Tortilla with potato first cropped in the garden farm

Some potatoes were harvested in the garden farm. The very first harvest this year.

Several times of this amount are expected to be cropped for the coming few weeks. 

Using some of this potatoes, I have tried tortilla. It has lost its shape when cooked on a fry pan. It tasted, however, good.

I still regret that this blog has been like regarding only foods or cook! I still would like to maintain it as a highbrow as well as intelligent blog handling politics, economy or history. Reality won't go that way. Never ending struggle between ideal and reality in my mind. Sorry for that. Maybe, next post would do with something more intellectual.


Simmered pumpkin and growing tomatoes

Having bought too much minced pork, I made this simmered pumpkin with Japanese broth and minced meat sauce. It has been years since I cooked this. Forgot the recipe. Looking it up in the internet, I have done with it. A pretty good result.

There are a few pumpkin plants growing in the yard farm. Hopefully, they will bear good pumpkin in several weeks. 

Tomatoes are getting ripe now. I have already harvested some. They were so sweet and delicious. Even in our mouthes, they would retain their shapes since they are fresh. I and my wife express that state like they retain their cell membranes in good shape. Soon, fresh tomatoes will be on the table every day for a while.


A 2nd Tonkin Gulf incident?

The tension between the US and Iran is increasing. The US Secretary of State, Pompeo, has declared the tanker attacks were made by Iran as soon as the event happened. The photos of limpet mines were not convincing but might rather seem fake. As the Iranese military top said, Iran could have completely closed the Strait of Hormuz if they wished. In the present situation the US has sent out the 5th fleet into the Persian Gulf, a real threat for the Iranese, together with the military deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, it seems unlikely for the Iranese military to dare to cause a military conflict with the US.

This crisis is directly due to withdrawal of the US from the nuclear agreement between Iran and the western countries. Agreements could never be perfect for each side. But withdrawing or giving it up could cause such a serious crisis as they have there. Why not going on negotiation to make the agreement more agreeable one? I could not help but feeling that the US had aimed to support the side of the countries like Israel which stood against Iran. Who knows there could be a movement for military conflict wherever it might be from the military industrial complex?

Once there occurs a military conflict or a war in that area, it may damage not only the people in the Middle East but also the world economy. News sources say the US government sould organize an allied fleet force together with the other western countries including Japan, which would fight against Iran. It could be a serious threat for our country which has spent the post war years as a country of peace. We could serve the problem with non military measures. And the deficit of oil might destroy our economy. We depend on oil imported mainly from the Middle East. 

Either side should stop playing this Russian roulette promptly. The US government should never cause the 2nd incident of Gulf of Tonkin in the Middle East.


Gardening and cello playing keeping me busy

Still busy at garden and farm. I tend to forget how fast time flies. It is getting warmer or even more muggy. The rainy season may start in the end of this week. Then the struggle against weeds will be even harsher. I would still enjoy doing with them this summer.

I have purchased a hedge trimmer driven with a motor/Li battery. It cost nearly 300USD. But the trimming might be much less laborius than cutting with a gardening schissors. As with printers, surprising enough, a replacement battery would cost 150USD. Too excessive profit! I could not, however, resisit buying it thinking of its handiness.

Before cutting the row of azaleae at the entrance;

After. It took me only half an hour to do it.

Strawberry has finished its season. A bowl of strawberry has been on the table every morning. I haven't cooked jam with it. Strawberry plants will go into a long sleep untile next spring.

Tomatoes are getting ripe soon. Hopefully, we could get harvest them not too long after the rainy season starts. No illnesses on the plants this year so far.

I am still practising cello. Of course, very slow advance if any. I should be careful not to hurt my hands/arms while practising. I would play the 1st movement of OP59-3 by Beethoven at a small informal concert, which I have never done with in the past. A famous cellist used to tell Beethoven's string quartets are the beginning as well as the ending for quartet players. Practising this piece, I recognize what he meant. There is a concert of all Beethoven string quartets by amateur players elsewhere. Some players used to play multiple quartets of Beethoven at a concert. They must be really talented players or even professionally trained ones. I still regret I haven't been trained with cello like them. It is no use crying over spilt milk, as they say, though. Feeling grateful for my company, circumstances and health allowing me to play cello, I still go on practising it. If you would find sopmething intimate and intellectual, try to listen to string quarts especially of Beethoven.  


Going to meet an old friend of mine since '60s

Jim, NN6EE, has given me an e mail. It told he would visit our country next month. We will meet in Tokyo after over 50 years friendship on the air. Even though there was an interval of no contact for a few decades. We used to be teen age boys when we met first. I was 17 years old while he was 19 years. A long time ago.

He was WB6BBC those days. He was running with a bug. I still remember his keying swinging like a banana boat.  He must have been a night owl. I could hear him around or a bit later than our sunset hours. 

He might have spent young days at a wealthy family. A big house and his own car. Impossible for me being rather poor with home brew 6AQ5 transmitter to imagine that way of life. Or was it a typical middle classed family in the US back in '60s.

