A milestone in my life

Having had so many books piled on the table and pushed into the spaces in the bookshelves, I decided to dispose some books on medicine. I have already discarded or stored those books elsewhere when I remodelled this room for radio as well as study years ago. Still little room for books mainly on social science and history.  When I retired from my profession, it was actually least possible for me to return to work as a pediatrician. But I still wanted to keep the books I had studied with for years.

This is a part of books to be disposed or to be stored elsewhere. Among them, there are two volumes of thick book titled as "Pediatric Xray Diagnosis by Caffey". When I started serving residency, I purchased them. It cost me about 500USD at that time, which was half of my monthly salary. I didn't care spending much money for books or magazines if they were necessary for study. This famous radiological textbook must be out of date for now. I won't use it any longer. However, I still could not dispose it. It will be asleep in the storage room from now. 

Now I am much more interested in the other subjects than medicine. I am sure books on the above mentioned subjects will take the place where these old books have taken for years. I know I could not memorize what those new books say. I still would like to know something new to me. It is challenging to me to learn where I am located in history/ideology. It might be a self-satisfaction but still worth doing that intellectual wandering trip until I could not do that.

This replacement of books is a milestone for a new journey in my life.


Something lost here and the other thing lasted since the old era

It was the day for me to attend to the ophthalmologist today. Just for follow up. I was told to take less number of eye drops for now.

On the way back home, I made detour and went through the roads I had commuted to my office. One end was to make shopping at a super market where I used to go after work in the evening on my way back home. Surprisingly, it has ceased business there. The lights went out while the sign was taken away. The parking lot was closed. It has been there for at least 20 years or longer. It has survived the big earthquake even though the interior seemed to have been damaged a lot, so that they should postpone business for a few weeks. Just cessation of business. But I could not help wondering how the employees were doing. There must be elderly people who had been dependent on it for shopping daily items. The other supermarket near there has been closed since the earthquake. How could they do shopping for living without two of them? It was a relaxing place for me. Sure I missed it.

Again, I felt everything would be changed in time like this. We should just get used to it. No other choice. In a few seconds, I realized it would be my turn to undergo such "a change" in some time. That idea made me cynically smile to myself. The meaning of elderly days might be in the fact that we would lose things familiar to us one by one and it makes us realize what is important to us.       

I have posted about Bentenzuka in a previous article here. It is located halfway between the old office and my home. I stopped by there on my way home. Neatly cleaned possibly by the local people.  

A tiny shrine structure on the top. I wondered what they had worshiped there. I have made a bit of research on it, even though I could not find any explanation on this particular tomb place. Bentenzuka seems to mean a shrine or a tomb for the belief in the guardian diety in Buddhism. It is named Benzaiten. There seem to be hundreds of the places named Bentenzuka all over Japan. It has been introduced into Buddhism from Hindu. Our ancestors have accepted Buddhism in flexible ways. This round shaped tomb must have been for a person of the power in 6 or 7th century, who has not been related with that deity in Buddhism at all. In the later era, people must have started worshiping that deity at this place.

It was a primitive religious behaviour. But I still feel relieved to know that our ancestors have worshiped someone supreme in the world.   

The view toward east from the tomb place. It has been a fun to drive through this farming area with music played loudly.

It is the time for me to prepare for the concert in the end of this month for now.


An eye patch off

Having finished the surgery of cataracts on the left eye, I have had the eye patch taken away today. It was really annoying to have it. It was also a disturbance to drive car as well since I had to drive with only right eye. As soon as I got out of the clinic without the eye patch, I felt this good weather had invited me for a short drive, even though I fully knew it was not an advisable behaviour for a patient on recovery of the surgery. I could not resist to go out in the crystalline clear sky with mild breeze. I haven't driven anywhere except for a supermarket and the clinic for several weeks. I was wearing the UV cut guard glasses while driving.

