Variation by Brahms

I have introduced this music in the past. Clarinet Quintet h minor OP114 by Brahms. This 4th movement composed of a variation, as the other variations by Brahms, is quite impressive. This music ends recalling the very 1st motif of the 1st movement.

I wonder if Brahms thought life was like a variation itself.

In the end of next month, gentle breeze starts to blow here. It will be the time to listen to this music.


A good friend of mine will get married

A friend of mine, Shihoko, will get married in a couple of months. She is an excellent violinist. I have asked her to play chamber musics for the past 15 years since her music university days. This photo shows her playing Schumann's sonata in her recital a few years ago.

When I started own practise about 20 years ago, I needed some hobby which I could enjoy in the spare time. I could hardly spend long time for that. It won't take me too long before I remembered playing cello. Actually, I used to play it at occasions but only intermittently. I got a new cello and started practising it almost every day.

In some time, I also remembered the joy of playing chamber musics which I was fascinated by in my med school days. I should look for some violinist partner. At first, my daughter who had been playing violin for several years was the candidate. But she was in her difficult age and was preparing for school entrance exam. The name of Shihoko came up in my mind then as she used to play the famous piece of Sarasate, Zigeunerweisen, in a concert of the disciples of the teacher whom our daughter was also taught by. It is always a pleasure to play chamber musics with such an excellent player.

I don't know why but she answered yes to my proposal. Maybe, she didn't know "how well" I played cello at that time. Or her mother, a friend of my wife and of myself, might tell her to do so. I should ask her about that later.

Anyway, a beautiful girl violinist has been with me at various concerts since then. In the meantime, when she graduated from a music university, she went to Germany for further study. She tried to get a position at any orchestra there to no avail. Finishing the course at a music university there, she came home and started her career as a player as well as a teacher. For the past several years, we have played with her friend pianist as a piano trio. This was taken at a small concert when we played the piano trio C major Opus 87 by Brahms. It was a real fun for me to complete all the movements
of this music which I had loved so much. It took us a year or so until we finished practising all the movements.

From her way of life, I have learned how tough it is to become a musician and, unfortunately, how little a musician is rewarded. Years ago, when I gave her a phone call at her home, her mother came on it at first. She called Shihoko. And a sound of violin was coming closer to the phone in a few seconds. She seemed to practise it while coming to talk to me on the phone. Being a musician is not easy at all. I have become to respect every musicican for his/her effort.

A few months ago, I was told she would get married. I was so happy to hear that news as if I had our daughter married. Her parents seemed to be happiest as well. Her father told me with a smile that they had almost given it up. She told me to play cello at her wedding party. I should practise a lot not to ruin the party.  Even though we have put an end to our ensemble so far, I would like to play together from time to time. Playing ensemble is to live together as we make Einsatz with breathing together. She has made my presenile period meaningful. I could not be more than thankful to her for her kindness for the past years.


St. John's Passion by J.S.Bach

In this past week end, the Carmel Bach Festival was held in the city of Carmel, a renowned resort near to the Bay Area. A month ago, I was wondering if I could have been there together with a good friend of mine, Bob W6CYX, who had introduced about that event through a book "Carmel Impresarios". I have written about this well written book on the history of Carmel and the festival in this blog before. Unfortunately, we had too little time to decide to fly to the West Coast this time. Hearing from Bob how much he was looking forward the concert there, I decided spending the same week end listening to St. John's Passion by Bach, the very same piece they were going to play at the festival this summer.

I have had the CD of this piece by Munchen Bach Orchestra by K. Richter, which has already established their fame for the past decades. Again, Bob has sent me a url  linked to the performance by Bach Collegium Japan conducted by M. Suzuki shown below. It is a really modern ensemble with smaller orchestra and choir based on the authentic performance. I have known this group before, which has earned a good reputation among Bach lovers world wide. Clear cut as well as light touch phrasing. Transparency in sound is thanks to the size of ensemble as well as to the authentic playing technique. Through its performace ability, and possibly, the conductor's understanding of this piece, the message of this music urges us to be with Bach. It sure brings us to thinking what Jesus and his death at Golgotha means to us.

