Congratulations, Bob!

When I came home from my parttime work this evening, an email from Bob W6CYX had waited for me in the mail box. It told me he had a successful surgery for cataracts and he could see things "like a baby." It was a real pleasant news to me. Since he has had a vision problem on one eye, he might be concerned about the result. As soon as the procedure was finished, he knew he could see things clearly. What a pleasure it was for him!

I have known him since 1960s. We had not talked much on the radio until 1980s. I have visited him in San Jose for three times. In my 1st visit to him in mid 80s, he ans his wife have come to see us, me and Hide JH0FBH, at the SF Intnatl airport. I was impressed at his nice house on a foothill of Mt. Hamilton, where we could look over the bay area.  He was fond of a japanese actress named Yasuko Sawaguchi, whose big picture was put on the wall of his shack in the basement. In my 2nd visit htere, an old friend of mine, Steve, WA6IVN, and his wife came to see me at the party Bob and his wife held for me. Steve was seriously ill at that time and passed away not so long after that visit. I and my wife have visited him in the summer in 2012. I have written an article of this visit in this blog. He has taken us to a redwood park in the peninsula and a pier in Santa Cruz. I have enjoyed listening to his story at a concert in Monterey Bach Festival. Reflecting of this drive trip, I knew he had had vision problem at that time. I could not recall of this visit to him and his family without heartfelt gratitude.

He has been a conservative dialectician while I have rather liberal way of thinking. We often have opposing views about politics or economy. When he insists on his view and listen what I say about it, he always leave it as it is. No big debate. It may be his wisdom. I always enjoy, however, his propaganda against democrats or beaurocrats. My wife always smiles when we remember how he told about them in the dining room there. Both he and I are not so young any more. Hopefully, I would go on talking with him on the radio as well as in eye ball in the future.

We have had the 1219th QSO a couple of days ago.

Again, congratulations to you Bob!


Ume has come out for the first time this year

Ume flowers are coming out as if they knew it would get warmer from tomorrow. I was a bit touched to have found it early this evening. While it has been cruelly cold this winter, we have looked forward this flower coming out for the earliest sign of spring in our garden. The others will follow Ume. And there will be a lot of work in the garden ready for me. 

Codfish with cream sauce

Last week end, our daughter was coming home. I and my wife were wondering if we would take her to a French restaurant for dinner. Eventually, I decided to make something like French. Codfish with cream sauce. The outlook is not very fancy like the dish at a restaurant. Too much sauce. But it tasted fine. We might say it was a success. Our daughter has enjoyed it.


A recollection in a snowy day.

Looking at the snow covering everything around here, I was recalling of the day when my mother and the newborn brother came home. He was born at a gyn clinic in the city area several kilometers east of our home. Our home was in a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients in woods far away from the residential area. I have already written about the sanatorium managed by our aunt in the past post here. Our father and mother were working as a housekeeper and a nurse there, respectively. They were not rich enough to own a car those days. It was a cart for farming pulled by my father that my mother and brother were taken back home on.

                                         Our parents used to live in the right house. The left
                                         is a storage house. The tree in front of that house is
                                         a magnolia which may bloom in March.                                       

It was an overcast day. The sky was covered by lead colored cloud. It was a chilly and, in a sense, bleak day. The field was carpetted by snow all over. How could my father know where the road leading to home was? It looked like a lost road in the snow. He was pulling the cart quietly. I was only 4 years of age. Nevertheless, I was walking behind them with a hand on the cart, I believe. I felt proud of walking by myself even though I might ride on the cart on the way later. It was a merry and happy march back toward home for me in my young days.

My parents were in their thirties. It had been several years since the end of WWII when my father was compelled to serve in the army. He has spent hard time as a soldier in China for a few years. He has always regretted about what the japanese army including himself has done against the chinese people during the war. Coming back homeland, he has married with my mother. They have had a small cottage for the honey moon home in the sanatorium. They were working very hard, I know. They must be devoted to living itself as well as to raising their three children. It was the days when they had started raising own family.

I might idealize this memory too much. A very poor family. My parents were losing their work in a year or two from my borther's birth since our aunt was closing the facility. No way to raise kids at that time. Our parents have made an exodus to Tokyo soon. I should have asked them what they would do or what they could do at that time. Strangely, there was no mood of desparation or of helplessness in the family. They were positive and hopeful for the future. One reason was that they both firmly believed in Christianity and it has given them a belief that a road should be ready for us in the future wherever we might be. Our country was starting the rapid growth in economy and social system after the devastating years of WWII. That must has made the people including my parents hopeful for the future. Anyway, despite of the very poor circumstances with me, I have spent happy days under my parents. I could not forget a feeling that I was cared for affectionately.

