Starting with cello again

I have not touched my cello for a month or so. I did not feel willing to practise it any longer. One motivation had been a chance for chamber music with two friends. It has been cancelled with various reasons for the past several months. Another, more importantly, was that I felt it was quite tough for me to progress with it. The problems in my sights and sense of tempo or the lack of basic techniques.
Whenever the cello in the hard case came into my sight in my room, I felt guilty for that cello from Italy. A few days ago, I have opened the case and taken that dark orange hued cello. Bowing entire length of the bow, scaling in different tonalities and then some tunes familiar to me. One of them is the Prelude of Unaccompanied Sonata for cello by Bach. The score looks very simple. But it is a bit tough to make it sound as it should. It should sound like that played by Rostropovitch in the video clip. What a warm tone he produces with cello! This piece was told to have been composed by Bach when he had lost his first wife.
Anyway, it is very good to concentrate on something leaving the other things away from my sight. Cello sure gives me sometime to do so. Who cares if I won't make any more progress with it? So far as I could be in the world of music for myself, it is good enough for me. Maybe, hopefully, in some time, we could start the piano trio again. 



Hit and run operators

For the past several years, I have often been called with only the caller's call sign. Only once. No my call nor DE before his call sign etc. Very simple. I noticed those callers always make the simplest style of QSO. No ragchewing at all. When they finish the message least necessary, they always finish their sending with BK withoug IDs. As soon as the message exchanges of least necessity are over, they quit leaving least greetings to me.

I noticed they might use a memory keyer. The keyer might send his call once. All the operator is doing is just pushing a button of the memory keyer. The other messages could be from the memories as well. He might be watching the display decoding my message. It is the same as RTTY or other digital modes.

I hope I won't guess right. But observing carefully of those hit and run operators, I must say there are pretty numerous guys operating CW in this way.  I won't mercilessly deny and accuse them for their irregular CW operation. And there could be some hams who would become proficient in CW after operating in this way. However,  watching conversations on CW may promise them much faster learning of CW and much more fruitful enjoyment of CW in the future. 


Only wish for our daughter

I must admit we were not very successful for educating our children so far. At least, the things haven't gone in the way we or they had wanted. We have had our daughter take violin lesson since her age of 7 or 8 years. I knew it had been too late for her to be a professional violinist. Since I could teach her with my knowledge of cello performance, however, I was very serious and even strict to her practising it in early days.
What fascination I have had for her when she started playing h minor Concerto by Saint Saens or a piece from Bach's unaccomapnied partita! It was very tough for me as well as my wife working as med doctors to have brought her for lesson at regular interval for years. But, at that time I listened to her playing those pieces, I was convinced firmly it had been rewarded.
Maybe, I have forgot letting her know what a joy it is to produce musics of classic with own instrument. She quit playing it when she started getting ready for the entrance exam to high school at age 14 or 15. The teacher, a respectable lady, has given her, as a souvenir to quit the class, a few CDs of violin and piano music, which seemed very good choice to me. The Poem by Chausson, Piano Concerto in d minor by Mozart and so forth. Maybe she knew our daughter had needed love for music.
She has scarcely touched her instrument since that time, unfortunately. I won't force her to do so any longer. I only hope she would recall playing violin and would start playing it for herself sometime in her life when she needs it. Only I could do is that I go on loving music and playing cello by myself.
At a small concert of the violin class. She was aged 11 years or so. The piece she played was Nr5 violin concerto by Mozart, I believe. She is now studying nursing at a university. She would be a good nurse as her grandmother used to be.



It was when I came back on the air at the dorm of a med school hospital that I met Tim with this call for the first time. My old log book told me we had met in '60s when he was VK3AZY as well. Anyway, both Tim and I were so active in '80s that we often worked on 40m. He was always on the way back home in Mt. Eliza from his office in Melbourne. There must be many CW operators around the world who have worked him, either at home or on mobile. He was running a mobile from his old Mazda van those days. His old FT101E sounded a littli bit chirpy. That chirp was unique enough to let us recognize him without hearing his call. What a charming signal he used to send out from that set up!

