A memorable wedding

It was the wedding day of my dear violinist friend yesterday. It was held in a famous shrine in Nikko, named Futa-arasan shrine. Slightly couldy and warm day. The best climate for such an event.

The ceremony has started at a bridge. I don't think it was the routine style of the ceremony in Shinto. Since a river was running in front of the shrine, they might have invented that ceremony. I know there is no systematic dogma in this religion. In Shinto, everything in the nature could be their gods. Anyway, the couple went over the bridge named Shinkyou, that is, God's bridge after Shinto priest, where we followed them. There were a number of tourists looking at us from the street along the river.

They have showed up on a traditional rickshaw. Being produced this way, it was a real show. The couple was taken for photo and the tourists were clapping hands to them. Of course, they must intended to celebrate this couple but I could not help feeling they were looking at them with the eyes toward some kind of rare show on the street.

Smiling at the attendees, they walked to the bridge.

They started crossing it. Moments to take photo were prepared everywhere.

The bridge. It may not be too old. The rock and trees on the riverside look old and engender the religious atmosphere.

The river flowing under the bridge, named Ohya river. A few kilometers upstream, there is a hospital where I used to work as a part time when I was a resident. Staying there over night as an ER doctor, I ran back to the hospital of med school early in the morning. In mid winter, the road was frozen and very slippery. The memory of those days have come up in my mind.

The shrine was pretty old. There is a tomb of the shogun in Edo era beside this shrine and has been closely related with it.

The entrance road to the main building of the shrine from the street. The cedar trees along it must be a few hundred years old.

The wedding ceremony in the shrine. A few ceremonies in stereotype. The priest has decreed some message as if he had sung it. Nothing understandable to me. I wondered if anyone could understand it. It was an extreme formalism. It may make us feel we are "blessed" with something good to us by this formalism. I could hardly believe it was a real religion. It is not my intention to criticize Shinto. But in the end, the priest has greeted us with understandable modern Japanese and has advertised us how profitable it is to worship this shrine. Only profits in this world. 

The wedding party was held at a restaurant next to the shrine. A really enjoyable party. The friends of them have made good speeches for them. The couple have stated their thanks to their parents recalling the past with photos on the slides. I have told in the speech what I have learned from her. Enjoying music together as typically expressed in the breathing Einsatz in the beginning of tunes. She always gave us a sign of starting music with deep inspiration. It sounded like saying let's sing together and let's enjoy our lives together. It was not only a sign but a philosophy of attitude toward music as well as life. For the past 15 years, she has been kind enough to make my life pleasant with a number of chances of ensemble. I know how much effort she has made for music. i could not help respecting her as a musician and as a human being as well. My mind was full of thanks to her. Her husband is a honest and pleasant guy  I am sure they will build a happy and open minded family toward the others. They have played a duo of menuet by Beethoven. A great couple duo!

I have played the Swan by Saint Saens. Her sister, another violinist, has thumbed up when I finished it and went to the stage side. But I don't know how well I have done and how the people has enjoyed it. Maybe, they have had too much alcohol to listen to me haha. 

Before getting dark, even though the party was not over, I headed back to my home. It took me almost a couple of hours. Boy, I was lost on the way! I felt how old I had become again.

At night, this violinist friend has given me a mail of thanks. What a sweet girl! I felt as if I had had my own daughter married. 


The VW case

The emission problem of VW cars seems to make the company confront to very difficult situation.

Any reformed application for controlling the engine may trade off the motion performance of the car. The customers won't agree with that. It is not practical to exchange the engines to newly developed ones for total 11 million cars.

The only possibility is buying back all the sold cars. Buying  back all of them may cost over one hundred million USD if they pay half of the prices. I wonder if VW could put up with this financial burden.

This event showed how risky it is to sell items with the same parts and spec all over the world. Once such a problem as this VW case occurs, it may give them astronomical monetary burden.

Considering of the stern competition for better emission or gas mileage of automobiles, I am afraid there could be such a case of corruption in this business field as this VW case. I am afraid the engineers on charge of designing may be too much tempted to alter such an application for apparently better performance.

Either will be a thorny road

Our government has issued 152 trillion yen last year, that is, approx. 1.27 trillion USD, of which 70% was bought by BOJ. Isn't it the monetization of the national bond?

This drastic QE continued by the present cabinet was told to cause mild inflation and to get out of the deflation. It has not been achieved. Only asset bubble seems to go on.

If they stop this QE at some moment, it will be the time the national bond won't be bought in the market, resulting in the slump of the national bond.

If they go on this QE, there will be the hyperinflation causing destruction of the economy in Japan.

Either way is a thorny road for us.


Impoverishment of ham radio.

It is the same kind of complaints or rather deep disappointment for the modern trend of CW operations, which I have repeated here many times. Omit reading this post if you feel unhappy to.

