A travellers' garden

We have had much snow for this area, where we scarecely have snowfall more than an inch or so throughout a year. Everything is covered by snow in the morning. It is still snowing around noon now. The snow is pretty wet so that it won't be left on the ground so long.

I took this picture of our home when going for work this morning. Some friends may realize there are less number of trees in the garden. Last fall, my wife has asked a gardener to cut some big trees in the garden without telling that to me beforehand. I was astonished to see the garden becoming empty. I have missed an old acorn tree. It was brought here from Tokyo by my parents decades ago. A beautifully branched big tree. In summer, it has made cool shade where breeze is coming through. I have complained of that to my wife. She was sorry about that and explained about her plan to arrange the garden.

I was still sorry to have missed those trees as if I had lost precious memories in my life. However, in a few days, I tried not to be involved in it any longer. There will be another garden grown by ourselves in a few years. Moreover, in 20 years or so, I won't be here any longer. That length of time is just a blink of the eyes. We are still travellers on the earth. It is worthless to be involved in and mind losing such memorable things on the earth.

I still feel happy to have the garden to make up by ourselves here.


A heaven for the bureaucrats

Prof. S. Nakayama of Kyoto Univ., one of the leaders in the research for IPS cell in the world, is gathering the fund in the internet. He has been nominated for the nobel prize winner in medical science. They aim at "ten million JPY", that is, twelve hundred thousand USD. It seems to be used for hiring the researchers at the laboratory. They are getting much donation so far.

No big deal for a fund of such a cutting edge filed of medical science. It is a shame that our government won't pay for that. Prof. Nakayama should not have sweated for gathering donations etc. He should have many more things to do. His appeal for donation reveals how the government and the government agencies are treating those scientists in Japan who may contribute much to the world.

There are hundreds of juridical persons established by the bureaucrats and the retired bureaucrats which are paid much by the government or by the particular industries. The beaurocrats are always responsible for regulation of the related industry. Such juridical persons are accepting many retirees from the government agents. It is called "Amakudari" which stands for "coming down from the heaven" in japanese. Those Amakudari may, no wonder, make profits to particular industry in negotiating with the bueaucrats regarding regulation etc.

One of the growing juridical persons in medical service field is Japan Council for Quality Health Care;JCQHC. It handles the qualification for the medical service facility, which they require the medical facility tremendous money for. This qualification is famous for its meaninglessness. They would question the amount of paper works or of various committee activities mostly meaningless for improving the quality of medical facilities. The real quality of the medical service fronts or the burden of the medical staff duties are not questioned by this council.

Recently, they have started the compensation system for the cerebral palsy in the obstetric area. It is a kind of insurance. They collect certain money for each birth from obstetric facility and pay to the parents of the unfortunate cases of cerebral palsy inevitable in certain probability which the medical services are not responsible for. They narrow down the objective cases they pay for. It eventually leaves so much reserve within the juridical person up to several thousand million JPY, that is, several ten million USD per a year. This reserve may, I guess, be used for the retiree payments or their salaries in the future. This is just an example. There are many more same cases in Japan.

On the other hand, those researchers have much difficulty to get enough fund for their important works as described in the beginning of this post.

Isn't it a big shame?


Heart warming whatever small fact it may be

After the earthquake and tsunmi hitting the Eastern Japan, my brother living in Sendai city near to the most devastated area told me the following fact in a grimace. There had been many robberies in the disastered areas even though the mass media had not reported the facts. The foreign mass media admired the suffering poeple for their good manner despite of such a mess. I was inclined to believe it had not been the case.

A recent news told, however, that the police in Fukushima Prefecture announced there had been about one billion and two hundred million JPY, that is about 15 million USD, found and brought to the police. 85% of them were brought after the disaster. It is several times more than the usual year, which meant most of them were lost in the disaster. 86% were already put back to the owner, as they report.

This small fact has made me feel happy for the most finders, even in their very tough economical situation, behaved as their conscience told them to. Our ethics as citizen is still alive even in such difficult situation. Of course, there must have been robberies or those pocketing the money they found in the disatered areas. But this fact encourages us that our ethos to help each other is still working among us.

