A delightful news

I haven't got more excited at this news than any other news on medical science for some time. The researcher and her team have made a pluripotent stem cell with a very simple method. She and her team have found murine peripheral lymphocyte transforming into, or, we should say, rejuvenating to stem cell under a stressful condition.

It is almost unbelievable for me that such a young researcher was able to make such a success. It is partly thanks to Riken which has provided and left a lab to her and her team. I know they have only limited amount of grant there. Without a chance given for her studying by Harvard University in the US, she might not be able to make it. I am touched at generosity and open heartedness for foreign researchers by them. Of course, I would toast to this charming and capable researcher for her effort. She has not given up submitting her paper to Nature, which has rejected it for some times, so far as I heard. I really hope her to carry on her research and to contribute to the progress in medical science, even though there might be walls to overcome in the future.

Quote from Mainichi News:

Young Japanese scientist leads her team to major stem cell discovery

Scientist Haruko Obokata wears the long-sleeved apron her grandmother gave her as she works at her lab in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, on Jan. 28. (Mainichi)
Scientist Haruko Obokata wears the long-sleeved apron her grandmother gave her as she works at her lab in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, on Jan. 28. (Mainichi)

KOBE -- Behind the recent major scientific breakthrough that got scientists around the world talking is a young Japanese researcher who led her team to the historic discovery.
"Scientists work for the benefit of the people. I thought if I worked hard, somebody would find my research valuable," said Haruko Obokata, a research unit leader at RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, who played a central role in the recent discovery of "stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells" that might have more potential than induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, created by Nobel Prize-winning Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka.
The 30-year-old scientist has worked on her research while always keeping in mind her grandmother's wise words. When Obokata's research paper was rejected by one of the most prestigious science journals in 2009, her grandmother was the one who cheered her up and encouraged her to keep working hard. "You just have to do your best each day," the grandmother told her. When Obokata works in her lab, she always wears the long-sleeved apron her grandmother gave her.
Her friends and colleagues say Obokata is a fashion-conscious scientist. The walls of her lab are colorfully painted with pink and yellow while she keeps a flower-patterned sofa inside. She also decorates lab equipment with stickers of the cartoon character Moomin. She appeared at a news conference wearing a British designer ring.
Meanwhile, the professors who have taught Obokata all say that she is an incredibly hard working scientist.
In the summer of 2008, Obokata went to Harvard University as a graduate student to study under stem cell expert Charles Vacanti for six months. Just before she was scheduled to return to Japan, Obokata was assigned to give a presentation on the latest stem cell research. She prepared for the presentation, working day and night for a week and reading some 200 research papers related to the topic.
Vacanti, who observed Obokata's presentation, praised the young scientist and said it was the best presentation since he opened his lab. Vacanti then decided to support Obokata so that she could stay in the United States to continue her research.
The Harvard professor told a Mainichi Shimbun interview that Obokata has a keen sense (in her field) and tries out new things without hesitation.
Obokata now leads a lab at an exceptionally young age in Japan, where female scientists are said to have a tough time.
"This research will not help someone right away, but I hope it makes a contribution to the world someday. I am determined to continue my work for that moment," Obokota told the Mainichi Shimbun in an interview on Jan. 29.

January 30, 2014(Mainichi Japan)


The borderless world and ham radio as a community

National boundary is losing its meaning more and more nowadays. Because the economy is more globalized even though this globalization won't necessarily make all of us happier. At least, in the point of economical view, we could not get along within a country by ourselves. And the issues of environment and of natural resources also require us to deal with them across the border. The religions or races are located across the borders in many places. There could still be struggles and disputes across the borders anywhere as you know. The worst aspect in this borderlessness is in the terrorism. We should go on living in this borderlessness, which we have never experienced in the history.

Where could we find our hope in this borderless age? One of the answers might be in the presence of community. Sociology tells us a community is a functional concept which is defined the following
1)Everyone recognizes each other there.
2)The relationship among the members is long lasting.
We are living in a variety of communities. That is, we are situated in the concentric circles of various communities. Family, local area, workers at a company, believers in a religion and so forth. Those communities overlap each other and tend to make people related and united tightly.

