Wine stew of beef with tomato and other vegetables

I thought I hadn't cooked beef for a while. Purchasing a bloc of beef, I stewed it in wine with vegetables. The secret seasoning was miso. Not bad.

Though it doesn't seem to contain much beef, total of 500g beef was cooked.

I am trying to cook main dish once 2 days. The problem is that we eat too little and there could be redundant things left while new one is added. 

I found a dish named Oden, that is, soy soup stew of vegetables, boiled eggs and meat balls etc, was left in another pot. We should consume them at the same time. Avoiding obesity, let's enjoy them. 


Another sentimental journey to Tokyo

I have been down to Tokyo in order to attend a small ensemble rehearsal. It was a place near to a university, where we used to have rehearsal of the university orchestra regularly held in the week end in my med school days. I was intending to look around the area I spent those days after 40 plus years absence. Another sentimental journey.

At the beginning of the trip. My "Rosinante" and "the sword".

It was forecasted we might have snowfall at sometime in a day. Looking warm sunray, however, I was sure the roads won't be frozen even at night on the way back home. I wanted to avoid being in the crowds of people in the downtown flu had been in an outbreak when I went there on train. I decided to drive down there.

I have ever been driving through the relevant street there for a few times since I graduated from the school but never went there on foot. Without knowledge of parking lots there, I headed to the area. As I took off the high way in Tokyo, I found a lot of small parking lots everywhere. Some houses whose habitants were gone might be demolished and were replaced to those parking lots. The tax for the property is extraordinarily high in the downtown of Tokyo and is not paid off without income from such as parking lot, I guess. 

Anyway, I have parked at one of them near the place of the ensemble. Bringing that heavy cello in the hard case, I walked along the street where I used to in med school days as a cellist of the university orchestra in order to attend the rehearsal. This is the entrance gate of the university, Ochanomizu Women's University, of the orchestra rehearsal place mentioned above. Our orchestra was allied with the students of this university and had more than 100 members those days. At first, having been a student of a college with exclusively male students before entering the med school, I have never been to a campus of such women's university in the past and was pretty nervous. However, there were a lot of boys walking in the campus. I became used to going there very soon. Anyway, the entrance gate and the entrance street toward the hall named Kiindo lined with gingko trees were how they were 40 plus years ago. I used to walk through it to the student hall on the back of this hall every weekend and even more times. A place of old good memories. After the rehearsal there, I used to walk back to the street with some good friends. Talking of many things from trivial to seriouly invilved in our lives. With heartfelt nostalgia, I wondered how those old friends are doing right now. 

A notice before the gate said anyone who would enter the campus should own a entry permit. I knew I would have been regarded as a geezer guy if I would tell the guardman I used to be a cellist of the orchestra of this university 40 plus years ago and would like to look around the campus. Giving it up, I headed to the subway station on a street of slope upward. Surprisingly, the street was lined with a lot of high buildings, mostly of apartment, which we never had 4 decades ago. I wondered if there would be habitants in 10 or 20 years there. It will be the age of population onus phase with reduced population. At that time, will those buildings be pulled down and would the town look like long time ago? 

Steppind down firmly the sidewalk toward the subway station, I wondered what I was thinking of when walking this way 40 plus years ago. Music, professional studies, friends in the orchestra, a girl friend or anything else. It is evident I have never looked around the scenary or the buildings. Just looking straight ahead. Now, at the last chapter of my life, I could look around and try to find anything which brings me back to those old days. 

At the small ensemble, I have enjoyed playing cello with repertoire like a minor violin concert of JS Bach or Oblivion by Piazzolla and talking with young friends. Time has flied away so fast. On the way back home, I had to drive on the high way with pretty crowded traffic. It was like a jet coaster for me. I could not help feeling my sight was being dteriorated and it would be soon when I could not drive that way any longer. At midnight, I could come home safely, though. 


Listening quiet and empty band...

