents had been with us there. When they were alive, they sure sat on the table with us and joined our conversation. I am not only missing them so much but also thinking of the time we leave the earth.

We have served them paella and chinese dimpling with fresh salad. Before having them, we toasted with very good champagne. It has lasted until midnight here.

Our sister, who lives in Tokyo and did not gather here this time, has turned 70 years of age last year. We might not be able to have such a meeting too often. I should set up such a feast from time to time. 

After taking glasses of champagne,

I just wanted to tell you how we had spent our New Year's Day here.

Wishing all of you good health and happiness through this new year.