I have found the old photos of him and his mobile set up when I was tidying up the old stuff in the storage room a few days ago. Here are those photos he used to send me in '80s.

This is Tim in his young days. He has been a person of good will to the others. A bit shy but very sociable once he knew someone. I believe these photos were taken in Canberra when he spent the holidays there. This is his old Mazda with a home brew whip on the roof.

He used to operate radio in this way. His old FT101E was on the side seat. The paddle was beneath his thigh. He was very fluent with chatting on CW. We often chatted all the way where he drove from Melbourne to his home for an hour or so.  He used to ask me to wait for him until he bought his FT101E into his shack. With a glass of vermouth, he often came up on the band from his shack in a few minutes. We have talked for some more time thereafter. I wonder what we have had to talk about after an hour QSO from his mobile.

His home brew whip was on the top of the van. It had a top hat and a big sized loading coil for each band. This antenna was so efficient that he used to tell me he had worked Eu through long path on 80m. A friend of mine, VK1ARA, let me know he used to bring a blanket and a refrigerator on this van  so that he could stay anywhere he wanted.
He tuned the antenna tuner in this way. No automatic one those days. I bet this box had a lid to avoid getting wet with rain etc. Amazing the antenna tuner was fixed by this gum rope only.
The top loaded whip on the roof of the van. The size of the coil must made the antenna so efficient.

Tim has been, unfortunately, bed ridden at home for a few years. Drew VK3XU, one of his friends, used to give me updates of Tim from time to time. I haven't heard from Drew for a year or two. Tim is already over 70 years old now. I hope he is getting better and is coming back on the air soon. I surely miss him with a great fist.


A snowfall

It has been incessantly snowing since early this morning. Wet and heavy snow. A very quiet afternoon . I have had a number of good QSOs in the morning. The bands have been widely open to the US. Among them, Bob N2UU was one of the most impressive one to me. He has retired 1.5 years ago. But he would like to do something worth doing again and returned to his work recently. It was not for the income. Nine hour long duty turned out to be a little bit tiring to him, though. He has shortened the work load a little bit now. Though I don't think I would back to a full time duty like he does any longer, I feel the same way with him. There should be many more retirees with the same feeling for work.
From the window of the shack. Everything is covered with snow. Some wind is blowing from north. Large flakes of snow are flying almost horizontally. It is the first snowfall here this winter.    

The antenna elements got much icy snow, I guess. The SWR reads very high even with 28MHz monobander. The radio has been turned off now.  I have been going on tidying up the storage room in the shed. From now, it is the time for music. Listening to some chamber musics and playing cello. Snowfall is not bad at all. I only hope the antenna elements won't be bent with the heavy snow.


The Pas de Deux in the Swan Lake suite

I don't like any works of Tchaikovsky so much. Too aesthetic for a listener. And too much work for an orchestral player. As an orchestral player, I have played only Nr 5 Symphony ans the Swan Lake suite. Both have not left me so good memories. Especially, the latter makes me even feel a little bit sick.

Several years ago, I was told to play as the top cellist at a local orchestra, which I took John 9V1VV for the practice in a week end. It was when we practised Nr 2 Symphony by brahms. I loved this one so much. That was the reason why I joined the orchestra. After we had played Brahms, I decided to stay at the orchestra since it was a cosy and friendly one. Then, one of the pieces it has practised was the Swan Lake. In its Grand Adagio, there is the famous the Pas de Deux of Odette and Prince Siegfried. There have not been such a beautiful and earnest theme, I think, as this solo played by the concert master. A staccato rhythm like heart beat heightens the music between violin solo. The violin solo swings fast melody in elegance. And again the rhythm in short tonging by the wind instruments comes back and beats up. All of sudden, at the height of that beats, a general pause visits the orchestra. The conductor looks intently at me. It is the moment I should start the mellow, sweet as well as manly melody. My heart almost stopped.

I always regretted taking that position as the top in the orchestra. And this music has left me a kind of posttraumatic stress syndrome.