Do I look it too much birght side of the situation if I advocate ham radio could form one of those communities over the borders in the world? I have thought of this possibility for a long time. If we have a real community across the borders, we might be able to overcome the nationalism and the wrong side of the borderlessness. At least, ham radio could be more hopeful than the internet, where we could scarcely recognize each other in the unstable relationship. We should reflect if ham radio society already could be such a community or not.

I have received an e mail from Mike WB4ZKA. It was a really pleasant mail to me. I won't brag about what he has said about me. But I felt there is a guy who enjoys ham radio on CW in the same way as I do. Isn't it an expression of a community across the border?  With Mike's permission, I would quote his mail to me here;


You and I have chatted on CW before, most recently last year.  You impressed me
with your willingness to stretch beyond the normal "599 73" DX contact.

I want you to know how much I appreciate you on CW.  I've heard you put American
hams to bed late at (U.S.) night with "sweet dreams", I've heard you in my
pre-dawn hours when I can't sleep, and I've heard you in my afternoons (your
pre-dawn hours when you don't seem to sleep) chatting at a lively gallop with
others in the U.S.

You discuss international economics, dog care, manufacturing strengths, and all
sorts of other topics competently and fluidly.  You seem to know everyone, and
many hams I talk to on CW all know you.  That's quite an accomplishment.

I sometimes sleep out in the small travel trailer in my back yard that houses my
HF CW station.  Normally, I leave the receiver on 40m turned down low.  More
than once, I've been pleased in my sleep to hear your signal whispering in
around 7026 kHz.  In my sleep, I can copy your call sign.

And it is the call sign of a respected friend.  You bring pleasure to my heart.

I don't mean to offend your Japanese sensibilities, but you have a bigger impact
on the CW landscape than your logbook shows.

-- Mike


Nakamura Hachiman Shrine

There is a shrine 1 or 2 km south of our home. I have been there twice or so long time ago. When I was working at my own office south of here, I was commuting on a street running along this shrine. I knew it had been a pretty old one. I was not interested in it and would not drop there at all. This afternoon, when it was getting a bit warm for this time in a year, I visited this shrine. Recently, I have been reading about Shintoism. It used to be a native religion or rather a collection of habits among the people. But, in Meiji era, when the government needed a system to unite the people, they combined it with the emperos system. It has grown into the fanatic patriotism before and in WWII. My intersts in Shintoism might have brought me there as well as the good weather has.
My mother used to talk about a festival held at this shrine. A man galloping this entrance road down was shooting a target. It seemed to be a fond memory for her. I don't know when it is performed or even if it is still done or not. There were rows of old cedar trees along the road from the entrance to the worship place for several hundred meters. No one there and very quiet. 

Searching how and when this shrne was established, I knew an emperor had been told to build it in the 7th century. In the 12th century, Yoshiie Minamoto worshiped this shrine on the way for a battle to Tohoku area. It seemed to be a historical fact. This worship facility was built in 1461. Again no one in the worship place. I think there are people coming for worship only in the new years' days etc. No tourists. There are so many old shrines like this all over our country.
This shrine, one of Hachiman Shrines, worships the 15th emperor in the 5th century. He is a god of military in the relevant Shintoism named Hachiman. Historically, his existence is still quetioned even though some people insist he is the first emperor who could be confirmed in the history. Most likelily, there had been a head of a big tribe who was later regarded that emperor.  The early lineage of the emperor must be mythical.
Having grown up in this area, my mother must have come here and enjoyed annual festivals as told above. I felt I had seen my mother in her shildhood playing along the entrance road there for a while. Of course, it was an illusion. I wondered what she would say if she had known that I got interested in and visited this shrine. I wished I could converse with her about it and the other many things. 


Meat and Potato

Beef was cooked with potato, carrot and onion. It was seasoned with fish stock, sake, sugar, soy sauce and sweet rice wine. The latter two were added in the midst of cooking. Using beef instead of pork and less salty seasoning are typical for the recipe in Kansai area. My wife, originally from Shikoku next to Kansai, likes that taste better than that in Kanto area.
This menue called Nikujyaga, which stands for Meat and Potato, is another popular one popular among families in Japan. 