John's Evangel which this music was based on seems unique compared with the other Evangels. This was established solely in the end of the 1st century in order to advocate the evangelism of Christianity toward the outer world not localized to the Judah area. The theme concerns about what Jesus and his death means to us rather than the episodes of his life. The author of this Evangel seems to have described it through two aspects of our lives. One is the problem of belief related through ths story of the denial and betray to Jesus by Peter. The other is a political issue. It might be a problem regarding what the right and earnest party could behave against Jesus.
Through these two aspects of life, this music urges us to reflect ourselves and eventually to reach our helplessness.

I am not a Christian. I am on the gate of church. Maybe, I will remain there throughout my life. But this music makes me consider where I am and where I should head to. Honestly, this music has been too difficult and tough to be immersed in. The perpetuating motif by the strings in the 1st music surely expresses our anxiety and worry in lives. It could not be pleasant to confront such a reality of ourselves. I have learned, however, only through facing to the reality, we could understand what Jesus and his death meant to us. It was another great experience for me to have listened to this music seriously.


Egg plant with pork seasoned with green perilla and sweetened miso

This summer, a lot of egg plants are cropped here. This dish is to consume those egg plants. The title tells what it is.

Egg plants are cooked with sesame oil. They absorb much oil and taste great. Even though it might contain high calory, this may be the best way to cook egg plant.
Several years ago, I used to talk to Fred K5FA in MS, who also had egg plants grown in his farm. He used to be proud of the big crop of them at this time in a year. iT has been years since i heard him last time.  


How a greedy investor has earned profit from Greece in the financial crisis.

An article in The Nation tells how Goldman Sachs has got the enormous profit from Greek in financial crisis. Of course, the people and the government of greece are responsible for the corruption, too much social security and tax evasion in the rich. But it is still immoral for such an investor to make predatory lending to Greece.


I am afraid, as I told in the previous post, our government has even more debt than Greek has had. Who could say we won't suffer from a trick by a global capital as Goldman Sachs? TPP could be a tool for such investors to make profit from our country. We could never be a lookers on at all.

This post is thanks to David N7RK who has posted on this article in Facebook.


A trip to Suwa lake

It was a sunny day yesterday. Burning hot. I made a drive trip to Suwa lake in Nagano. I haven't realized the purpose of this trip this time. Midsummer weather and beautiful scenary were good enough to drive there.
Driving through the city of Suwa, I have recalled a few things separately. One of them was Jim N3BB, whom I have known for decades and have met in person in Tokyo about 20 years ago. He used to tell me about a trip to Suwa one time. He was invited there by a japanese electrical item company; Jim corrected it to be Seiko Co, the famous watch manufacturing company. It must have been a fond memory for him. He was staying at a reception facility of the company on the top of a hill overlooking Suwa lake. At night, I guess, they have held a concert by a flutist; Jim also corrected it was a violinist, for the guests there. He looked as if sighing for the beautiful scenary through the window during the concert. It must have been around '80s, when he was working as an active engineer in the smiconductor business.
Driving through the city, I found very few people on the street. It was a plain week day, so that, no wonder, there should be less tourists there than the week ends. I bet, however, it might have been much more bustling on the streets there in '80s. Jim might have seen such crowds in this hot spring resort as well.
In my med student days in '70s, just before he visited there, I went for camping for practise of the univ orchestra every summer. One time, on the way back home, the students took on a bus and went through this city. I felt I remembered going through a street on a bus there, even though the street has been changed. It was in the end of August. A girl majoring in dentistry, a violist, was on the seat next to me. We have talked a lot on the whole way back to Tokyo. Since graduation from the school, we haven't got in touch at all. About 10 years ago, when I was asked to play in an OB/OG orchestra of a high school there, I got acquaintance with a guy who played the concert master at the concert. That dentist girl turned out to be his wife at that time. Through knowing her husband, we got in tough again, even though it has been a relationship to exchange the new year's card once a year. We have met so many people in our lives and then got parted each other for our lives. In rare occasions, we happen to meet again. It is a marvelous thing. We should treasure such meetings.
I have looked for some photo cards to send to Jim. There used to be many sets of them available at souvenir shops. But nothing like that found. I could not take good photo by myself, either. If Jim and Diana read this post, I should excuse for using a photo of Suwa lake, shown  above, I got in the internet in stead. We might have been at or through this place not so far apart in the time.  