Some time before our sunset, I always sit before the radio and call CQ on 40m. Sipping a glass of cold lager. I am doing that routine for several times. The band could not be more quiet than on the beach in ebb tide in the afternoon. It is the time when it could have been open world wide. RBN stations from NA and SA uploaded reports for my signal not very bad. But no one calls me at all. In some 15 minutes, I am going to switch off the radio. There could be some very rare hams like Ellen W1YL or Glen NN6T popping up this time in a day. They are really exceptional hams getting on the band at this time in a day. I know it is midnight in the US and most of them are asleep around this time. But, as I repeatedly told, there used to be old timers who could not fall asleep or got up unusually early over there. They often came up and did with me for a while until they feel sleepy again. They are all gone.

For many times, I have mentioned in this blog on the decline of CW operators who enjoyed ordinary QSOs so far as I could hear here. I won't complain of that but would describe it as it is. Some people have tried to relieve me saying there could be some more especially in the US etc or the others even proposed me sked for a QSO. I won't need a sked any more. It is a fact that CW operators are drastically being reduced in number. I would say only that fact as I do here. We may be living the era when CW is slowly but steadily fading out from the communication world and is becoming only a historical being at present. I won't complain of that at all but just would accept it as it is. I have spent a brilliant age of CW communication in '60s or '80s when there were a lot of CW operators with proficiency and capability in operation. Even if they were chasing DX or battiling in contests, they were invariably great ragchwers. I can count such operators as vivid memories. However, most of them have gone away, either silent keyed or got inactive. It is how time has passed. No use complaining of that.

I have also repeated discussing on the cause of this decline of CW activities. Someone says there are less elmers on the bands. I agree those skillful operators, mostly ex R/O, used to be elmers for beginners of CW operators. I also would like to be like some of such excellent operators. Those elmers were kind enough to do with such beginners as me in '60s. As I told above, they have deceased or have quit radio by now. 

No code license or prevalence of the internet may explain this as well. The latter has an unexpected impact on communication. No one could expect in the age CW was the main way of communication in the world that the internet could change the world as it is. No concept of real DX at present. We may talk to anyone anywhere in the world through the internet or the satellite phone. CW seems to be destined to be a tool of game such as contesting. It's not bad. But it is not what CW used to be.

What I would say is that if there is something that accelerated the decline of CW, it is that few people have been aware of what attracted us in this mode of communication. It was taken for granted that CW attracted us. But nowadays, the internet could take it over with very simple and less costly set up. We could get connected with anyone in the world freely through the internet. CW communication requires them to train it for a long period. Young people may ask us how come we should make efforts to communicate others in the world in this mode. Tiring and laborious for them. I wonder if we could explain what pleasure we could have when accomplished the training of this mode. Prior to that, have we been conscious of what pleasure we have had on this mode? I have questioned about this problem for some times in this blog or even in the FOC reflector. But there were very few interested in it. I understand that they have had no clue or no method to investigate on this issue. 

It might be too late. All I could do is to enjoy this very last moment of CW communication with much enthusiasm. I could not be more thankful to this mode than ever for I could live this age when CW is diminishing from our sight.

The glass of beer is almost finished. I would listen the band for a while and then go to kitchen to prepare evening meal.


Chestnut rice and flu

Our dinner today. Chestnut rice made of rice and chestnut fruits. The latter is the frozen ones harvested last fall. I was worrying it could be hardened after being frozen and thawed. That worry was not needless. It tasted as good as freshly harvested ones.

Our meal was perfect with this main dish ane stew of pork and vegetables. 

It is getting quite cold tonight. I was wondering if I had caught flu. They say flu is outbreaking right now. Warmed myself, I am now feeling better. Flu is not likely. The strain now in prevalence is AH1pmd09 which used to be pandemic in 2009. It has kept me quite busy at the office. Ten years have passed since then. We, clinical doctors, have been kept busy with vaccination program for people. That program was controlled by the MHLW, the central administration ministry, which was really BUREAUCRATIC and made a great mess at the outpatient level. Anyway, I am free from such a mess to my happiness! 

