At a domestic concert in the univ. orchestra camp back in '70s

Classical music, especailly chamber musics, used to charm me so much. My mother used to seriously worry when I kidded her to quit the med school and to enter a music univ. for study in cello. I started cello when I entered the med school and was not good at it at all. But, since I have changed my speciality from mechanical engineering to medicine no so long before that, my mother was anxious to know what I would do next! A sweet mother.

In the end of summer vacation, the med school orchestra used to have a camp in a mountain area. We have spent a few days devoting ourselves to practising orchestral works. It was a real fun and an enthusiastic time for me. At the end of the camp, we used to hold a small concert for the club members. Since I was oriented to chamber musics from the beginning, I always asked friends to play some chamber music and "forced" them to listen to us in such a concert. The photo above was such a scene in '70s. I can't recall what piece we played. Maybe an easy piece of Mozart etc. It doesn't matter me. It is more important to me that, from this piece of old photo, I could listen the sound of the breeze coming down from the mountain as well as could see the mellow touch of sun ray coming through the window of the hall.

Like a kaleidoscope

Last night, I have enjoyed working with the entire north hemisphere on 40m at the same time. It was a fun to hear G4FOC doing with a pile up from the Europeans while the East Coasts with modest set ups were talking each other. I felt as if watching the kaleidoscope. Even in the plateau of solar activity, we scarcely experience this condition. The inosphere makes us feel united each other all over the world.

Pete W1RM, listening me working a number of Europeans, has given me a mail telling about the 9th symphony  of Beethoven. I don't think he has intended to say this but believe this feeling of bonding across the borders of nations is as precious as the poem of Schiller which used to recite in the begininng of the new era of citizenry when the world requires cosmopolitanship.

By the way, the only thing I was not very happy with is that some operators finish their transmission with "BK" omitting sending each other's call sign. Do they save sometime of their lives with this type of operation? I feel hurried up by him. I always tell him that he seems to rash somewhere so I won't hold him any longer. I am discouraged to finish the QSO very soon. Meeting someone on the air is only a happening by accident. But once we meet on a band at sometime, we should take it an important thing in our lives. Why not making QSOs in a courteous and fruitful way? Isn't it against the modern trend to do things like a computer game?


The garden in fall

The backyard and the entrance in the beginning of this month. Ginko trees, hedge trees named Dohdan or azalea and an apricot tree were all changing their colors. The leaves of some of them were already fallen by now.


We don't have a habit of taking Chirstmas holidays in Japan. It was a quiet and peaceful weekend for us. I have seen a few patients in emergency at the clinic. Norovirus infection is in a moderate outbreak here. This highly contagious virus is making a rash course of vomit and diarrhea in many cases. Except for that, I spent relaxing days on the last weekend. The only thing special for the season was just listening to the Mass in H minor by Bach. I have made a terrible mistake in spelling of this music as "the Mess in H minor" in some QSOs. A really shameful messy mistake.

I am still pretty active on 40m around 13Z and on 15m around 22Z. Forty meters around sunset used to be  my favorite band years ago. It always sounds very vacant these days. Very few signals of night owl from statesside or early birds from Europe. It is not the case on 40m around the sunrise in US. There are a number of guys getting on and sometimes giving me a call in a row. It was like attending a Christmas party at a friend's home last Saturday. I have had very good conversations with a number of friends from statesside. Fifteen meters is pretty stable for DX, which I like much. I like listening the hollow sound of CW coming over the north pole. I am finishing a day with QRQ contact with the usual company like Steve N6TT on 40m around the sunrise time in the West Coast.

I am often told or asked about my plan for the trip to Seattle next July. The answer is definitely yes, so far. I have confirmed the doctor to come and take over my office a few days ago. He said affrimative and is getting ready for the move now. My wife has alrady taken the passport for that trip. I should do many paper works for this transition. I guess everything will go on smoothly. I could not help, however, smiling to hear someone rumors about my trip to Seattle. I should have kept it a secret, maybe.

This weekend, I will go to my parents in law place in JA5, where all family members gather. My father in law is taking a cardiac catheterization at a hospital as a regular check up while mother in law staying at a nursing facility. Both of them are supposed to be back home by the weekend. I haven' seen them so often in the past. I should apologize them for that and do anything I could for them.

So, my friends, look for me on the above mentioned band/time. I will be very pleased to hear your voice on CW.


Season's greetings to you!

Around this time of a year, it has been a routine for me to extend the season's greetings to my friends by a mail and, later, a post in weblog. Here is another greetings to you all with some news of my life.

It has been a year of drastic change for me.

First of all, my mother has passed away at the age of 96 years on Apr 29th. She was born and had grown up here in a country side. She married to my father at a sanatolium for patients with pulmonary tuberculosis where she had worked as a nurse. My aunt had managed that facility with her firm belief in Christianity when tuberculosis remained a fatal illness. A few years later, when tuberculosis won't be fatal with the appearance of antibiotics and, eventually, such a sanatolium was not necessary in the society any longer, my parents have decided to leave for Tokyo. My mother has worked very hard as a nurse while father as a blue worker at a hospital. I still have a fond memory of my mother in nurse uniform working vividly at a Salvation Army hospital in a suburb of Tokyo. When she retired from her work some 30 years ago, she came back here to live together with us. I and my wife owe much to my parents to raise our three children here. In the last decade of her life, she gradually suffered from dementia. Fortunately, her personality has been preserved pretty well until the very last moment in her life despite of losing recent memory. She was always smiling at us except when asking repeatedly about our father who had passed away 8 years ago. Despite of her serious illness since last fall, she has not stopped smiling us and was even asking about my family when I saw her. She passed away so quietly as if a candle was being put out. I believe it was a blessing to her that she had spent her last days in such a peace. She has left us some time to share memories in our lives and to let us get prepared for her passing away. According to her wishes, she was sent to my mother med school in Tokyo after being worn a nurse uniform. She has lived one of the best lives as a wife, a mother and a nurse throughout her life, even though it was not an apparently successful life from common viewpoint.

I was shocked at the earthquake as well as the nuclear power plant accident in Mar 11/12. It looked as if a TV drama had been going on when I watched the video of tsunami repeatedly on TV. The nuclear power plant accidents have been of much interest to me. More than an interest. It seemed to jeopardize our own exisitence in the world. I had been apathic for a week or so after the disaster occurred. The sequel of the accident tells us that the authorities in the administration has not been reliable regarding what is really occuring there or what will occur there in the future. I am sure most of the japanese people learned we should go on without the nuclear power plants. Together with the difficult situation in the coast areas suffering from the tsunami, this accident will go on being of my concern from now on.  I have been thankful to all the words of concern or encouragement from my friends all over the world.

It was a year when I realized of my age. It was immediately after the earthquake when I was diagnosed to have cataracts. I was standing on a parking lot of the ophtahlmologist helplessly watching the power line poles or the other structures swaying heavily. On the other day, I fell down on the stairs and got a bad sprain on my left knee. With carelessness, I have met a traffic accident. And so on. I am not proud of these aging phenomena. But I knew it was the time to downsize or quit my work. If I should go on in the same way, I might make a mistake or an error irredeemable in my private life or in my work. That was the main reason why I decided to retire by next April. Fortunately, a pediatrician would take over my business. I would go on working in parttime at this office. What would wait for me in retirement? Travelling, gardening, cooking or studying social sciences. Whatever it may be, I am sure I will enjoy it. Yes, I am planning travelling to Seattle with my wife next July, where W7 FOC event will be held. I am looking forward seeing old friends there.

In addition to my retirement plan, I am still hopeful for my family in the future. Our children, two of them studying medicine and nursing, respectively, are getting on their own way. The elder son is rehabilitating for social life after having had some mental problem away from home. Our daughter, a nursing student, is coming home every weekend and is a cheering flower to us. The second son is still studying medicine in Fukushima despite of the radiation problem. He is struggling with the the voluminous knowledge of anatomy etc for now.

