What I expect from a CW QSO

What I expect from a CW QSO to make it decent and enjoyable is as follows. This is what I am examing myself in usual QSOs.

1) Make the message simple and plain. CW is the least efficient communication mode as for the amount of message sent in a unit time. The message should be simple and the topics per a transmission should be limited to 2 or 3 at most. If the message is lengthy and covers more than 4 topics, it is always difficult to follow. In the condition with much QRN/QSB, each sentence should be as short as possible. Such sophisticated expressions as rhetorical question, irony or subjunctive mood are not appropriate in such situation. Expressing an idea with simple and plain sentence is a highly intellectual process, isn't it?

2) A QSO should not be a two way monologue but a real dialogue. This won't restrict what you talk about. I am always enjoying what a good friend of mine reports me how he/she is getting along. But if the QSO ends with only that, it is not what I pursue in QSOs. I hope the other to listen to what I say and to respond to it. The problem is if the eyes are directed not toward his/her own mind but toward the others. Asking "How are you doing?" in the end of a transmission is good enough.  

Nowadays, it is rather difficult for me to find anyone who would make conversation on this mode. It is a problem before this discussion. But if I could meet someone who would converse, he or she would make monologue too often. In my case, I have the problem of language. Writing down this post, I could not help feeling ashamed to present here this problem in this way. Because it is questionable that I have filled these things by myself. I would brush up myself and make decent memorable QSOs.


Massacre of handicapped people

Yesterday, 19 severely handicapped were killed and 26 were injured at a care facility for handicapped by a guy who used to work for them over there.

It is a real cruel event. An abyss of absurdity seems to open before us. It is hard for us to explain or understand why such an event has occurred at once. It is not right for anyone to try to explain or strain the reason why he has done such a thing without elucidating the problem by professionals like psychiatrists or criminologists. I would just wait for what they will unveil what made this guy execute such a cruel crime. Though I should shut up my mouth here, however, I would add a bit more that seems important to me.

The criminal seems to be a psychopath or a psychiatric patient. He declared that he would kill the handicapped people when he worked at that facility. So he was sent to a hospital by compulsory admission in this February. He turned out to take marijuana as well. In a couple of weeks, the doctor in charge has judged he could discharge. And then he has committed this horrible crime as he predicted. This might mean current compulsory admission system, which deprives the patient of his human right, has its limit in avoiding such a crime. When the person hospitalized with this system is a psychopath, it might be quite difficult to prevent from such a crime. we should not "hold out" those involved in this compulsory admission/discharge even if it is necessary to investigate how and why the guy has gone out of the hospital.

I suspect the guy has reached this idea while working in the care facility. There could be a hard working condition for him, which might make him reach such a cruel idea. But his circumstance won't excuse his conduct at all. His history of life in the past as well as his personality might be more responsible for that.

The massacre of handicapped, which he has declared at the facility and in a mail to the House of Representative chairman, is reminiscent of Nazism. In that mail to the chairman, he said he would kill 470 of handicapped for Japan as well as the world. It is an insane idea. It is also tinted with the idea of Nazism. A news says he has been following the famous ultra right wing politicians/those in the mass media in Twitter. It should be revealed if the thought of the ultra right wing has influenced on him or not.

We should still be silent before such a depth of crime until the cause/reason is elucidated. 


Aso's ridicule

The Minister of Finance Aso used to tell in a press interview that they should learn how Nazis had taken the teeth out of Weimar Constitution. When it became a problem in the mass media, he explained that his intention had been not to have our constitution done in that way. Even if his excuse was true, it was a terrible example to preserve our constitution.

In the last national election, the ruling parties have occupied more seats in the Diet than that necessary to initiate the referendum for constitutional change or addition. Even though they have not discussed on this issue in the election campaign or rather avoided discussing on it, they immediately started discussing about addition of the article of the national emergency right or the rights of necessity in the constitution.