He still calls me as Sin, which I used to use for handle those days. It's short spell, I thought, was beneficial for DX QSO on CW. Crazy! It was not correct pronounciationwise and I have changed it to Shin later. What gorgeous set up! Collins and Signal one? They were like rigs in heaven for me in Japan those days. Later, when coming back on the radio in 1980s, I was astonished that radios made in JA were overwheling in the ham radio market all over the world. Anyway, this photo again told me what well off lives they were living. 

Could we recognize each other all after this absence in June?


POTUS visiting our country

POTUS is visiting our country as a guest of the state. He and our prime minister won't be scheduled to publish the joint statement. It seems Trump would enjoy playing golf and watching the Sumo in addition to seeing our new emperor.

The bleachers seats of Sumo are supposed to have them sit down on the floor. POTUS and the secret service are going to sit down on chairs on the bleachers. No visitors from overseas have done that. They will occupy the area for 1000 people at the gymnasium. This is also exceptional. The important persons who have visited to watch Sumo games invariably stayed at the seats reserved for the special guests on the upper floor. Everything is unprecedented for Trump. I don't know who has proposed this way of treatment for him. At least, our prime minister is not a conservative politician. Because he is breaking all the tradition in Sumo for this guest. He is rather a revolutionalist.

One more thing. The secret service is getting nervous at thrown cushions. The people there would throw their cushion up in the air when there is a game unexpected to them. The secret service may be worrying some cushions could hit the president on his head. It may, I guess, reveal some secret of the state to the public.


Another sentimental journey to Shinshu

As I used to dream of in my working days, I aimlessly left for a drive trip 3 days ago. Exactly speaking, it was not aimless but was headed to Shinshu area again. It is the district of JA0 in ham radio term and located in the center of the main island surrounded with high mountains. It would be another sentimental journey.

Staying at a poor hotel near Kakeyu hot spa, I convinced myself I should book a bit better one next time if I have any chance for another trip. I am not so young any more and may deserve staying at a bit more gorgeous hotel. I left there for a destination of Kakeyu hot spa, that is, a hospital I have been to in med school days.

As alrady told before, I used to have a short term training as a medical student at that big hospital in Kakeyu 40 plus years ago. Together with several colleague students, I went to the hospital where one of the graduates from our med school worked as the president. He has invited us, the students of the med school, for training every summer, possibly expecting some to come and work with them in the future. I might have written about this training at the hospital before.

It was like an excursion with friends, 4 or 5 classmates, as told above, joining that program in a hot summer. We stayed at the same room in the hospital and had looking around in the facility in the daytime. The outpatient, the inpatient ward or the lab test dept etc. We have taken the histories of some patients at the outpatient. It was not much fun since we just oberved what the staff did. But, since the memory is still vivid in my mind, it might be an impressive experience to me, whether it might be exciting or not. 

The road to the hot spat. It runs in a valley. Rather few traffic. We went to the hospital on an old country bus in a summer of 40 plus years ago. On the bus headed to the hot spa, what have I thought of and what have I expected to come in my career?  

The outlook of the hospital. It is located among hot spa hotels. The hot spa has been famous for years and has attracted many patients with chronic illnesses. They might have gathered the hot spa for rehab etc. The rehab dept. was one of the most famous departments at the hospital.

It was not what we stayed then. It has been rebuilt and reformed. It was almost half a century ago. 

The street has not been changed so much. We have enjoyed walking after supper along this street. Talking something trivial and funny as students always are. As told before, the town is in a valley. It was breezing coming from the mountains. It was pretty cool yesterday. In the summer we were there, it must have blown the same breeze before sunset.

Further south, there is a big tunnel leading to Matsumoto city and Azumino. 

We should pay a toll to get through the tunnel. But a news tells the toll will be off next year as the construction fund will be redeemed. While most other highways take much money as toll, this rarely happens. The prefectural government has done a good thing. Anyway, I love driving this route through woods in a valley. 

A dam was seen in the bottom of the valley. A very quiet place.

Getting through Azumino area, I have reached the memorable lake named Aoki-ko. As I have told in this blog, again 40 plus years ago, I and some colleagues of the university orchestra used to swim in the lake while the orchestra practice was off. Very cold and no one was swimming. After having landed on the beach, we have found a sign telling swimming was banned due to sudden drop of water in certain area of the lake which could be dangerous to the swimmers. We were young and brutally courageous as the other young people always are. Seven or eight were with me at that time. I have lost contact with any of them. I really hope everyone is still doing well. 

After that adventure, we have walked over a mountain to the camp place. At the height, the pass was through a tunnel. Lots of laughter and scream on the way back. There is a bypass route in pararell with this road constructed now, so that the traffic is very little. It was also quiet and very few cars or people on this road is that summer.

Near to the camp place, which I used to post some photos in the past, there is the famous skiing resort named Hakuba. The skiing and jumping competition were held in this area in Nagano Olympic games. The area has become too gaudy around that event. But for now, the quiet beauty of this area is regained, even though it might mean the people in this area won't earn so much from tourism business as before. A recent news has told the local government has finally finished refunding the debt for the Olympic games lately. Olympic games is of fun. But, in the world where disparity of rich and poor is going on, we should consider downsizing such an event and spend the budget to solve such a problem. They are spending 2 or 3 trillion JPY for the Olympic games in Tokyo next year.