A limit of the internet media.

A friend of mine in the US has told in the facebook as follows; he was told by one of his friend his saying was too much and would be censored out by him. This friend of mine is always sarcastically cartooning the president Obama and the government in the facebook. It makes me chuckling sometimes. But, basically, I won't agree with him in most cases.

Not only the content of his political opinion but also the use of internet media like the facebook for insisting it won't work out, I am afraid. Political opinions are always based on the sense of values a person has got through his life. It is not easy to persuade someone with a political opinion different from yours into your own. There should be an open mindedness to seek truth or, at least, to look for something better in the world. It is a very tough process like mining a small hole through a rock.

This attitude of open mindedness, which Karl Jaspers used to express a sense of Kommunion, is very scarse in the world of the internet. There is only a raw battle of debate or enforcement of someone's opinion to the others. It is always impossible to compress a problem in the politics into a phrase or a few lines of sentences. Such simplification of problems in the politics and/or economy is that one has given up hthinking of his own opinion by himself.

Owing to this trend for simplification of the point of contention is especially evident in such as the facebook. It doesn't look like a media appropriate for discussing such subjects. Cartooning politicians would necessarilly help others to understand what you would say. Now such internet media is so popular that, I am afraid, there could be no real public opinion but only mobocratic opinion as the summation of such limited views.

It is not the others' problem but surely inine itself. I should go on asking myself if my saying would be based on an open minded attitude towards others. Thnking of these issues, I quit his post in the facebook without leaving any comment. 


Yellowtails broiled with soy sause and sake

Broiling with soy sauce and sake is a popular cooking method in Japan. Fresh yewllowtails were cooked in that way. Broil fish on oiled pan. Clean the oil with a paper towel. Add same amount of soy sauce, sugar, sweet rice wine and sake. Boil for a few minutes. Then broil again pouring the sauce on fish a few times. Very fine dish is ready. Fish looks shiny. It tastes soft and juicy. This good taste may make you smile in unawareness. Please try it. You may enjoy one of the typical family dishes in Japan without visiting here. For further information, it is called, in Japan, as Teriyaki, that is, shiny broiled dish.


Cold snap

Kept turning on a tap in the garden in order to avoid water pipe from freezing. There was an ice column formed there this morning. The tap water flow was frozen. It has been around minus 8 degrees C in mornings here. The cold snap has been rather hard here even though we are still lucky without any snow fall. The veggies are not growing at all. Such as spinach are rather shrunken. I put them in soy sauce soup every day.

The magnolia and ume have put forth tiny buds. But it may take them a few weeks or even months to come out here. So far, an amateur gardener could go on taking off for a while.
Forty meters is now closed for North America by 15Z while it was open there until 16 or 17Z a few weeks ago. It might skip less for the West Coast soon. Twenty meters may explode for Eu or NA at night in our time not too long from now.
I am looking forward the arrival of spring in dual senses.


Resisting the declining activity on CW

As I have written here many times, I love listening and operating on 40m before and at the sunset. The band is always quiet. The QRM from south eastern Asia is not bad at that time while it is always open to North and South America. If the condition is on the peak in a year, it may open to all over the world at the same time.

Again, as I repeatedly say, there have been less hams enjoying conversation on CW at this time in a day even if the condition is superb. Not having got bored with, I have called CQ on 7026KHz for an hour. The band was admirably quiet. I have got call from a couple of old friends, Keith, VK4TT and, Don, N4UB. I have not met them quite often for the past year. Unfortunately, either was not loud enough to enjoy conversation leisurely. Keith told me old Al, VK4SS, has gone SK when I asked him how he had been doing. I thought I had looked Al on a photo in his page of QRZ.com. Al used to be one of my DXs in my teen age days. He would have been over 90 years old. Don got only a real weak signal. We exchanged season's greetings. In the end of the QSO with him, signal was building up. Yes, it is always fascinating me that the condition is always coming up as we go on working. I have met a couple of other guys for simple QSOs. Four QSOs in total for an hour. Isn't it bad?

