My wife's birthday

 It was my wife's 69th birthday yesterday.

It has been half a century !! since I met her first. It was at the orientation of the medical school. At the introduction event at night in a room, I have seen her first. She was a shy looking girl with curly hair and fair skin. A typical country girl. She was a student so shy to walk at the side of corridor in order not to stand out in the class. It was not until the last grade before graduation that I knew her in person. I don't know how but we have become married and have grown family here.

This photo is most beloved one for me which shows her in young days. I have posted it a few times in this blog in the past. Taken at the honey moon. A very short trip to Izu near Tokyo. We have not had much time as well as much money for a gorgeous trip. One of the days when she has looked most bright and beautiful.  

Each of us has not been perfect. But she has worked hard as a wife, a mother and a psychiatrist. I owe her much. Recently, I continually think of a couple of things regarding her.

First, I should be asked if I could tell her parents that I have made her happy in her life when I could see them in the heaven. The parents in law both are suffering from dementia now and it might be difficult for us to see and converse with them like before for now. I feel responsible for this toward them.

The other thing is that we might not be able to share such an event as this one for many more years any longer. I might be too pessimistic for the future. But eschatological way of life is essential for us at our age. Treasure everyday as it won't be repeated any more.       

I have prepared a present of a cloth for winter and this cake. 

I don't know what she feels about my attitude. At least, she looked happy to have them yesterday.


Chestnut rice

 And chestnut rice is ready for dinner.

Seasoned with sake, salt, soy sauce and a piece of dried kelp, it tastes great.

I just wished my parents had been at the table with us. How much they would enjoy this dish. Imagining of that, I was almost crying. 

In Japan, there is fairly distinct change of the four seasons. At the beginning of fall, we often have this rice. 

Time is flowing as usual. 


Chestnut fruits season

It is the season of chestnut fruits falling on the ground. This big chestnut tree bears a lot of the fruits. I noticed they had started falling a few days ago. I was not sure whether I should collect them or not. 

Looking at those fruits on the ground beneath the tree, I decided to collect them again. They would be decayed or would give rise to the young trees of chestnut and eventually would be relentlessly cut. Since they have had the rare chance to be in the world, I should use them for dishes or have them eaten by people. 

A bowl of the fruits. Maybe, bowlful fruits may follow for the coming few days. It is another issue how I should consume them. To send some to my brother who might enjoy the product of this place, where he was born. At least, I was starting to cook chestnut rice seasoned with soy sauce, salt and sweetened sake. A hard work is waiting for me. That is to peel the hard shell.

As written before, these fruit trees have been planted by my father, who used to experience the hardest days of starving in WWII and believed these trees would be of help to him and the family in any starvation or any crisis in the future. So far, they are not of use yet. But who knows? The food sufficiency rate of our country remains only 37% in caloric basis. It is quite a mystery why the politics won't take it serious for the self defense of the country, even despite of their enthusiasm for military arming. A candidate of the LPDJ president insists even of the military first strike against the other country's military bases. What a policy out of focus! Anyway, at this age, I could understand what my father used to think of planting them in the garden.

Our cat, Hikaru, quite friendly to me and anyone and always chasing me working in the garden, climbs on a tree and wonders if I am working hard from there.



Brahms Intermezzo OP117

 As most of my friends know, I have started playing cello at the university orchestra. In 2 or 3 years after starting it, I managed to be on the stage as a cellist. At that time, we have had regular practice at a women's university every week end. Our orchestra was composed of the students of both of the universities.  

Finishing such a practice at the student hall, we have set out for home in some small groups. I have known a group of younger members who had the same taste for classical music. Often we got back home together. 

In this season or a bit later when fall was deepened, I walked aside of the main hall of the university, an old building with brick exterior built in the prewar era. Street lights were lighting at certain interval of the campus street leading to the exit. Otherwise darkness has governed the area. Quiet and cool.

One of such company, who was quite a good violinist and would play in the orchestra as a concertmaster for the next few years, has come close to me. He whispered to me as if asking for my approval that the Intermezzo by Brahms was excellent. At that time, Brahms or Franck was of concern for both of us and the company. I still remember of him saying that in husky and low voice as if it were yesterday.

Early fall, from that episode, I could not help remembering of the Intermezzo. In the last years of life, Brahms has composed piano pieces except for a couple of the clarinet chamber music. By that time, he has started organizing his works in his whole life as if his last will. In the Intermezzo, we could hear him composing with his beloved instrument piano all in solitude. This opus 117 sounds like a music of solitude. He still held passion for life and music but his basic emotion was that of solitude. 

I believe that violinist friend is already reaching the age of retirement for now. Wondering if he still listens to this Intermezzo expressing solitude and resignation for life.

This performance of the piece by Pires is touching. She makes it sound as if Brahms himself told me he would let me know of his thought and feelings in the end of his life.  How much I would like to go back those days when I talked about such music with friends...almost 50 years ago! 



5R8AL Alain

 Tonight, we had a thunderstorm or rather a rainfall with a bit of thunder, which has left much static noise on 40m. I found old friends of mine, Don WB6BEE and Jack WA7HJV, on 40m like old days. That noise and some QRM made it a bit tough for me to read. How long has it been since such I often listened to such a QSO? Very rare for now. I could not be patient enough to stay there until they finish their chat. 

I have moved to 20m, much less noisy but scant activities. A few Europeans came through without making S meter move. There was a station working in an old style. Not rushing and talking something different from the so called rubber stamp. He signed as something 8AL. I was a bit disappointed not to be able to copy his whole call. Staying on the same frequency for a while, luckily, I have heard him calling CQ there.