My mind has been warmed for a while.  


Aspergians common on the air?

A couple of days ago, a guy in the West Coast has called me calling CQ. Surprisingly, he has started a QSO with me without confirming my coming back to him like this JA1NUT JA1NUT DE K6*** K6*** GM UR 599 599 and so forth. Feeling disgusted at this ill mannered operation, I have lost interests to start a QSO with him and have turned off the gear.

I have sometimes met guys operating in this manner. They have been from the developing countries in Asia but never from the US where ham radio was born and grown up. The former ones seemed to be due to their lack in experience on the air. They should have started operation after some experience as SWL. They could learn the manner even on the air. But for what reason should I reckon this West Coast guy is operating in this way?

A syndrome has come up to my mind. It is Asperger syndrome, which is pretty common in the polulation. The textbook of Pediatrics tells it is as frequent as 3/1000. The Wikipedia explaions this illness as follows;

Asperger syndrome, also known as Asperger's syndrome or Asperger disorder, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development.

It is characterized with the lack of ability in social interaction.

The one way QSO operators or monologists are pretty common on the air, aren't they? In my own experience, aging often makes us tend to be this way. It is not exactly the medical problem of Asperger syndrome but only a sign of senility. Monologue won't make our QSOs pleasant as well as fruitful at all. What makes our days should be real dialogues.


Internal radiation in Minamisouma city Fukushima

A doctor at Minamisouma Municipal Hospital near the devastated nuclear power plants has reported on the issue titled above recently. The original data is shown here at the city web site though it is in Japanese.

In summary, when the percentages of the children with Cessium detected with a whole body counter is compared between last summer and this winter, it has decreased from about 50% to 5%. The WBC detects Cessium above 20Bq/kg. The absolute value ranged from below the detection limit to 100Bq/kg. These measurements were much lower than those observed in Chernobyl. The declining pattern was individualized. That is, there were some whose values were declining slower than the others. Those people have had radiation-contaminated foods like the vegetables grown in their own garden farm etc. When they stopped taking those foods, they had the measured values substantially lowered.

This result means the internal radiation, which was not so serious so far, is steadily decreasing in the young generation.  The contamination must be from the foods. In Japan, they could get foods produced in the other areas not polluted with the radioactive substances. That may be the reason why the contamination is kept at such level. The author points out that they should monitor the contamination by the other substances like Strontium. They should be careful for the carcinogenicity of radioactive Iodine to children's thyroid glands, which had alrady decayed long before they started maesurements. They should go on monitoring the internal radiation and the possible carcinogenicity the other health issue like heart toxicity as reported in Chernobyl due to the contamination of radiation for years.

I should add some points to this study. The WBC won't detect contamination localized within a body. Some researchers warn that Cessium would be absorbed by the urinary tract epithelium and would accumulate there so that eventually will cause atypism of those cells later. Even if WBC detects low level or undetectable level of internal radiation, this pathological process could take place in the urinary tract. They should follow up this accumulation of Cessium in the urinary tract and the cellular atypism in the urinary sediments.

This study was performed for the generation older than infants and toddlers. I suspect the usual WBC is not applicable to younger children. I have seen, in a TV interview, a person from the devasted area by the nuclear power plant accident complained their children under 3 yeras of age had not undergone any test for internal radiation at all.  Those young ones are most vulnerable to the effect of radiation and should never be neglected in such studies. The government should promptly take any measures to observe and protect them from the contamination of radiation through foods as well as their environment.


Being a short timer

I learned how to spend preretirement period in the US this morning. Mitch K6VPN  told this. A short timer should get a stick and shorten it little by little in the SF Fire Dept. In the US Navy, as Dick N7RC told, he should get a toilet chain in stead and do with it in the same way.

What should I do with at my office? Only 5 weeks left before my retirement.


A flow of life

In my wedding party over 30 years ago, a friend of mine who was a psychiatrist gave us an unforgettable speech. He told that we belonged to a flow of life in the universe. We should never forget that in our lives. That was what he had told there, I believe. The words, a flow of life, were memorable to me even though I could hardly understand what it had meant at that time.