As I always complain of, there are decreasing number of hams enjoying conversation on this mode. I have wondered what brought it into the world of CW. One factor is the absolute decline of the number of CW operators all over the world. This art of communication was taken over its position by digital mode or, for young people, by the internet. The other factor may be that most CW operators use it as a tool for DXing, contesting or chasing awards. It is up to them how to do with this mode. It might be beyond imagination what a fun they could get in conversational CW. Useless to discuss about these themes which have been talked about for many times without any substantial and convincing conclusion.

I could operate radio as much as I want when the bands are open now. I would go on operating radio and enjoying it much. Some people may realize what a fun it is when they happen to listen to me, even though I won't be conscious or expecting of such audience at all. It is just for my fun and for my reminiscence for good old days. Another thing I would do for CW activity is to analyze and describe what goes on in ourselves with objective, preferably scientific, words. I got a hint that the rewarding circuit in our brain may play a role, which produces the fun of CW communication. This is one of my objects this year. There should be some reason why we find fun in operating with such a slow and effort requiring mode as CW.

So see you on 40m around our sunset, that is, 08Z if you get up that early, my friends in the US.  



We have met this kitty, later named Mitch, on a street when we took a walk. It was in an evening late in fall about 5 or 6 years ago. She seemed to be lost and to have had an injury on legs, which later turned out to be a fracture in hip bone.  At first, she went away from us. In a few seconds, as if having thought better of it, she returned to us for help. Cats seldom behave that way.
In a few weeks, having been welcomed by the other two cats in the family, she has become completely well. She was a little bit different from the ordinary cats. She always walked after us outside. Like a dog. She won't, however, go out of the entrance road to the street. Maybe, she has remembered the tragedy of a traffic accident she might have had. She has been loved by everyone in the family.
One day, in a couple of years, she has suddenly disappeared from us. We have looked for her everywhere. Mostlikelily, she might have dived into a small transportation truck, which carried something to us. She always enjoyed coming into a place unknown to her. Especially, into a narrow one.
No news of her since then. Hopefully, she might be spending a happy life at another family. I am sure she would be loved by people owing to her friendly character.     


How to use neuraminidase inhibitors for Influenza infection

Neuraminidase inhibitors:NIs are new drugs specific for Influenza virus, which have been in wide use for the past several years. Cases of NIs resisitent Influenza A virus have been reported in Hokkaido recently. No wonder there could be such a resistent strain appearing since Influenza viruses are prone to occur mutation frequently. 
The review paper quoted below questions using this kind of medicine easily. On the other hand, CDC web site recommends early administration of NIs to Influenza cases. But what the latter definitely tells is that NIs shorten the duration of fever and symptoms. It says only that NIs may improve the complication, mortality or hospitalization.
Even though it is often difficult to judge at the outpatient what case is destined for compliacted and severe course, it may be necessary for us to use NIs only for limited cases. It should be left as the only trump card for the severe or high risk cases. 
2013;8(4):e60348. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060348. Epub 2013 Apr 2.

The value of neuraminidase inhibitors for the

prevention and treatment of seasonal influenza:

a systematic review of systematic reviews.


Controversy has arisen regarding the effectiveness of neuraminidase inhibitors (NIs), especially against influenza-related complications. A literature search was performed to critically assess the evidence collected by the available systematic reviews (SRs) regarding the benefits and disadvantages of NIs (oseltamivir, zanamivir) compared to placebos in healthy and at-risk individuals of all ages for prophylaxis and treatment of seasonal influenza. A SR was done using the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Health Technology Assessment Database, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, and Medline (January 2006-July 2012). Two reviewers selected SRs based on randomized clinical trials, which were restricted to intention-to-treat results, and they assessed review (AMSTAR) and study quality indicators (GRADE). The SRs included (N = 9) were of high quality. The efficacy of NIs in prophylaxis ranged from 64% (16-85) to 92% (37-99); the absolute risk reduction ranged from 1.2% to 12.1% (GRADE moderate to low). Clinically relevant treatment benefits of NIs were small in healthy adults and children suffering from influenza-like illness (GRADE high to moderate). Oseltamivir reduced antibiotic usage in healthy adults according to one SR, but this was not confirmed by other reviews (GRADE low). Zanamivir showed a preventive effect on antibiotic usage in children (95% (77-99);GRADE moderate) and on the occurrence of bronchitis in at-risk individuals (59% (30-76);GRADE moderate). No evidence was available on the treatment benefits of NIs in elderly and at-risk groups and their effects on hospitalization and mortality. In oseltamivir trials, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea were significant side-effects. For zanamivir trials, no adverse effects have been reported. The combination of diagnostic uncertainty, the risk for virus strain resistance, possible side effects and financial cost outweigh the small benefits of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the prophylaxis and treatment of healthy individuals. No relevant benefits of these NIs on complications in at-risk individuals have been established.