As the condition for NA was disappointing to me on the higher bands this morning, having a faint hope for ordinary QSO, I came down to 40m and tried to work some JAs. A HL and a JA  have called me. What they have sent to me was "only report" or "report plus name". Hasty QSOs with use of BK in the end of transmissions. Not in QRS. Apparently, they were just collecting QSLs.

The higher portion of 40m was occupied by contesters. Wow, two domestic contests are being held in a chain. Has it become a dream to enjoy ordinary QSOs?

What has brought this reality to CW world? I believe two factors might be involved in it.

One is that they are not trained to do the ordinary QSO. Maybe, lack of training of head copy and/or linguistic limit. Both could be overcome with training and learning. It is a good chance for them to make ordinary QSOs. It seems, however, they are satisfied with such hasty rubberstamp QSOs.

We, or at least I, used to have an intense desire to communicate with hams oversea when we started ham radio. It seems to have been lost. CW has become a tool to collect QSLs or to compete in contests. Even CW clubs are oriented to this way. What a terrible impoverishment!

On the background of this trend, there seems another more profound problem. They may not want to be involved in the others. They don't want to know what the others think, hope and feel etc. What they want to make is a very superficial relationship with the others. It is the relationship of Ich und Es as Martin Buber described, as I quoted in this blog before. What a desolate world it would be!

Maybe, I have hoped for something CW world could not offer to me. It may not be too far when I quit this hobby, I felt.  


Worth of having lived in my way

Not so often, but I still reflect how I have lived as a pediatrician, or how I have lived as a human being through the profession. Have I done my best at study as well as at work? Hasn't there been anything I could do better for the patients? These questions come on in my mind from time to time as if a tune of basso continuo in my life.

Last night, my wife has handed me a lovely envelope. In the envelope, a letter written in a faltering way apparently from a little girl was foound. She has signed as Asuka for her first name. I could not read her family name. She might be around 5 years old. In addition to drawing some portraits and a building, she wrote my name and the name of a supermarket which I often went for shopping on the way back home in the evening. Have I met her over there? A strap of lovely tiny character was attached to it. This might be her treasure. I have a vague memory I got this from a little girl at the out patient clinic. I might have brought it to home and have totally forgotten it. 

She might want to write something to anyone with her knowledge of letters she had just learned recently. It might accidentally have been me that she would write to. Yet, she might have had some fond memory with me. Or she won't have written it and handed it to me at the clinic together with her treasure. This idea has wrapped my mind with something warm. 

It may sound like an exaggeration but I still felt, thanks to her mail, it had been worthy having lived as a pediatrician, as Soprano sings in the 4th movement in the 2nd symphony of Mahler. No fame nor academic career I got. But an idea, her having fond memories of me, made my mind full of happiness. It is worth of having lived in my way.

O glaube: : Du wardst nicht umsonst geboren!
Hast nicht umsonst gelebt, gelitten!



A trip to Kyoto enroute to Takamatsu

In the last week end, we have been to Takamatsu in Shikoku to see the parents in law. My wife has been there regularly once 2 or 3 months. I have joined her for this trip this time again. We have had a bonus in this trip.

Leaving home before 8 o'clock in the morning, we have made stopover at Kyoto and listented to a concert of Kyoto Municipal Symphony Orchestra at Kyoto Concert Hall. A fanfare by Dukas, followed by Violin Concerto Nr1 by Shostakovitch and Symphony Nr1 by Brahms. The solist was a young virtuoso violinist named Kazuhito Yamane of 20 years of age, who had won, at the age of 15 years, the 1st prize in Japan Music Concours.

The concerto itself was a grave and serious music. It is full of passages showing off the performer's technique. Even though the 3rd movement of Passacaglia gave the audience a feeling of relief and calmness for a while, the entire music is governed by anxiety and pain in some struggle. It might reflect Shostakovitch's inner world at the time.

Brahms is one of the most famous symphonies. I used to play it at the top side of cellists in the university orchestra in a concert when I finally could manage playing all the score, without questioning how well I could, since I had started practicing cello for 3 years or so. Fond memories. My wife has booked this concert by herself. As I wrote of that somewhere, when we got married and were settled down in this countryside for residency, we talked and expected of chances to go for concerts in Tokyo. Until now, we have had only few chances. I am glad my wife has made booking of this concert after such a long interval.

The concert hall. Thirty minutes drive on a taxi from the JR station. We have had lunch of french dishes before the concert. A quiet nice place.

I noticed there had been more young people in the audience than the other concerts of classical music. It may be because the ticket was not so expensive as the ordinary concerts. It might be also because of the rather numerous universities in this old town. Kyoto city Some 10 minutes before the concert started. The hall was full of the audience at the start. It was remarkable there were more young people in the audience than in the other concerts. It was, probably, because there were several universities in Kyoto. One of them is a municipal art university, which has produced many renowned classical music players. 