A round table between VK and JA

For the past 2 days, I have met Tim VK3IM on 40m. He is an old friend of mine, whom I have introduced in this blog before. In both QSOs, there was our mutual friend, Lou VK5EEE, joined. A round table between VK and JA. However, both VKs could not hear each other, so that I should relay their messages by myself.

The path between VK and JA has always been very stable. As I told in the other post, I have enjoyed ragchewing with Tim on the way back from Melbourne to Mt. Eliza, his home QTH. He was running old FT101B with a top loaded vertical on the luggage carrier on his van. A bit chirpy but carming CW. We have talked on that good old days. Even though he has been inactive due to health problems, he is getting active on the radio again. Drew VK3XU was kind enough to put up his antenna on the roof. The great ragchewer in VK has resurrected there to my pleasure.

Lou, an ex radio operator, has been active recently. We have run across on 40m for a few times recently. Having known Tim, he was surprised to read about him in this blog and introduced the photo I had uploaded here in his page in QRZ.com. Since both of Tim and Lou have been eager ragchewer, they must have known each other well. They seemed to have been in close touch each other. Unfortunately, Lou has a very low wire antenna and his signal has always been suboptimal for ragchewing at this end. But he is going to put it up higher very soon. It may enable us to have a real round table very soon.

I feel there have been much less CW operators in the pan Pacific area than in the pan Atlantic area now. We, japanese CW operators, should treasure the opportunities to chat with VKs on the stable path. Moreover, Tim is a special friend of mine since we share the common history in our lives.  

Dvorak's piano quintet in A major

I don't like Dvorak's works so much. Even though he has been successful at composing very sweet and impressive melodies, his melodies exist in his works as if monophony with the other parts accompaning the melodies. I believe this generally goes to his chamber musics as well as to the symphonies. I would love those with a melody with counterpoints or fugue etc. Such complex structures in music will give us pleasure to listen to them. I feel Dvorak's works are always out of this genre if not all.

This piano quintet is an exception for me. The melodies are so beautiful and well related with each other. The beginning theme by cello could not help fascinating us into the music. Honestly, I listen to this piece while cooking in the kitchen. It makes me feel happy.

The 1st violinist, Lindsay Deutsch, plays this piece as a real virtuoso. Her technique, mind for singing and overwhelming sonority impress us so much. In a sense, her performance is that of solist. But, so far as it is Dvorak's piece they are playing, this style could be accepted and enjoyed.


Long Islansd Mercury

In the last QSO with Paul W9AC on 40m, he let me know of the Mercury paddle modified by KG2ED, which he has been satisfied with for years.

The lever arms seem to be shorter. Hence it causes less uncomfortable rebound feeling. In the e Ham net review, it has pretty good reputations.


Paul was not so happy with Begali models as with this paddle.

It could be a choice for me if I don't own the Bencher version of Mercury. If anyone is seeking Mercury, this Long Isaland one could be a candidate.

I have searched for this paddle and the maker KG2ED in the internet. But no info was available. Maybe, he has finished manufacturing his produce. Only used ones must be in the market.

Egg plant seasoned with sweetened miso

Egg plant seasoned with sweetened miso. It was one of my mother's favorites. She has cooked with much more sesame oil. Still a fond recipe for us. Remembering of her cooking, I have made this one using the home grown egg plants.



Cosmos and rosemary

The very first cosmos is coming out now. Some seeds I obtained from them last fall have germinated. One of my most favorite flowers.  Graceful elegance. The flowers will last until fall.

Rosemary is in full bloom at various places in the garden. This is also from the seeds harvested last fall. A problem is that they all are originated from the same clone. The same color and the same outlook. Another kind should be added to the seeds next year. This flower also live long until the end of fall.


The eleventh anniversary of father

My sister has sent an email to the family members including myself with a couple of photos. It was to commemorate our father who had died on July 9th 11 years ago. A photos showed a fond memorable thing for her and the other our father with a nephew and a niece shown below. It might be taken about 30 years ago when father was just before 60 years of age.

