Arrival of fall season

It is a real first fall day today. Crisp breeze is blowing over the trees of magnolia or zelkova. Persimmon trees bear fruits, some of which are getting colored. 

The soil on the ground has been wet throughout the last month. It was not very good for tomatoes. I hope the newly planted ones would yield some before it gets too cool.

The flowers are passing their best time. It will be the time for me to collect the seeds from marigold for the next year. As told before, persimmon and chestnuts will be ripened in a month or so.  

The sweet potatoes are growing thick at various places in the yard. 

It will be the fall with good weather and rich harvest soon. 

Chicken cooked with welsh onion

I still cook supper every day. Sometimes burden and, in the other occasions, pleasure for me. I sometimes wonder if it is what I should do at present in my life. So far, no one takes it over. I owe to my wife for many things in the past. I should turn my negative feeling for cooking to positive. Believe that it is a calling for me at present. I won't ask such a thing as this to myself too often. Just having a glass of beer, I set hand to cooking every day. Sometimes watching TV. If I would like it, some classical music is played such as h minor Suite by Bach or Piano Quintet Nr1 by Dvorak.

Chicken was cooked with welsh onion seasoned with soy sauce, sake and sugar. Not bad.

I still would like to travel to the mountain area in Shinshyu when the fall breeze blows in the valley there. i have a cousin, old and living alone, over there. I have promised her for a visit some time ago.


Seventy two years have passed

Seventy two years have passed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered from atomic bombing. Three days ago in Hiroshima while today in Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly non military citizens, young or old, have been killed at once. Many more should spend their hard lives with the late onset sequel of irradiation afterwards.

I have a few points to comment on this memorable days.

Firstly, we are obliged to ask ourselves why the people should undergo such a tragedy 72 years ago. I know quite some people in the US and the other countries think it was a retaliation for Pearl Harbor attack and the invasions to neighbor countries by our military. In addition, some people insist the atomic bombing has hastened defeat of our country. I won't discuss on these point in detail. They are making the points to some degree. But it doesn't seem to be the main reason. i would emphasize the emperor as well as the government/military authority should have admitted being defeated in the war much earlier. The authority is told to have expected mediation to the allied nations by Stalin, which was a ridiculous dream. It is not yet elucidated who was responsible for this delay to accept the unconditional surrender. The authority was concerned only about survival of the emperor system. It is the reason why this tragedy has happened even though the responsibility for this wrong decision has never investigated yet.

Whatever the cause/reason might be, it is a reality that innocent citizens have been killed. It should be remembered as a war crime killing so many non military people. It should never be happened. The world leaders, especially the president of the US, seem to be inclined to use nuclear weapon in certain conflict or in certain local war. I should say, however, it is a crime of mass murder and an event which leaves so many people suffering from the effects of irradiation throughout their lives. It is still a crime to human being.

Third, among 140000 victims in Hiroshima, 30000 to 40000 are told to be Korean people. Even more than 10 American people were killed. Some Korean people moved to Japan with their own will while there were a lot of people who were forced to come to Japan. Either case was due to poverty in Korea which had brought them to Japan. With this respect, we, Japanese, are not the sufferers but also the offenders to the neighbor country. Commemorating this event, we should never forget this fact.

Nuclear weapon is not only a mass destruction/murder arm but also leaves the irradiation effects on many people who survive the destruction. It is an arm of the evil. The balance of nuclear weapon is quite unstable and always tempts certain leader of a country to use it. It could result in ruining the world. It is only a false optimism that the balance of nuclear weapon will last forever. 


Lorin WA1PGB

It has been 10 years since I first heard of Lorin WA1PGB from Drew VK3XU. Drew told me there was a ham who had been a professional pianist as well as an enthusiastic CW lover. I had to wait for another 6 years until I could meet that pianist on the air.