Our present constitution already has a system to deal with the emergency situation such as serious natural disasters. The rights of necessity has been intentionally excluded from the constitution based on the reflection that the prewar and wartime governments had abused that rights.

The rights of necessity the ruling parties, exactly speaking, the Prime Minister Abe proposes have the whole administrative function of the nation belong to the Prime Minister. It assumes the limitation of the fundamental human rights. If the rights of necessity is executed with the military power, it would be the martial law itself. It is highly suspected that the rights of necessity would bring about dictatorship in our country.      

If the referendum is done in our country with the mass media on the side of the government, I am pretty sure the addition of the rights of necessity would be passed. It won't be a reform of constitution but scrapping of the present constitution.

Aso's ridicule is becoming true in our country,


Seeing one of my old friends' daughter and granddaughter

Two days ago, I have met Bob W6CYX's daughter Teresa and his granddaughter Laura here. They have traveled Tokyo, Kyoto and Hakone. In the last of their trip, they came here answering to my invitation. Bob has been one of the oldest friends in ham radio, whom I first worked in 1960s and since 1980s we have piled the QSOs up to 1249. I have visited Bob and his family at the foot of a mountain on the east side of San Jose. It has a stunning view overlooking the whole bay area. Bob has treated me with great hospitality whenever I was there. When I found those ladies at a station near by, I felt having seen someone very close to me.

We have been to Nikko and Chuzenji lake in the mountain area. The weather was unfortunately overcast and sometimes drizzly. It has made those resorts very empty of the tourists. In addition, at Chuzenji lake, we have had some sun ray breaking through thick clouds.

Laura, a student of SJSU majoring in mechanical engineering, was a quiet lovely girl who loves musicals and singing. Teresa was a lady working for a medical device company confident in her profession, raising kids and her life itself. An active and intelligent lady. She seemed to enjoy her life in the Northern California. We have talked a lot about politics, emergency medicine, bureaucracy and so forth. She is a great discusser as her father is. In her view, politicians are not believable at all even though she still believes in the free trade without the regulation by the authority. When I named it as positive anarchism, she was smiling at me. Through her profession, she seemed to know much about cardiac emergency. It was a real fun and stimulus to me to talk about those things with her, even though I have already totally retired from clinical work.

In Nikko, we have enjoyed dishes made of bean curd named Yuba. It must be new to them. They seemed to enjoy this pretty rare full course of Yuba. In the Chuzenji lake, after walking ant taking photos at the shore of the lake, we have had coffee and cake at a restaurant which belongs to the oldest hotel in the area named Kanaya Hotel. Back to the plain area, in the biggest town in this area named Utsunomiya, we have had my wife there coming from her office. My wife used to visit Bob 4 years ago and was looking forward to seeing them this time. Since she has not used English for years, she could not communicate much with them in that tongue. But she still had fun seeing them.

It seems they have had a trouble with the flight which was supposed to take them back home today. I hope the substitute flight will bring them there tomorrow. Thanks for visiting here, Teresa and Laura. Next time, I will invite you here at our home and serve my hand made dishes. Good luck with the study, Laura. Keep up your good work for the people suffering from serious heart illnesses, Teresa.


"My Grandfather's Clock"

In the end of August every year, we used to go to Shinshyu for training camp of the orchestra in my med school days. I have sometimes mentioned of that camp in this blog. In a year or two after I joined the orchestra, I got a new cello which my parents bought for me. It was a cello made in East Germany. Not very cheap for my parents but one of the instruments for the beginners. i brought it to that camp. Unfortunately, it was found to be broken. The neck was detached from the body, which repeated later and turned out to be a weak point of this cello. What a shock it was for me to have had such a trouble with my brand new instrument at that time! In an hour or two, however, I regained control of myself and decided to bring it back to Tokyo. There was a back up instrument at the club room in the university. I could carry on the practice of the orchestra with that it.