Driving 10 minutes from the clinic, I reached a foot of Mt, Tsukuba. It is 877m high above sea level, the most prominent mountain in this area. From Fukushima, there is a mountain range named Yamizo mountains running north to south. This mountain is located the southern end of that range. It is the most conspicuous mountain in this area as told above, so that there are a few communication relay facilities on its peak. There are a famous driving course along the range and a few parking lots along it. 

Though imperfect, the mountain had the umbrella like cloud on the peak. The sun ray was so bright as if in spring, which could be thanks to my better vision as well.     

The view over to south from the range. Thirty or 40 miles south west of this place, the city of Tokyois located. Tsukuba city is only a few miles west, where our daughter is working busily. Some 30 years ago, I used to bring family every January here and took photos on the lawn along the road. It was scheduled every 15th of Jan, a national holiday those days. We have done that for a few years. I have remembered of that driving alone the winding road on the range. 

One of the foots of the mountain. Some woods and farms were spreading there. A peaceful scenary.

This week end, I will have the practice of piano trio after almost a year long hiatus. Then, a week later, we will perform a piece at a small concert in Tokyo. 

What made me happiest with this eye surgery was that I could read the music score without glasses. I would enjoy this period given to me for a while playing with those great company. I should thank the ophthalmologist for what he has done for me. Even though he is an experienced doctor, he might feel a bit stress to treat me. In addition to being an ex doctor, I have not been a loyal patient!


Plum blossoms

I happened to find a few plum blossoms coming out in the garden this afternoon. They are ushering in the arrival of spring here. It is still getting frozen every morning. But the plum tree must know that the daytime getting longer. It tells we won't need to endure this bleak weather too long for now.

For what am I moved by such a small thing? I might have overlooked when I was young. This tree is placed just before the dining kitchen of the my parents' house. They might have had fun watching these flowers coming out. Again I thought of the flow all the lives shared at this moment. I am sure my parents used to feel in the same fashion if not being clearly conscious of that.


Pleasure to do with the variation of Brahms

As I have written else where in this blog, all the variations by Brahms attract me a lot. He has composed a part of or whole music in many works with this technique. Coming up with at this moment, I could count several variations composed by him, such as Haydn Variation, the 4th movement of Symphony Nr4, the 2nd movement of String Sextet Nr2 or the 4th movement of Clarinet Quintet. This one, the 2nd movement of Piano Trio Nr2 could not be forgotten. The passionate beautiful theme is given by the strings in unison. It will be varied with different rhythms and tonalities. The melodies are all fascinatingly impressive to me. In every variation, there is a song like breathing, crescendo and slight accelerando toward the climax, and then decrescendo and slight ritardando toward the end of the variation. 

What was this form of music meant to Brahms? I don't know of the answer to this question. Undoubtedly, this form must have not been only a composing technique but have been a form quite necessary to express himself. Life must be like a variation for him, I guess.

As I already told here, with the cataracts surgery done, I could read the score quite well. Before that, flats and sharps looked the same! Reading score is only the very 1st step in performance. But this is a big difference. I asked the violinist and the pianist to start practicing the trio again. They had been so kind to offer that last year when I told them I should quit the ensemble with the vision problem. In a week after the 2nd surgery, we will be immersed in this music. On Jan 31st, we will bring it to a small concert held for amateur players in Tokyo.       

This is another performance by the musicians in '50s. I love this dignified way of performance as well. I still remember, when the cello solo by Mainardi started playing the last variation of sadness in the 2nd movement, I felt my heart was tremoring with its beauty.

I don't know how long I could play such a music by myself even with better vision. Not so long, I believe. So far as I am allowed to do that, however, I still appreciate it from the bottom of my heart and go on enjoying it with such nice company.


Again on Okinawa

In the Congress, there have been the diet deliberations going on. I have watched a part of it as the live program on the TV this afternoon.

An opposition lawmaker has given questions to the government. He has been elected in Okinawa. His question was what the government had done against the problem by the US troops in Okinawa.

According to his saying, there have been flight training of helicopters etc in the habitation area around Futenma. Ospray has been flying around Henoko. The people have had terrible noises due
to shell processing training at the US military base. The noises were so loud as over 100dB at a habitation area. That training has been made late at night or very early in morning. It is against humanity.