At the assited living facility the parents in law are in, everything seemed going on without any change and the time was passing by in serenity and peace. Father told us the staff has been changed quite often. He has been careful for the relationship with them and the other people living there. It is the last place for them to spend their lives, so that I fully understand what he was anxious about. I thought of his concern and anxiety in the small society of the nursing home. Mother in law seemed to progress dementia and was bed ridden all the day. The staff caring for them looked cheerful and helpful to them, which I could not thanked even more. 

We took the father in law for shopping at a super market. Sister in law has been caring for them quite well. But father still seemed to be reserved to the others including her. We have purchased some clothes etc. The sister in law visited the home and took us for lunch. A pleasant time. She showed us her granddaughter and her dog in video clips using a PC. Father seemed delighted to have sashimi rarely served at the nursing home. I wished we could have some beer together. Saying farewell to us, he walked to the home. Very slow steps But no staggering. I wished them peace in mind and happy days. It is a bit sad to see them losing capabilities more and more whenever we meet them. I felt they, with their existence itself, told us how to spend the rest of our lives. I feel a bit guilty not to have seen them oftener in the past while they were more active. I am still glad to see them as they are now. They are real teacher in our lives.

In front of the Takamatsu JR station through the window of the hotel we stayed.

She said, honestly, she felt more ralaxed at home in Mohka than anywhere, when we got home.


It is never for the people

Regarding the national security bill being discussed in the diet, the government will decide it by the end of this week. It is a bill of a very important issue as for what country Japan would become in the future.

On the other hand, they have held the public hearings since yesterday. Only 2 days are planned. And it is immediately before the decision at the diet. It is against the objective of public hearing to listen to the people's opinion for reference to the discussion at the diet. The government won't take the principle of democracy as an important thing at all.

They are working not for the people but for the other power. The power they are serving seems to be the military-industrial complex. Since the cold war ended in '90s, it has been a main issue how to maintain and increase the profits of such global undsutries. They say Bilderberg Conference has been one of such a group which cared for the world hegemony and the military-industrial complex.

Since the US recedes from the position of the world cop, there should be regional allies which take over the power and hegemony under the influence of the US as the off shore balancer. The purpose of the national security bill in Japan could be well explained in this scheme.

It is never for the people.


After the storm

It is icredibly fine day here. It is like a dream that we have had that torrential rain for a few days.

It has caused landslides and flooding along the big river named Kinugawa running from north to south in the center of the prefecture here. Of course, in the mountainous area in the western part has also suffered. A few people have been killed or missing. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the dangerous areas. Numbers of houses were lost as well. No words to encourage them. I only hope they will recover the peaceful days at home soon.

Fortunately, we are living in a slightly hilly place. No damage from this storm at all. My wife has been scared to drive on a bridge over the river. There seemed only jammed traffic there.

They say this heavy rain, the record amount of rainfall over 600 mm/2 days, has been caused by a winded jet stream, which slowed a typhoon crossing the central part of Japan and kept the front along the eastern part of the main land for a long time. Apparently apart from this topic, the drought has attacked various parts of the world. In Syria, the crops have failed due to drought, they say. A lot of farmers have escaped into Damascus, which has been one of the causes of the civil war there. The drought everywhere could not be unrelated with the aberrant global climate going on right now.

Millions of refugees have been subjected to severe lives there. It is not a strangers' problem.


Chestnut rice

I have cooked chestnut rice this evening. The chestnuts were harvested in the garden. We have an old chestnut tree at a corner of the garden, which was planted by my father decades ago. It brings forth a lot of chestnuts in every fall. It is a regular routine for us to prepare this dish in this season.

Many chestnuts have been fallen on the ground by the gust of a typhoon today. After boiling chestnuts in hot water for a couple of minutes, the astringent skin is carefully peeled off. This procedure is most tiring and takes a bit of time. Together with seasoning by soy sauce. sake and so forth, the naked chestnuts which have been watered for some time are put into the rice. The rice is also already washed and stayed alone for some time. Lastly, the cooker is powered on.

Here it is the delicious chestnut rice on the table. It is a dish typical for this season. Wondering if father knows how much we appreciate his planting the chestnut tree. It is a great heritage to the next generation to plant such trees.


Forty is getting active

Forty meters is finally in good shape. I have worked Bob K7QXY, Art NS7E and Sam K5HDX in a chain around 08Z. Bob was new to me. He has been in QRT for the past 37 years. A good hand key user. I have known the other two pretty well for some years. It was a fun to see them, either new or old to me. The band is very quiet. The signals are not very loud but still very steady here.