Early in the morning on the day after, I went to a railway station nearby with my broken cello. There were several friends of the orchestra coming to farewell to me there. When I was going into the train bound back for Tokyo, exactly, Shinjyuku, they started singing a famous nursery song "My Grandfather's Clock" for me. Hearing their harmony on my back, I took on the train. This song is still reminiscent of this event in my young days.

I am not very sure this photo was taken then. I was wearing wooden clogs! What did I point out with hand? I can't remember that. How I have been encouraged by them singing for me! It was a warm harmony. It is still vivid in my memory.

The club room was of course empty. I took the back up cello, hardly regarded as a deluxe instrument, and headed back to the JR station of Shinjyuku. It was already night. There was a train bound back for Minamiotari, one of the station in the mountain area. I got on it. The other passengers were almost mountain climbers. They wore the clothes for climbing mountains while I had on the ordinary shirt and trousers, in addition, with that cello. It was a slow train and supposed to get to the mountain area in the morning of the day after. 

I could hardly sleep all the way. The passengers gradually got off the train. When it ran in a valley near to the destination, it dawned. Very cool. There was fog covering all around the valley. Only high ever green trees were seen in the fog. Despite of the cold temperature, I felt my heart warmed getting closer to the camp my friends were still playing music together. 

This is one reason why I still like driving this area. I used to go there on my car quite often in the past. But it has become tough for me to drive all the way by myself now. Maybe, I will take the train to that place, not the night train but a daytime one.    


Right wing cult and impoverished people

The House of Councillors election has resulted in the big win of the ruling parties. The main party among this parties is LDPJ, Liberal Democratic Party in Japan.

They have intentionally avoided discussing about constitutional change in the election campaign. As soon as they have won in the election, the Prime Minister Abe announced that they would put it on the agenda.

Abe, the grandson of the former Prime Minister as well as of one of the war criminals, Shinsuke Kishi, is well known to have craved for recovery of the prewar regime of the Emperor system under Shinto. It is a regime of the unity of religion and state. It is the denial of the modern democracy as well as the regime of San Francisco Treaty after WWII.

The background of this ultra right ideology is told to be in an organization named Nippon Kaigi. Here is a simple explanation of this organization. It is based on Shinto and the other cults. This organization has been reporeted by the oversea media for years but scarcely by our media.

The fascism looms in an outlook of reformer with redundant investment and quantitative easing which give them transient euphoria. The fascists won't forget emphasizing the military threats from the neighbor countries. It will excuse the expansion of the armaments and the deployment of the military to overseas. The impoverished people would welcome this change to fascism as patriotic fanaticism. They could be equal in the fanatic patriotism, whether rich or poor, accomplished or not. If the patriotism is colored with fanatic cult worshiping the emperor as a living god, the system is perfect.  

There are two major problems. The ghost of the prewar regime and the general impoverishment in the people. These are related with each other and seem to lead our country to fascism.


Reunion with John 9V1VV

It has been 8 years since I met John 9V1VV at our home last time. It was also early summer. A bit earlier in summer, maybe. As I have written about it else where, I have brought him to a rehearsal of the orchestra where I was playing cello. We were practicing Nr2 symphony of Brahms. There was a cozy breeze blowing at the hall then. Whenever I meet or think of John, I could not forget that scene together with this refreshing music suggestive of early summer. It is what I was impressed by his personality as well.

I arrived at a downtown named Ochanomizu about half an hour before the promised time. Looking around books at a book store there, it was close to that time of promise. At the exit of the JR station, a tall guy was seen from fairly far away. It was John, with the same composed outlook, standing there with smile. We shook hands exchanging the words of greetings. His wife, Emelyn, and son, Jake, were there as well. 

We headed to a Japanese restaurant I looked up with the internet. It was the place of the medical university which I graduated from and, supposedly, well known to me. John asked if it had been why I had chosen this place for meeting. Yes, it was. But it has been 40+ years ago since I wandered around there carrying my cello. 