A new antiviral med is available this season. It is unique with its mechanism of action. Unlike the other antiviral agent like Oseltamivir, this new one blocks replication of the virus within the infected cell. Seemingly pretty potent one. But it could give rise to the resistent strain with a mutation of one amino acid residue. If we are healthy immunopotent adult, we should avoid using that med to preserve it for high risk patients.

Anyway, taking good sleep is very important to prevent flu infection. Not having a glass of whiskey on the rock as usual, I would go to bed earlier tonight.  


A public cemetery

On the way to my old office, there is a small public cemetery along the road among paddies. I was attracted its quietness and took a photo over 10 years ago. Here it is;

The fallen leaves were neatly raked away. It seemed weeds had been pulled during the summer. Some tomb stones were leaned a little bit but still were well cared for possibly the folks related with those ancestors in the tombs.

A couple of days ago, I parked beside the cemetery and looked it around. 

A shot for the cemetry from far away;

It looked as if time had stopped around it. 

However, there were a lot of weeds, although already dead, overcrowded on the ground. All tomb stones, thickly covered with moss, have had their epitaph almost unreadable. In a couple of epitaphs, I could read that they were built in Taisho era, almost 100 years ago. Some tomb stones were destroyed or decayed. Some of the others were fallen down on the ground. 

The tomb stones were generally simple and are supposed to be built by the ordinary people around here. They must have been cared for by their descendants  until recently. For the past 10 years, to my surprise, they seemed to have been abandoned and have been left deteriorated and destroyed without care. 

There must be a background of this phenomenon in the society undergoing the change of reduction of population and of the aging process. Unlike the old tomb repeatedly posted in this blog which have been preserved for centuries, these tombs were not the objective of religious worship, even though folks must have had respect to those buried in these tombs one or two generations prior to themselves. That may be a reason why they have been abandoned. But why in such a short time span? I could not help suspecting the change in the society and in our consciousness are more drastic than we believe. 

This change in funeral might be reviewed as told above. But it also means funeral or tomb construction is only for the folks left on the earth. If there is soul in ourselves eternally alive, it won't be confined in such a tiny space of tomb. At least, I would say no thanks for that. More importantly, we should keep their memories in our mind and recall them from time to time. 

Walking around this cemetery, I was thinking of such a thing. The road I commuted to the office was still so straight as before.


Not to have ghosts of the prewar regime revive

This photo showing the leaders of Constitutional Democratic Party worhipping at the Ise Shrine was a real shock to me. It is not a private worship but united religious behavior of a public political party. It could not help giving some political meaning itself.

The CDP is thought to take a leading role in combining the opposition parties against Abe LDPJ. The latter dominating the administration at present is aiming at revival of the nationalism in the prewar era. The prewar nationalism was based on the State Shinto, having worshipped the Emperor and his family as well as the Ise Shrine, lead to the devastating defeat in our country and the terrible damages to the countries in Asia and the US. Worshipping Ise Shrine means to approve that State Shinto. 

The Association of Shinto Shrines has published its Charter in 1980. It advocates worshipping Ise Shrine, a shirine worshipping the ancestors of the Emperor according to the old mythology in addition to the Emperor as the State Shinto did before war. It also has an object to establish Shinto as the state religion as in the prewar period. GHQ was thought to have dismantled the State Shinto after the WWII. But it was not perfectly done and has preserved the system of Imperial Rituals. It could be only imagined but GHQ might have thought they would utilize the religious system in our country in order to govern the people.

The problem between politics and religion is much more subtle and deeply involved in our culture/society. However, the rule of separation between religion and state politics has been established after harsh experiences in the history in the modern nations. Our politicians, especially those against the ultra right regime aiming power, should learn it again. 

Not to have ghosts of the prewar regime revive. 


Happy New Year

Even though worries and anxieties for the future won't leave me, I still would say HNY to every one.

Buds of magnolia and of ume are coming on the branches  of each tree in the garden. They are not out owing to our worries or plans. It is just what nature brings out.

The future might be ready for us over our worries. I won't worry too much but just struggle for the better future.

Again, I wish you all very healthy and happy new year.