It is still a beautiful music. Our minds are almost melted with those solo.

Listen carefully at 7 min. after the performace started.


Not for a two way monologue but for a real dialogue

Martin Buber used to write that the ultimate prayer is not asking God to do something but listening what He tells us. Pray to ask Him to tell, as he said. This expresses the most fundamantal form of dialogue. A real dialogue starts when one asks the other to tell him/her.

In ham radio, especially on CW conversation, we scarcely experience such a real dialogue. I have already repeatedly questioned about this problem. The lack of real dialogue is due to two issues.

One is that they are just making a game on CW. Just exchanging reports and promises for QSL. It is not a communication. The content is just stereotyped. The one we work with could be replaced to anybody. It is not a conversation but just a game.

The other issue is that there are no dialogue but only two way monologues in the QSO. Each would talk what he/she wants to say. No further progress in the conversation. There should be catch balls of topics between the two. But they would just throw a ball to a direction other than the other and the other won't try to catch that ball at all. There would be an endless monologue from either side going on.

I guess this latter issue comes from two different factors. One is the personality or aging of the operator. When we get older, unfortunately, we are apt to lose the ability to understand the others as well as to be  sympathetic with the others.  The original personality may be responsible for that, also. All we could do is to be careful not to fall in this pitfall. I don't know how that effort works. But it might be better for us not to try to be selfish in rambling on about ourselves. Better than nothing. At least, I believe, we should always be conscious of this trait due to aging. On the reception side, we should be tolerant to those with the lack of ability for dialogue as they get aged. Everyone should go through the elderly days in ourlives. We might have something meaningful in their monologues.

The last issue, which is unique to non native speaker hams, is that they won't listen to what the other says mainly due to reception/language barrier. They would only tell what they want to. They need to listen what the other say. It requires us much tension and patience. It is often too hard and laborious for us to be patient enough to listen to them despite of "not understandable condition". We would often focus on what and how to express our thoughts in sophisticated way. It is not, however, of primary importance. We scarcely know how important it is to listen to the other. Listening and understanding to the other could never be emphasized for meaningful dialogue in the QSO.


Ready for spring

I have been discarding the old books, mainly medical ones which I used to use in my residency days, and papers for the past few days. I could recall every moment I did with them. It was a time of sunrise for me, while I feel it is sunset or time to be ready for sunset. No sentimmentalism but a reality. Paying only a glance on them, I tidied up the book shelves and the boxes leaving those unnecessary things out of them.

The magnolia is budding. It may start blooming pretty soon. Despite of this very cold winter days going on, they are ready to come out now. It amazes me a lot even though it is the usual event at this time in a year. It encourages me to go ahead even if it seems so bleak to me at this time of my life.



Nuclear power plant accidents due to earth quakes

Yesterday evening, a short telop on TV told me there had been an earthquake of magnitude 7.7 along the west coast of North America 30 min. earlier. A few friends have come up in my mind. I rushed to the internet and googled about the news. Fortunately, it was far north along the coast of Alaska and no serious damage nor tsunami occurred, as it said. I was relieved to know that.

Alan AC2K in Seattle told me he could barely notice any quake at the time. I was concerned about the nuclear power plants there, which could be damaged by earthquakes. The recent news other than that last night told me there had been a few earthequeakes along the west coast for the past few months. Upon my inquiry, he let me know there are a number of nuclear power plants on the west coast.  Two in WA, 1 in OR and 2 in CA. At least one of CAs is on the coast near to a big fault. No argument against such possible dangerous facilities along the fault area? Of course, it's not the matter with only the US but actually ours. There are 54 plants in this small islands. Our country has had many big earthquakes in the past. They say we are getting into the earthquake activated era now.

There are over 1500 nuclear fuels stored at the 4th reactor in the devastated Fukushima nuclear power plant. Its quatity of Cs 137 is comparable to 5000 times of that in the atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima. 1300 of them are used ones, which are quite hazardous once they get out of the watered storage pool. The pool is right on the 5th floor of severely damaged rector building. If those used fuels are fell down and scattered by such as another earthquake, they could go critical again. It won't be managed by any means. It results in wide spread fallout all over our country. The mass media reports on the situationn of this reactor so often. We are still in hazard in this way.