It seems our government won't protest or claim about these problems to the US military. Or, even if they make an offer for improvement to the US military, nothing has been changed. It seems the US military takes Okinawa as a territory. Even after 70 years have passed since the end of WWII. This deliberation has made me feel suspicious of the independent status of our country.

Is it a small problem? In addition to these serious troubles regarding daily lives of the citizens, Okinawa has suffered from crimes by the US military for the past decades. The US military base has been in extraterritoriality. If US military personnel have committed a crime during their duty, our police and justice could do nothing for them. If the criminals are in the base, our police could not arrest them.

At present, all politicians elected in Okinawa belong to any opposing parties. No LDPJ, the ruling party, politicians elected. The governor has been in strict conflict with the government regarding the new base construction at Henoko. The public opinion in Okinawa is converging into the anti US military base, whatever party it might be. I am afraid the present situation will hurt the interest of the US if it is allowed to be as it is.

Sea bream with sweet and sour sauce

Sea bream was sold in the super market the other day. As shown on the photo below, the body was cooked with sweet and sour sauce while the head was used for the stock of soup. The tiny bones were a bit troublesome when we ate it. But it turns out very good.


Waking up

Fabian DJ1YFK has made an application to show us how long an FOC member has spent on the the air throughout a year, that is, exactly speaking, how many times his/her signal has been captured by the skimmers in a year. Since I knew of my data, which was surprisingly long!!, over 2000 hours a year!!, I felt a bit reluctant to do the same thing as before. I don't know why. Possibly, this fact made me consider if it was worth spending such long time for calling CQ without any meaningful QSOs. Actually, it is not rare that I have not got any call for half an hour or even longer. If I should get a call from somebody, it would rarely be a real conversational QSO. It is as if I looked for a jewel on vast beach. My memory of good old days might have made me go on calling CQ. But, now, I have woke up!! and have known it was not worth spending so much time and energy to seek a guy who makes me happy with a meaningful QSO.

This might be related with having the surgery of cataracts recently. This illness could be easily cured with it. However, at my age, any other illnesses of elderly, probably more serious than cataracts, could occur to me any time from now on. I feel I should spend each day in the way I won't regret later.

Secondly, with the better vision, I could read the score clearly like before. I have decided to return to ensemble of piano trio. The pianist and the violinist have kindly waited for me coming back. In 6 days after the 2nd surgery on the left side, I would have a practice with them. Participation to a small concert is scheduled in Tokyo on 31st of this month. What a joy!

I am not depressed or disappointed at this decision regarding reduction of operation hours at all. Rather, I feel I have woke up as I told before. This could be a trick of the senses. Let's see how I would be changed in some time. But I feel this sense of wake up won't be changed so much in any time.

Of course, I won't quit ham radio or CW at all. I still have a lot of good close friends on the air. It is a real pleasure for me to converse with them. Maybe, this "wake up" may change my style of operation from calling CQ many times to just watching the bands and giving a call to close friend of mine. Of course, there could be exceptional situations as well. In good condition, it is thrilling to call CQ waiting for good friends of mine. I would not do calling CQ to no avail for an hour or even longer etc. Surely, I would give a shout to any good friend or a good CW operator.



Something insane is going on

We live in the community we belong to. There is the life of the family, the relationship with the neighbors, the infrastructure we live on and the circumference we live in. It is the hometown for us. When we lose it, it means we lose the base of our livelihood. It is comparable to our death.

The census last year has revealed the population of four towns at and around the nuclear power plant destructed almost 5 years ago is zero. There used to be people of 55347 living there in 2010. These people and some others have had to take refuge somewhere since the accident in 2011. They are as good as forced to die due to that accident since they have lost their hometown.