This Azumino-Hakuba area is along a river named Himekawa. It is the southern end of Fossa Magna dividing the western and eastern Japan. There have been a lot of hot spas along this valley of Fossa Magna. In 1980s, taking a long vacation, I used to drive this area alone before starting working at a local hospital. There was an outdoor hot spa at a riverbank in this river. It was so big as a pool. I bathed there and was embarrassed to see young girls coming in it. I quickly got out of it. It was not a fun as it is imagined!  

There is a town named Itoigawa where the road meets Japan Sea. There used to be a restaurant at the corner where the road is connected to another truncal road. I used to enjoy fishhead soup at that restaurant some 30 years ago. That full bodied soup I took in that long drive was unforgettable to me. Disappointingly, that restaurant has disappeared at the place. It seemed to be on business for the truck drivers travelling along that main road. But there must be much less traffic there since a high way has been constructed running pararrell to it and many drivers are going on that way now.

On the way, I have remembered of old friends whom I travelled together or whom I met in this area in my young days. Most of them have passed away or have been away from me. Away from daily routine, such a trip reminds me of those people. In old age, we should shift from the pre-last things to the last things in life. We could be free from all the desires and cravings for something in life, even though that shift is not perfect so far as we live in this world. I still believe the value to live in the last chapter of life is  to become free from them and to get ready to transit to the last thing related world. I know it is difficult for me to accomplish that transition. Such a trip to somewhere I spent young days sure helps me to know where I came from and where I should go forward to. 


Viva 49ers!

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

Strawberry is ripe at present.

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

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

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

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


Fishhead soup

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

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

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

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


Faure and Kuebler-Ross

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

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

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

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

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


Wearable computers and haptic stimuli

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


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

I don't like playing computer games, though.

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

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


The old tomb in spring

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

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

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

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


A memory of sushi dish

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

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

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

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

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


How I got through engineering major

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Azalea along the entrance has passed its peak of blooming. They could have been more luxurious. My wife says we should prune the branches in order to have more room for air flow in the tree. I would do that when flowers are all over.

This azalea in a row was planted over 20 years ago when my father was alive. I can't remember who has done that. Or maybe we have asked some gardener to do that. My father had cared for it until his health issue didn't allow him to. 

This photo shows the row of azalea about 10 years ago. It bloomed gorgeously.

When I started own practice in a city nearby 24 years ago, my father was enthusiastically caring for the plants and trees in the property even though there was no large room for that. Azalea was planted again in the flower bed on the sides of the parking lot. This photo shows that about 10 years ago.

He has worked hard for us there. It was the place for him to work for a family member, that is, me. He has been yearning for such work with me at my own clinic since I became a medical student! I didn't care for a life as a country doctor far away from research etc. But, aside from my wish those days, things have lead me to this countryside and have made me live as a general pediatrician there.
Throughout his life, father has served at the other hospitals and clinics in Tokyo after coming back from the WWII. It was not always easy for him to work being instructed by the owners of those facilities. I was sometimes told by him about how difficult it had been for him to work at such places. At my own practice, now, he could do whatever he thought good for me and for the patients, even though he was not a full time worker. He might be happy to be treated as the father of the boss by the staff. If I could ever boast something I have done for father, it was the only thing that I gave him a chance to work with me at that time. Actually, his work has been a great help to us.

This azalea brings me back to those days. And it also tells time is passing fast. So far it goes on blooming every spring, it is a token father used to live here.   


At the enthronement of new Emperor

Emperor Naruhito enthroned yesterday. It was the beginning of the new era in Japan. Emperor emeritus Akihito has faithfully as well as eagerly played the role of Emperor symbolizing the people defined by the Constitution. His efforts should be acknowledged by all of us. Standing on the position of pacifist, together with Empress emeritus, he has devoted himself to get Imperial Household closer to the people. We could not forget they had been everywhere suffering disasters in Japan and had talked to the people refuged at the same eye levels as theirs. They have visited a lot of places, especially Okinawa, to commemorate those victimized in the WWII, but never to the Shinto shrine of Yasukuni, where the dead soldiers had been deified during and after the WWII.

It has been sometimes reported that the Abe administration has occasionally interefered to the Imperial Household. Emperor emeritus used to express his desire to abdicate a few years earlier. The government has ignored and has not discussed about that at all. Emperor emeritus, being conscious that he has become too old to continue the role of symbolic emperor, thought to retire sooner. In the end, his desire for abdication has been scooped by a media. He has announced what he thought on abdication on TV to the people a couple of years ago. It was when the scheme to the abdication had finally started. 