His wife working as an accountant at an American company in Singapore is a genuine Singaporean. Her parents were from Hainan. A cute and sharp person with charming smile. His 2nd son, Jaye, has recently finished his compulsory service in the army there and has started his study in mechanical engineering at a university. A handsome but a bit shy boy. He seemed to manage this trip. When I asked how they were going to the next destination, Atsu's home, tomorrow, he opened a note book, where he had recorded how to go there with beautiful hand writing and let me know that. What a joy it must be for them to travel together! I could not help feeling jealous at them 

John looked quite the same as before. An intelligent and calm person. I asked him about the environmental noise which had prevented him from operating radio for the past months. He told me Jake had helped him to put up the antenna higher at his apartment roof top, which drastically diminished that noise level. He sounded to feel disgusted at the rubber stamp style QSOs he had been forced to do with the Eastern Europeans. He, even with a bit sarcastic smile, told me he had heard me working with those in the rubber stamps John happily told me he would join the FOC meeting in UK on Oct. Even though he has become an associate member of the club some time ago, he seemed to get actively in touch with the other members.  .         

Next year, Emelyn is planning to retire from her job. Soon, they are going to purchase a house in a countryside in UK. They will spend half of a year there while coming back to Singapore in the rest of a year. There seem to be the pension/insurance issue if they live in UK. I hoped everything would go well for them. He should take an exam of ham and start with the novice call with a prefix of 2E. We might hear proficient bug keying of a novice class call in UK soon. It should be John on the key. He told me he had spent young days to find himself in such as Israel, Middle Easts or India. Long time in Singapore. Nevertheless, he would be settled down his mother country soon. It made me smile a bit.

In a context of talks, I told them I had believed John was a man of wisedom. Both his wife and son were laughing at me. I still, however, believe that. He has a diverse interests in things, from his profession to music and literature in addition to ham radio. His point of view is always agreeable to me. For example, he seemed to be against the BREXIT. I know it would only leave impoverishment of the people, especilly, those approved BREXIT. I would ask what he thought brought about the right wing swing regarding BREXIT. Maybe, in the next QSO on CW where I could be a bit more free in expressing my idea. I always feel sympathetic to his tendency toward liberalism in his point of view. I have felt that sympathy since I knew him first. Yes, it seems to me the breeze early in summer is symbolizing his personality. At least in my mind.

On a bridge in Ochanomizu. The building behind is a part of the campus of the school I graduated from.



Head copying is a unique process different from learning codes itself

As for Morse code learning is concerned, this study may mean to us head copying is quite different from learning codes itself. We should intentionally train head copying for conversational QSO. 

 2015 Nov;36(11):4512-28. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22939. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

From perceptual to lexico-semantic analysis--cortical plasticity enabling new levels of processing.


Certain kinds of stimuli can be processed on multiple levels. While the neural correlates of different levels of processing (LOPs) have been investigated to some extent, most of the studies involve skills and/or knowledge already present when performing the task. In this study we specifically sought to identify neural correlates of an evolving skill that allows the transition from perceptual to a lexico-semantic stimulus analysis. Eighteen participants were trained to decode 12 letters of Morse code that were presented acoustically inside and outside of the scanner environment. Morse code was presented in trains of three letters while brain activity was assessed with fMRI. Participants either attended to the stimulus length (perceptual analysis), or evaluated its meaning distinguishing words from nonwords (lexico-semantic analysis). Perceptual and lexico-semantic analyses shared a mutual network comprising the left premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area (SMA) and the inferior parietal lobule (IPL). Perceptual analysis was associated with a strong brain activation in the SMA and the superior temporal gyrus bilaterally (STG), which remained unaltered from pre and post training. In the lexico-semantic analysis post learning, study participants showed additional activation in the left inferior frontal cortex (IFC) and in the left occipitotemporal cortex (OTC), regions known to be critically involved in lexical processing. Our data provide evidence for cortical plasticity evolving with a learning process enabling the transition from perceptual to lexico-semantic stimulus analysis. Importantly, the activation pattern remains task-related LOP and is thus the result of a decision process as to which LOP to engage in.