He was in Maine, where I could scarcely have good path with. We have still enjoyed conversation on music as well as CW. He has made debut as a professional pianist at Carnegie Hall at age of 11 years. He seemed to have spent a brilliant life as a pianist. Recently, I have run across with him staying in California. His simple set up at the temporary place has put out a great signal compared with that in Maine. He said he would move to somewhere in the Bay area very soon. He has decided to make that move because his son is living in Berkeley and he wanted to live close to him. I believe he is already in his 80s now. It is a good chance for him to spend his retirement in California.

He has let me know of his performance of Schubert piece with his young wife Tara in Youtube. I haven't known of this piece. I was moved at its ever lasting song by Schubert for 4 hands of piano. Dark and melancholic. Sometimes it expresses will for life but still sinks in the darkness. This gloomy song was composed in the last year of Schubert's life. In addition to its nature as a present to a heartbroken lady, the time this piece was composed must be a reason why it sounds so gloomy. I still enjoy his performance with warm touch in perfect harmony with his wife Tara. 

Even though I am the least musician, he told me he enjoyed talking to me about music on the air. I am looking forward to talking much more on music and his life when he is settled down in California.



It's the season of Indian Lilac

The Indian Lilac at the entrance gate is blooming. My father used to tell us it was coming out in this season. Even though I can't remember how he told about it to us, I bet he might have been smiling then. It was impossible what he has thought about it then. Now, I could share that with him. Vividly and clearly. There is something we could hardly understand or sympathize at young age.

In a few weeks, hopefully, there will be cool breeze blowing in morning and evening. 

I am still cooking dinner almost everyday. This is pork with eggplant seasoned with soybean paste. It was dished up on the leaves of perilla, an Asian herb, which gives refreshing odor to the dish.


In commemoration of my history

I have a couple of bookcases of moderate size;apx, 1.2mx2.0m in my study as well as the room for radio, that is, the shack. They are too small to store all the books I own. But it is what I could set in my small room. Since I retired, I have added books of history and social science in them. Even though I have already moved most of the medical books to a storage room, a thought I might be forced to quit from medicine completely once I organize the bookcases and do away with the old medical texts etc has made me hesitate to do that.

However, the bookcases are almost full. I have decided to move several medical books left there now. I have scarcely read or looked up with them for the past years since retirement. And those medical texts are getting older in content in several years. Some of them were added to the bookcases even a few decades ago.

A couple of books remained in the book case. One is the textbook of pediatrics, Nelson's, famous for a textbook of pediatrics. It is a token that I have studied and worked in pediatrics. The other is a diagnostics textbook written by a professor whom I have been taught at the medical university. The field of diagnostics does with diagnostic procedure with very simple tools like stethoscope or hammer etc. It was a subject we had to learn in the beginning of clinical medical training. Almost half a century ago, CT scan has just introduced into the clinical services. There were only limited number of diagnostic tools or machines available. Moreover, the diagnostic procedures with very simple tools were really fascinating to us, medical students. Reading that textbook, I surely felt a historical atmosphere in it. Without modern medical equipment, the ancestors of doctors have made effort to reach right diagnosis with their perception and the simple tools. It was sure a historical heritage which was still useful to us. What an excitement to learn it! I know I won't read it for practical purpose any longer. It is, however, still to commemorate in my memory that I have studied medicine and worked for the patients.



Discussing proper sending way of CW

In the FOC reflector, there has been a discussion going on regarding sending CW. Some people claim that we should send accurate CW with proper dot dash ratio and spacing for some time. It helps the listeners to read us easier.

The problem may be divided into two aspects. CW sending should be accurate as if it were sent by keyboard. Dot dash ratio should be exactly 1:3 while there should be proper spacing between characters/words. The other problem is that such mechanically accurate sending is often boring to our ears. We appreciate musical rhythm in CW. It varies in time. We often feel comfortable with something exquisitely changing. It may reflect our heart beats. Anyway, that is why CW is called as an art.

Even though I admitted that such a discussion is not meaningless and is quite right, I felt a bit reluctant to go on such a discussion. This is the reason why I feel that way as shown in this post in the reflector. 