I could not help remembering of those days with a yearning as well as a sense of bitterness. I feel as if I were asked if I have lived for my family in the same way as my parents used to. Three of us have been working in medical care as doctors and a nurse. It is not thanks to ourselves but to our parents. At my age much older than my parents those days, no use to reflect on myself about how I have lived. All I should do is only to thank my parents for their love to us.


Prior to the arrival of spring

At 3 PM in our local, almost 2 hours before sunset, I could hear both Eu and NA at the same time. Eu were pretty weak as if they were veiled with a thin textile curtain. The band was still very quiet. This path over the north pole might be closed very soon. It ushers the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere.

I was smiling at myself to have found I had felt changing seasons with the condition on the air. The band conditions are inclined to change prior to the arrival of certain season. It may have geophysical reasons. Among ham operators, it could be a theme for Haiku expressing certain season.

The contesters are very active on every band so far as I hear. I only hope some of them will stay active after the contest is over. In the recent FOC mailing list, Gary ZL2IFB told, regarding an obituary for Vic N4XR, he would enjoy not 599 TU type but meaningful QSOs after Vic. I am glad to know there was another "Tell me your story" person over there. The problem is not how to convert someone's religion but how to attract someone to our way of "Tell me your story" type QSO.

The lower bands will stay inactive for such activity until next fall. The higher bands may be even more hot now. I would go on enjoying radio with this motto "Tell me your story".

Stuck in snow

We have had a record amount of snowfall since last night. Since my wife wanted to go for work this morning, I was trying to have my car get out of the parking place. But it was stuck in the yard. The snow seems not so much but is very heavy with rain. There seems a layer of ice beneath snow. The normal tires slipped badly so that the car won't go back or forward either at this place. I will keep the car parked there until it gets wet enough to enable the car move.  

It has been over 30 years since we moved here, my birth place, from a dorm of a med school hospital. We have never had this amount of snow here for this period. The local train or the other transportation seems to have been stopped. My wife has given it up to go for work.

This made me imagin what a big trouble they have had in the heavily snowy area in winter and how much they yearn for the arrival of spring there. Another news says there have been floods and hurricane in the UK and Ireland. I hope the damage won't be too serious over there as well.


Re the election of the governor of Tokyo

In the election for the governor of Tokyo held last week end, Masuzoe, a candidate approved by the LDP and Komei Party, the ruling parties at present, has won. He would do well with the ruling parties at the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly as well as the government in our country.

One of the issues in the election was if we should give up the nuclear power generation or not. It was brought up the candidates from the opposing parties. The government insisted that it should not have been a matter in such a regional election. I believed questioning the electrical energy source policy should be important for the people in Tokyo since they have been consuming massive electrical power there while they have been troubled much less due to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident than those in Fukushima. It is a practical as well as ethical issue for the people.

Since Masuzoe won in the election, the government started announcing they would proceed use of nuclear power generation as the basic energy. They seem to regard the result of the election as an approval for their energy policy. But they never insisted that in the election at all. They rather hid or ignored this issue in the electioneering. It is a deception.

It seems the people in Tokyo has approved Masuzoe for his close relationship with the present government. The people must be concerned about the economy. Their 1st request for the new governor according to the public opinion poll was to improve the economy while  the energy issue came as the 2nd place. The people seem to have been cheated at the apparent rise in stock market etc. The government is pressing businesses to increast the salary to the emploees. It threatens, if they won't obey them, to publish the names of such companies. What a planned economy! Is it what a government whose motto is deregulation should do?

I still remember, even during the period of brisk business in '00s, the mean salary has been dropping while the retained earnings in companies has reached a record high. The people are still gradually becoming aware of the least beneficial effect by the present government on them at present. It won't take too long before the people know what is going on right now.

At present, the government should establish a new policy for sustainable natural energy, which would bring us a success to get out of the difficulty in economy as well as the energy issuea. It would stimulate the economy with new technology and creation of more employment. It would get rid of the possibility of catastrophe of further nuclear plant accidents in the future.


Music in aged years

My wife has started flute last fall. I was wondering how long she could go on with it. So far, she is still practising it almost every day. Late at night, I could hear her making long tone, staccato and scales. Then some simple tune would follow them. She is getting even more enthusiastic at it for now. She says she is concerned about how to play with more beautiful tone. Last night, she said she found it sounded better when she played after bathing. Hot bath might relax her and enable her play with better sound, possibly. Anyway, it is amazing she is getting so much devoted to the instrument at her age.