It always happens with aging

This morning, the sky was crystalline blue and I decided to work in the garden again. I needed the sun glass, which was always on a shoe shelf in the entrance room. No, I could not find it there. Wearing this worn out straw hat, I have looked for that for a while. Nothing.

Giving it up, I went back into the house. The sun glass suddenly popped into my sight. Yes, it has been on that old hat while I wore it looking for the glasses.

It always happens to old people. I am convinced to have become an old man now. Yes, I knew of that as a knowledge. But such an experience forces me to learn and accept that as a real fact.


Midsummer is right on the corner

It has been fine and hot all day today. Pulling weeds in the garden, I heard breeze gently quivering the leaves of the magnolia tree. Rustling sound made me feel nostalgic. It was one of the oldest memories in my life. In the sanatorium I was born at, there were high pine trees all around. They sounded quite the same way at that time. I was taking nap close to a window.

Though the forecast won't announce that, it seemed as if the rainy season had been over now. It was boiling hot. Weeding for several minutes, I got sweat streaming. Tomatoes are getting ripe and cropped every day.

A big pumpkin is also growing in the bush. A water melon has been harvested. It was already on the table last night.

Midsummer is right on the corner. It will be the season of sizzling hot weather very soon.



The 12th anniversary of father

A broadcast mail from my sister has arrived here this evening. It tells tomorrow will be the 12th anniversary of our father passing at the age of 84 years. I was aware of that anniversary coming soon. But, honestly, I was not sure what day it was in July. She told, getting older, she recalled of our parents more often. So do I. Whenever I look at the house in the same property where they have lived with us for years, or when I stand on the garden where my father used to work, I always remember of them.

It is no use to reflect, I know, that I should have been able to do much more for him especially when he got ill in the end of his life. That thought still often creep into my mind with incurable sadness and regret. Getting this old, I could fully imagine what he thought of in his life those days.

He has born in a fairly wealthy family. His father, that is, my grandfather seemed to be involved in something like juridical scrivener. Both of my grandparents died of tuberculosis when my father and his brothers were very young. All of them were grown under different families of their relatives. My father has not told us too often how hard it was to live at that time. I remember he told us he had had to care for a baby of the family while his friends were playing outside. Though my father wished to study more when he finished compulsory education, the situation in the family he had been taken care of did not allow him that.

He has spent his youth in the military service. He has been sent to China for a few years where he has experienced most inhuman and absurd reality in war. I don't know how he have known my mother. It seemed he had been to the sanatorium my aunt managed at this place those days, where he has met her. I have written of his story after this elsewhere in this blog. In short, they have got married and was given 3 children, all of whom have worked as doctors and a nurse later.
When that sanatorium was closed, my father took his family to Tokyo. All of his children were grown up there while my father used to work as personnel of hospitals. He has worked real hard. He has lived in belief in Christianity since the sanatorium days. He was not a perfect person at all in his character or behaviour. But he used to attend to church as if he would get something necessary to live on. My sister told in that mail she remembered him reading Bible in a dark room at the apartment those days.

Retired in his 60s in Tokyo, he has moved and settled down here at this place where aunt had the sanatorium. In a few years, finishing residency at a med school hospital nearby, we joined them building our home in the same property. We owed much to father for house keeping or caring for children while both of us worked hard at hospitals and, later, at own practices. It must be his most peaceful days ever in his life. Suffered from liver cancer, he has finished his life at age of 84 years.