In my view, there are two points which make me reluctant to discuss
about this problem.
Firstly, this problem is often critical since recognition of bad keying
could be subjective. Certain keying could be artistic to some 
operator s while it sounds like a mess to the other, depending on 
the capability of reception.

Secondly, another difficulty to discuss about keying is that some 
operators have physical or even mental problems which prevent 
them from sending appropriately. It is not courteous nor beneficial 
to comment on their keying since it is almost impossible for them 
to improve it. 

However, there seem to be the case of anosodiaphoria. The operator 
could have improved keying but are not conscious of the problem with
their keying. In this case, we should tell them it is difficult for us to read 
them. It may let them realize the problem with their keying.
With this anosodiaphoria, they won't record their own keying etc. Our 
candidate report must be the only thing to help them realize it. Maybe,
no use to discuss about it in the recflector.

Let me realize it when my keying sounds sloppy. I will try not to be 
cranky at such a report.


Kidney beans and carrot rolled with pork

Kidney beans named "Morocco Ingen" in Japanese have been harvested for the past week or two. Being boiled, it is served for salad. Soft and a bit sweet. Those sold in super markets won't taste that way.

I have cooked it with carrot rolled with pork. Seasoned with sweetened sake and soy sauce. Pretty good.

The garden farm will be into the time of harvest very soon. As often told, I feel blessed having a gust of cool wind touching me in the mid summer sunshine while working in the farm. 

I was invited to an orchestra where I used to play cello a couple of years ago. A small ensemble. They might be puzzled not having any cellist in it. No matter what reason they have had to invite me, I was glad to come back into that cozy company. I felt really excited playing the fugue in the 3rd movement of Brandenburg Concerto Nr 4 by Bach. So far as I could, I would go on for such ensemble. It is the day for another ensemble in Tokyo. It must be a hard work to walk outside carrying cello. However, I would go there. I would play the Concerto for Two Violins by Bach. In that music, two violin concertants would sound like one instrument. It is another fascinating piece by Bach. I would smile at myself sweating much to travel to Tokyo with cello. However, it is one of the reason why I still live. 


My Father's 13th Anniversary

It will be my father's 13th anniversary in 3 days. My sister has written to me telling she had been reading the papers for application of pension of military he left to her. It says he has served in the army from 1939 to 1945, that is, from 20 to 26 years of age. His youth, which could have been most brilliant time in his life, has been forced to serve for the military nationalism.

He has been sent to China where he experienced the hell of the war and was almost dying in the battle. It was his regret that Japanese troops had done all criminal behavior to Chinese citizens over there. He has repeatedly told us we had owed much to them. It was his dream to travel Chine for a trip of apology, which did not come true.

Coming back from China, he was luckily assigned to an educational division of the army in this area. It meant he had been spared going to abroad again in the end of the war. Later, he might feel guilty for those having lost their lives abroad on behalf of him.

After the WWII, he has become a firm pacifist. It was due not only to his belief in Christianity but also to his cruel experience during the war. He must face to the problem of emperor system when he searched the cause of the war. It was the reason why the people have approved the invasion to the neighbor countries based on the aberrant idea of elitism. In the present time, studying of the reason why our society, at least, a part of the politics, is heading back to the regime before WWII, I feel we could not go without dealing with the problem of emperor system as a quasi religion which leads us to the nightmare idea of nationalism. I sometimes could not help smiling at myself reading the same kind of books as my father used to and thinking in the same way as he did.    

On July 1st 3 years ago, the collective self defense was approved by the government, which has been the purported reason why a nation started any war in the past. Whatever the government might explain of that change in explanation of our constitution, it meant our country would go for war abroad in the future. I often wonder what my father would say about this situation.

Remembering of him, I would do what I could to protest against such movement in the politics. It was a bit muggy morning when I and my wife have been called for his passing by the hospital staff. It has come on all of sudden. How lonely he has felt when passing away. I would take over his pacifist position for the token of my apology for not being with him at that time. It is also important what a country we would leave to the next generation. Even if I could do little for that.