The government has utilized the process of abidication for their political purposes. The new era name determination has been politically used by the government. PM Abe insisted it was him who had determined it. At the publication of the era name or even at the abdication ceremony held at the imperial palace yesterday, he behaved as if the main person in charge. He has made propaganda for "the achievements of their policy", which have been seriously questioned by economists or the other critics. The administration is believed to censor what Emperor emeritus would express at the ceremony. Insisting our imperial system is historically different from those in europe, they have not allowed him to compare it with the latter. That was based on the ultra right idea of eliticism the present government has had.  

I am afraid the new Emperor Naruhito may confront to the tense relationship with the government. He has, however, declared in the enthronement ceremony that he would take over the way Emperor emeritus Akihito has done with his responsibility as a symbolic emperor in Heisei era. With our support to him as a pacifist, he may accomplish his duty in the new era.

The imperial system in Japan looks inhuman to me. Emperor has no freedom in his life. He is confined to every duty as an emperor until age over 90 years. Since Emperor is not devine dominator in this society, he should be able to live as a human before he is deemed as a special being. Naruhito is alreay 59 years old, which is the age most people consider of retirement. The responsibilities Emperor takes should be lessened. He should not be bound to his duties all the time. Most of the rituals Emperor hold at the imperial palace were founded in the era of Meiji in order to authorize the Imperial Household. Some of them could be simplified or even abandoned. Every effort should be taken to reduce Emperor's burden. It may help the Imperial Household to get closer to the people.


In the garden

German Iris is a species tolerant to both heat and cold. They show beautiful flowers in spring. We have 3 kinds of them, white, yellow and this deep purple. This purple one is growing just in front of the dining kitchen at the house where our parents used to live. Through the window, they might have enjoyed them blooming in this season.

I might have posted the same kind of photos of this flower before. I love this so much. Mysteriously beautiful.

Has it passed 2 years since I asked the gardener to cut the branches of this Japanese zelkova. It was planted in order to have shades to the house in summer over 20 years ago. Soon, it has grown like a giant tree which made the rooms in the house a bit dark even in daytime. That was the reason why I asked cutting branches. The vitality of this tree is really remarkable so that it has grown this way. Zelkova is a common garden tree in this area. Most farmers' houses have this kind of tree, so high and beautifully stretching branches in the air. I have seen them on the way to the office. It seems they have been cut sometime ago. It might be difficult for them to maintain those high trees. It is a loss in the scenary in this area.

It will get warmer day by day. Plants and trees are growing enormously. I should plant veggies now. Weeds are waiting for me as well. 


My brother and his wife visited here

A couple of days ago, my brother and his wife have come here to visit my parent's grave as they have done in this season for the past years. It took them 5 hours to drive from Iwate north of Sendai to here.

My brother looked fine even though he had lost most of his hair. Pretty skinny with bike riding. He is working at a big general prefectural hospital as a psychiatrist. He has been spared with the night duty due to his age, in mid sixties, and to his speciality. His work is a kind of laison psychiatry where he does with the consultation of probable psychiatric cases from the other speciality doctors. He also works at the outpatient for dementia cases. Without prospecting ample public pension, he is going on working for another few years or untul he is told to quit.

We have talked on our childhood days. We have shared the memory when our parents had raised us back in our elementary school days. It was in a suburb of Tokyo. He was a kind of nervous boy and, since both parents worked as hospital nurse/personnel, I or our sister, 4 years older than me, took him to the school. He seemed to hate going to school. I have forgot it completely. His story has still lead me to those days. In his mind, even though we shared the same event memories, the things have looked in a quite different way.

He has been a real book lover since his young days. He, together with us, has built a storage house in this property. His room there about 15 sq m in size has literally thousands of books. His aim to visit our home is to care for them and bring in or back some of book collection. Recently, he told me, he had read about the Nazis invading Chechoslovakia and the cruelty they had done to the people there. We have talked, in relation with that topic, about Bonnehoeffer and Arendt. It was surprising to me he had not read much about politics/economics in our country. However, he still shared my view of the present situation in our country. Looming economical and financial collapse.

He seemed to be happy with his faithful and kind wife. Like our father, he has been inherited with his belief in Christianity and a character of being easily moved by things. His wife has become a Christian and is learning piano at home. When I have given a bit of money for the travel to him, after having had a nice sushi dinner, he has been moved to tears. He wonders where his home town is and where he should be settled down in retirement. Having visited the place, a suburb of Tokyo as told above, we had spent our childhood, he seemed to be much disappointed. Nothing same as those days. It will have been half a century in several years since he started learning medicine and working as a doctor in Sendai. I told him he should spend his retirement there with company or friends through his profession. Or he would be welcomed here as well, I told.

It was a really nice visit. Forgot taking photos of the nice sushi and the others, my wife and his wife, at the great restaurant here. Heaven must be like this.

The Heisei era is going over

The era of Heisei is ending today. The era name is renewed when an emperor abdicates. The present prince will take over the position of emperor tomorrow.

They say this system comes from the old Chinese history of the reign of emperors. Renewal of era name means that an emperor dominates the people with the time itself.

That is why I am not much concerned about the new era. I respect the present emperor as a human being, a pacifist as well as the symbol of the nation. But he or the other Imperial Household won't be and shouldn't be the dominant power at all any longer.