I could not help considering of the same problem in the west coast where bunches of good friends are living. The internet news told me there had been a number of earthquakes occuring there for the past several months. I am afraid the earth itself is seismologically activated at present. We should quit the nuclear power generation all over the world now. 


A plan for hospital ships in Japan

Patriotism in China sometimes looks bizzare to me. It is often an expression of hatred to our country. Patriotism is essentially hatred and, possibly, prejudice toward the other people. So is it in Japan. When someone shout loudly of patriotism here, it means only exclusivism. They try to exclude some minority, wheter racial or of ideological, in the society. On the background, there are some people or party which gains from this movement in the society. They always belong to the establishment governing the country. The structure and dynamics of patriotism in both Japan and China seem almost identical.

The present government may stay quiet as for changing the constitution until they get the majority at the election of the House of Councillors this summer. But their draft of the new constitution clearly shows where they would like the country to go for. The lastest news reported that the government had planned to build a couple of "hospital ships". The majority party, LDP, says it was to prepare for the devastating natural disaster like Hanshin Earth Quake or the Eastern Japan Earth Quake/Tsunami.

The ships will belong to the Maritime SDF in Japan. It will take them a couple of days to arrive at the devastated area. It won't work as an acute phase medial aid at all. What it was intended to or expected to is to go abroad at the war site and to give medical service to those soldiers injured in the battle. It is clearly aimed at military use. According to our present constitution, JSDF won't go for war anywhere in the world. The change of the constitution is prerequisite for this hospital ship plan.

The congressman of LDP insisting to build those ships is a representative of a group of manufacturers of the hospital ship. The budget for those ships is planned up to a hundred billion JPY. What a kickback will this congressman receive from the manufacturers?

The problem is that such an important issue is not known to the people in Japan. Mass media won't take it for discussion theme at all. I would like to inform about this to the young people who should go or have their children go for the war in the future. Ardent patriotism won't breed peace. It is not a thing we are forced to be eager about. It should be based on a quiet and long lasting feeling of love toward family members, neighbors and the mother town. It should never be any exclusiveness to the people of the other ideas or of the other races. We should never be taken advatage of our real patriotism by those trying to control us from behind.


A New Years Resolution

A New Years Resolution;

1) Work less stations. Spend more time for a QSO.
I have been inclined to call CQ. But, nowadays, the content would be just exchanging reports and the related matters only. In a few QSOs, I always feel much tired of that. RBN dependent QSOs in that style are absolutely meaningless to me. I would spend more time for each QSO. Or just listen the band. This should be my policy.
2)Study more on economics/politics and possibly religion.
Where am I and where do I go? The economics and politics are in confusion on the whole. The US economy depends on China. There could never be such a cynicism. The neoliberal economy needs a fundamental reformation in my view. Our country may suffer from a serious economical collapse in the near future. In this situation, I should be aware of the above mentioned question. It is my internal demand.
3)Resume cello practice. At least, piano trio and Bach's unaccompanied sonata so far as I could do with. So far as I can. I would practise some part of unaccompanied sonata like a lesson piece every day.
4)Go on cooking and increase repertoire of dinner dishes. It is like an experiment for me to cook new recipe. A lot of fun. I will enjoy it.
5)Arrange the garden, which may require years from now.
A wood deck before the living room. More vegetable garden. Fruits like water melon should be tried this summer.
6)Plan a trip abroad again. Any FOC gathering or a trip for musics in Europe? Korea could be another destination where a good friend of mine is waiting for us. My sight problem could prevent me from going abroad. But discussing with my wife, I would try to go somewhere. Before it becomes impossible for us to do so.

I would shut my mouth because I guess someone rumoring that I could never do all of these in a year. Of course, personal and the environmental situation are pretty gloomy. But nothing might happen if we won't dream of. Something might come true so far as we dream and make effort for that.

A very HNY to you all. May your dreams come true, my friends.