Oblivion by Fournier Trio

Oblivion by Piazzolla is still one of my favorite tunes. Melancholic melody is more than fascinating to me. I have uploaded the performance of this piece by a piano trio and cello solo in this blog, both of which I still love so much. I have found another excellent performance by Trio Fournier, seemingly a Taiwanese trio of young musicians. Great lyricism. I love this cellist who sings the tune softly as well as elegantly. I wonder if he has received music instruction by renowned cellist Pierre Fournier. Smooth and lyrical performance sure reminds me of Fournier.


To do or not to do

I have been wondering if I should renew the ham radio license which expires this August. There were a few reasons why I felt reluctant to do so. It is the very first time that I wondered about renewing the license in my career of ham for the past 55 years except during preparing for the entrance exam for med university and studying medicine there.

One problem is that there are too few who enjoy conversational CW. This is the theme I have repeatedly mentioned in this blog. CW itself is declining as a communication mode. If I could find someone who speaks on CW, not just exchanges codes as symbols, he or she seldom converses with me. If I should be luckily able to run across with a ham who converses on this mode, he or she talks about him/herself one way in all likelihood. There could rarely be any dialogue between us. Of course, I know I expect too much to the others. Someone may blame me making monologue by myself, I know. It is still a reality that I feel biting something tasteless when finishing a QSO with such a person. I have been trying to make each QSO meaningful but, so far, am not successful to reverse this overwhelming trend of CW.

The other reason is that the bureaucracy of the governmental office is becoming even worse and there are people devouring the concession of the licensing system. These people are retirees from our FCC or former directors of JARL. I have mentioned of the terrible new regulation of spurious emission by the authority elsewhere in this blog. They require us to pay some "fee" to guarantee the spurious emission below the level ITU has indicated. It is for some old equipments which have not been qualified to fill the spurious emission level by ITU. The problem is that they "guarantee" that only by paper work. Too ridiculous! The license system is leaving further from the ideal comprehensive license system. It is all for the concession for the certain group of people mentioned above. I am feeling disgusted at them.

I thought I had had other things to do for the time I spent for ham radio as well. I am feeling I got mentally as well as physically less capable of things like playing cello, reading or writing etc. I wondered if I should concentrate on those things other than ham radio.

I have told a few friends of mine that I could not decide to quit ham radio or not. They kindly encouraged me to renew it this time. Vic W9RGB told me to "endeavour  to persevere" this situation. Even if I could do with the trend of declination of conversational CW, I might be able to enjoy good chats with friends. I may quit ham radio any time in the future while it might be difficult for me to come back once I do so. It is only a boring conclusion but I decided to renew it this time. For the coming 5 years while the license is valid, I would see what goes on in the license system as well as in the conversational CW.

So I have done it a couple of days ago. For the coming 5 years, if I stay fine, you may hear this call on some bands.


Piano quintet f minor by Cesar Franck

In my another blog written in Japanese, I found a post in 2007 that had told of a QSO with John 9V1VV. In that QSO, he told me that he had loved the piano quintet of Cesar Franck, which I have totally forgotten. I was surprised to know he loved such a chamber music in the modern era. I knew his best music era was the Baroque.

In Youtube, there is a historical performance of this music by Richter and Borodin Quartet. The performers, especially Richter, are not self-asserting but are only letting their performance express what this class work is. Beautiful, faithful and classy. The 2nd movement is, in my view, one of the most beautiful musics in the history. This piece as well as his other musics tells what personality, most honest, faithful and earnest, he had. That must be the reason why there were so many composers learning from him, directly or indirectly, who have been named as Franckists.

I have played the 1st movement of this music twice. The first time was at a small concert for farewell to the graduates at the university orchestra. The pianist, a quiet girl majoring in music, has played it, I remember, as if she had become insane. The other chance to play it was when I came back in music around 50 years of age. The string players and the pianist were all good friends of mine. Another fond memory. I am still feeling thankful for them all giving me chances to feel this wonderful piece closer to myself.