Ham radio was a hobby for youth those days

An old picture taken in '60s was found in the storage. We, local ham friends, have gone to a mountain in the western part of Tokyo. I am on the left edge. The most right guy is JA1RHL, Ara, currently, VK1ARA. Ham radio was a hobby for teenage boys or young guys those days. I won't hear them except for Ara on the air any longer.
The antenna packed in the box might be a beam for 6 meters. I could not remember what radio I carried myself.


The motto this year

This afternoon, 2 hours before sunset, 40m sounded very quiet. I have met 3 old friends in a row. This path is surely familiar to me. I used to enjoy QSOs with statesside long time ago. It was a real fun for me to listen to them in the upcoming condition. The band was always getting better in some time. The signals were not very loud. Nevertheless, it was fun to talk to the old friends.

Bob, K6RR, an old doctor, told me he had got macular degeneration, which prevented him from working as before for now. He told me it might be the good time for him to retire. He is 84 years old. I wished him quick recovery or, at least, slowed progression of his vision problem. I agreed with him about his retirement.

Dick, K4XU, who has just retired last month, seemed to enjoy his retirement. His wife gives him a big list of chores to do. IT is good for him to have things to do or he would get too lazy and get plumpuy soon. When I told him I was thinking to attend the FOC gathering in Seattle, he told me he would go there as well and kindly invited to visit them in Bend on the way. I replied to him our schedule was not dtetermined yet but I would keep it in my mind. I have met him for 3 times in the past, once at our home in '80s, at Tokyo Ham Fair in '00s and lastly at FOC gathering in Seattle a couple of years ago.

The last guy who called me after the QSO with Dick was Bill, W1YC. The signal was not very loud so that our QSO was only for a few minutes. I was very happy to hear him because I haven't met him for a year or two. We used to work often on 40m when he was in the bay area in '80s. He must be around 79 years old and has retired a couple of years ago. He is now in \Nevada. Since his wife was still working in parttime, he was doing the house chores now. I told him "Let's discuss how to cook dinner soon".

What a fun to talk to such old friends on 40m in the rising condition! It is my first love in ham radio in '60s. After Steve, KF7YRL, says in his bio in the QRZ. com, I would keep the motto "tell me your story" this year. It will make my life meaningful.


Bach's manuscript

I have been learning the Unaccompanied Suites for Violincello by Bach with an edition by Maurice Gendron. Gendron's indication of bowing seemed to me as quite technical and complicated at first. For example, the 1st bar of the prelude in the 1st suite was often indicated to play in one down bow. Gendron's edition tells us to play only first 3 of 1/16 notes in a slur. The rests in the bar are played in one bow for each note. Here is the manuscript of this piece. The former has long been familiar to my ears.

Recently, I have had a chance to look the manuscript of this work by Bach himself. I was surprised to know Bach had indicated detailed bowing in each piece. Gendron's edition has adopted the original indication by Bach. Bowing is essential for expression with any string instrument. Lately, before investigating Bach's manuscript thoroughly, I have become feeling this apparently complicated bowing for this work by Gendron had been musically very expressive and excellent. I was very happy to know it might had been because I listened to what Bach himself thought in his composition.

And, imagining what Bach thought and felt while composing a particular phrase, I go on practising it.