I am at the entrance of senior age now. I should be ready for that. A poem by Robert Browning, "Grow Old", could be a motto for me at this time of my life. I don't believe in God as Christianity advocates but still believe in the existence of supreme power in the universe.

Grow Old 
Grow Old
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith 'A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all nor be afraid!

I wish you all the best for the holiday seasons and the upcoming new year.


Unreasonable announcement by our prime minister

Our prime minister has declared that they have achived the cold shut down at the crippled nuclear reactors. It should be criticized in that it doesn't express the real situation of the nuclear reactors and it could deceive the people into unreasonable optimism for the future.

The cold shut down describes a stable controlled state of nuclear reactors where the nuclear fuel is cooled down. The intact reactor is prerequisite for that state. The reactors in Fukushima are not, of course, intact at all nor under control. The present conditions are far from the real cold shut down. Even though the announcement carefully avoids using the term of the cold shutdown itself, it could mislead the public into believing the situations are drastcically improving as well as stabilized. Actually, the mass media are reporting the news as the achivement of the cold shutdown.

It may be difficult for them to deal with the nuclear fuel being melt through the containments. The contaminated water, about 90000tons in quantity, could be poured into the ocean, that results in further pollution of the sea water and, eventually, the sea products.
This article on this isssue in the NY Times seems to keep to the point.



Contaminated milk in the market

A formula milk product made by Meiji Dairies Corp. has turned out to be polluted with Cs137. The level is about 30Bq/Kg at the max that doesn't seem to be harmful to the babies. It was caused by a process to dry the milk by air. The raw material milk was produced in foreign countries before the nuclear plant accident. This milk product was manufactured at a factory in Kanto plain area about 150 km southwest of the nuclear power plant during Mar 14 and 20. The air drying the milk is suspected to be contaminated with Cs137. MDC is taking back the milk products in the market, even though most of them have been already consumed.

There are a couple of serious issues in this trouble. First, it was not MDC but a NPO which has pointed it out. MDC told they had not detected any contamination even though they checked it in a specimen of the lot produced during the period once a month. MDC or other major dairies corporations are told to have been reluctant to reply in detail to inquiries about contamination by their consumers. The contamination of radioactives seems to extend to large areas covering most of the eastern Japan. We should be prepared for that. And the food manufacturers should be ready for publishing any data concerning the contamination as soon as they get it. Not only the manufacturers but also the related government offices should realize that hiding those data or even not being willing to open them to the public  may injure themselves badly. Opening them to the public is the first step to solve the issue.

Second, the air in this area seemed highly contaminated for a week or two after the nuclear power plant accident. It should have been alarmed by the government. Those vulnerable to irradiation such as infants, toddlers or pregnant females could have evacuated indoor etc if they have warned it at proper timing. The government has not done what they should do. The bureaucracy and the government offices haven't worked at that time. I wonder if they have reflected on this fault in risk management. The system should be reformed to cope with such serious accidents.  So far, unfortunately, any actions toward this way have not been noted yet.


Odes to the great bug users

Bug key, it is an accompaniment to land line and, eventually, radio communication. It has lived since the days of ham radio pioneer together with us. Its simple structure produces musical code. The dots are so powerful  that it pushes on codes while the dashes calm down the energy from the dots. Both of them comprise the music of Morse code. It sounds like highly individualized music. There is no way the same keying in the world. Unfortunately, nowadays, there are less bug users on the air. Especially much less proficient bug users now. It seems like a perishing art. It might be worth remembering those good bug operators like instrument virtuosi in music in the old days.

Robin ZS5KI used to be on 40m at midnight in our time back in 1960s. He used to work with the West Coasts such as Merle K6DC at that time.  He used to send fluent code from his bug. Not very loud but still very fascinating to me, a beginer teen age boy.  Unfortunately, I heard he had had health problem and had gone SK not so long after those days.

Merle K6DC, formerly W6ULS, was one of the regular big guns who used to work with ZS or europeans through the long path on 40m at midnight in our time. A real big gun. Always S9 plus. His bug was weighing a little bit heavily and flowing smoothly. A warm hearted guy with a good sense of humor. He used to break in me telling go to bed when I stayed up late at night in 1980s. An elmer for me.

Kemp K7UQH was a great bug user as well. His bug sounded orthodox with crisp dots in fairly slow speed. His code was always constant. With his warm personality, it has always relieved me a lot whenever I heard him with bug. He has been a good friend of mine since 1960s. He knew very well of each model of Vibroplex. He used to send me cloth to clean the contacts of bug. a few years ago. He has had a problem with his ICOM gear and has told me it was the time of QRT when his gear acted up. It was not so long before I could not hear him any longer. No reply to my inquiry by mail.

 AH2G Joe has sent a crisp and beautiful code from his bug. It was in 1980s when I used to chat with him. He used to tell me he won't need any QSLs for he has received boxes of cards already. A serious and interesting guy. I surely miss his beautiful bug CW.

Sam W6TSQ was a keen DXer. With his S line, his bug sounded powerful and fluent. S line produced a bit of chirpy signal but the tone sounded mellow and pure. He was a ragchwer as well. I have visited him at his home on a hill. His wires were set among high trees around there. His warm and mellow signal is surely missed.

Del W8KJP, formerly HL9DC, was a great bug user. He operated with a perfect bug in Korea around 1990. High dot dash ratio code. So neat and constant. He is still active from Fl but his health problem won't let him use that bug any longer. I surely remember of his beautiful bug.

Me? Out of any objective of ode. I am just practising it to be a real bug user after those old friends. A long way to go. Nowadays, there are less and less real good bug users on the air, I am afraid. Is there anyone who would make a record file of those great bug user's signal?


In the univ. orchestra in 1976

It was 1976 when I was on the stage of the university orchestra in Tokyo. The main program was the 1st symphony of Brahms. I was on the top side of celli part. It was only 3 or 4 years after I had started learning cello. The performance as well as my mind was burning. It was exciting to be in the flood of music.

Long time since I met this company. Time has passed. The memory is, however, shining brightly  in my mind as an ever lasting star.

I am scanning old pictures before they deteriorate. This is one of them. Just recalling good old days. 

The earthquakes in the time course

Someone has posted this clip to Youtube. It shows where earthquakes with the magnitude more than 3.0 have occurred in the time course around the devastating one on Mar11 in Japan. It depends on the official data and seems quite reliable.

From this clip, we intuitively notice that there was an increase of frequency of earthquakes in the area on the day before where the deavastating one hit on Mar 11th. It could be a prodrome of the big one. During the devastating earthquake, the other parts of Japan has spared with earthquakes. Was there any suppresion mechanism working ? There has been definite tendency of increased frequency of earthquakes going on in Japan after that on Mar 11th.

We should be prepared for the ongoing period of increased number of earthquakes for some time from now. Tokai area in cetral Japan facing to Pacific ocean, where a big earthquake has been predicted to occur, seems a little bit silent as for earthquake activity. This makes us feel rather worried. We should be prepared whatever happens there.

It is nonsense to live depending on the nuclear power plants which could be destroyed by an earthquake resulting in a devastating damages and pollutions to the adjacent vast areas.

The conclusion is clearly that only decommission of all nuclear power plants will save our country and innovation of new energy strategies other than nuclear power generation should be encouraged. No other choice.

The clip is here;



Melt through at the nuclear reactor

The Tokyo Electric Power Co., TEPCO, has estimated the extent of the melt through of the nuclear fuel at the crippled reactors. It is based on the simulation by computer. The worset case seemed to have occured at the first reactor. According to their analysis, the melt nuclear fuel got through the reactor vessel down to about 13 feet above the the outer containment base.

Hydrogen explosions have occured at three of five nuclear power plants, which has definitely caused the terrible fallout all over. It is not known how hydrogen produced at the nuclear fuel surface has gone through not only the reactor vessel but also the outer containment, that was prerequisite for the explosion. I guess the fuel melt through those structures, which could release the hydrogen gas freely into the room, and it has also caused the acclereation of the hydrogen production. Of course, the tubing structures around the reactor must be destroyed by the earth quake before that. It might facilitate the release of hydrogen gas as well.