This is an unforgettable music for me in multiple meanings.


To have ragchewing on Morse code completed

This fMRI study shows that perception of the Morse code activates STG while lexico-semantic process involves left IFC and OTC, known to related with lexical understanding, in addition to STG. This result means understanding what is sent with Morse code is qualitatively different from copying each Morse code. In ragchewing, we should go through this qualitative step of Morse code communication. Comparing ragchewing to second language acquisition, we should socialize Morse code communication to have ragchewing on Morse code completed.

Intelligent people could imagine what I am implicating with this post, couldn't they?


 2015 Nov;36(11):4512-28. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22939. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

From perceptual to lexico-semantic analysis--cortical plasticity enabling new levels of processing.


Certain kinds of stimuli can be processed on multiple levels. While the neural correlates of different levels of processing (LOPs) have been investigated to some extent, most of the studies involve skills and/or knowledge already present when performing the task. In this study we specifically sought to identify neural correlates of an evolving skill that allows the transition from perceptual to a lexico-semantic stimulus analysis. Eighteen participants were trained to decode 12 letters of Morse code that were presented acoustically inside and outside of the scanner environment. Morse code was presented in trains of three letters while brain activity was assessed with fMRI. Participants either attended to the stimulus length (perceptual analysis), or evaluated its meaning distinguishing words from nonwords (lexico-semantic analysis). Perceptual and lexico-semantic analyses shared a mutual network comprising the left premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area (SMA) and the inferior parietal lobule (IPL). Perceptual analysis was associated with a strong brain activation in the SMA and the superior temporal gyrus bilaterally (STG), which remained unaltered from pre and post training. In the lexico-semantic analysis post learning, study participants showed additional activation in the left inferior frontal cortex (IFC) and in the left occipitotemporal cortex (OTC), regions known to be critically involved in lexical processing. Our data provide evidence for cortical plasticity evolving with a learning process enabling the transition from perceptual to lexico-semantic stimulus analysis. Importantly, the activation pattern remains task-related LOP and is thus the result of a decision process as to which LOP to engage in.


Attending a meeting against the bill of conspiracy law

After working in the garden farm, I left home for Tokyo. I was attending a meeting against the bill of conspiracy law in front of the Houses of Parliaments. I thought this conspiracy law would change our country from the rule by law to the rule of man. Actually, the prime minister and the government have already dictated our country with the former, which has been revealed with the recent scandals by the government. It will bring us the surveillance society since conspiracy is punished before any crime is conducted and conspiracy is investigated with such as wiretapping or internet surveillance. Our government has already obtained the surveillance program named XKeyscore from NSA of the US, which must be already in operation in Japan.

With darkness of night fallen on it, the illuminated Parliament Houses were standing out there. Dozens of policemen were keeping watch on the people joining the meeting. It was held by an NPO named Public for the Future, which announced there had been 4000 people in the meeting. Yelling slogans against the bill and the government were alternated with addresses by some guest speaker like members of parliaments and university professors. It seemed to be a regular meeting supported by the same members who carried own unique placards or some rhythm instruments. 

In an hour, having stood there all the way, I felt really tired. Considering of the time necessary to travel back home, I have quit there. I don't know what this behavior means for me. It might just be to confirm that I am really against this movement toward dictatorship against democracy. It has been half a century when I last joined such a political movement. It was a candle demonstration against Vietnamese war that time. Quiet walk holding a candle in the season of Christmas. Confirming where I stand on, I would do whatever I could do for the generation upcoming.       

On the way, I have looked around the station of Tokyo. It has undergone a drastic change except for the old building of the station. I haven't been there for decades.


Summer solstice coming soon

It will be the summer solstice soon. We are already in the rainy season, which lasts until mid or end of July. It will get more muggy day by day.

Vegetables are growing. Tomatoes are getting ripened now. Hopefully, they will be matured before they get harmed with much rain.