The high bands have been mostly dead since the beginning of this summer. It has been due to lowered solar activity as well as the geomagnetic storms coming on continuously.  I feel 40 meters is getting more active. There are more CW operators getting on this band. It surely reminds me of the good old days. Some are staying up until that late while the others wake up very early in the morning in NA. I would go on calling CQ on around 7026KHz at our sunset. if my fist makes a bit more mistakes in sending, it is due to a glass of beer I take at this time in a day.

Honestly speaking, I am afraid this activity on both sides across the Pacific Ocean may be the last chance for us to enjoy such leisurely conversation on CW. The CW ragchewers are steadily decreasing in number. Actually, it has been quite difficult for me to find out anyone for such a ragchew. In spite of that gloomy expectation, I would, as the vulgar slang says, kick ass the band while the band is open. My friends, it would be a precious chance for us to enjoy this path for now. Come on the band if you get up early. And, in a month or two, it will start opening to europe through the long path as well. I would look for the friends there also.

When I finish the glass of beer and this miraculous opening on 40 meters, I would start cooking dinner.


Delamamid, a new anti tuberculosis drug

A pharmaceutical company, named Ohtsuka in Japan, has invented a new anti tuberculosis drug recently. It has been reported to be effective in the treatment for "super" multiple drug resistance cases in the recent issue of New England Journal of Medicine..

Tuberculosis is not an infection in the past. In Japan, about 20.000 new patients are diagnosed every year, whose 10% go on ominous prognosis. One percent of newly diagnosed patients ared told to develop multiple drug resistance type. This new drug has a unique mechanism to suppress mycole acid synthesis necessary for the bacterial cellular membrane, so that it has no cross resistance with the other kinds of drug. It also has little side effects other than possibility of an arrhythmia.

I won't intend to advertise this drug. But, as a doctor who used to work in the clinical service, I am simply moved by the enthusiasm of the researchers of such a medicine together with the management staff who have made this drug available in the market. I am sure the market won't be large enough to make it a big success. In the severely competitive market, they have pursued this orphan drug for the rare cases of multiple drug resistance cases. I see a hopeful and good willed aspect of pharmaceutical engineering business in this news.

I only hope this drug will be given to those with this difficult illness especially in the developing countries.


Radioactive contamination going on

Two news which might be related with the radiation pollution from the 1st nuclear power plant in Fukushima destroyed at the earth quake have been published.

One is that they have done a survey for childhood thyroid cancer in Kitaibaraki city about 45miles south of the nuclear plant. It revealed 3 out of more than 3593 children surveyed had thyroid cancer. They said the time span from the possible irradiation by the accident was too short and that thyroid cancer could be occult in general population, so that they concluded this finding of the thyroid cancer cases was not related with the accident.

As with the other studies of childhood thyroid cancer survey in Fukushima and adjascent areas, there was no control population studied with the same methodology at the same time. But Kitaibaraki was a highly contaminated area with radioactive substances. It is the time when any health problem could start occurring at present. We should, therefore, closely observe the follow up of the cases of childhood thyroid cancer and the other health issues related with irradiation.

The other news was that many of the fir trees grown in the area around the collapsed nuclear power plant had turned out to have a growth anomly. The trunk won't grow at certain point and stays short. The National Institute of Radiological Sciences, which has published this data, is going to study if radiation could cause such an anomalous growth of fir trees.

The forests on the mountain side of the nuclear power plant are known to be highly contaminated with radioactive substances. The substances are known to remain on the surface of the soil for a long time. They may, no wonder, harm normal growth of trees or the other plants/animals living there. Of course, the contaminated soil could never be deconaminated and would be left as it is. This environmental contamination could cause any effects on our lives in the future. Especial;ly, on the next generation, I am afraid.


Sweet potatoes

I have harvested sweet potatoes grown from one plant yesterday. The vine spread over a few meters in radius. The harvest is shown here.

It was a harder work than expected. Some of them were deep in the soil. I was a bit excited at the number of sweet potatoes and dug them put almost forgetting how long it took. After this hard work, I started plowing another garden farm for fall vegetables. It was a few minutes later when I got the sharp back pain. I realized the herniation of disc had returned to me. Fortunately, my wife's care and some pain killer med have helped me a lot, so that I could walk slowly by this afternoon. In a few days, I could return to the garden work. A couple of crops of sweet potatoes flourishing like jungles are waiting for me to harvest. I will be more careful not to hurt my back. I still need to make exercise to strengthen my back muscles.

I have already planted Welsch onions and radishes. The latter has already germinated. It will be a good material for pot dishes at cold night soon. 

I was afraid I could not have operated radio with the back pain. It turned out not to be so. I have enjoyed good ragchews with a few friends on the higher bands. The conditions are changing toward that typical for fall now. 

I will spend even more time sweeping the dial from now on.