A trip to a hot spa

Another leisurely drive trip to a hot spa named Kitsuregawa, about 20km north of here. This hot spa used to be developed by semi public investors in 1980s. It was the days of so called bubble economy. The abundant fund mainly from the postal savings has been used for that those days. And in 2000s, these facilities went on declining after the rupture of the bubble. Some hot spa facilities had been run despite of that economical events. 

I used to enjoy dipping myself in those hot spas in '90s. I went there sometimes with friends and the other times with family members. It was located on a hill ridge. There was a park next to it, where our children played at before bathing in hot spa.

It was a fine and warm day. It has been over 10 years, no almost 20 years, since I last visited there. The town of Kitsuregawa is a quiet countryside without no hotels or amusement facilities. It has been one reason shy I was fascinated at this hot spa. With the guide of GPS, I reached the hot spa. It was closed. A panel said it had been damaged by the big earthquake in 2011, so that it has been closed since then. There used to be many cars parked there. But nothing at that time. the tower on the left was not familiar to me. It must be constructed for viewing the scenary from above some time not too long ago. The building on the right side was the hot spa facility.   

Another shot for the building. It seemed not to have cared for a long time. I remembered of another hot spa which I found to have closed and posted about it in this blog 2 or 3 years ago. There have been a number of hot spas developed in the same age. That earthquake has put end to most of them. What a waste!

There was a road running on the ridge. I took a walk there. Sunny and warm. You may see another ridge in the southern way. I had thought this area was acomposed of the stratum continued from Abukuma mountains. The latter moutains covers from the eastern half of Fukushima to, in the south direction, the middle of Ibaraki and north eastern part of Tochigi. Mohka we live now is located at the southern edge of the hills continued to that mountains.

I have confirmed what I guessed above from descriptions in the internet. This mountains were caused by upheaval of land, which has been eroded to be fairly flat on the tops. These low ridge of hills are the southern end of the mountains.

I felt, since the big earthquake in 2011, the quake is big when there is an earthquake in Fukusshima. I suspected there must be a continued stratum from there to our area, so that the quake is propagated directly here. In the big earthquake, our home was damaged a bit with roof tiles of the house for our parents were fallen on the ground. The operating desk was destroyed with all the equipment fallen to the floor. Ever since that, whenever we have had any earthquake in Fukusima, if not all, this area shaked according to it. That was shy I suspected of the geological relationship of this area with Fukushima.

Another hot spa next the former one was also closed due to the earthquake damage.

There was a hotel with hot spa adjascent to them. I was taking bath there. But since they haven't provided lockers, I gave up bathing there. Even though no one in the large bath at all.

On the way back home, there were peaceful farming scenes. No souvenir this time.


Okinawa questions about the fairness of the US

I love America and American people. But there is one thing I could never agree or approve what your government and military are doing. Purporting to lessen the burden of the US military base in Futenma, on behalf of the US military, our ï¼­inistry of  Defence is constructing a new military base at Henoko, where they are destroying its beautiful beach at present. Majority of Okinawans are against that move.

In 0.6% of the land of our country, Okinawa has been crammed 74% of the US military base. In addition to the battle in WWII in the islands having resulted in death of 1 out of 4 Okinawan civilians due to its battle, they have suffered from crimes and accidents related with stationing of the US military there. The US base has been in extraterritoriality.

It is Okinawans' urgent demand to lessen the burden there. The governor of Okinawa has made an address to appeal about this issue. There is no improvement so far. Yes, it is our government's business. But there have been a party among politicians as well as bureaucrats who gains profit from the stationed US military.  They would construce the new base by force.

I know there are many kinds of discussions regardeing the US military presence in Okinawa. Pro and contra. But it is a matter of the human right and the right of self-determination of Okinawans. If the US government goes on constructing that new base in Henoko, it means Okinawans and some Japanese will lose faith in your sense of fairness.

The present situation in Okinawa makes us suspect the US people is fair to the minorities and those who have suffered from your military presence. The US should learn your presence won't be realized without the local people's approval for that.


Another driving trip along the Naka river

Several days ago, I have driven along a river named the Nakagawa, or the Naka river, running from west to east bound for the ocean 20 or 30km northeast of here in the hilly area. The traffic was very few. This road is the way we drove to the ocean from our home when the trunk road was jammed. A peaceful day in fall. 

We seldom have such a straight and less traffic road here. I often wonder how they will finance to maintain such an empty road. It will get less and less crowded from now since our society is losing the population. I am fond of driving on such an empty road but wonder if this is sustainable.

It was not typical for fall yet. Only few trees were changing their colors. This must be a place to enjoy cherry blossoms in spring for the people there. 

The river was running between hills. We used to bring our children for playing in the water in summer years ago. The width of the river should be a few hundred meters. In the riverside, trees seemed to stand in line. Three of them are seen in the front in this photo. Seemingly cherry trees. While they were surrounded by bushed, there must be a lane along the trees. That lane must not be used by any pedestrians any longer. There could have been farms in the riversides before.