Kidney beans are blooming. They may yield many beans very soon.

In the garden in front of the house our parents used to live, there are numberous flowers coming out. 

Until the fall breeze starts blowing, it will be the time of struggle against weeds in the garden. Years ago, when he was alive, my father used to cut the growing weeds with a long handled mowing sickle. Making ticking sound with the sickle struck to the ground, he has quietly gone on doing that for a long time. Time has passed. It is my turn to do the same thing.


Historical revisionists contemplating amendment of the constitution in Japan

With the ruling parties in Japan retaining a two-thirds of majority in the parliaments, which is the least requirement for the referendum of the constitutional revision, the prime minister Abe announced to revise it by 2020. By the end of this year, the ruling parties plan to make the draft of the reformed constitution.

It is to neglect the efforts of the research commission of constitution which has made discussions to achieve the nonpartisan agreement of this issue for the past years. Of course, it is too soon. Maybe, Abe would hasten it not to let the people consider of this important issue. He seems to take advantage of the majority in the parliaments at this time in order to realize the state system before the WWII, which he has pursued for years, even if it is anachronistic as well as against democracy. He believes in the system based on the state Shinto worshiping the Emperor. He won't accept the result of WWII and the SF Treaty with the US. 

Four points they would revise the constitution are already published. The biggest issue might be regarding the Japan Self Defense Force. They would add a clause to the 9th article of present constitution, which would relate the existence of JSDF. It may cause much debate since the 9th article declares non possessing military power. They have agreed it won't exclude possessing military power for self defense. The addition of that clause may mean emphasis of possessing military power and may lead to the military force. This argument may not be easily understood by non Japanese people. At least, under the regime of Abe, a historical revisionist, it is not advisable to add that clause.

Another point attracting my attention was regarding the provisions of emergency. As well known, it means the prime minister could deny, upon any situation he believes necessary for the public order in the society, the constitutionalism and the basic human rights. Yes, it is the article in Weimar Consitution by which Hitler has legislated the Enabling Act of 1933. The special rapporteurs of the UN have questioned of the freedom of the press and of privacy right with freedom of speech recently. The government has reacted violently as well as emotionally to their question, which reminds us of the time our government has resigned from the League of Nations before WWII.  

I don't believe our country would go on the same road even if the revision of the constitution would be succeeded as the ruling parties plan now. The national finances may collapse due to military expansion as well as to increased needs for social security for the aged under the circumstance of immense budget deficits. And the people are not accustomed with the military nationalism since we have lived war free period for 72 years already. One thing I could predict is that we would be in a huge mess, political and economical, in the near future if this revision is done.

I might have lived in too much peace in my life. The generation of my parents or of grandparents have experienced disastrous wars during their lives. It might be the time of war for us. We should get it through for the better lives of the next generation.


Neuroimaging study for learning Morse code

Functional MRI studies have widened our view on what is going on in various cognition and behaviors. Remembrance of Morse code and, possibly, reading through it are not the exceptions. This paper tells us learning Morse code, one of the lexico-semantic skills, produces increased connectivity between the language networks and the anterior salience networks. As an amateur for those neuroimaging studies as well as brain physiology, I could not give proper explanation on this result. However, learning Morse code seems to be involved with the connection of sensory, emotional and cognitive functions with language acquisition functions.

In conversational CW, this change may be augmented or progressed to further combinations of neural networks. I have a hypothesis that conversational CW requires higher functions of the brain than simply deciphering codes. I could never be involved with such studies. Hopefully, some CW lover as well as neuroimaging researcher at the same time would be interested in epistemological understanding of conversation through Morse code, the simplest symbols in communication, and conduct some research work. If you would do this, just remember and acknowledge me in the end of the paper.


 2017 Feb 1;146:429-437. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.08.065. Epub 2016 Sep 1.

Dynamic changes of resting state connectivity related to the acquisition of a lexico-semantic skill.