We should remeber that the government spokesman used to announce repeatedly there had not been any melt down occuring there for a week or so after the accident happened. The TEPCO as well as the government have been revealed to be aware of the high possibility of the melt through phenomenon at that time. They have been inclined to announce their estimate of the situation in the better way than it really is.

We must suspect the melt through is going on in much worse way. The above mentioned estimate must be biased to the better way by TEPCO. Then we should consider the sequel to this worse possibility. I suspect there have been the melt fuel getting through through the base concrete structure. If not getting through, it must has been penetrating through the concrete or the cracks of the base. It might result in the contamination of the ground water. If this occurs in reality, there has been much contamination into the ocean going on. It is not reported how the underground water beneath the nuclear power plants are contaminated. It should be urgently investigated. If such contamination is suspected, any procedure to prevent it such as constructing metal wall underground should be taken.


A good thing not replaceable to anything in our life

This morning  the higher bands had generally sounded dead for the NA until I realized it started to open that way around 23Z. The signals sounded watery on the quiet background. I was called by Jim WB9VRP in South Bend Indianna.

We have done the typical shortyQSO. When we almost finished it, he told me we might had QSO long time ago. I have looked up my simple index note book, which is almost torn after over 20 years of use. Yes, it was Dec 15 1981 when we made the very first contact. He has a good memory.

It was at that moment when he sounded a little bit excited to know that. It is always amazing that we could notice the other emotionally moving through the keying. He has started to let me know what radio he used to use those days. He is only 52 years old, a young lad for me. I was also trying to recall those days, when I was at the dorm of a med school hospital, as I told in the other post. I told him I had upgraded my antenna from 14AVQ to 4 elements since then.

I was sorry I should get ready for my work soon and could not go on chatting with him. Coming across with such a guy as Jim after so many year absence, I could recall those old days and feel as if we shared our lives for that long time.

Isn't it a fun? It may not be so exciting or amusing but is still a good thing in life, which is not replaceable to anything. I will go on enjoying such a thing in the rest of my ham radio career.

Quiting CWops

I have quit the CWops.

A couple of years ago, Jim, N3JT, has given me an email telling me that he would establish an international club for CW enthusiasts and asked me to join it. In the begininng, I thought it had been his joke or kidding as he used to do. Having been involved in the conflict in the other major CW club, he and his company seemed to want to set up another club which they could do whatever they want. An international club to promote CW activities.

 I have written, in the previous post , about how an amateur ham radio club stands for. From that standpoint, I am sure now that the club has been oriented to the different way that I believe it should be. While the slogan says it is covering every aspect of CW activities in amateur ham radio, it is heading to be a contest club. And it is becoming a club for the US members as well. The posts in the mailing list concern mostly of contests and of local topics in the US. I won't blame that at all. I was feeling, however, a little bit discomfortable to be in the fellows who are contest or competetion oriented. As a non contest oriented member in Asia, I could not help feeling the club had been heading to be a local contest club in the US.

I have been asked by a couple of members at different occasions to help to promote their contests in Japan. I answered yes to them promptly. I have given them some ideas to internationalize the contests. Nonetheless, I have not had any proper response from them or have been almost neglected by one of them. They are concerned about only how to advertise their contests but not about how to improve it as international contests.

I know they might say there are many aspects of the club, not only the contest but also elmering the beginners and so forth. But so far as I have experienced in the club, it is not the reality. I won't blame the contest oriented people at all. They should enjoy it as they want. But I won't remain being a member in such a club any longer.

Now, it is over. I could enjoy ham radio as I want to. I won't be bothered to unwillingly join the contests or to be asked to promote the contests etc. I still believe in the founders' good will to establish an international club to promote CW activities. I wish it will come true in the future. I appreciate the members who let me in as a charter member and give me the directorship position in the club.


Nuclear power plant invevitably ages into fragility

Neutron emission from the nuclear reactor causes the fragility of the wall of the reactor. It is thought to depend on the total amount of emission as well as the emitting speed of the neutron. It means aging of the reactor deteriorates its stuructural integrity. It could cause a serious accident in certain time after its construction. It is inevitable.

Our administrative agency, NISA, which has handled the safety issue of the nuclear power plants since the beginning of nuclear power administration, is reported to investigate the aging problem of the nuclear power plants in Japan. 19 of them are 30 years old or older, even though the nuclear power plants were originally designed to be used for only 16 years. I seriously suspect that they won't be capable of this investigation. For the past years, together with the power companies, they have built up the myth that nuclear power plants are so safe that no accidents could occur. They won't break that safety myth by themselves. This investigation should be executed by researchers which include some on the side having criticized the nuclear power policy.

If serious accidents should occur with this aging process, it would result in much worse damage and nuclear pollution in larger area than that in Fukushima. The risk management capability of the government and the national administration is questioned now.


New vaccines

Nowadays, a few kinds of new vaccines are being introduced into the medical service. The examples are the vaccine for Papilloma viruses responsible for uterine cervical cancer and that for Rotavirus causing gastroenteritis in infancy. They are licensed by our governmental office, the Min. of Health, Labor and Welfare in Japan. The vaccines will prevent those infectious illnesses or its related severe diseases. It could become the triumph of the medical science against those illnesses.

There are some problems to use it in practice. One of them is their high costs. The latest one for Rotavirus, monovalent vaccine, costs about 140 USD/vial. The infant should take three of them in early infance. The cost of vaccines, themselves, sums up to 420USD. It seems to be price controlled by the pharmaceutical company and/or the goverenmental agency. This price could be a economical burden to the infant's parents.

These vaccines must be most useful in the developing countries. Cervical cancer is a serious challenge for women in those countries. Gastroenteritis is one of the most common causes of death in infancy there. It is most likely from the experience of the other medicines that the prices in the developing countries are set as high as those in Japan or the other developed countries. This price level should prevent the vaccine from being widely used by the peoples in those countries.

Admitting that it takes the pharmaceutical companies much investment to develop such cutting edge item for medical service, I wonder if this price-setting is fair or not. The market is all over the world. They would be sold in enormous numbers, I guess. In Japan, the cost includes that for examination of the potency by a governmental agency, which is near to the half of the price. I wonder if they are testing all vials. Maybe, no. A few vials should be tested in a lot. The governmental office determines the price, of which another governmental agency is maybe taking much profit.  I am pretty sure both the private and public sector is in a conspiracy to take as much profit as possible from the vaccine sales.

In addition, I should point out each mega pharmaceuticals is getting much profit every year, which results in astronomically big reserve of money, even though I don't know how much this vaccine sales strategy contributes to it. The pharmaceutical companies should be responsible to provide these vaccines at reasonable prices.

Late fall in our garden

At the age of 62 years, I am apt to think of things in the scale of the time left for my life. I still wonder if I have worked enough as a doctor. But there are some more things to do in my life.

One of those things is gardening. This year, the nuclear fallout possibility kept me inactive in gardening. My second son, seeing the garden this summer, has uttered that it was not so neat as usual at all. Yes, he was right. From next year, I would be active in the garden getting things arranged. It is to leave the garden for family who will take it over in the future. It is fun for me as well as a meaningful  project for the next generation.

The photos from above to below;
A maple tree in autumn color. The slightly ashy red color is conspicuous this fall. Maybe due to the sharply dropped temperature. Many weeds on the ground!
A magnolia tree changing colors. My mother used to love this tree.
Blossoms of chrysanthemum. They are lying on the ground without the supporting structures.


An ancient tomb in late fall

It was over ten years ago when I noticed a small hill in a rice paddy along the road I commuted to the office everyday. It has several trees on it. In spring and summer, they are abundant with fresh leaves while they drop in fall. It looked so quiet as if time had stopped around that area. One day, I was so curious to know what the hill was that I stopped by there and searched for it. The explanation at the place told that it was an ancient tomb where a head of this region was buried in the 6th or 7th century.