The cause of the accident has not yet been elucidated. The melt down plants were not controlled yet. No prospect for control of the nuclear contamination yet. Without resolving these problems, how could they restart operation of the other nuclear power plants? The government has, however, started running a nuclear power plant in Kagoshima last year. They are going to run another near Kyoto. If another serious accident occurs there, the other plants, more than a dozen in the vicinity, would be uncontrollable. It should cause much worse contamination in Western Japan including Kyoto and Osaka. They will lose the water reserving lake of Biwako as well. It would destroy whole Western Japan. It means our country won't pull it through then.

Those deciding to run the other nuclear power plants are comfortably off in Tokyo, where they have enjoyed the power sent from the nuclear power plants in Fukushima for decades. Even while so many people should live as refugees elsewhere far from their hometown. Something insane is going on.


My father's glasses

Having finished the cataracts surgery on right eye 6 days ago, things are going on better for me. But the implanted lens is with fixed focus, so that it has become a bit difficult for me to see something far away and also close to me. In a month or two, when the vision is stabilized, I would fix a pair of glasses for myself. But, until then, I could not read books or printed matters, even though the display is OK. I am reading them with a magnifier. It won't be practical for reading books in relaxation.

I have remembered of my father's glasses which have been on the dining table since he passed away some 13 years ago. I don't know why but it has been placed there as if he would come to take dinner with us at night. In his last years of life, he had come to have dinner with us or, oftener, earlier in the evening before we come home. We have asked a kind lady to prepare dinner for us. He seemed to enjoy talking with her or reading something at the table until the dishes were ready. In the week ends, he, together with mother, sat at the table in the evening while my wife cooked something. 

I felt it was only a routine for our lives at that time. It was, however, a blessed precious moment for us, I know now.  Without having clearly thought this way, we might have felt, if we got that glass away from the place, we might lose that precious memory as well. It might be only a sentimentalism. But I could not explain why this glasses have been there for this long time.

The glasses are for farsightedness. Trying it for myself, I found it was just perfect for my eyes now. This will enable me to enjoy reading books now. Of course, as told in the beginning of this post, I should undergo the sight test later and fix another one accurately suitable for my sight. So far, this father's glass will be of much help to me. 

This glasses might tell me I have entered the last stage of my life. I feel as if I was asked how I would spend the limited time of my life.  


Mozart in his last 4 years

Mozart seems to have left a number of posthumous manuscripts. In this site, there are 4 chamber music scores and their performances uploaded, which have been composed unfinished in the 4
years of his life. These scores are in the book;

Christoph Wolff;Mozart at the Gateway to the Fortune:Serving the Emperor 1788 ~ 1791

This work seems to sum up all the recent researchs on Mozart and indicate the way his music was going to. Professor Isoyama, a famous musicologist in Japan, has translated this book into Japanese recently. I would read it very soon.. 

I notice these unfinished musics are more transparent and free than ever the other his works in his earlier life. This characteristics of the music in his latest years is common with the other composers like Beethoven, Faure or Brahms. I have quoted only names coming up in my mind. But the other composers may show the same tendency. Transparent and free. These characteristics make those musics more fascinating to me.

In the older age, they must have been concerned with only things essential to their art. Free from traditions, vanity or showiness. Just listen to the latest string quartets by Beethoven. They sound like playing in the heaven. This freedom from the "common sense" in this world may give the audience the impression of transparency in their works. 

May my last years in life be like those geniuses even if only slightly! And even if my talent could never be compared with them at all.  

Old age is not bad in this respect.   


Ham radio club's end

In any ham radio club, the members' activity is of primary concern. If it is lowered, they might think the raison d'etre of the club is lost. They invent a various measures to keep it active such as contests, awards or on air meetings. I fully understand of this movement. If the club gets static, it won't be worth being in the ham radio world.

Nowadays, they seem to look up for each member's activity using the internet dependent tool like Reverse Beacon Network. It may enable to investigate quantitatively each member's activity in real time. It is a handy tool in fact.