Father was born in 1919. Lost his parents in his young days, he has been raised by some of his folks. It was not pleasant days for him. He did not tell us about that period of his life so much. Even though he wanted to have higher education, his situation didn't allow him that at all.
His young days have been spent in the WWII. He was in compulsory service in China, where he experienced most brutal aspects of war. It has made him believing in firm pacifism throughout his life. He often told us we should apologize to the chinese people for the burden Japan had given to them in WWII. He also insisted of the responsibility of our former emperor for the war.    
He has married with our mother after WWII. They seemed to have met at the sanatorium our aunt managed here. They seem to have married in Christianity. Having worked there for several years, when the sanatorium was finishing its role in the society with advance of medical treatment for tuberculosis, he has made an exodus to Tokyo, where he and mother have raised all their 3 children. He has worked at a few hospitals as a boiler man, a house keeper or a head official. He has loved us so much. It was not love of father to children but that of mother. He has loved children almost blindly.  Since I have noticed a few defects in his personality, I have not been too friendly to him for some years in my twenties. He was a difficult person to do with and has made quarrels with a few people around him. An event has made him in discord with mother for a while as well. He has let me go to a medical university after finishing an engineering faculty of a college. It took me a long time. It was also a long duty for him. It took me many years to notice what a load for him to send me to schools for such a long time. My sister has gone to a nursing college and became a nurse after mother while younger brother went to a med school to be a psychiatrist. What long lasting responsibility he and mother have taken for us in not so wealthy situation! 
When we got married 36 years ago, I have become closer to him again. We needed his help to care for our children. Later, we lived at this place together. He seemed, as my sister said, to have spent happiest retirement here. He has done gardening and caring for his grandchildren here. He also enjoyed reading a lot and always looked forward attending a church in Tokyo. We were grateful to him for his affectionate care for our children. I haven't intended to have own practice. Things have conspired me to start own practice at a place near by. He has helped me to work as a clerk at the clinic. I often watched him walking slowly to his car across the parking lot after having finished his duty at the office. Now almost finishing my responsibility for children, I am more than thankful to him and mother for their efforts for us, even though they might answer it was their joy to my gratitude to them.

Only regret was that I and any other family members had not been beside him when he passed away. He was hospitalized at a facility which was about 40 minutes drive from here. On the day he was passing, I visited him after finishing work. He could not talk any longer but was perfectly consious to communicate with writing. He seemed lonely and helpless there. I still remember him looking at me with sad expression. I should have stayed with him that night. Passing is not an easy event. It is completion of our lives. We should get it through by ourselves. Having family members or close friends beside us might be a mighty help to do that. I should apologize that to him if I should have an opportunity to see him.

I still often recall of him, doing the same things at home here. May we have a day to see each other again?


We could never be lookers-on of the crisis in Greece.

I could not help overlapping the situation of Greece to our country. Of course, the creditors for Greek are foreign banks while ours are mainly the domestic ones. The finance of our government is even worse and the government won't stop wasting the budget. They say we have the productive industries in our country in contrast to Greece. But the debt is far beyond the size of GDP. The situations are not essentially different in both countries.   

If the market judges the debt of our government goes beyond a limit and the BOJ loses credit in the market, there will be almost the same situation as in Greek now. It won't result in a total collapse in economy in our country. But we should go through very hard time of inflation for years.

Why has the Greek refused the retrenchment policy? Do they see what they will experience in the near future?  Hopefully, Japanese are aware of this crisis comparable to that in Greece. We should be ready for the hard time upcoming soon. We should not be mere lookers-on of the crisis.


Communication is having something common with the others

Communication is an operation to share some thought or idea with the others. It is having something common. Of course, in CW communication, we use Morse code for the communication tool of symbol.

The message of communication could be various, from simple data, numbers or the model names of radio etc in concrete forms to our thoughts or feelings in abstract forms. As personal communication, CW QSO would give us pleasure when the message is concerned about the latter, that is, when we share thoughts or feelings with the others.

How often do we share those things with the others in CW communication? If CW communication loses this essential part, I believe, it won't last too long. I am afraid the trend of CW communication is just having concrete data with the others. It won't make young people fascinated with CW since it won't make any pleasure in communication.  


Yellow tomato

For a week or two, I have thought these tomatoes, staying in yellow color, won't be ripened.  Crows won't be interested in them in addition.

When I made a round in the garden farm, an idea has flashed across in my mind. Haven't I planted yellow fruit tomato there? yes, that is it. Harvested one of them, I hurried to the kitchen. It tasted very sweet. The yellow ones in the basket were harvested tomatoes today.

It is becoming the tomato season here.