I learned later that there had been dozens of such tombs in this area. I was a bit impressed there had been so many tombs for so long period. They might have been religious objectives for centuries. As an evidence that it has been respected by the people around this tomb, there was a small shrine on the top of the tomb hill. I suppose the oridinary people have been praying for their ancestors at this place from time to time and have lived their lives from a generation to another for centuries. I felt close to them, the ordinary people, who have passed in that way.

Maybe, I belong to one of them.



A post to CWops reflector on Mar 12 2011

For a day after the earth quake, we had the power line outage here. No water supply as well. The lack of the life lines were not so bad as in the disastered area in Fukushima or Miyagi etc. It was, however, a night of fear and anxiety we had to spend. Nothing was foreseeable.

The day after, as soon as we had the power line recovered, I posted the message shown below to the CWops reflector. Even though written in primitive expression, it reflected my mind accurately at that time. For a record, I would put it here in this blog. It took me a week or so before I got out of a kind of apathy or depression. It might have been a mild case of posttraumatic syndrome. I have faced to a drastic change of the paradigm for our lives at that time.

From the reflector of CWops on Mar 12 2011;

Hi all,

We just got out of the power outage right now. No water supply. No foods sold.
But this area, 80km north of Tokyo, has spared real serious damages. Noone was
hurt. Some damages to house items only.

As someone told, in JA7 area, north of here, they have suffered so much
especially due to the Tsunami, which they say over 7m high. A whole town is said
to be destroyed by Tsunami. So far, more than 1000 people were killed or
missing. I am sure much more will be lost.

The melt down of nuclear plant in Fukushima Pref is a real terrible event. I am
afraid our government has been aware of this possibility before. Our prime
minister has mentioned of the nuclear plant problem in his very 1st speech after
the quake occured. I really hope the pollution will be limited to the small area
and no one will be injured.

Personally, my old mother and a brother with his wife are in Sendai city, where
it caused much damage. No contact with them at all. It makes me worried much.

When I opened the e mail box, I found bunches of mails from friends abroad
asking me if I am OK. It touched me a lot. Please keep eyes and ears open to
those severely damaged by this disaster. I appreciate your concern toward me, my

Sorry for such a lengthy post. It may take me some time to set up the gears
which are all fallen down on the floor from the desk. But I will come back on
the air soon.



Happy Thanksgiving to you Gary and Leslie!

Gary, W5ZL, has been in the struggle against advanced stage of his colon cancer for several months. He and his wife, Leslie, have been quite positive for life. I have known him only for a couple of years or so on the air. Knowing his attitude toward life, I feel quite close to him. Of course, we share the same favorite thing, that is, communication through Morse code.

His latest post for the Thanksgiving season in his blog touches me again. He expresses his gratitude toward his medical staff, whom he has been treated with chemo by and has had hard time with. It is an ideal partnership between a patient and his medical staff that is hardly achivable at the scenes in the medical facilities. His sensitivity as well as flexibility to the surrounding people, I believe, makes this relationship possible. As not only a man involved in medical service but also a human with the same pleasure, anxiety and fear for living, I appreciate his attitude to the medical staff.

Here is his post;


Happy Thanksgiving, Gary and Leslie!


A miracle in life

This morning before coming to the office, I have spent an hour on 10m, which was again widely open to North America. I ran into a friend in the west coast, whom I have known for over 30 years. He seemed to have read my mails with the others and already knew on my plan of retirement etc. He, an 87 years old retiree, would like to go on living at the present home for at least 3 years before he comes into the retirement facility. I was almost smiling to hear he would keep his feet in cement there while his wife insists to go into such a facility. I could not help wishing him very good luck in the last phase of his voyage of life.

He has a grandson in the east coast, aged 7 years old. My friend used to tell me of him whenever we talk on the radio. That boy has autism. My friend has a background of psychology and may know of this illness well. He seems to be concerned about the etiology of this illness. He asked me what causes this illness this morning. He believes some environmental factor is responsible for that. My answer, though I am not a specialist of this field at all, was that such factor may be involved especially in the fetal period. But it is essentailly an illness in the gene level, I believe. The text says the concordance rate in the monozygotic twin is pretty high while it remains low in the dizygotic twin. I don't believe such an answer is of help to him at all. He must has been asking himself what has brought this to his loving grandson.

I told also that whenever I do with parents with their children of such illnesses, I am always surprised at their admirable attitude to their way of life as well as to their own children. I have noticed this in real situations as a pediatrician for long time. The parents, especially the mothers, are always very eager to live together with their children and to try to do best for them. The families are always united very strongly. It is really a miracle in the ordinary life, even though they are not conscious of that. My friend told me his son and his wife are working on a part-time basis which enables them to care for their son with autism. I could picture the couple have been eagerly living for and by their son. I could understand, with much sympathy, what my friend worries about his grandson. The parents might have had to face much difficulty in actual living for years. But, from the standpoint of viewing through the whole lives, it could be a blessing for them to have a family member with such illness, if I could say without fear to be misunderstood.

May they be blessed with happy holiday season.


Morse code, not a language itself, but a system of simple signs

In a book about the brain science of languages, sign language was described as a kind of natural language. It first attracted my attention since it delivers information for communication with visual signs of facial expression, movements of arms and so forth as Morse code does with auditory stimuli. I was wondering what was going on with Morse code from the standpoint of brain physiology and was expecting analogy or comparability between sign language and Morse code.

But Morse code was not the case of natural language. Because it has no grammer or no wide diversity like sign language does. It is just replacement of alphabets into auditory signs composed of combinations of dit and dash. Morse code reception is just a reflective perception process from auditory stimulus. Just one- to one correspondence.

Another interesting finding is that Morse code is handled by the brain part responsible for reading, as a study of modern brain physiology suggested while sign language is thought to be handled by the  center of sound speech in the brain. Morse code is essentially "read" by brain.

The another question is what Morse code means as one of the simplest signs in human auditory perception. The study in Morse code reception might give insight into the scientific epistemology. I know there are some researchers being engaged in this issue. I would follow what they say with the modern technology of brain science. It might be stimulating to us.


In early '80s

I have come back on the air after over ten year absence in early '80s.  I was serving residency at a med school hospital living in a small dormitory there shown in the picture above. As most residents did, I did not have long vacation then, when I  recalled this hobby of ham radio I used to enjoy in teenage days. I drove an hour to get the brand new TS830 and a vertical. It won't take me long time to set the vertical on the roof and make a space for radio in the bed room. I don't now why my wife has not complained of that. Smiling to some visitors, however, she told them she had become a ham widow. It was the end of the plateau of the solar activity. I could work with a bunch of DX with this humble set up. It was a surprise for me that I had never forgotten the code after that interval.

I ran across with a number of old friends on the air. One of the most remarkable persons was Steve WA6IVN. I used to work with him in contests etc in '60s but had never known him in person. As soon as we knew each other a little bit more than we used to, we got closer. He was a few years older than me and had been suffering from malignant lymphoma, that was classified as a pretty benign type. He seemed to be thirsty for living. He eagerly enjoyed every aspect of life. Maybe I could say he was urged to enjoy his life as if he had had only limited length of life. In my first trip to the bay area a few years later, I visited him in Manteca near San Francisco. He has treated me warmly like an old friend and would show all of his life to me. He was followed up for lymphoma at Stanford University. In a few years, he has developed a second malignancy followed by melanoma, which was fatal to him. I could remember his fist was getting disarranged every QSO. He was really weakened when I met him at the BBQ party at W6CYX. Despite of having metastasis in brain, he drove up to San Jose on his trailer to see me. It was several months later when I heard of his passing away. I won't forget him.