Now, as I am finishing my career as a pediatrician, his words often come up in my mind with a reality. The sick children are capable of getting better with a little of care or even without any medical intervention. They show the brilliance of life, never stopping to mend him- or herself and growing by her- or himself. Watching them improving and growing, I always feel so satisfied and happy. I fully understand how mothers could be so serious and passionate for their children. The children are part of themselves. We are together in a flow of life in this way. This might sound too religious or too philosophical. It is still a reality. Observing and doing with those children by yourself, you might share this feeling.

When I changed my profession from mechanical engineering to medicine, I would like to do with human being, either in education or in medical services. Eventually, I have chosen the latter. Though I would have done research works at med school a little bit longer before starting practice in the countryside, I am still feeling satisfied at my present work and this career was, I believe, prepared as my calling. It might sound like an exaggeration but it was still my fortune to have been involved in "a flow of life"throughout my life. After retirement, I would go on being involved in this field by some means.

May I be able to finish it uneventfully in 5 weeks.

Packed like sardines

This morning, just before the ARRL test started, I had spent an hour on 15m, which was wide open to North America.  There seemed to be many contesters getting ready for the upcoming ARRL DX contest. It was a rehearsal for them to give me a call. I have got calls from the US and Canada in a row for an hour. The 15m was in really good shape. 40m was a little bit veiled last night but, after sunrise in the US, was also good for the West Coast. On 40m, the OTH radar went off so that the band was really quiet. I am sure all the contest lovers will enjoy this week end.

I could not help recalling about the contests in early 80s when the bands were also really hot and there were big guns on the whole band packed like sardines. I was so excited to hear them and used to work as many as possible in the contests. I had a barefoot and a vertical but used to stay up throughout week ends. It was a real fun. The ARRL CW contest was one which I should never miss those days. The World Wide CW and All Asian CW contests were also my favorites. However, time has passed. I won't be able to stay up all night for any contest. Or even running in any contest for an hour may have me fall asleep. It may be only a sign of aging. Anyhow, I won't be so avid in any contest any longer.

 Yesterday, when I met one of the biggest contesters in Colo, Chuck, K0RF, he uttered he should be on for ragchewing more. I was sure he was quite right. Enjoying contests is like a feverish illness and won't leave me anything good for us. But I won't blame contesters at all. I know it is a fun. Just enjoy it. Remember, however, the bands will wait for you after the contest.


BOJ's decision

The Bank of Japan has decided to increase the supply of 10 trillion yen per a year, that is, more than one hundred billion USD, into the market. It is to get out of the deflation to "mild inflation" after the US FRB's plan, as they say. The aimed inflation rate is set at 1% while 2% by FRB.

I suspect it won't work out as planned. In Japan, the long lasting deflation is due to the lessened domestic demand. The past governments have proceeded deregulation policies in every aspect. It has resulted in, not the activation of the economy in Japan, but the drastic drop of most of the people's life standard.

The increased money supply in the market only stir the investors to do their job for commodities in the international market etc. It won't increase the demand by the people. The stock market is instantly responding to this change in the economy policy.

It could trigger an uncontrollable inflation as well. In such a case, it may be very difficult for the government or the BOJ to calm it down. The governmental debt has been taken by ourselves through banks or Japan Post. In the coming few years, possibly, in 2 or 3 years, the debt amount exceeds the whole deposit of the people. It may be the time when such a drastic inflation starts.

For the past two decades, haven't we learned that deregulation has been merchandizing the social capitals which should have never been treated in that way? No more short term investments in the international markets destroying the peoples' peaceful lives. 


Structural impediments initiative 1990

Recently, I had a chance to read over Structural Impediments Initiative Interim Report which was agreed between Japan and  the US government in 1990. It was the time immediately before the bubble economy ruptured in Japan. It has scarecely been reported or discussed by the mass media here in Japan.