I am influenced by her. I practise more with scale. At this age, I am much more conscious about the intonation among tonalities. The same named tones could be slightly but still substantially different in the pitches among tonalities. Learning about it, I find the unaccompanied suites by Bach sound quite vivid with proper intonation. If I attended lesson, the teacher might have taught about it long before. It is, however, still stimulating me to learn about the tonality and the temperament/tuning system by myself. Music is often regarded as a self-closed world with perfect beauty. In reality, however, it is essentially failed to be perfect in itself. Was Pythagoras, who is told to have invented the theory of his tuning system aware of this imperfection? Anyway, my practise for this quite basic technique goes on every day. Far from perfection.

At our age, we could never reach skill good enough to touch audience with our performance or even to please them with it. Practise is only for ourselves. What is the meaning? Isn't it waste of time and energy? Sometimes, I am captured by such skepticism. From the objective standpoint, there must be no answer to prove how worthy it is. But, subjectively, we could be absorbed in music and in instruments for a while, apart from any noises from our lives. Isn't it good enough? Or is it still an excuse to waste time? Who knows? So far as the player is satisfied for a moment, that is good enough. Repeating such question and answer, I am still going on with my cello.

In the end of this month, I would join an ensemble with the other string instrument players. The piano trio will start next month as well. Maybe, in a few years, I may enjoy simple chamber music with my wife and daughter, a pretty good violinist, as well. Looking forward the pleasure to play together with family or friends, I would go on practising. It is a proof of my life in a sense.


The first day of spring

It was the first day of spring yesterday according to the traditional calendar. It is the middle between the winter solstice and the spring equinox day. It is still cold in morning and evening. It was minus 10 deg C early this morning. But the daytime is surely getting longer.


                                         An ume tree full of buds. They may come out soon.

North Americans were heard on 40m from early in the afternoon in fall and winter. They are getting much weaker now. We should wait for the opening until an hour or two prior to sunset here. On the other hand, 20m is getting activated for the whole north hemisphere at night. Signals are still wobbly by the arctic path but are very loud and steady. The paths to the Western Eu and the East Coast are open at the same time. It could even open to the whole world. The problem is that there are much less stations on the radio than a decade or two ago. Where have all the guys gone?

In March, the bands are getting noisy. And the thunderstorms are frequently coming this area. They often prevent me from turning on the radio at night. It is the time for me to look for friends in the areas far away where I could reach only through the arctic paths. I will stay being a beacon on 20m at night.

This spring paths were the hallmark of the spring DX season in my young days. Running 50 or 60W into a vertical dipole, I used to have a lot of calls from Eu on 20m. It was springs in late '60s. I stayed up very late at night. Now, it won't matter how many DX I work. I would rather look for a QSO worth spending early spring evening. I would say again "Tell me your story". I will stay being a beacon on 20m at night this spring. Keeping yourself apart from chasing DX or number of QSOs, spend your time for such a QSO, my friend.

"Expectation Grammar"

In the post laready uploaded in this blog as follows, I have written my idea how to receive CW in our mind. It is a speculation from own experience. A feed back from the immediately recent past to the present and an expectation for the future from the present occur continuously in the present consciousness at the same time. With that continuous work in our consciousness, we take what the message means.


Recently, a book regarding second language aquisition, a new field in applied linguistics, told me that the combination of input and output is necessary, with an emphasis on the former, in learning second language. We should input second languate in reading or listening as much as possible. In the input process, they say, a process named expectation grammar will work out well. This expectation process, which I am not sure for this term in English, means what I described in the post above. It has relieved me a bit since what I had imagined was not out of the point.

When we get proficient enough at the codes, we won't be conscious of them any longer. The codes are just a system of symbols which bridge between the language, that is, English in most cases, and the relevant meaning. It is a process occuring in subconsciousness. If this hypothesis is right, copying CW is really equivalent to or even the same as reading text. What is going on in our consciousness is a reading process. Copying CW is literally reading with ears. This is not only an aphorism but is based on a process going on in our brain  proved by fMRI study, which I have already quoted somewhere else in this blog.

My concern would be regarding the following two points;
1)What a process is this expectation grammar? How is it efficiently improved?
2)Where does the pleasure of operating CW come from? Is there any difference from chatting in the internet or corresponding with mail?