Bob W6CYX, with whom I have worked on CW for more than 1000 times since '60s, is a brilliant and sociable person. His fist always sounds smooth and crisp. We used to work once a day or two in from '80s through '90s. He kindly let me stay at his home twice in my visits in '90s. In my first visit to him, I and my friend, Hide JH0FBH, were impressed at his great location on a slope of the Mt. Hamilton looking down the city of San Jose and the San francisco Bay. What a gorgeous view through the window of his living room in his home at night! He is a man of argument from the standpoint of conservative. I am inclined to be fairly progressive as for every events in politics as well as economy etc. I am afraid that my opinion might make him irritated from time to time. I believe in the good will and ability of the american people but still should point out the very serious problem in the financial system in the US. I hope he would understand me. I wish him many more returns in good health with his kind and beautiful wife there. May many more QSOs with me be added to the record in the future.

I was thrilled to find a number of old friends who used to keep a schedule in our sunset hours in '60s. The main guy was Ed K6NB, formerly WA6UNF. That schedule was with Trevor VK2NS on around 7020KHz. There were a lot of guys joining the round table. I can figure such as Kemp K7UQH, Cy K6PA, formerly WB6CFN, Ted K6YN, formerly KH6EFW or Ron VK2DO etc. Most of them have gone silent key or inactive by now, I am afraid. In mid of '80s, Trevor passed away that made Ed inactive on the air. They ran in QRQ and used to fascinate me much into the world ragchewing on CW. I was lucky to have met these old stars before they went silent key. It was a really starry sky on 40m around the sunset here.
Merle Parten K6DC, formerly W6ULS, was also an unforgettalbe ham. In '60s, he used to hold regular QSOs with ZS in our midnight hours. It was very tough for me with a low power and a wire antenna to get any Africa. He used to let me work with such as ZS2MI in Marion Island. What a pleasure for a teenage boy! He used to be in Santa Barbara, where he came back from the bay area when retired in around 1990. In my first visit to the bay area in mid '80s, I drove around the peninsula on a rental car. Driving on the El Camino Real in San Carlos, a 2 elemet Yagi for 40m came into my sight. I could not resist knocking the door of the house with the beam, even though I did not know who it was. Yes, it was Merle's home. Without any appointment of visit, he kindly let me in his shack. He was not very talkative but kind enough to treat me as a friend. He took me to an Italian cuisine for lunch. Later, in my third visit to the US, I have drove down with Eric W6DU from the bay area to Santa Barbara where Merle was settled down on a vast property on a slope of a hill facing to the Pacific ocean. Again, I had a great time with Merle and his wife Marjorie. I could not forget the fellows in Santa Barbara such as John W6GTI or Red W6THN etc as well, all of whom have gone silent key by now to my sorrow. 

I have kept this post card on my desk at the office for years. Before it deteriorates, I have scanned it into the PC. It reminded me of those good old days. Sorry for lengthy story that may not be so interesting to the readers. Still fond and important memories for me. Ham radio has made quite a big part of my life in this way.   


Cs137 contamination occured in the most areas of eastern Japan

A team of researchers of Nagoya University et al has published a data of Cs137 contamination in soil in Japan due to the nuclear plant accident in Mar this year. They have estimated the contamination from the fallout data published by various regional governments etc.

If the contamination is measured up to 5 cm in depth in soil, 1Bq/kg is equal to 100MBq/sq. km. In the case of Chernobyl, highly contaminated area was defined as more than 1Ci (37000MBq/sq.km ), that is, 370Bq/kg of the soil contamination level. From Iwate Pref down to Tochig and Ibaraki Pref, that is, in the areas 200km or so north and south of the accident site, the high contamination seems to have spreaded if this estimation is correct.

We should keep in mind that this estimation is the least level possible since it was based on the fallout data from Mar 20 for one month to the exclusion of the fallout occured by the explosion of the plant around Mar 15. There have been contamination to the ocean going on, if the level is now very low, and the underground water could be also contaminated with the cooling water poured to the plants.

So what should we say? The most important lesson is that the nuclear power plant could give rise to this kind of serious accident. It should leave the devastating contamination over the vast area which  could affect the next generation for the decades. The nuclear power, if it is used for peaceful purposes, should be abondoned immediately so far as it is not controllable by technology.


CW reception training

The morse code reception could be, I believe, an object of perception research. It may open the door for understanding how human brain perceives and understands the meaning of auditory stimuli.
The  morse code is simple in structure which may help to be investigated by modern scientific  approach. On the other hand, the code as a tool of communication reflects or binds the linguistic meaning, that makes it complicated.
Anyway, modern progress in functional study of brain function may give us a horizen in this field. Though I am not a specialist in this field at all, I have found a few, if not many, research papers concerning this subject.
As a CW enthusiast, it is interesting to know how code reception is achieved and how to improve it efficiently in a morse code learner. In the era when morse code was widely used in military as well as commercial facilities, possibly in '50s or '60s, a lot of studies have been made regarding this point as mass studies. The recent researchs with modern technologies might give us much clearer and more definite hints or solutions for those questions.
Here are a couple of paper abstracts related with this subject, even though the methodologies featured are rather traditional.  I would like to introduce more with modern methods later.
The following paper says that the morse code training should be started with easy parts/tasks. It seems they conducted this research with classical psychological method.

                                                             ~~~ ~~~ ~~~
J Exp Psychol Appl. 2001 Jun;7(2):129-42.

Retention and transfer of morse code reception skill by novices: part-whole training.


Department of Psychology, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064, USA. clawson@cua.edu


The training of composite skills requiring differential responding to a large set of stimuli raises issues about how to break down the whole task into parts and which parts should be trained first. Components of Morse code reception skill were identified, separated, and used to test whether initial training on a difficult part was more effective than initial training on an easy part. Initial training on a difficult subset of stimuli and on a difficult subtask both yielded disadvantages rather than the advantage implied by recent findings with different tasks. Incremental training should begin with the part yielding the most effective strategic skills, which appear to depend on characteristics of the task. In both present experiments, easy initial training led to adoption of an effective unitization strategy for representing codes. The hypothesis that procedural reinstatement at delayed testing leads to better retention was supported and extended.

                                                                 ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

This paper relates what amount of training is good in perceptual training. This auditory discrimination tasks are different from learning codes. But the result may parallel with training result of the morse code or may resemble it. Perceptual skills could be transfered from short-term memory to long one daily when the training protocol is within the limit of task specific requirement.
Exp Brain Res. 2007 Jul;180(4):727-36. Epub 2007 Feb 27.

Perceptual learning: how much daily training is enough?


Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208-3350, USA. b-wright@northwestern.edu


The acquisition of many perceptual skills proceeds over a course of days. However, little is known about how much daily training is needed for such learning to occur. Here we investigated this question by examining how varying the number of training trials per day affected learning over multiple days on two auditory discrimination tasks: frequency discrimination and temporal-interval discrimination. For each task, we compared improvements in discrimination thresholds between different groups of listeners who were trained for either 360 or 900 trials per day for 6 days. Improvement on frequency discrimination required >360 trials of training per day while learning on temporal-interval discrimination occurred with 360 training trials per day, and additional daily practice did not increase the amount of improvement. It therefore appears that the accumulation of improvement over days on auditory discrimination tasks may require some critical amount of training per day, that training beyond that critical amount yields no additional learning on the trained condition, and that the critical amount of training needed varies across tasks. These results imply that perceptual skills are transferred from short- to long-term memory (consolidated) daily, but only if a task-specific initiation requirement has been met.


In half a century

I have met a ham from USA on a ship bound for Ohshima, near Tokyo, at a night in summer when I was going to a camp with the amateur ham club members of the college I was attending to. It was in 1960s. I was a teen age boy. The ship heading to the island has had many passengers, maily young peoplen on aboard. Some foreign girls in girl scout uniform also on aboard attracted our eyes. The ship was sailing in the darkness in Tokyo Bay. A quiet evening. I was handling a super generation transceiver in a lunch box for 6 meters. A guy was coming close to me and was asking if it was for ham radio. He was Bernie WA7CBX. I am sure he was leading the girl scout group going for also camping. I don't remember what I have talked to him then. My limited vocabulary in English prevented me from conversing with him freely. But, with a feeling of company sharing the same thing as a hobby, we have enjoyed our meeting there.

