The garden

The garden and the farm keep me busy. I have planted radish and some flowers today. Plowing some parts of the garden is another task for me. Seeded tomatoes are growing in small pots. I should move them to the farm soon. Pulling the weeds is a never ending duty as well. Last night, Keith, VK4TT, told me on 40m CW, when I complained of the hard work to do with the weeds, that he had felt he spent a half of his life with pulling them in the garden. I have nodded deeply at his words before the rig.
For the past few weeks, we have had cold snap for a few times. Frost has damaged the potatoes which I planted in the beginning of this month. As the neighbor farmer kindly told me, they have got damage and have some leaves killed. Fortunately, the weather is getting milder for the past few days and those potatoes are getting lively again.
A persimmon tree is awake after a long sleep in the winter. The leaves are so fresh and beautiful. We may expect good persimmon fruits this fall. The farm over the fence belongs to the kind farmer. His corn is growing really great. 
German iris on a corner of the garden. They were planted by my father years ago. My wife tells me this color, deep dark red, is pretty rare one for German iris.
 Enkianthus in front of the house my parents used to live. It is a kind of quite common plant for hedge in Japan. This won't bloom at present. The flowers are tiny lovely ones with white hue when they come out.  The leaves look also very fresh and vivid.
In this way, I have become an amateur gardener. It is a pleasure for me to do with them here. Water melon and other vegetables are waiting to be planted soon. 

Fluctuation of hand key may make it a good bait

I have uploaded a post on the advantage of hand key or bug key as a bait to get a call for CQ several days ago. The idea of bait was given by Bob W6CYX. He often just listen to me calling CQ with an electronic keyer again and again. When I have no calls, I try a hand key or a bug key for a change. Then he gives me a call telling that he has eaten a nice bait.

It has been a matter of consideration for me what attracts good CW operators like Bob to hand key or bug key. It may be related with the fluctuation of the keying by those keys. Our life, itself, fluctuates. Heart beat, breathing pattern, consciousness level and so forth. This fluctuation helps us to accustome to the environment. Without it, we might have much difficulty to get along in the ever lasting changeable environment.

Maybe, we feel comfortable when we see or experience anything fluctuating. Keying may not be an exception of such a thing. Keyboard keying, even though so neat and clear, won't fascinate us so much. It sounds like a march of military in a sense. Too rigid and breathless. On the other hand, hand key or bug key sounds like breathing in free air. It assures us freedom. It is so characteristic that we feel as if talking to someone in face.

This idea is just an idea. Not any scientific fact at all. But it is a fact that we are attracted by hand key or bug key.   


Sake Steamed Clam

Here is another dish for dinner here. The recipe in English is here, though it is not entirely the same as I made with.
When removing the sand from the shell, we should adjust the concentration of salt water at 3%. Or the clam will go on strike! I have experienced it this time.
Clam chowder we had at a restaurant in Palos Verdes last summer was very good. I should try that recipe sometime. 

Much water has flowed...

Late last night, I met Jim W6YA on 20m. I haven't heard him for a while. He told me the conditions had not been very good and he had not heard any friends so much on the air. That was why he had not been so active recently. He has given me a good news as well, that is, he would be a grandfather very soon. I am sure babysitting will take his free time away from now.

He asked me if I had known a ham active in 1930s. It was Suzy J2IX. She has been one of the well known pioneers in ham radio in Japan those days. When I told him she might had gone QRT by '60s when I came on the radio, he let me know she came back as JH1WKS, maybe, in 1970s. She used to be located at a place in Tokyo pretty close to my mother med school. I wondered why he had those old QSLs since he started radio in 1950s by himself. His mail with those photos explained these cards had belonged to W6CUQ these days, later, K6ZO. Jim told me he enjoyed looking at those old cards.

On the photo, I could find a well known call as well, Taro J2GX, later JH1WIX. He used to be pretty active in 1980s. I have met him in Tokyo in a small JA FOC gathering. A kind and open hearted person. I still miss him. Jim has known Taro as well.

Yesterday, when I met another good friend of mine, Jack WA7HJV, who had found my old QSL card for a QSO back in 1967, he told me much water had flowed under the bridge. Yes, did it here as well. It is not a bad thing for us to be indulged in nostalgia from time to time.

PS:Jim W6YA let me know Suzy's call was not J2GX but J2IX. I have corrected it in this post as he told. When I googled about her, I knew she had taken over her brother's call when he abruptly died. His friends told her to get the ticket. Taro J2GX had taught her engineering etc fot the exam those days. The administrative office kindly offered her brother's call J1DN. Later, she got the well known J2IX.


A new deck

We have got a deck in front of the livingdining room. It is what my wife has wanted for years. The deck is told to be composed of synthetic resin. It contains wood chip components in it. So it is assured to be free from corrosion or ant problems etc. It surely looks good.
My wife may lay planters mainly of roses there. Maybe, we could have tea there as well.
The lawn seems pretty neat. But in a few weeks, without being cared for, it could become messy with weeds. It is the time now when I am supposed to work hard for the garden.


Terminal care

A few days ago, a TV program was on regarding the terminal care, especially, the life sustaining care in the terminal stage. This topic was a kind of off-limits for mass media. With a surprise to know such topic is coming on mass media, I watched it for a while. The tone of the arguement was generally positive for death in dignity.

Now, it is an era of advanced age in Japan. The terminal care should be a problem for many people. The expenditure for the terminal care is told to occupy the greater part of the cost for medical services. From that standpoint, this topic should have been discussed long before as well.