The US government forced Japan to invest for the public overhead capital. The total investment was up to 640 trillion yen, that is, about 90 trillion USD in present currency exchange rate. Our government ordered the local governments to invest with a promise it would be covered by the tax. Later on, in the age of prime minister Koizumi cabinet, the promise was broken so that most local governments had a big amount of debts. Some belive that this is the cause of the present astronomical amount of debts of our government.

This investment is aimed to lessen the financial surplus in our country. But "overhead" may mean it should not be spent for the people. I know the local governments have built so many buildings or other structures which were of little use for the people. We should have prepared for the highly aging era which we are experiencing at present. The present and next generations should get out of the debt.

It is surprising how detailed the economical policies are described that our governnment should take. I am simply afraid it is against the sovereignty of our government. Such subordination relationship may be due to the beaurocrats and politicians who had been educated in the US and were under strong influence by the US.

We should be independent from any other countries. Such independence may make the relationship with the other countries appropriate and fruitful for the future.


The OTH radar again

The OTH radar noise has started ruining 40m very badly. It is told to come from somewhere in the south easetern China. the Wikipedia tells it is originally on 1.8MHz causing spurious disturbance on 7MHz. It seems to be a frequency sweeping system, which is new to me, different from the former ones. The conventional noise blanker is of little use for this noisy splatter.

The OTH radar systems have been researched and utilized by a number of nations for guarding themselves since the end of WWII. The accuracy as radar seems not very high. But it may be useful, so far as the military officials judge, for observation of invaders to their countries. While they are always trying to overcome such system, they are still keeping building such system. It seems like a tragecomedy or, more likelily, a smell of military industries playing a drama which they have written by themselves.

If this splattering on the amateur band is due to the OTH radar by China, they are acting against IARU. IARU should promptly protest against their behaviour. We should write to the embassy or the consulate of China to stop it or they will be regarded as one of the invading nations by all amateur hams in the world.

I quit operating 40m at night as I have been doing here and decided to spend time for the other things. China may be helpful to me to use the precious time in this way.


Absurdities in our lives

I am starting, in preparation for retirement, packing books, CDs, papers and so forth in my room in the clinic. For the past 17 years, there have been many items left unused. A file of case reports has appeared from a corner of bookshelf. I have summarized interesting as well as important cases whom I was on charge in the inpatient ward at the med school hospital I served residency.

It was over 30 years ago when I made those summaries. But each case comes up in my mind so vividly. One of my most impressive cases was a 5 year old girl. She was diagnosed as acute leukemia, which was not classified either lymphocytic or myelocytic. The surfce markers or the genetic markers were not available for the further lineage diagnosis at that time. The supervisor doctor told me it was unclassifiable undifferentiated leukemia. I was on charge of her from her admission as a fresh leukemia case to the end of her death at age 7.

She was a skinny fair skined girl. She has had much agony from the illness itself but also from the procedures for diagnosis like bone marrow tap etc. She has been in a room with her mother all the time. She never smiled at me or the other medical staff except for the day I mention below. The trial of a series of remission induction treatments has never been successful. It resulted only in pancytopenia causing infection etc. She has survived with blood transfusion at regular interval. Those despairing treatments might make her so indifferent to the medical staff including me. She looked gremaced whenever I entered her room.

We have run out the treatment protocols for remission induction. Without treatments, blastic cells increased which could make her fall in peril. We have chosen a maintenance treatment to slow down the blast proliferation, that is, small doses of Ara C in continuous infusion. Fortunately, it has given her an Indian summer. The pancytopenia was not so marked as the former protocols. I could not forget the scene when, entering her room for a round one morning, I was given a brilliant smile by her. I felt as if she had recovered from that cruel illness. We even talked something at that time. Her voice was cheerful as well as peaceful even though I don't rememver what we talked then.

That peaceful period has not, however, lasted long. Her blasts were getting resisitent to any treatments. The pancytopenia has let pathogens invade her all around. She has finished her short life at age 7.

