A respectable doctor has been killed in Afghanistan

A very sad news has popped out on the display this afternoon. I could hardly believe of that at once. A Japanese doctor Tetsu Nakamura has been shot to death in Afghanistan. The news is here.

He has started working as a physician in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 1984. In an interview, he told he had realized clean water and irrigation system were necessary for the people to live by themselves. It was "an extention" of emergency medicine to help people to develop irrigation system there. In addition to hard work as a physician for the people, he began constructing canal in the desert by himself and helpers and converted it to green field and farms.

His endeavour was based on the reality of what the people needed. He has always been very careful of what was needed by them. The canal′s banks were made of willow trees but not of concrete. It was intended to let the people maintain it by themselves after its construction. It seemed to me that he had not brought nor forced his own idea to them but had done what the reality required him.

In 2014, when our government was inteding to introduce the right of collective self defense in our country which was clearly against the constitution, he announced it would jeopardize those working in NGO for the developing countires with the risk of military conflict/attack. The Pacifism in our constitution has made the people, whatever faction they belonged to, belive Japanese NGO members won't do anything harmful to them.

It is not known yet who has killed him and the other 5 people on the same vehicle today. I won't believe the decision by our government to deploy some vessels of Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces to the Middle East has triggered this tragedy. Military intervention into the Middle East by our JSDF, however, may badly influence on the situation NGO personel is in the Middle East and adjascent areas.

As I have respected him as not only a doctor but also a human being, this news could not be more sad to me. It is a real absurdity that such an excellent person should die in this way. I really hope his idealism based on the real world would be taken over by some young people. May they be successful to further convert the desert to fertile soil. Doctor Nakamura used to tell that the people in Afghanistan invariably told him if they had water, food and environment they could live peacefully with their family, the war would have gone away. I really hope it will come true. Military intervention won't solve the problems.


Mt. Tsukuba

Staying at home throughout the daytime yesterday, I wanted to take a walk on the way for shopping. It was a bit far away south of my home but I have driven to an western skirt of Mt. Tsukuba. Not for sight seeing but for a walk! 

It took me some 30 minutes to drive there. It was past 3PM and was getting cold. 

There was a cycling road along the western margin of this mountain, the only mountain in the north-eastern part of Kanto plain. I knew this road was converted from a raiway running north south around the mountain and abadoned in 1987. A row of cherry trees were planted on the both sides. Either due to being too late for a walk at that time or not, there was very few walking there. You may see everything was red tinged with sun set color. Yes, it was already less than a month before the winter solstice came.

This Mt. Tsukuba is only 877m above sea level. Even though it is not high at all, it is surrounded with plain area, which makes it is conspicuously visible from everywhere all around. This outlook has attracted ancient people's religious interests and has been worshipped itself by them. There is an old shrine halfway up there. I have already posted some photos taken in a drive on the ridge. There is a nice drive way there. I used to take family every January to a large park covered with lawn on the mountain and snapped some shots. It was the days when children were small.

The mountain is located in the most southern part of Yamizo mountains running from the border to Fukushima north of here. As depicted elsewhere, ridges of low mountains are seen north and south in northern part of Tochigi/Ibaraki. The mountain was again colored with the setting sun ray. Deep orange or red. The forests and trees were also in fall color themselves. 

Another shot from far away. Getting dark and chilly.

There were a lot of old houses, mostly of farmers, I believe. This was a house with long entrance way with a big gate. 

Walking around on a hilly place, my legs were screaming. I felt I needed more walking. Sun has almost sunk in the horizon at 4:30PM. Terribly chilly. only 5 or 6 degrees C. Hurried to a supermarket nearby there and got some nice items for dinner.  


Leaves and flowers in fall

Some fall leaves and flowers at our home.

A stwartia tree. When the bathroom was rebuilt, the constructor planted it at the northern aspect of the house. I found the leaves were in various colors in delicate gradation. 

A close up view. I won't be bored looking at them.  

A sasanqua tree with full blossoms.

One of the flowers in close up. For what are they blooming in this way? Bees are not active any longer. Beautiful and gorgeous.

A hibiscus syriacus, that is, rose of Sharon. An elegant name since the Old Testament days. This is the national flower of Korea. Around 20 years of age, I have learned that from a person from Korea at a bible class I was attending to. He also told me of the cruel history of the March the 1st movement for independence from Japanese Imperialism before WWII. We Japanese owe much to Korean people. The colonization of Korea by our ancestors has brought the Korean people the tragedy of separation into south and north at present. Too bad our politicians are not aware of that. I could not forget that. This tree yields sick and elegant flowers in spring. This fall leaves are also very attractive. My father used to love this tree and has planted a few at my clinic by himself.  