However, if such investigation data directly connected with evaluation of members' activity is used to recommend any member with apparently low activity to withdraw the club, they might lose some aspect of the club qualitatively important, even more important than the activity itself. Such a member could be inactive due to his/her personal situation. Or he/she might be enthusiastic at homebrewing QRP which sends out only weak signal undetectable by skimmers etc. The quantitative aspect of member's activity is only a factor to secure the most important thing in the club. Friendship over the air through CW. If this ultimate object is forgotten in the management of the club, we would feel suffocated in the club. It could turn to be only enforcement of the activity to the members regardless of the qualitative aspect.


The 1st surgery for cataracts

I have undergone the surgery of cataracts on right eye yesterday. I have been diagnosed as that illness almost 5 years ago on the day of the big earth quake. I was wondering when I should have it done. I have visited 3 different ophthalmologists. I was not happy with the former two and the last one has told me I should go to the med school hospital near by. He seemed unwilling to do the surgery on me knowing that I was an MD. At a big hospital, I know, I would have to take many examinations, which I did not like so much. Finally, I have chosen a doctor about 40 minutes drive from here. A well equipped clinic and the doctor seemed frank to his patients.

My wife took a day off today and took me to the clinic at noon. During the operation, I was aware of what was going on. Local anesthesia was given. Small incision. Aspirating the degenerated lens. Good bye to my own lens my parents have given to me some 66 years ago. And installing the artificial lens. Abruptly the shape of the operation light was seen clearly in my sight. Antibiotics eye ointment given. And bandage. Only anesthesia eye drop was a bit irritating. Otherwise not much discomfort all the way. Even though the procedure took only 15 minutes or so, I had to stay at the clinic for a few more hours. Everything has gone well. I seemed to have been so tired and stressed that I fell asleep on the couch for a few hours. The bandage on the eye was come off due to sweating. It made me confirm the eye got better sight than before even though a bit far sighted.

I have been complaining to my wife of the way the doctor has done with me or of the system of the clinic. The complaints were not very rational, though. I should admit there is a fixed way they treat patients there. It seems to be a truth that an MD could hardly be a good patient.  Even though I have retired already, experiencing being a patient is not bad for a doctor.

My wife, who used to have the procedure a few years ago, told me what serious accidents could happen to it when we were having supper last night. It made me a bit mad for it could cause much fear for that to me. When I told that to her, she realized that and excused that I had looked so calm that she had thought she could tell all what she used to learn. Yes, she is nver w doctor for me but just a wife of mine  Anyway, she has been so helpful to me all the way. I could not be more thankful to her for her support.

I still need to attend the clinic almost everyday during this week and to take another surgery in a couple of weeks. Not a short course. But still hopeful for the result.

The world has become beautiful again.


In the New Year Days

It may take me some time to renew this blog because of the surgeries of cataracts I will undergo for the coming couple of weeks. It would be nothing seridous to me at all. But it is annoying me that I might have trouble reading books or web sites in the internet.

I would spend more time listening to music like Mahler or Schostakovitch etc whom I could not usually concentrate on. There are so many genres of music like piano or Lied not well known to me. I am looking forward to be more familiar with them.

Maybe, ham radio will be my closer friend for the coming weeks. Is there anything we could do with those contest style QSOs, though.  JARL is holding so called New Year Party on Jan 2 and 3. Letting them enjoy that contest, I wonder if it is good for them to occupy whole bands. There should be those who would have fun in Japanese Morse code or in ragchewing overseas. I am not very happy JARL leads such an event to exclude those mentioned above. This problem is a general problem with each contest held every week end throughout a year.

In this year, I would study more on the modern history, either japanese or of the world. I have learned a lot from the voluminous book, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan written by a historian, Herbert Bix. It is a biography of the former Emperor in Japan. It describes the whole life of Hirohito and the imperialism which has fromed the modern history of our country. Even though the author, on the standpoint of criticism against the emperor system, points out how Hirohito was responsible for the WWII, it is not an ideological propaganda at all but is an academic literature based on vast number of references. Looking of the revisionism improperly reviving in the recent politics in Japan, I could not help feeling we could never go without doing with the problem of the responsibility for WWII by the Emperor. It has been neglected or intentionally evaded by the authorities. It has become a driving force to me to study the history relevant to the present situation that we could not exist alone but are closely related with the modern history.