Unfortunately, there is a faction in our country which would pursue revival of the prewar imepiral nation system. They won't lose the chance of new era to utilize to accomplish their idea. The top of such a faction is the prime minister Abe.

The ending era of Heisei has been a time when our country underwent decline of the national as well as economic power/ability. The World Fact Book by CIA tells that our substantial growth rate is ranked only the 164th in the world and the 17th in Asia. It is going on falling. In accordance with it, even though economy is not the sole factor determining happiness of the people, the world happiness ranking by UN in 2019 is continuously dropping to the 59th in 2019.

The inequality of economy has developed at high speed. Non regular employment went up to 40% of all employees. Under the slogan of equal pay for equal work, at present, the regular employment class is being assimilated into the non regular employment class. 

With the increasing debt of the government up to more than 1000trillion JPY, it seems a hard landing is inevitable in the near future. It is not the question if collapse could be avoided or not but when as well as how it comes on us. The reflation school leading our present government for the past 6 years seems to be a total failure resulting in more debt accumulation. The main issue is how to abate the most probable hard landing.

As for myself in the Heisei era, I have worked hard at own private practice and have already retired. I have had parents passed away, father 20 years ago, mother 8 years ago, respectively. Candidly, so far as the evaluation measure in the society concerned, we have not been very successful raising children. It seems, however, our family will go on in the same way whatever the era might be. It is what we have had in the Heisei era. I would accept it as it is. No choice. I am still grateful to the family and the people surrounding us giving much support to us. Despite of the worry for the economic crisis in our country in the near future, we could get along in peace so far. Such lives of ordinary people will continue irrespective of the era we live in.


A shocking scene at White House

It was a shocking video.

It has happened recently when our prime minister Abe and his wife arrived at the entrance to White House.

There were the president Trump and Melania waiting for them on a red carpet. Getting out of a car, the prime minister couple has greeted with the president couple.

They stood there to be taken for photos by the press. Abe and his wife stood out of the carpet left to the president couple on the carpet. A press person told Abe to get closer to the president standing at the center of the carpet. Abe and his wife tried to come closer to him.

It was when the president uttered "Stop!" in a low voice toward the prime minister. Our prime minister has understood that and has stopped getting on the red carpet. Without the president's clear as well as definite instruction to the prime minister, I would have thought it was just a coincidence that the prime minister couple was off the red carpet. But the president's instruction has told me that he would show the relationship between the US and Japan is not that of equality but a subordinate position of our country to the US.

There has been another event that supports my observation of the behaviour and its meaning of the US president. Whenever he visited our country, he never flew to Narita or Haneda but to Yokota US Base. Unlike the former presidents, he won't go through our immigration office at those airports formerly shown. I and the other people suspected the president and the US officials would tell to us and the world that Japan is subordinate to the US. In equal diplomatic relationship, the president of any foreign country should have entered to our country through the immigration office.

Our mass media won't question of this event. Most of the Japanese people won't realize this. But I am afraid the attitude of the US president would gradually destroy the relationship. Or is it in an subordinate or even slavery relationship of our country to the US? I am afraid this could bring the relationship to an unhappy and unwanted direcation.


The 8th anniversary of mother tomorrow

It will be my mother's 8th anniversary of passing tomorrow. In this season, when leaves of trees are getting fresh green, I recall of those days often. Some memories might be, possibly subconsciously, lost. Only some thing good may be left in my mind.

Around this time 8 years ago, I was heading to Sendai city where my mother was taken care of at a hospital. Possibly being stressed from loss of lifeline at a nursing facility, such as water supply, electricity or heat etc, by the big earhquake on Mar. 11 the same year, she might have become seriously ill. On the way there, the high way was bumpy all the way in Tohoku area, of course, due to the intense shake by the earthquake. My sister was on the side seat going there with me. Looking at the gentle mountains of Adatara on the left side, we have been talking of old memories of our childhood days.

Mother lying on the bed was smiling at us and could not stop asking me about our father who had passed away 6 years earlier. She also wanted to go back to our place where we all had spent peaceful days for years. Listening to my sister singing one of the hymns mother loved at the bed side, I was quietly leaving there. I could never forget that scene.

She passed away possibly due to fatal arrhythmia a few days later. The staff at the hospital told my brother it was like a small candle light going off quietly. Hopefully, it was not painful or agonizing to her. For almost 20 years, she has had the problem of dementia. Such a sharp lady enjoying witty conversation with people around her was gradually losing her capabilities. What a torment it was for her! I believe, however, it was to let us know how to accept own fortune as it is. She has given us such a precious lesson to us in the end of her life.

Today, I have served a frozen dried persimmon to the gardener whom we have asked to care for our garden for the past years. A really special treat. Elegantly sweet as if it was just made. It has also reminded me of mother again. She used to enjoy dried persimmon when she was active. In later hears, persimmons she  dried under the overhang of the roof by herself have always been taken away by the other members of the family before they were matured, though. We were worrying about her diabetes which could be worsened by such a sweet thing.