Before it got dark, I headed back home. i found my driving skill was still getting rusty. For souvenir, I have bought apples at a farmer's shop along a street. Fresh and pretty good.



Yesterday, I was called by a station with old call HL4SF on 40m CW.  I have doubted I got his call right at firest. Yes, it was still "Oh", a good friend of mine since 1980s. He was not very good at CW, so we have moved to SSB. I got a bit nervous for haven't talked on SSB for some time even in Japanese. A QSO after almost 20 years long absence.

He had finished his compulsory military service and was going through a med school when we first met on the radio possibly in the end of '80s. He was wondering what he would major in and where he would train himself as a doctor. One of his choices was coming to study in Japan. I have given him the info on the med school where I had served residency here. In a year or two, he has visited our home, which had been built a few years before then. A thin nice looking young guy. We have talked a lot even on the topics we could never handled on the air. He told me ham radio was still censored by the authority at that time. His sharp countenance might be not only his characteristics but also what the circumstance had made on him.

Later, he told me, he went to the states and studied family medicine there. I thought he would take over the hospital his parents had managed for years. I don't know why and had no time to ask about that in this QSO but he went on working in a university. A few years ago, he had changed his speciality from Gyn/Ob to occupational and environmental medicine. He told me he could go on working in this speciality until old age and actually liked working there.  

His daughter is going to graduate a university in Kyoto and is working near Tokyo. He would visit her there and might be visiting us here again. In our first meeting in person, both of us were young and still ambitious for our work. Now I have retired and he has found his 2nd career which he must go on working for until retirement. Possibly it will take him  only several years to retire. Much water has flown under the bridge. Maybe, we have a lot of things to talk about not on the air but in person.


Mahler Symphony Nr 5

They say Mahler has been possessed by the idea of fear and terror for death throughout his life. Most of his works seem to be intended to solve that inner motivation with aesthetics of music. We could hear his struggle in the funeral march in his works as this 1st movement of his Nr 5 Symphony. Even if it is fragile, it is still beautiful and moving our mind deeply. Listening to  his Nr 9, he seemed to reach any definite solution to the question in the end of his life. I still would like to ask him what he has thought of the question at the last moment of his life.


String Quartet by Faure

Today, I happened to listen to this quartet, the only string quartet composed by Faure in his very last years. Not very famous but, no one would deny that it is one of the best string quartets in the history of chamber music.

I used to listen to this music in my student days again and again as if I was infected by a feverish illness of this music. Overlapping motives sung by each instrument and richly tinted harmony compose this music. It should be stressed that it has nothing excessive in its expression. No exaggeration nor decorative phrases. It is the music he could compose only at the last period in his life.

I was carefully listening to it wondering if I felt anything different from my young days. It left almost the same impression to me. Maybe, I could understand even better that he had been occupied only with his music without any distraction. Concentration or accentuation at the middle range of audio in this quartet is often referred to his hearing abnormality developed in his old age, that is, the higher and lower portion of audio sounded to be deviated to the medium range. It must be worse than deafness. Apparently dull sound, even though it expresses rich and profound inner world, is essential to his music, I believe.

His biography by his son tells that he used to utter his music would be forgotten in the future. What modesty! It means he was not concerned about reputation or even evaluation by people at that time as well as in later period. Isn't it a good model how to live in the last part of our lives?

Hypocrisy of the developed countries in the developing countries in conflicts

A recent news said USAF had made bombing error in Afghanistan, which destroyed a hospital of Medecins sans frontieres. When I read about this news, I thought of many other civilians killed by battles or by erred bombing there or the other countries in civil war.

Searching the number of the civilian victims, I knew there had still been about 10.000 killed every year in Iraq and a few thousands in Afghanistan. Of course, these figures include those killed by the anti governmental extremists as well as the governmental or American military.  

I could not help feeling those military actions in conflict areas, wherever they might be, should result in death of innocent civilians. It may give rise to further recruits of extremists in those areas. I sometimes hear or read the military industrial complex is getting much profit from the conflicts. They are starting business for recovery from the military conflicts in those areas. I am sure they need disarmament and cessation of influx of funds and of arms into those areas. Air bombing, even if it is done at the right target, won't solve the problem but aggravate the situation. 

When reading messages uploaded in SNS from the US, I often find those of Muslim phobia and simple belief that massacre of Muslims could be the final solution to the problem. I wonder what is the background of such an idea in some people in the US. Don't they understand such an extremism could lead to totalitareanism like Nazism? I would ask them if they are not propagandized by the parties which benefit from extended conflicts.  


A drive in the mountain area

A few days ago, when it was too fine and crisp to stay home, I went to the famous resort named Shiobara. It is located 30 or 40km north of here in the mountain area. There are a number of renowned hot spas around that place. I was looking forward to finding the colorful foliage there. As a result of this short drive trip, it was too early to enjoy that scenery of fall there yet.