After a long interval off the air in 1970s, I came back on the air when I was serving residency at a med school hospital in the beginning of '80s. With 14AVQ on the drom roof and brand new TS830, I was quite active on CW. Again, in a summer of 1980s, I was on 40m, when a guy whom I had not known called me and told Bernie was on the side of him. Later, in his letter to me, Bernie shouted that it was me as soon as he heard my call on 40m. It was in the Field Day in US. They were joining it together somewhere in a mountain. I have corresponded with Bernie for a couple of times but no real QSO with him on the air yet.

A couple of days ago, when I was talking to a friend, Jack WA7HJV, in Oregon, I happened to remember of Bernie, whom I had known in the QRZ.com that he still held his call and was still in Walla Walla Oregon like in '80s. Upon my inquiry if he knew Bernie there, Jack answered he did not know him, 40 miles away from Jack, in person but had ever talked him on the radio in the past. I asked Jack to get Bernie's mail address if he should meet him somewhere.

Jack called me on 40m last night. He has kindly given Bernie a phone call and has talked him for even half an hour. Bernie was fine, as Jack told me, and has lost a Quad that may mean he has not been on the HF at least. Bernie seemed to have remembered of me. He should be 83 or 84 years old by now. It was a really good news to me that he has been getting along OK. We had only a few moment together without any QSO on the air but still share precious time together for the past almost half a century. I am feeling thankful to Jack and amateur ham radio itself for such an experience over the time.


Olympus collapsing

Olympus, one of the most famous optical instrument makers in Japan, seems to go into collapse very soon. The management staff has made a big amount of debts due to failure in investment in 1980s. It is reported up to 2 billion USD. The following staff responsible for the finance has done so called "Tobashi" technique in financial affairs in order to hide the debts for the past years. A new president of the company, a foreigner, has noticed that illegal conduct by the former management staff. It has been eventually made public recently.

This is a really shameful crime and should never has occurred by any means. The staff as well as the auditor should be accused and should compensate the loss as much as possible. I often hear from the doctors specializing endoscopy that Olympus personel used to be with aggressive attitude in selling and maintaining their apparatus. They have shared 75 % of the market in Japan. This aggressiveness may have reflected the difficult finance of the company.  The company should be sold to another, which would enable the fair competetion in the market.

I could not help remembering the age of '80s. It was the time when I worked as a young staff in a med school hospital, where my colleague etc used  to boast of the profits gained in their investments. It was really an age of bubble economy. Everyone was behaving at the mercy of the bubble economy even though they thought they had made investments with reason. I believe the management staff of Olymus those days must not has been an exception, even though they have made too much gamble without reason. I bitterly recall tha fact that the bubble economy has never made most of the people happier at all. Again, we are facing to the result of the bubble economy in addition to the serious credit failure in the financial system. Knowing what has been going on in this company falling down, I think we should overcome the bubble economy cycle repeated since '80s by some means.


A diary of a nurse having gone to aid the people in the affected area

The earthquake and the tsunami in Tohoku area Mar 11 were a terrible disaster which we could hardly imagine of. But it also convinced us that we were united and lived together.

I was impressed that so many young people have volunteered to help the affected people there. Here is a dairy of such a young nurse who has gone to the area to help the people immediately after the disaster.

She is so sensitive to the other's pain or anxieties. She expresses it in natural way. This dairy has encouraged me a lot when I got apathic after the event myself.  It has a remarkable value to be remembered.



Chopin's music

My favorite music critic, H. Yoshida, says, I believe, Chopin is a composer of monophony. That could be a reason why I  haven't been so much fascinated by his works. Another reason might be that he has composed, mostly, for piano, though I admit his chamber musics are of much value.

Listening to this performance of C sharp minor nocturn originally for piano solo, arranged by Nathan Milstein for violin and piano, I got sure that his works could fit well to string instruments. Monophonic singing instruments.


Midori Goto, the violinist, sings this music from the bottom of the heart. I felt as if I could not breathe while listening to the long lasting phrase sung by her violin. She starts the music from the darkness in pianissimo and goes on the long phrase of melancholy in gradual crescendo to the peak at the refrain of the beginning theme. Then, the tune declines and vanishes into darkness again. It should not be performed brilliantly like a concerto cadenza as often done by the other players. Midori expressed the melancholy in most suppressed manner that appeals us profoundly.

This must be the tune which was sounding in Chopin's mind, I believe, when he was almost dying.


Welcome to our earth, Jonah

A young prince in the world of CW, Nathan KO6U, has added a new family member together with his wife, Ayako. Jonah Ren is his first child. Congratulations to you, Nathan. I wish him a wonderful life.

I heard the delivery had not been uneventful at all. So far, both Ayako and their son, Jonah, are getting well now.

Jonah might take over the trait of good brass pounder from his father.




The TPP, the Trans  Pacific Partnership Agreement, is finally under much discussion here. It is aimed to lift the whole tariff among the participant countries. Our government insists that the content of the agreement will be discussed by the participants after they determine joining it. The government and the bureaucrats behined them have intended to make this issue appear before the people as late as possible. It seems they are making a bit of success. But the public opinion is clearly divided as for this agreement scheme.

The major participant is undoubtedly the US. Learning the process of negotiations between the US and the other countries like Australia etc in the past, the core of this agreement should be that the major investors/companies, most of them being in the US, would have the previledge to get into the markets in the other participant countries. Of course, the outlook seems an even fair relationship among the participants. But being dominated by the major capitals in the US, the other countries seemed to obey the rule of the globalism, which is one-sided for the former major capitals.

One of the most serious issues is the ISD article, that is, the Investor State Dispute article, which enables the investors bring any case of disadvantage for them in the other countries to the court by an agency under WTO. They say that the court questions only if the investors have any disadvantage by any governmental legislation. No concern or consideration of the advantage for the people in particular country such as ecological issue or public welfare etc. There have been many cases of such suit all over the world since '90s. We should bitterly remember what the investors have brought to the developing countries in the past decades under the propaganda of the globalism.

They say the major insurance companies in the US intend to find their ways into the medical insurance market in Japan. The public insurance system in Japan should be a big barrier for those insurance capitals to get into the market. The TPP will break through this barrier by some means. There are some omens for that here. Our public insurance system is in danger for collapse due to the increased number of the senior citizen and the economic recession. It will be completely destroyed once the foreign major insurance capitals get into the market here. I don't believe this americanization of the health insurance system is not advantageous to the people here.

I won't approve the TPP in this scheme at present.


A pleasant and relaxing trip to Fukushima

As planned before, we have been to the lake of Inawashiro in Fukushima. It was a quiet hot spa resort. The grand view of Mt. Bandai and the lake Inawashiro has welcomed us. There were very few tourists around there even though it was the season of beautiful trees. The owner of the hotel we stayed told us there was 20 or 30 % decrease in the visitor numbers after the disaster in the coast area of Fukushima. They haven't been damaged by them at all. We had a great time with the hospitality of the hotel owner etc and the scenary.  On Sunday, we met and had lunch together with our son studying medicine overthere. We would return there for trekking around the foothill of the mountain with many ponds very soon.

The picture abover shows Mt. Bandai seen from the hotel room. There was a pond just before the hotel. The next picture shows the lake shore early in evening. So quiet water surface. The gradation of the sunray from the setting sun was being reflected on it.

An old trick of the bureaucrats in Japan

In Japan, the medical system has been managed like that in the planned economy in the past communism countries. It has enabled the people to access to the most modern medicine, if not the best, at very reasonable costs since 1960s. Since the period of continuing growth of the economy has ended and the number of the senior citizen is increasing rapidly, this system seems on the way to collapse right now. The government and the bureaucrats are trying to cut the budget for the medical services by various means. Of course, cutting the income of the private practioners is one of the easiest ways. It also prevents the doctors working at hospitals from leaving there and owning their own practice. It may be beneficial to hospital owners who comprise of the most of the doctor's association in Japan.