Tomorrow, my brother and his wife will be here and will take dinner together with us. A lot of old stories might bring us back to the days when we were with our mother.


A new compact car and a drive on it to a harbour

I have owned a couple of cars. One is a big one with 3500cc engine and hybrid system, which I have used for long drive such as that to Tokyo. The other was a small one of 1200cc engine, which I had used as a tansportation mean for short span such as shopping to a supermarket in the town. The small one was originally bought for our daughter when she was licensed for automobile over 10 years ago. It has been with us for that long time. we should have those cars checked up by the dealer every couple of years. It has become costly to maintain it for such check up etc. I have decided to exchange it to a new compace car now.

Having cleaned up the old small one, which had brought us many memories, pleasat or kind of sad, for the years, I went to the dealer to get a new one or rather to exchange it to that new one. The new one is one of the most compact cars available in the market. It has only 660cc with the power of 59HP.

I wondered if it had been of too much luxury to own two cars in my retirement. But I thought a compact one with good mileage may be good to live in this countryside. This is the one I thought most suitable for that purpose. The mileage is the best among all the cars available in the market except for the hybrid engine or electrical vehicles. 

I was concerned about how noisy it was. I was surprised in good sense that it sounded quite quiet, or more exactly, not too troublesome to drive. When running at high speed on high way etc, it sure sounded terrible with the road noise. But I scarcely would drive long way on high way. I was quite happy with this new car.

Today, it was too fine and warm to stay home. I decided to drive to the ocean coast. It takes roughly a couple of hours. Not bad driving except for the noise when driving on high ways. The best mileage read about 33km/l, which is equivalent to 70 to 75MPG!! Of course, financilally, it won't matter too much compared with the other compact cars. I still firmly believe our economy may suffer bad inflation in the coming years and it may be quite advantageous to my wallet then.

On the way to the coast, I have seen several gorgeous cherry trees of full blossoms. One of those is here;

It has been rather cool since the middle of March. The cherry blossoms seem to live longer than usual. Sipping green tea I got a convinience store there, I was looking at this cherry tree for some time.

Then, I arrived at the fishery market at a harbour. It is always so clouded on the week ends that it is quite difficult to park a car. It was not the case today since it was a week day.

The store was not clouded, either. The personnel wearing rubber apron has shouted vigorously to the customers like "This is a discount" etc.

I was wondering what piece I should buy. Tuna for sashimi? I have bought it in my last visit. I, as an amateur chef, could not cook any whole fish by myself. I have bought a bag of clams. 

It has turned out to be too much for us. I have given half of this clams in the bag to a friend of mine when came home. It was always good to see the scenary at the harbour. Have I written my hidden hope which won't come true? I have yearned living somewhere along the coast. Isn't it too nice to take walk on the beach everyday? 

On the way back home, driving on a high way, I had to put up with the terrible road noise on that car. Without it, I am quite happy with it. It may stay a good "foot" for my for the coming several years. 

I have cooked clam soup for the dinner today. My wife has enjoyed it very much.


I met a guy who brought me back to good old '60s

A few days ago, I have met Don NI6A. It was an hour before our sunset. He told me we had had a QSO last fall, which was not hit by my PC log. Anyway, it was always good to see such a proficient CW operator as him.

Judging from his bio in QRZ. com, he seemed to be, at least, in late 70s of his age. He was originally from Chicago, where he had started radio as KN9OZM, later K9OZM, in fifties. In 60s, he has moved to the western side of the Bay Area. It looked like near to Oakland, where one of my elmers, Ed WA6UNF, later K6NB, used to live. To my inquiry if he knew of ED, he answered no. But he also told me he had heard of Ed from his friend, Jim, K6APW, whom Don is keeping a regular sked on 40m. Jim spoke well of Ed to him. Even with respect.

You know that has made me almost excited.  There was a guy who remembered of the good old days when we were enjoying a great round table across the Pacific Ocean on 40m in our sunset. The main gang were Ed and Trevor VK2NS. Unfortunately, both of them have gone SK. So have the other members like K6YN, K6PA etc. I have written about this group in the past. The only exception still alive, I thought, had been Kemp K7UQH, who are not active on the radio any longer.

There is still a person who might share good old memories of those days. That idea really pleased me. Don told me he would tell to Jim about me and my involvement with the group around Ed in sixties. I might have seen Jim those days.

It was when I became a freshman of a college in Tokyo. The school was always over around 2 PM in the beginning of the semester. I always rushed back home on train as soon as the class was over. I started listening the band with my home brew radio. The band had been so quiet as it was on the day of the QSO with Don. So exciting and pleasant to watch and to catch someone I could talk to with this tiny set up. It was one of such moments when I listened to QSOs of Ed and the gang in QRQ. I could not help resisting giving a break to him. He was kind enough to me, a beginner teenager in Japan. I was caught by a bug of CW ragchewing at that time. All thanks to Ed.

I am looking forward to hearing what Jim tell about that time in the next QSO. 


The new era is starting but...

A couple of days ago, the new emperor era name has been published by the government. Our prince would take over the seat of emperor on May 1 this year when the present emperor retires. A law stipulates the era name should be changed at such an occasion.