A magnolia tree with colored leaves. While they are ready to fall on the ground, the new buds of flowers are alrady growing on the branches. Leaves die, flowers come out. A miraculous fact which repeats every year. Even though that repetition is not eternal. As I told before, my mother used to love the flowers coming out in spring.


Miso pork soup

It is getting colder here. Something hot is welcomed as a menu for dinner. This is a variation of miso soup. The point is using much pork as the material. Miso is given two divided dose in the meantime and at the end of cooking. Hand made miso given from a friend of my wife's was used. Flavor and taste of fresh miso was really good. The pork might work as the soup stock which makes it taste rich. Any vegetables will be OK as the material. Radish and other root vegetables are necessary.

This rich tasted soup may suffice to warm you in a cold evening.


Fall in full swing

Fall is in full swing here. It may get frosty in the morning very soon.

I have not harvested persimmon so often this year. Just for material of salad. Recalling how sweet the dried astringent persimmons were last year, I decided to make them again. Some of them will be sent to parents in law living in a facility away from their home if these get successfully ripe.

Magnolia and Zelkova trees have turned colorful. Their leaves have started falling on the ground. It is to prepare for the new leaves/flowers next spring. But the brilliantly colorful leaves are doing to die for the ressurection. It always amazes me. We are like each leaf of those trees. How couldn't we falling on the ground for the next generation like these trees?

Enkianthus perulatus at the entrance facing to the street has also become totally reddened.
One of the trees has died this year. They are older than 30 years for now. May they live a bit longer and please us and people passing by with its beautiful fall leaves as well as tiny lovely flowers in spring. 

Flu is in epidemic everywhere. Please keep away from crowds of people which you could be easily infected with it. 

Quiet fall evening here.


Remebrance of a colleague pediatrician

In this season, I remember of a colleague pediatrician who has died at young age around this time in a year 11 years ago.

I have worked with her at the same department of pediatrics of a medical college nearby. As soon as she and her husband graduated from another university far from here, they applied for residency at that medical school.

She was a brilliant girl always with a smile on her face. When we were on charge of a case with severe Guillan Barre syndrome, the patient developed arrhythmia, a rare complication of that disease. In the cardiac catheterization for that patient, she has correctly pointed out a bit of akinetic area in the patient's heart without any knowledge of reading the contrast radiography of the heart. I was impressed at her sharp sensitivity to those things. She was always eager for the patients and has accumulated much knowledge and experience in medicine. She was a kind and generous person as well and was loved by everyone around her. If she had wanted it, she could have been a staff of the medical school.

In a few years, I quit that department and started career at a local hospital. Eventually, I had own practice where I had worked almost 20 years until retirement. In that period, we have just exchanged season's greeting cards in the new near's days. In them, she always wrote to me to play some chamber music together. Yes, she was a proficient pianist and had loved classical music.

About 13 years ago, we finally had a chance to play a portion of the Mozart's 1st piano quartet together with a violinist and a violist. The violinist was the person whom I had asked to play various pieces since her music university days while the violist was a patient for me who was studying that instrument at a school. There was the violinist's sister, another violinist, at the rehersal hall.

From left to right; the pianist, the violist, me, the sister of the violinist;another fine violine player, the violionist, after the rehearsal

After over almost 20 years of absence, she still looked lovely with the same shy smile even though a bit tired in the outlook if I could recall that meeting at present. We have talked something trivial and had a great fun time playing that piece together. In an hour or two, promising another ensemble in the near future, we have parted there. It seems she has suffered from some kind of cancer by that time. In several months, I have heard she closed her own clinic. I did not know such an ominous thing had occurred to her until I heard of her passing in December of 2008. I was really shocked to hear that. Too young to die. She was only 49 years of age at death.

My diary says I have listened to the last piece of the Last Four Songs by Richard Strauss at the night of the day before receiving that sad news from two sources at the same time. She might have struggled with her illness to live longer. But, I believe, she has reconciled with her fortune and has accepted it as this song expresses. In serenity and peace, hopefully.

I have missed the chance to attend the service for her. It was too late for me to do that. I hear their children have gone for med school after their parents. I am sure she wanted to see them to become doctors. She might have other things which she would like to do or some goals which she wanted to accomplish in her life. Everything has been abandoned by her illness. I only wish her rest in peace. I will follow her in some time anyway. Much gratitude to her being a colleague and a chamber music co-player even though it was only for a short period.           


To the visitors

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