The latest news told "the private practioners" had been earning 2.3 times of those working at hospitals. This data came from a committee of the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare discussing about the costs and the expenditures for the medical services. This is a terribly biased data given by the bureaucrats who intend to lessen the expenditure to the whole private practioners. The category of "the private practioners" the committee took up is only a part of the whole practioners, that is, the founders of the juridical person in medicine services. Those founders always manage larger facilities with larger gross income than the other doctor categories including those working at hospitals. The former is always experienced in medicine. They have made much investment to their facilities. They won't have any previledge in public pension etc. On the other hand, the latter is always young and less experienced without any investment to their work. They are given social securities. It is not rational to make comparison between these two categories of doctors.

In order to lead the people erroneously believe that lessening the payment to the private practioners is an inevitable and only strategy to get out of the present crisis, they have made such irrational comparison between those two categories. This has been one of their old tricks. It won't work out, I believe, because the expenditure for the private practioners is relatively small in the total budget for medical services. The expenditure for medical services is paid for the most cutting edge and expensive medical procedures and/or the medical apparatus etc. It won't take so long before the people get aware of this old trick.

It may result in that the people will lose this system most advantageous for them ever in the history of medical services in the world.

This is one reason why I quit my job earlier than the average retiree of the doctors in Japan. I feel fed up with the old trick by the bureaucrats.


The possibility of re-criticality at the 2nd nuclear reactor

They have reported that two Xenons, both of which have short half life spans, were possibly found in the 2nd nuclear reactor in the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima. This means that it could goes critical recently.

As told in the previous post, the 3 reactors underwent the melt-through down to the secondary containment. The authority had triumphantly insisted, with "the evidence of measurement of lowered temp at the reactor", they had achieved the cooling arrest of the nuclear reactors some time ago. If there was really Xenons detected there, this statement turns out to be false. On the whole, we don't know what has been going on with these reactors in the melt through.

They announce that there is no substantial change of the radiation around the reactor. No date as for the neutron emission from the reactor area, though. The raw data of the measurement of the neutron in elapse is mandatory. We should claim them to show all the data available.

They have already poured Boron to stop the possible criticality into the nuclear reactor. So far, it is not likely that the reactor has gone critical yet. But this event has taught us the nuclear power plant accident has never been out of danger yet. The technology of nuclear reaction is not controllable yet.


A trip to Fukushima

This week end, I and my wife will visit a hot spa in Fukushima Pref, where we will spend the weekend. On Sunday PM, we are planning to  see our second son there. He is studying medicine over there. My wife is so cheerful like a pupil before going for a school excursion. I should have had such a trip with her before. A friend of mine made fun of me, when I told him about this trip, saying that the toilet paper roll runs faster when it is run out. I was not very happy with that comparison with our lives. But it is true the blessed time left for us is getting shorter. I am pleased I could compensate the loss of our lives from now. We are planning to attend the W7 FOC event in the last week end of next July as well. It would be the trip abroad first ever for us.

Fukushima Pref is a farming as well as a fishery area. It is a very beautiful countryside with grand view of mountains as shown in the picture. I have driven up there often for the past couple of years. One reason of the frequent visits was to see my old mother in a facility in Miyagi, north of Fukushima, who passed away this spring. I also have been to Fukushima itself to meet my son. The scenary was always overwhelming to me. The mountain range looked not sharp but broad and gentle. I felt as if I were embraced by them whenever the mountains appeared before me. I was always feeling relaxed and soothed watching them.

As it was repeatedly reported, Fukushima Pref , especially the coast area, has been very badly damaged by both the big tsunami and the nuclear plant accident Mar this year. The area surrounding the plant was seriously contaminated with the fallout. The people in the area could not come back home yet. Maybe, a town or two might disappear with the habitants evacuated somewhere far away. It is a too sad  event. We should never forget this fact. The mountain area, inland from the ocean, is less contaminated. But the habitants are struggling against the fallout as well as the critical situation for the economy etc. I feel so sad that this peaceful area should undergo such tragedy. My wife and I will see the area up there this week end.  Have a nice week end, everyone!


The governmental predicition system hasn't worked out.

Yesterday, a mother with a couple of children, one infant and the other toddler, has come to see me at the office. She was worrying about the radiation to her children due to the nuclear plant accident. I told her this area has been relatively spared with the fallout of the radioactive substances through the nuclear plume.  Around the time of the accident, however, she has had the children stayed at her parents' home south of here. That area turned out to be relatively heavily contaminated with the radioactives as the contamination map in this post shows the flow southward.

There is no data published of the contamination for the 10 days or so after the accident. It is highly suspected that there has been heavy contamination occuring in the areas in the two directions from the nuclear plants; one is the most disastrous contamination in northwest direction. The people around the crippled nuclear plants were told to evacuate this way at that time. That is, they went to the most densely contaminated area. The other direction of the plume headed to south along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It was not so dense as the first route but still made spotty fallouts down to Chiba and Tokyo.

Wasn't is possible for them to avoid being contaminated by the fallouts? Yes, the SPEEDI system could predict it in the beginning. This system acts for radiation contamination prediction in case of severe accident of nuclear plants.  It had been designed, established and maintained by a governmental agency spending over one hundred million Yen for years. It could work for this case. But they haven't published the data for the people involved. Later, the governmental agency excused that they hadn't had enough data to make accurate prediction. This could never be the reason. Later inspection revealed the prediction by the SPEEDI at the time of the accident had been fairly accurate and reflected the actual contamination. If they had had the data enough, it should  not have been a prediction but an actual measurement. The prediction was really necessary for the evacuees to lessen the chance of radiation.

 In reality, some evacuees had gone, as told above, to the northwest area that has been revealed to be contaminated in the worst manner later. In the southern area, the people did not know the fallouts were occuring on them  and have never evacuated anywhere or, at least, haven't taken any measures to avoid radiation while the fallout went on, like this mother and her children.

Why did the bureaucrats or the politicians let them know the prediction? There could be a few answers. Our bureaucracy has been a tight system where they won't do anything without precedent cases. They could not do any thing in such a disaster which they had not expected. They are willing to publish least facts or data to the people in a kind of paternalism. They are apt to control the people by the biased information. The most probable reason may be that they tried to lessen the apparent external radiation level, that is closely related with the compensation for the late sequelle of the radiation.

The government or the governmental agency responsible for this predicition has kept their mouth shut regarding this issue. The person responsible for this issue should be brought to the suit. It is a crime of non compliance to their responsibility.

 I was pleased to know this mother became aware of the danger to have nuclear plants in our earthquake rich country and she had started action against any nuclear plant. It seems the people has learned what they should do at present.  


On QRP operation

Tom, W0EA, raised a question in the reflector of CWops. His question is explained in detail in his blog. He wonders if QRP operators could not go QRQ. He seems a young CW lover operating only QRP. I have replied to him in this way shown below.

QRP singnals are always weak in DX. Their signals could be buried in noise. The dots are especially vunerable to static noise. QRS enables the receiver to copy those signals since the dots won't synchronize with the pulsatile noise. The same thing occurs in the low band DXing where signals are not very loud while the noise level is pretty high. With the long span QSB, QRQ is beneficial to be copied. But it is an exceptional situation.

Tom's will to learn QRQ is very precious. He might be a leader in CW communication in the world in the future. I would like to recommend him to listen to QSOs in QRQ. It is not a fun at all in the beginning. But listening actual operation in QRQ is the most fundamental and effective to learn copying QRQ. Reception ability is much more important for CW communication than transmission. If one can't receive and understand the message from the sender, there won't be any communication. Listening actual QSOs in QRQ may be tough due to QRN or QRM but could be the only place one could be accoustomed with the real QRQ. The PC program or the other modern methods of learning code won't give this kind of chance to learners.