It was 5R8AL Alain. Surprised and of course turned the beam to him. I asked him if he was the same 5R8AL which I used to hear or even worked in '80s. He answered affirmative and told me he had been on with this call since 1975. Yes, it was him. In '80s, 5R was a pretty rare entity. I can't remember if he was my first 5R. But I still remembered of his call very well.

He started radio as F6ACT at age 13 years, as he told me. Then, as stated above, he has moved to 5R and got this present call. He also told me there had been more active stations in his area but nowadays rarely on CW. I have visited his page at G3SWH, his QSL manager, web site. A neatly arranged gears on photos. At a corner, there were a lot of old boat anchors. He said he had been enjoying restoring those old radios. Now he is 77 years old. But his fist won't tell that at all. It was not a long ragchew in fact. But in the end, the condition was dropping. Saying au revoir, we promised seeing again on this old mode. I sure wished him good health and good activity on this mode.

There is always a pipe line path to southern Africa from here what band it might be. The path is over the Indian Ocean and the propagation is always secured. Back even in '60s, I often heard a lot of ZS working the West Coast through long path. It was a spectacle for me to listen to a number of big guns in W6 or W7 working Africa through long path. As told elsewhere in the past post, I used to break in W6ULS Merle, later K6DC, working with ZS2MI in Marion Island on 40m at our midnight. Merle was kind enough to let me work that pretty rare DX for me running homebrew 6146 transmitter with a wire antenna. What an excitement it was! ZS5KI, ZS6QU or ZS1AAX were other regulars. There might be others logged in the old log book. In '80s, when I came back on the radio after a decade absence, I was again thrilled to work a few Africans like ZS6BCR, later ZS6EZ, same ZS6QU, 9J2BO or ZE1FN, later Z21FN etc. Sadly, most of them went SK or inactive any more. The only exception is Brian 9J2BO who often shows up on 20m. But not so often as before.   

Surely this QSO with Alain has brought me back to those days. I am afraid those good days have gone and won't return to us any longer. Alain and myself are the remnants from the good old days. 

No JA has called him after we finished the QSO. 5R is not a rare one for them? Or they are watching only the display? 


Water melon

It has been a challenge for me to grow water melon successfully. It could be forgotten in the bush of vine of water melon and weeds among them. Crows around here would enjoy it before I realize it is ripened. It is another issue for me to judge of the maturity of water melon. It is advised to record the time of pollination but is easily forgotten as well. 

This year, this one is harvested without crow's attack. Our cat, Hikaru, is always wandering around the garden. He might be helpful to have this fruit spared that trouble.  

A bit overmatured but better than unmatured. Sweet and fresh. It is the best dessert after supper in this season. 

I must rush seeding or planting fall/winter vegetables. Feeling summer going away, I am again sure of repeating things not in the same way but in different way from the past. My life will satisfy myself and get me ready for transition to the eternal world soon. Not knowing when it is. But I should be ready for that.  



New potatoes

I have purchased potatoes named Nishiyutaka. It has shorter period of irresponsive state, that is, could bud out in shorter time than most of the other potatoes. It takes only 2 or 3 months to bud and could be harvested within the year if planted early in fall. It is developed in Kyushyu in '70s for a species in the warmer area like kyushyu than the ordinary species mostly grown in cooler areas. 

Some of them have already budded when arrived here today. Moderate in size. In spring, bigger ones of different species are always divided into two pieces per one fruit before being planted. For the fall species, they advise us not to do so. Because they could be decayed with the high temperature.

Well, where should I plant them in the garden farm? I would put compost but not chemical fertilizer. I believe potatoes could grow well in rather poorly nutrient ground. There are still some of potatoes cropped in spring. I would harvest potatoes, of different species, in spring and fall. This one in fall. I would keep some of them for seed potato every year. Then potatoes will be harvested twice a year.

As I already wrote, I am seriously worrying about the hyperinflation occurring in our country sooner or later. After he left the position, the former prime minister boasted at a lecture that he had conducted "fiscal finance", which is strictly prohibited by the fiscal law. As already well known, the government's fiscal debt exceeded one thousand trillion JPY, an astronomical figure. Bank of Japan has been purchasing tens of trillions of the national bond every year. It is substantially the fiscal finance. The total amount of national bond reached almost 300% of GDP. BOJ owns more than 400 trillion JPY of the national bond. I firmly believe our government could not go on without hyperinflation. If the long term interest rate goes up a bit, BOJ could be "bankrupted". It may trigger hyperinflation, either. I don't believe the basic performances of the industries, like automobile or semiconductor etc which used to economically lead our country in '70s through '90s, are not governing their market in the world. Toyota may still be occupying a exceptionally high rank but is getting delayed in the EV development.  

In such a situation, with the sharp drop of exchange rate of JPY and the extraordinary rise of living cost, the people should suffer from undermined social security and undergo hardship for a few years. Considering of the onus of declining birthrate and aging of population, it may continue more than several decades. Science and technology used to be the origin of this country's growth and development. But the government has reduced investments for education/
research for such field. Nobel prize awardees have been warning of that for the past years but no response from the government.  

Retirees like me will suffer most because their deposits/investments in JPY lose their value and the pension might be reduced so much that they could hardly live on.

I am concerned about the price of foods. Our country, as stated elsewhere, has only 34% of food self-sufficienty rate. We depend on the imports for foods. With inflation going on, the food prices would climb up, either of imported or domestially produced. So that is the reason why I am going to crop potatoes twice a year.

Am I too pessimistic? I really hope I am not right. I am afraid it is not the time for us to be indulged in such as Olympic games. People are not sober with a number of pan and circus in the society.