The brain undergoes adaptive changes during learning. Spontaneous neural activity has been proposed to play an important role in acquiring new information and/or improve the interaction of task related brain regions. A promising approach is the investigation of resting state functional connectivity (rs-fc) and resting state networks, which rely on the detection of interregional correlations of spontaneous BOLD fluctuations. Using Morse Code (MC) as a model to investigate neural correlates of lexico-semantic learning we sought to identify patterns in rs-fc that predict learning success and/or undergo dynamic changes during a 10-day training period. Thirty-five participants were trained to decode twelve letters of MC. Rs-fMRI data were collected before and after the training period and rs-fc analyses were performed using a group independent component analysis. Baseline connectivity between the language-network (LANG) and the anterior-salience-network (ASN) predicted learning success and learning was associated with an increase in LANG - ASN connectivity. Furthermore, a disconnection between the default mode network (DMN) and the ASN as well as the left fusiform gyrus, which is critically involved in MC deciphering, was observed. Our findings demonstrate that rs-fc can undergo behaviorally relevant changes within 10 training days, reflecting a learning dependent modulation of interference between task specific networks.


ANP as a remote metastasis suppressor

Cancer has the brutal capacity of remote metastasis which usually kills the patient. Without remote metastasis, it won't fatally harm the patient in most cases. Surgery could be curative to them.

Any medication or therapy to suppress or eradicate remote metastasis has been desired. This news might be a breakthrough for metastasis suppression. Atrial natriuretic peptide;ANP, an antihypertensive hormone produced at heart, seems to be a hopeful medication for this purpose. There are a few reports that  ANP has anti tumor activity in animal model.

I have a friend who suffers from breast cancer and is waiting for curative surgery after chemo protocol. There must be millions of people in the same situation. I really hope this will promise them as a powerful medication for complete remission. 


 2015 Mar 31;112(13):4086-91. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1417273112. Epub 2015 Mar 16.

Atrial natriuretic peptide prevents cancer metastasis through vascular endothelial cells.


Most patients suffering from cancer die of metastatic disease. Surgical removal of solid tumors is performed as an initial attempt to cure patients; however, surgery is often accompanied with trauma, which can promote early recurrence by provoking detachment of tumor cells into the blood stream or inducing systemic inflammation or both. We have previously reported that administration of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) during the perioperative period reduces inflammatory response and has a prophylactic effect on postoperative cardiopulmonary complications in lung cancer surgery. Here we demonstrate that cancer recurrence after curative surgery was significantly lower in ANP-treated patients than in control patients (surgery alone). ANP is known to bind specifically to NPR1 [also called guanylyl cyclase-A (GC-A) receptor]. In mouse models, we found that metastasis of GC-A-nonexpressing tumor cells (i.e., B16 mouse melanoma cells) to the lung was increased in vascular endothelium-specific GC-A knockout mice and decreased in vascular endothelium-specific GC-A transgenic mice compared with control mice. We examined the effect of ANP on tumor metastasis in mice treated with lipopolysaccharide, which mimics systemic inflammation induced by surgical stress. ANP inhibited the adhesion of cancer cells to pulmonary arterial and micro-vascular endothelial cells by suppressing the E-selectin expression that is promoted by inflammation. These results suggest that ANP prevents cancer metastasis by inhibiting the adhesion of tumor cells to inflamed endothelial cells.


A time to recall those who have passed away

I realized breeze was shaking leaves of a tree in the garden when I was working there. It is the time now when a friend of mine left a comment in my blog around this time last year. For my post that the leaves were whistling to breeze around this time and it reminded me of the people around myself since it sounded like something eternal in my mind, having given approval to my post, he commented that he would pass away peacefully. In a month, actually, he has suddenly died from a circulatory problem. Nowadays, there are more and more friends and folks gone away whom I remember of frequently. 

The forest over a field south of my home.

Roses in full bloom in the garden.

It is one of the best seasons here in a year. It is a time when I recall of those having passed away as well. 


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.