I am not much concerned about such a thing myself. The concept of era name proper to each emperor comes from the idea that an emperor should rule even our time with it. Strictly speaking, it is against the idea of democracy that tells us we, the people, are the ruler in the society. I won't deny what the era name means in our culture based on the history. Anyway, I am not a fanatic believer in the emperor system wherever it might be.

The new era name is Reiwa, which means "order or command" for Rei and "peace" for Wa. Our PM has announced about its meaning originated from the old 8th century anothology of poetry in our country named "Manyohshyu". He says, under this new era name, we should be united in this beautiful country blessed with four seasons. From his standpoint of ultra right wing, he wanted to choose it from such old Japanese literature away from the tradition that the era names have been chosen from the old Chinese literature in the past. At least, such a politician with much corruption and extremism in ultra right position should never tell us to be united in this beautiful country.

Some scholars in those old literatures, however, advocate that this Reiwa has been originated from an old Chinese literature in Later Han Dynasty. The poem in Manyohshyu is an homage for this old poem as they say. The relevant poem in the Chinese literature has made by a poet who had been tired of the reign by an emepror named An in the dynasty. The emperor An was not an excllent leader who had brought the dynasty into decline. Actually, the dynasty has been ended as soon as the emperor died. "An" is a part of the name of our PM.

Thus, this new era name could be metaphored by the inventor. I don't know if it was intended or not. If it was plotted by its author, it is intellectually of much interest and strongly against our PM who has tried to utilize this chance of naming  the era as a political show. 

Unfortunately, our mass media won't question about the era naming or the intention of the government with regard to this event. Most of the people are getting excited at ths event without any doubt.


Pumpkin rolled up with pork

Sliced pumpkin rolled with pork, seasoned with sauce for noodle, soy sauce based, sake and small amount of sugar. Sliced pumpkin is microwaved until it gets softened. Then, they are rolled up with sliced pork. Pepper and salt is powdered. Then, fried on each side. Finally, the sauce is added. Simple and pretty good.


Seeing an old friend of mine W1ITU

The conditions are picking up now. Twenty meters is open to the East Coast early in the morning here.

Yesterday, as well as today, a guy was eagerly calling me with not very loud signal. It was John W1ITU in Cape Cod Mass. He used to be K5PKA in LA and later WG3U in MD, I believe. I have mentioned of him in the previous post here. We used to talk on 20meters CW when I was commuting to the med school hospital. Of course, from my mobile set up. It was exciting to talk to someone in the southern US like him from that simple set up, FT757GX with a Hustler mobile whip. As alrady told, the car was not automatic but manually shifted with the gear. It was like a circus to operate CW on that car. But it was still a fun.

Years later, I guess 3 years ago, we have run across again. He has retired and have been settled down in Cape Cod. His signal was again not very loud. Thrilling to hear him with a barefoot and a dipole. A power equivalent with a lamp and a piece of wire in the air.

We have known through facebook also. It is not the real excitement to talk on CW like before since we could communicate on that SNS. But still a fun. He seems to have enjoyed a couple of big trips recently, one to New Zaeland and the other to the arctic area in cruise. Soon he leaves for Virginia where a couple of his grandchildren are waiting for him and his wife.

It is always good to keep in touch with such old friends as him.

Maybe, already posted this one before. John with two kids in his WG3U days.



Magnolia coming out

It was when I looked up the sky while pulling the weeds that I found this white magnolia was almost fully out. I thought it would bloom later in the beginning of April. I don't know if the warm spring hastened it to come out earlier or my memory was rusty. It was a pleasant surprise anyway.

As repeatedly told, mother used to love this gorgeous and elegant flower very much. She used to come to tell me magnolia is fully blooming. 

I have no one to tell that. In my mind, I would let my mother know on this tiny but still evident change of season's transition in our garden. Cherry blossoms may follow soon.


Playing music with a good friend of mine

A week ago, I had a pleasant ensemble practise with the violinist lady whom I had had many opportunities of ensemble with for the past 2 decades. I have mentioned of her in this blog in the past. She was only a music university student when I asked her to play some piano trio together with one of my old friends since med school days. She was a beautiful and a bit shy girl. It still remains a question to be answered why she said OK to my proposal for an ensemble at that time. With such unskillful and middle aged guy. Anyway, I have had a lot of fun with ensembles with her for such a long time. During this period of time, she has graduated the music university and has found a chance to go to Germany for further study in music. Coming back home some 10 years ago, She kindly played a variety of ensembles together with me again. It was a high light for my music life that we had practised the Nr2 piano trio in C Dur by BrahmS. It took us a year to complete all 4 movements. She has got married after that and was blessed with a couple of daughters in 2 year span. This photo was taken at a concert where we played a part of that trio. Almost ten years ago. The right person is the violinist.