In addition, I would emphasize that QRP operation requires much knowledge of operation, for example, the band conditions, the way to get through the noise, the simplest way to give the necessary info to the station being worked with  and so forth. It might be the ultimate technique of operation on CW. Rather few QRP operators, I guess, realize this fact. Signing /QRP after own call might be an example that the operator is not aware of this. For receivers, this excess of info is quite a trouble to copy the call of QRP operator. QRP operators should imagine how their signals go through to the other side. The relationship between them is not even but much biased.

I always feel thrilled to work with QRP guys and would like to seek Tom somewhere.



Until our 2nd son left home for his study in another university last year, we had asked a lady to prepare supper every plain week day for years. We owe much to her. Our children might recall her recipe as their "mother's taste" in the future.

Since then, I decided to prepare supper for my wife and myself everyday. It is sometimes difficult for me to get back home early enough to do that. But I still find it quite interesting to cook meals by myself. I am cooking only as the recipe tells. How efficiently I spend the time for each process depends on me. It requires an ability like that for an experiment in science. Cooking and eating meal together with family also make me feel deeply bound each other. It might be a hidden recollection that our ancestor has harvested crops or hunted animals for meal together with family members in old days. I feel I surely live together with my loving ones when I cook and take dishes together.

One of my latest dishes is shown below. Mackerel boiled with soybean paste and sake etc. Soybean paste brings out the rich taste of Mackerel. It is a typical home recipe in Japan at this time of a year.

If you are not cooking by yourself, I believe, you are missing one of the most delightful things in your lives.


Decontamination process and its problems

The wide areas of Fukushima Prefecture and the adjoining Prefectures have been polluted by the radioactive substances from the crippled nuclear power plants. It is tricky the pollution has occured in a spotty manner. Even if one place turns out to be free from heavy contamination, the adjoining spot a few hundreds meter away could be highly contaminated with radioactive substances. Since the detailed measurements of radioactivity has been done, contamination maps are available in many areas now.

The people of the contaminated areas have started decontamination procedure with the assistance by some groups or NPOs. I believe they were striving for the safer environment for the children or the pregnant women. Some areas turned out to be really hazardous for living even 50 or 60kms away from the disatstered nuclear power plants. The local or central governments were, again, slow in taking this action. However, taking it as an important issue, the governments have started it as well. The expence for this program is estimated up to over a trillion JPY.

It could be a hard way to accomplish this decontamination process. One problem is that the present procedures like washing concrete or the other structures with high hydropressure water could not be enough to lower the contamination. The recent research by Prof Uchiyama of Kobe Univ has reavealed. it and has proposed to replace the surface of the concrete structure and so forth. It means replacing the infrastructures of the areas to new one. It might cost an astronomical amount of money. I am afraid if this observation is true, in some areas they should give up living for many years.

The other problem is where and how to keep the contaminated materials. Our government has determined to maintain them at the contaminated areas. It is puzzling if it is possible to do that for decades or more than hundreds of years without any secondary contaminations. We still need technical break through for this issue. At present, it is still a quite tough problem, I believe.

I hope the peoples in the other countries to learn that the nuclear power plant is made up with a real defective technology and that once it suffers from a real severe accident, it may burden you in this way. We should support the peoples in the affected areas for a long time from now on by ourselves here.     


Accept it as it is.

I have repeatedly written that there used to be a number of old timers, mainly in the US, who were willing to work on CW with the beginners in the other parts of the world. Slowly and with much patience. A lot of beginners might feel that the window was open to the world for them. It was in 1960s for me. Whenever I watched 40m CW late in the afternoon or late at night, there were some old timers from the US on the band. They were never reluctant to let me join the round table or to start QSO with me.  Even though I was a real beginner as for the command of English as well as CW proficiency, they were patiently spending sometime with me. They were real elmers for me. I could remember a number of those people instantly with fond memories, like Ed WA6UNF, later, K6NB, Ralph WB6BFR or Ray WA6IVM and so forth.  I am sure there were a lot of newbies who enjoyed the QSOs with those old timers and were kicked to be good CW operators.

Nowadays, there are much less elmering old timers. I scarcely hear any long lasting chats or round tables on 40m when it is open to DX. It is only the contest style QSOs, or at best, the rubber stamps going on. I won't complain of this fact. This might be a trend in amateur ham radio activities nowadays. No one can do much for this change. But I just wonder what has brought forth it. And all we could foresee is losing the human aspect of CW communication in amateur ham radio.

The elmer-generation, that is, the retired people at present, might have spent the days of computer and internet evolution in the societies before they get retired. CW could be only a series of symbols for them. CW should be too slow to communicate with and has had too many uncertain factors as a communication method. They could use it as a tool of game. In games, it is not involved in anything human. Just competing the speed and the quatity of QSOs. The guy whom he/she is working with could be replaced to a software in such situation, I am afraid. In stead, they could communicate with the others by e mail without any uncertainty now. Those retired might have this type of past and present histories. I suspect this is the reason why the old fashioned elmers have gone away.

It might sound to have been repeatedly discussed again and again everywhere. For those remembering the good old days, with sigh and disappointment. No solution for this problem. Rather, it is not a problem we should do with but just a historical phenomenon. Whenever I fail finding anyone for a decent QSO on the air, I am feeling this way. Accept it as it is.


The financial crisis

I was interested in the news of the demonstration in the Wall Street in NY. A thousand of people have been going on demonstration over there, as the news says. No detail of their claim etc was reported. But the fact it is the financial center of US where they are may mean that they are against the bank/investors as well as the government and its agencies.

There are so much amount of defective credits dispersed everywhere by the modern financial technologies. No one knows where and how much they are. It results in the shrinkage of the credit in US and the related countries. Despite that the US government is pouring a big amount of USD into the enterprises in financial crisis, it won't work out. The financial system acting up due to the shrinking credit in addition to the recession cycle seems responsible for the mess at present.

The drastic financial crisis cycle hurts the lives of those in the developing coutries as well as of those in retirement anywhere. We may need to look for a paradigm different from the market fundamentalism which is ruling US and the other developed countries.

Do I misunderstand the present situation of the mess? This issue seriously involves my life in retirement.


Let's stay younger with CW operation using a key

Sending CW with a paddle or any key is involved in intellectual centers of CNS and fine motor function. The fine tactile sensory function works as well when we touch the finger piece of the paddle at proper interval and pressure. Aging may have those functions deteriorated.
The following paper says passive sensory stimulation activates sensorimotor functions. They have done purely passive stimulations in the study, which is not thesame as keying movements. But I believe keying movements require fine discrimination of tactile sense that is comparable to these stimulations in a sense.
Old boys, don't complain of your clumsy fist but go on operating CW with a key. That will promise you to stay younger. I am telling this to myself everyday!

Clin Interv Aging. 2008;3(4):673-90.

Improvement of sensorimotor functions in old age by passive sensory stimulation.


Department of Theoretical Biology, Institute for Neuroinformatics, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany.


Sensorimotor functions decrease in old age. The well-documented loss of tactile acuity in elderly is accompanied by deterioration ofhaptic performance and fine manipulative movements. Physical training and exercise can maintain sensorimotor fitness into high age. However, regular schedules of training require discipline and physical fitness. We here present an alternative interventional paradigm to enhance tactile, haptic, and fine motor performance based on passive, sensory stimulation by means of tactile coactivation. This approach is based on patterned, synchronous tactile stimulation applied to the fingertips for 3 hours. The stimulation drives plastic reorganizational changes in somatosensory cortex that affect perception and behavior: We demonstrate that following 3 hours of coactivation tactile acuity as well as haptic object exploration and fine motor performance are improved for at least 96 hours. Because this kind of intervention does not require active participation or attention of the subjects, we anticipate that coactivation is a prime candidate for future therapeutic interventions in patients with impaired sensorimotor abilities. It can be assumed that the maintenance and restoration of sensorimotor functions can ensure and preserve independence of daily living. Further optimizing of the stimulation protocol can be assumed to strengthen both the range and durability of its efficacy.