It has never been possible for medical staff to discuss about or propose death in dignity to their patients or their families, even though there have been many occasions necessary for that. Mercy killing has been out of question here. The medical staff are destined to go on treating his/her patient until the very last minute. Without doing that, we could be accused for "unintentional killing". Among medical staff, it has been a matter of question. But it has officially been an untouchable  area in medical services. We should wait until the people themselves become aware of that and start discussing about it as an own problem.

It is a good thing that such a topic is coming up for discussion among the people, even if it is lead by mass media. Our life is not eternal. We should accept death sometime. It is questioned how to accept it now. We could not know when and how it comes on us. But we should get ready for that by ourselves.

The only worry about this problem is that it is not us but the bureaucratics and/or politicians who
have lead it behind mass media. Their concern is only about the growing expenditure for the termical care. It could distort the discussion. The discussion should be based on our own idea regarding how to live and how to die.


I have been sweating in the garden. One project is making a small farm. Plowing the ground and getting rid of stones, weeds' roots and so forth. The soil becomes soft and rich after such procedures. Here is such a farm. I have planted 6 of young tomatoe plants.
While I was working there, a neighbor farmer, a little bit younger than me, has talked to me over the fence. A muscular type of guy with sunburnt face. He said it was a little bit too early for me to plant them because it still could get frosty in the coming few weeks. I should have planted them in a couple of weeks, as he said. I could not help smiling to hear him saying the vegetable plant makers could earn more if we planted them too early and got them ruined by frost. He proposed me some vinyl sheet to avoid such damage on vegetables by frost.
He seemed to have known my father. He said my father used to fertilize the soil and the plants might grow well. Yes, I know what he meant. His words reminded me of my father doing the same thing. I wonder if that farmer used to talk to my father as if to me today. My father was, at that time, as old as myself at present. I felt time had slid away. It was not a feeling of sadness. But I was satisfied to go along after my father.
The next plant should be water melon, which I have failed or have had nasty crows eat for the past few years. I would pull it off by any means this year. I would send fresh water melon to my parents in law this summer. Together with my wife, I have also planted or seeded a few kinds of flowers like Cosmos, Mary Gold, Forget-me-not and so forth.
The hardest work is to puu the weeds. Terrible work.
I only wish I were young enough not to have backache so easily.



The accident in Fukushima has not ended at all

At the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima, leakage of contaminated water was reported recently. One hundred and thirty tons of highly contaminated water was leaked from a reservoir. Those resorvoirs have only 3 layers of sheets as the wall, they say. Only 3 layers of sheets! There are 13000 tons of such water reserved in tanks as well as reservoirs at present. Four hundred tons of contaminated water are brought about from the plant every day. The amount of reserved water with radiation is continuously increasing. There could be much more leakage of polluted  water from those reserved in the fragile reservoirs than reported this time, I suspect.

The melt down fuels are unknown in detail at all. They could penetrate the casing of reactors below the destroyed reactor. We should expect pollution into the water underground and eventually into the ocean. The melt down fuels are still totally inaccessible now. All they are doing now is to cool them blindly with water.

The numerous used fuels are still being pooled. Especially, in the pool of 4th reactor, there are more than 1300 of used fuels being cooled. The 4th reactor building is half detroyed by the explosion of the other reactor buildings. It could fall down by any quake etc that results in scattered used fuels on the ground. At that situation, since those used fuels out of water are highly radioactive, the plant could become inaccessible.

Most importantly, there are still 150000 evacuees from the area adjacent to the plant. Most of them would lose their homeland forever, I am afraid. Hundreds of people have already died among those evacuees.  Over half of them are reported to have died of the causes related with the stress or any illness due to long lasting evacuation. There should be more numbers of workers at the plant being irradiated from ow on. They might have problems of chronic radiation in the future.

The accident in Fukushima has never ended yet. We have not found even the exit to solution.


A prime time in spring

A variety of flowers are coming out in our garden. One of the best seasons in a year. This magnolia has had its some branches cut off so that the flowers are not so gorgeous as usual. It still shows beautiful big flowers swinging in breeze. 

This is the plum tree. It has been suffering from a kind of mold, as I already wrote here. I was concerned about its growth and fertility. It seems OK so far. It was an unexpected surprise that this tree had born full blown flowers in a night. Beautiful white flowers. Hopefully, it will bring a lot of fruits in this summer.  


What will the quantitative easing result in?

I am going for shopping at a shopping mall almost every day. Getting some food stuff, I get ready for supper for two of us on the day. It is a kind of different there today. The prices of quite some items like food are gone up. Bread, oil and so forth. They say the electricity is getting more expensive while the price of the gas remains high. Evidently, it is a result of quantitative easing through lowered exchange rate of our currency against the others.

The most recent report of BOJ etc tells that only two sectors of the industries, the export sector in the industries, especially automobile section, and the civil engineer sector, benefitted from the quantitative easing policy of the present government. The plant investment remains low. The cunsumer tax rate is ready to be raised soon.

The present government says they will get out of the deflation spiral with the quantitative easing. However, the issue is the lack or the decline of the demand in the country. The export sector  takes only 20% of GDP. It won't improve the demand within the country. The civil engineer sector has been invested for the past decades with very small or only transient effect on the economy in the country. The side effect of the lowered currency might hit our lives as the increased prices in addtition.

Some workers in certain sectors are paid more this spring. The government advertises this effect may be generalized in all the sectors in some time. But, knowing how much the enterprises have added as the internal reserve for the past couple of decades, I could hardly ever believe that it comes true in the near future. In addition, the government has the astnomically big amunt of debts. The public services may be reduced in budget.

As one of the citizens, I don't think this quatitative easing won't work out but may elicit "bad" inflation only. As a retiree, I thought I should get ready for the inflation starting now. No way for us to hedge it. But for the hard time in the coming few years, we should get it through by some means.