In the last years of his life, he has been concerned about the responsibility for the WWII. No one has taken it. Remained unanswered to that question, the post war regime has started and carried on to the present time. I guess that was his inquiry. It must be a question which could not help coming up in his mind because the war had deprived him of his youth and the colleagues and the people in China of lives. I was surprised to have found many books regarding of the modern history of our country in addition to those regarding Christianity. I was not surprised to have found the voluminous biography of Showa Emperor titled as Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan in his book shelf. I guess he has reached the problem of emperor system as a cause of WWII. It was a surprise that I had been conscious of the same problem to overcome the absurdity in the post war regime. I could have discussed more on this issue if I had known of sharing the same problem consciousness with him while he was alive. I could not help asking myself with much bitterness what he would say seeing what is going on in our country. I mean the movement toward the prewar regime by the leading party now. I sure should do against that movement partly on behalf of him.

I would clean the house our parents used to live recalling of them tomorrow.

Thanks for reading this lengthy and discursive story. Forgive me for my age.

Father and our 2nd son in 1980s.


Carrot and kidney bean wrapped with pork

It is broiled with soy sauce and sake. I have never tried this before. This summer, kidney beans are in big crop. That's why I tried this recipe. A bit charred but pretty good. I should investigate new recipes for kidney beans.


An unforgettable concert

I have uploaded a post about this music here. It is one of the most favorite musics for me.

This concert was held in Tokyo in 2007 as the farewell concert of Karl Leister, a German clarinet player. I have seen this program on TV at my room of office in 2008. 

They have played this piece with extraordinary passion. Their ardor seems to go climax at the last movement. I have mentioned this movement as one of the best variations Brahms composed. It is as if flaring up in the end of life. The keynote is still resignation to life. The beginning theme in the 1st movement is recalled in imperfect form in the end. The music ends with dark accord of the tonality.

The players stayed immobile for several seconds until the audience started eagerly clapping their hands. We feel it were much longer. In the silence, we would recall of the music played as well as of our lives in the past. Leister might recollect his pleasant trips to Japan in the past. He seems to have hie eyes filled with tears. Their performance has had that persuasive power to themselves as well as to the audience. The violist tenderly tapped him on his shoulder. 

I have never seen such a moving performance of this piece, not only this one but all of chamber musics. I am happy to share this experience with all the performers and audience in this concert.  


Visiting a young luthier

I have visited the luthier whom I mentioned in the previous post. It was for regular check up of my instrument and rehairing of the bow. I have mentioned how I knew of him in that post. It has been over a decade since I first knew him.

His office is on the 1st floor of a building. The other tenants than his seemed closed by now. There were a lot of stores or offices closed even along the main street of that city. It is quite common. They call such a street as a shuttered street. Undoubtedly, it is because of the receded economy in such a countryside and the aging and reduced population having started in such a city.

When I came in his office, he was doing some work at his work bench/table. Being aware of my visit there, he stood up smiling at me. It seemed the time is flowing slowly at a tempo particular to him or to his office. He asked me if I had had any trouble with the cello as if a doctor asked a patient for history of illness. Nothing particular. Then, examining the instrument with inspection and percussion, he told me to play with it. Some scales. He told me it was in good condition even though it sounds a bit soft and mellow possibly due to the strings used for a while. He pleased me telling that this instrument was superior to the other ordinary ones. I told him when I bought this instrument made by a luthier in Italy, I thought I should deliver it to some cellist in the next generation as a heritage, even though it might sound a bit exaggerated. It has survived in the mess at my office in the big earthquake 5 years ago. I would bring it to him and ask him to check it regularly.

This is his portrait taken at this visit. I have brought some of fresh vegetables cropped in the morning. That was in the vinyl bag beside him. 

He told me he was at the crossroads in his life. Lately, he has been wondering if he should extend his business having a disciple or a partner. He is already 37 years old with 2 children. But he was not in a hurry at all. As a luthier, as he said, he was still learning a lot in his work. Maybe, he would abide his time. The work of making instruments requires much study and experience. He could go on working for decades from now. He seems to let himself go with the flow of time in a good sense. That may be why I felt time was flowing slowly when I entered his office.