Very few tourists there. Getting off the car, I walked down to the river in the valley. The leaves were lightly tinted but were not typical for gorgeous colors in fall yet. Pretty hard wind was blowing as an effect from a typhoon passing east of here in the Pacific Ocean. Maybe, only 100m of altitude, I got down and up, has made me shaky on my legs.    

There was rather little water in the river. The valley was steep. In late fall, possibly in next month, we could have a breathtaking scene on its both sides. 

Getting into deeper in the mountains, there was a small village apart from the hot spa inn area. even quieter place. If I had headed north of there, I could have been to Fukushima. Since it was getting overcast, I gave it up. Turned to south.

On a ridge between Shiobara and Nikko. Very few cars on the road. It was even rainy on the way. The hard wind broke branches off from trees along the road. Those fallen branches partially obstructed the way. Parking at a lot on the way.

During this drive, two persons have come up in my mind.

One was Ozeki, exJA1APF. He was a good ham friend of mine who passed away almost 30 years ago. I knew him through a QSO on UHF mobile when I and family went for driving this area. He was working at a small factory in this area which had produced helmets for bike riders. He stayed there on the week day while he got back home in Saitama on 2 hours drive. At that very first QSO, he was on the way back home. He was almost ten years older than me and a very sociable person. He had been positive for anything, like repairing ham radio gear or putting up antennas. He hated anything wrong. He was still a kind person as well. One time, when my mother got sick, he kindly took her to hospital by himself while I could not do with her owing to my work schedule. We used to chat on UHF quite often when he went back home in week ends.

In a cold morning in winter about 25 years ago, I was woke up by a phone call from a hospital near his work place. The doctor told me Ozeki was seriously ill and wanted me to come there. i rushed to that hospital where I found him already having passed. It seemed that myocardial infarction had killed him. It was a really big loss for me to have him gone away. I was shocked to know it had been me, but not his family, whom he had wanted to call at the very last moment of his life. Has he thought I could help him in that agony? Have I done what he relied on me? Did I deserve his faith on me? Relationship with friends could be such a profound thing, I have learned from him.

The other person was Jim VK9NS, a famous DXpeditioner. I have already written about this episode in Facebook. He was here in Tochigi to attend a DX meeting. The day after, I took him for a tour in this mountainous area. We took a bath together at a hot spa there. Was it early summer? Through the big window at the bath, we could see beautiful foliage vivid and green. Since that tour, we have chatted on CW a few times in a year. It has been 6 years since I heard of his death through the internet.

Recently, I recall those already passed away oftener than people still alive. Of course, it is because I am getting older and have lost many friends. I am, however, more conscious of those passed away and of the things at and after death for myself. It is not a pessimism or negativism but a natural attitude toward life at my age, I believe. It is an event mentally as well as physically hard to get through. But it could be an eternal relief from worries and pains in this world. I should get ready for that. It may let me live my life in meaningful way. Driving through the tortuous roads on the ridge, I vaguely thought of such a thing in addition to the memories of those friends.  


Fall sun sets quickly

To have sushi for lunch for a change, I went to the coast area. It took me an hour and a half to drive there. Even though hunger made me pull up at a sushi bar on the way there. 

It was a very familiar road from here to the coast. I used to drive there many times when our family was young. It was a way to get away from the routine at the dorm home where things were messed. Picking up a milk bottle and diapers, I was heading to the coast with my wife and our older son. Later, older son and wife were taken over to my mother and our daughter, who loved driving out very much.

Driving along the coast and playing somewhere like an aquarium, we headed back home on the same road before it got dark. My mother used to tell me the same saying that the sun sets quickly in the fall as if a water bucket falls fast into a well. When my mother was young, they took water with a bucket from well. That saying had been real to her. 

Years have passed since those days. It was, however, only a moment. Our lives will pass in a moment. I should appreciate every day as it is. No need to get irritated or to worry anything. Time will go away as it was when mother was alive. 



Forty is picking up

Forty meters is getting really quiet in our late afternoon through evening. I was called by Rol K3RA in MD before sunset. Still pretty weak but surely the short path was open to the East Coast. It won't be too long before I could hear old friends in that area.

A couple of guys, Bob W7BV and Guy N7YK, gave me call later. Bob woke up early while Guy stayed up joining CQP until 3 AM there. I have had Bob visiting our home years ago. He is a retired professor in physiology. In his last visit to Japan, he has spent several hours here in his busy schedule. Hopefully, he could be here again next year.

Guy told me he was practicing CW after a period of absence. He has had decent fist on CW. he seemed pleased to hear of my compliment to his CW.

Both QSOs with them were really enjoyable. These QSOs are what I have had in the past but scarcely experience these days. With hope such an old timer like them would turn on 40 meters at their sleepless night, I am still going on calling CQ there.