It was the 1st time for me to see both daughters. Lovely ones. While we practised the ensemble, her husband had taken care of the elder one while her mother, coming from a city nearby, caring for the new baby. I was thankful to both of them a lot. We have played a couple of Canons from the Art of the Fugue by Bach. The famous piece, which is thought to be Bach's very last cmposition, unrolls a variety of techniques of Fugue. Each fugue sounds one of the best musics ever composed in the history. I have enjoyed this fugue arranged for a violin and a cello. It was thrilling to go through those canons. I could not help feeling that this genre of composition, fugue, is not only a music category but also an expression more profound and more basic to our lives than any other categories. I have enjoyed it very much. The other piece we practised was the Nr1 piano trio in D moll by Mendlessohn. Only 1st movement. My niece wanted to play it with us at a concert in September. I have already played it with this violinist at a few concerts in the past. It was to remember of the music with her. Not much stress or problems to go through it as if we talked on the good old days with her. 

We have had a pleasant lunch together with her husband and mother after the session. We have talked on family members, gardening, farming and raising kids etc. What a wonderful time she has prepared for me. I could not be more thankful to her.

When I put the cello in the hard case, I have the tripod for recording machine fallen on the back board of the cello. I got paled. It looked like hollowing out a hole! It turned out to be just compression on the board and nothing was core out then later by an instrument technician. That story follows in the next post.

Anyway, playing music with such a good friend like her is an origin of pleasure in life, I was convinced again.


Ume with red blosoms is fully out in the garden

Following the white species ones, this ume with red blossoms is full of flowers right now. This order won't be changed at all. It must be programmed when they are blooming. In a couple of weeks, cherry blossoms in the jr. high across the street will be starting blooming. Magnolia in our garden may ensue them. That is how spring is flourishing here.

It is how my parents might have appreciated the arrival of spring spending the last years of their lives. It is too short that we could enjoy it as the last movement of Das Lied von der Erde by Mahler sings. Too ephemeral to miss. I always wonder with what feeling they have seen these changes in this season. Has their belief in Christianity has relieved them?

Whatever I may get lost in this time of life, it still goes on as it is. Just accept it as it is. 

Anyway, it is the time lives are getting resurrected and vivid again. 


The 8th annniversary of the big earthquake and the nuclear power plant accident

It is the 8th anniversary of the big earthquake in Tohoku area and the subsequent nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima.

There are still more than 50K people evacuated from their home, of which 80% is from the nuclear power plant accident area. The disaster related deaths are not increasing in the other areas than Fukushima, where some people are steadily dying to the causes related with this disaster. The disaster related deaths are over 2000 in Fukushima. Quite some portion of those sufferers of the disaster in Fukushima won't be able to return to home during their lives. Literally, they are socially killed by this accident.

The nuclear power plant is far from the ultimate recovery from the accident. They could not reach and handle the melted down nuclear debris yet. There are much polluted water permeated into the ocean while the amount of the disseminated radioactive substances has been doubled last year compared with that 2 years ago. The accident could never be under control on the contrary to the words our PM spoke to attract the Olympic games to Tokyo. It may take decades to accomplish it.

It was estimated about 20 trillion Yen, that is, apx. 180 billion USD to recover from the nuclear power plant accident in the beginning. The most recent prediction rises up to 4 times of that. It will be a burden to the next generation, who would have much less reserve production capacity due to the decreased/aging population.

Buildings, seawalls and roads were reconstructed to certain degree. But there are people who have been left from the rescue and help by the government. The government should have not decided to hold the Olympic games next year and should have spent its budget fot those people who still need help. The budget for the Olympic games is mostly spent for the contractors, the advertizing agencies or the broadcasting companies. The policiticians are grabbing some bribery from them.

It is the day for us to recall all those people in our country. We should keep remembering of them and doing anything helpful to them. 


Withdrawal of hemodialysis

A recent news says that 20 patients with renal insufficiency who had required hemodialysis have refused to undergo that treatment at a public hospital in Tokyo for the past 5 years. It is of dispute whether the medical staff has given the right information as for the result of their decisions or not. And a patient who had decided not to take hemodialysis afterward wanted, as the news said, to restart the treatment. It did not come true and she has died in a day. Only little information has come out of the medical staff/hospital regarding this problem. The hospital affirmed that they had objectively explained the outcome of her decision. There seems to be an investigation being made as for this case.

Basically, I won't approve that any decision of the patient should be forced by medical staff or even law makers. I firmly believe that medical doctors should work as much as possible in order to save their patients' lives. It is a principle which should not be affected by anybody.

It is a reality, however, that the number of the patients with renal insufficiency is increasing as the aging is progressing in the society. It is nearly 360K at present. On the other hand, the hemodialysis apparatus is only 1/3 of the patients in number. It takes 4.5K US bucks per a patient per a year even despite of the modern progress of hemodialysis technology. With the increasing number of the patients, the medical staff might have much difficulty to do with them. The social security system, finance wise as well as man power wise, is challenged with the burden of more hemodialysis cases. 

The mass media is in a tone criticizing the medical staff/hospital for the case above mentioned. It should be clarified by any third party investigators if there has been any problem regarding the process of decision making by the patients. Meaningless emotional criticism against the medical system could destroy it easily since it is carrying on its work without much reserve capacity.