”Reunion” by James Kennedy George Jr

Some weeks ago, I have read the novel by a friend of mine, Jim N3BB, as titled above. It took me almost a year to read it through. It was not because the novel had been boring or difficult. On the contrary, I have enjoyed every phrase and every chapter of this novel as if I have lived together with the hero. It has been my favorite nightcap for months.

The story is a kind of biography of a young man named Jimmy who has grown up in West Virginia in '50s. The back ground is the age when the US was growing economically and people were hopeful for the future. It describes not only on his young days but also on his grand parents and parents as well as his later years in life. The main theme is still his young days.

The life style in the US those days was pretty different from ours. The young fellows were enjoying much more wealthy lives than we were. The society was different from ours as well. For an example, we have not had the segregation issue in our young days. We have not enjoyed such a dance party with pop music as Jimmy and his company played the band at, either. But what Jimmy has felt and acted in his life looked a reality to me. The touch and expression of writing are so fresh and vivid that we could not help feeling sympathizing with Jimmy. This novel makes us recall of our young days for sure. Since I have known the author, Jim, through ham radio for years and even have met him in person in Tokyo years ago, I felt quite close to Jimmy in the novel, who must be, at least partially, reflecting his young days.

As a novel, even though I am not good at literature at all, every scene or event in this novel looks like a separate chapter in a drama itself. That technique in writing grasps our mind. You might feel as if you were at the scene it describes by yourself. Together with the author's proficiency in writing for each character in the novel, feeling of existence at each scene which readers might have is a great fascination to me. The author uses the present form of verb in the sentences. It also stresses this feeling.

As with our real lives, Jimmy's life has been composed of a variety of textiles. School, friends, work, family, music, ham radio, social problems, automobile, love with girl, marriage, own family and so forth. The main thing seems to be the relationship with his father. He could not accept the way of living of his father until the last day of his father's life. But, in the end, he seems to reach reconciliation with his father, exactly the way of his father's life, even though his father has already passed away at that moment. I guess it was to be reconciled with his own life itself, if I read it right. Everyone always have something bitter and painful in one's life like a basso continuo. Jimmy seemed to be settled down with this issue at last.

I am sure this novel would give you a chance to reflect your own life while following experiences Jimmy has had. I would recommend anyone to read it.

I am afraid I would be laughed at by Jim in our next QSO who might tell me I have greatly misunderstood this novel. Who knows? It is still a fact that I have enjoyed it to the depth of my heart.

You may purchase the book here or Amazon.


The Marathon 2014

It was held last week end. Preparing meals for daughter and talking to her in the meantime, who have come home in a month absence, I have operated in this eventfor hours. Twenty meters was faschinating late at night. Signals from all over the world were coming through with a bit watery but still beautiful tone. There were openings on 15, 10 and even 80m as well while 40m was ruined by the OTH radar in Saturday evening. It was blessed with good conditions as a whole, though.

I have met a bunch of old friends whom I have never met for some time. I have not heard them even for a few years. Ken GW3KGV, now 85 years old, told me he had been caring for his wife, 83 years old, suffering from Parkinsonism.  For my inquiry if he won't ask anybody for help, he answered that he could ask for help to the authority but his wife would like him to care for her. He sounded, however, very cheerful despite of being in such a situation. I wondered if I could take a load of care for family by myself like he does in his way. It would be my turn in the near future.

Geo, W0UA, has given me a call on 20m very late at night. It seemed pretty tough for him to read me in that condition. He finally found the path was over Eu, as he said. He has been keeping a cat named Mr. Kitty, which he had found at K5GO, a big contesting station, and had taken him home a couple of years ago. He has been deeply in love with that cat since then. So far as he mentions on his lovely critter at home, I think, he might be happily getting along there. I wondered if he is still shouting for that cat as Mr. Kitty in the public.He has mistaken him as a female cat in the beginning, so that he should add Mr. to his firstly given name Kitty.

John 9V1VV has just returned home from Saudi. He sounded vivid on his old bug. I asked him when he would move to another work ashore from the present on aboard duty since he has mentioned of that possibility recently. He answered that he might go on working on the ship for a while due to the better income from that work. He seemed to stay home for another 7 weeks before leaving for another duty on aboard. We might enjoy talking about music during his stay home.

There were many more interesting conversations in this event. It is always good to see some old friends on the key, whom I haven't heard for some time. It is a chance to prove that we are safe and alive. Thay is shy I haven't missed this event every year even though I am lazy summarizing the log sheet. It is not a competetion but a real on the air meeting for me.