I also have recently read a book about the people who had behaved against Nazism in Germany before and during WWII. There were a number of groups which extended helping hands toward Jewish people under persecution of Nazism and even tried to assassinate Hitler. The latter groups or person have eventually ended in failure. But they have left an idea or a spirit how to recover Germany after WWII. It was based on the resurrection of the Christianity spirit in the politics and united economy in Europe which foresaw the later EU. It was amazing the resisting groups or people were at first neglected by most Germans and the occupation forces there. But the survivors and the family members of the victims by Nazis in these attempts have patiently convinced the government and the people that it was not a rebellion because Nazis regime was not legitimate so that they had the right of resistance against such illegitimate regime as Nazis. Those resiting people has given the foundation of the present Germany as told above even if they could not be involved in it by themselves. Their spirit is immortal. What I was impressed most was that the most people was approving Nazis during WWII and they reflected on that after WWII even though there has still been right winged extremists in the society. They seem to have decided to head the country to anti Nazis or totalitarianism. I feel we needed this conversion at the end of WWII. We should consider of that even from now.

Reading this book, I found the old name of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a famous leader of Confessing Church as well as a theologist, in some portions in the story. Of course, he has been involved in the event on July 20th 1944, a trial to assassin Hitler, and has eventually killed by Nazis. He was the author of  Widerstand und Ergebung written in he prison destine to death. I used to attended a reading club of this book by Bonhoeffer.  There was another med student named S. Wakai at the meeting. I have learned a lot at the class held at a quiet hall in summer. He was so kind to me preparing for the entrance exam for a med university at that time. Wakai has become a professor of his mother school, the med school of the Tokyo University, after having worked in the developing countries as a neurosurgeon. for many years. But, about 10 years or so ago, he has suffered from early onset type Alzheimer. He was only in his mid fifties. My parents and sister have had regular contacts with him. They have told me how he had been spending peaceful life with the support of his family. He and his wife has disclosed of his illness to the public several years ago. He, such a capable medical doctor, must have had mental conflict as a doctor as well as a Christian, which we could hardly even imagine. I heard he was in the bed without any social activities at present. I was sorry I had not gone to see him ever since we had worked at the same med school nearby. Remembering of this old class we studied together and his friendship toward me since that time, I wished him heavenly peace in his mind again.    

So that is the way how I am spending the New Year Days here. As told in the beginning int thiis post, I don't know when I could renew this blog. But I still wish you all the best for this year. May you be blessed with good health. I hope to meet you on the air or on the line.


Brahms String Quintet Nr2

We are mortal. However, until the time of death coming on us, we are allowed to sing together. Our lives require to play and sing together. For the pleasure and the token of our existence. Listening to this fine ensemble, I was thinking of such a thing.

I love every performer in this piece. Especially, Frang and Wang. What a joy to listen to this music.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and time of joy with music, I would give you this clip here.

The cabinet line-up in Canada

The present cabinet of Canada is as follows.

Minister of Health is a doctor.
Minister of Transport is an astronaut.
Minister of National Defense is a Sikh Veteran.
Minister of Youth is under the age of 45.
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is a former farmer.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness was a Scout.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development was a financial analyst.
Minister of Finance is a successful businessman.
Minister of Justice was a crown prosecutor and is a First Nations leader.
Minister of Sport, and Persons with Disabilities is a visually impaired Paralympian.
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coastguard is Inuit.
Minister of Science is a medical geographer with a PhD.
New titles include
Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees was an Immigration critic.
There are scientists in the cabinet, and it is made up of 50% women.

It is not necessarily adequate but it is a condition of a good cabinet that the top of each administrative office is a professional for the frelated ield.

I envy this line-up of the Canadian cabinet. Ours is not professional nor have any firm idea or will to tell the truth even against the prime minister. It is a shame for the people.