PS: I have misunderstood as if the manuscript had been written by Bach himself. It was by his wife, Anna Magdalena. It still, I believe, reflect Bach's idea on bowing. Some cellists insist that this manuscript is not perfect but has some evident mistakes. But, when I practise the prelude of the 3rd suite, I feel the bowing by Anna Magdalena through Gendron expresses something very excellent. In my view, the bowing technique Anna Magalena employs serves to materialize Bach's intention.


What Yasukuni shrine means

The problem of worship by our prime minister or by the other ministers in the cabinet to Yasukuni shrine is not in the fact that they deify the victimized soldiers in and before the WWII and the JSDF soldiers dead in the service after the WWII. But Yasukuni shrine has been doing it without any permission of the victims or of their families.

There has been a political movement to establish this shrine as the national religion for the imperialism. This way of defying is against the principle of the human rights for freedom in religion, idea and thoughts our constitution provides. This violation to the fundamental right is to recruit the people into any war in the future. The authority had done the same thing for the people until the end of the WWII.

Of course, the history of this shrine was political from the beginning. It has been establshed by Meiji Emperor to deify the casuaities of the soldiers dead for his name. It has worked as an institution to recruit the soldiers for the imperialism from the people, who have worked to invade the neighbor countries in WWII. Automatically deifying those victims means the government has administered the deads. Through that system of administration, the government has dominated as well as controlled the people. It has worked as a political institution in this way.  

It won't matter if the politicians worship the shrine in private or in public form. In either way, when politicans worship there, it means public in nature. The present conservative politicians aim at reestablishing the shrine to be the national religion. They have repeatedly tried to legislate a law to do this without success. It was against the principle of the separation between the religion and the politics. Now they are intending, in stead, to repeat worships to the shrine even if there are any oppositions to that in or out of the country. They seem to believe it is the only way to nationalize the institution as they have intended for years. It would become, in their belief, a spiritual center of the people. The founding rule of the shrine contains description how to accept "new" souls to the shrine, that is, new caualties of soldiers.

Remebering those dead in the WWII is not the same as worshipping at this shrine at all. Remembering them is a matter in our mind but not a matter in a forced religion. The politicians should never intend to unite the people under this political shrine.


A Happy New Year

I have had a good time with my wife and daughter at home for the New Year's Eve. Practising own instruments, having dinner together, watching a TV program of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, chatting a few friends on 40m and going asleep while reading a book of our country's history. Getting up at 7AM, I found a fine and crisp morning for the New Year's Day. My wife has prepared a traditional breakfast with soup named Zouni; soup with rice cakes, chicken and vegetables. A very good one. It seems to be a time in a year for a house husband to be able to take some rest.

For New Year's Resolution, I would like to summarize as an article on the subject how we read and send Morse code for conversation. It would be basically a psychological description based on some neuroscience findings. Morse code reception is an interesting process in our mind/brain. Not as a professional researcher at all but as an amateur enjoying that process, I would like to write about it. It might be a hint to understand how we perceive the symbols with tone.

I am going to start a piano trio again. I am very afraid my bad vision and worsened ability in rhythm etc would make my partners unhappy. But there is only limited time left for me in my life to enjoy such activity so that I would enjoy it feeling thankful to the lovely partners

I could not help thinking of the decline of our country in economy, politics and something like the ethos of the public. Actually, the population is decreasing in number as well as the economic activities. The politics seem to aim at the anachronism of the imperialism days while some of the people express their hatred for the minorities and the weak in the society. In this situation, the people, I am afraid, would seek something they could rely on as well as depend on. Some value where they don't need judge things by themselves. Even giving up the freedom of idea and thoughts, they would need a sense of values which would free them from judging things by themselves while requiring their obedience. The economy should recede badly in the near future when the transient  effect of the quantitative easing is gone. What a mess will happen in that situation? I would go on watching what occurs.

Attending some FOC gathering is another goal this year. It may depend on my wife's work schedule. Since we  haven't been used to go for a long trip, it would be a big project. Hopefully, it comes true this year, though.

Thanks again for visiting this blog. Any comment would be the vitamine for me to continue it. Your words are really appreciated. Wishing you a very healthy and happy new year again.