What was her life meaning? What did I do for her? Only giving her more agony than the illness itself? I could hardly answer to these questions. I remember of her with a pain. There are absurdities in our lives which we could hardly accept. It was still one of them for me even when I am reaching the end point of medical career. Maybe, she has given me a lesson that there would be so many difficult things for me to answer or accept in my life all the way. We still should go on with the world full of absurdities. I should not compromise with the fact but should go on facing it with internal pain.

I was feeling thankful to this girl for reminding me of that and quietly closed that summary file.

I will put an end to my doctor career in a month and 18 days.



Oblivion by Piazzolla played by Sol Gabetta.


Last night, I listened to her playing this piece. It has caused insomnia on me. It is never literally an oblivion but a stimulus.

Gabetta, a young virtuoso cellist, plays this piece with passion. Her blood as an Argentine, the same as the composer, may sympathize with the composer's ardor in melancholy.

The main two themes are both slow melodies but quite different in character. The 1st theme is dominated by a touch of deep melancholy in minor tonality while, in the 2nd one in major, resisitance to gloomy mood appears in forte. When the 1st theme comes back, a touch of sentimentalism shows up for a second, which soon turns to vigorous emotion again. The basic mood in her performance is intense passion, which may sound monotonous but is still hued in different way of expression. I am always amazed at her strong will for expression with her apparently delicate outlook.

I used to play this piece in piano trio a year ago, which I enjoyed so much. Last night, I remembered of that performance and felt so excited that I spent some tme playing with my cello again.

Maybe, this piece is not suitable for a night cap.


Luddite in Marathon

It has been a matter of debate in FOC how we do with the reverse beacon network in such an event as Marathon contest. From the standpoint of equality in contest, there should be a division in category between RBN users and non users. But, according to the progress in internet, there could be further technique to get more points in contest. For example, someone may use the remote operation through the internet. This "progress" in technique is endless.

As for Marathon, it should remain as a real QSO party all over the world but not a competetive event. I join it to see old friends whom I could scarcely meet. There are many old friends gathering in the party like talking over glasses of beer in a comfortable living room. In reality, I have met a number of old friends like Tom N6RA or Leif OZ1LO whom I have never met for the past several years. Drew VK3XU has given me an up to date on Tim VK3IM, our mutual old friend during Marathon. I would participate Marathon for such QSOs.

Marathon could never be equal to all members. For example, we, the members in the East Asia, are handicapped due to paucity of members in this area. The path to both member rich areas like G land or the East Coasts should be over the north pole and is susceptible to the solar storm and so forthe. It could never be a competetive contest with equal chance to every participant.

So far, I like Marathon as a QSO party for myself. I would stay being on the side of Luddite.


A pleasant QSO

This morning 15m was slightly veiled. The signals from the east coast were not loud but with much flutter. Alan, KF3B, has given me a call. His signal is usually S9 here. But it sounded modestly loud and very watery this morning. We used to have good chats for many times in the past few years. For the past year or two, however, we haven't met due to either coincidence or his inactivity. Maybe both were the reasons.

He told he had had a feedline problem. The VSWR read high on the 15m with his antenna. The weather has been too rough for him to fix it now. I hoped him to come back on the air so often as before very soon. Will it take a few more months before he fixes it?

He seemed to have read about the cellist, Wendy Warner, in my blog. He told me he had listened to her performing Popper's highly technical piece in a concert for the graduates from Curtis Music School in early '90s. He was impressed at her most outstanding performance among the other performers. This favors my impression on her playing the clarinet trio by Brahms as written in the past post.

I was so happy to talk of such subject over the air with him. I am pleased if my write up has reminded him of that concert 20 years ago. Alan, let's go on talking about music again.

The other point was that such a brilliant virtuoso in cello peroformance remains just a cellist who is not known all over the world yet. Living on as a musician must be quite difficult. Wendy must still be a cellist of success. There must be so many talented ones who have not known in the world despite of their excellent capability with cello. I also have a friend of violinist who has studied in Germany for years but could not get a proper position as a violinist yet. A hard and competetive world. Maybe they need ceratain luck to be recognized as performers in the world. Still a harsh and difficult profession.  I would back up them by some means.