In the end of 2017

Saying farewell to this passing year 2017, I would write about what it has been to me. It is a year which I have devoted myself very hard to house work and gardening/farming. I am full of gratitude for having been able to spend this year blessed with good health working that way. Regrettably, it was not a very happy year for me in public as well as private sense. Mainly due to that reason, I could not help omitting sending the season's greetings to friends of mine. I have received Christmas cards from a few of my friends. This is to reply them as well.

For music activity, I have played a piano trio in Tokyo in the beginning of this year. The 2nd movement of Brahms 2nd piano trio. Otherwise, the orchestra I was asked to join from this summer to fall was the only chance I played cello in ensemble this year. I am feeling weakened to play cello at any orchestra for now. It is laborious for me to attend any orchestra with the instrument far away. It is not the time for me to give it up yet, though. I will have another chance of playing piano trio next month with the violinist, whom I have played chamber music for years, and a new pianist. I would go on playing it as long as I can. I have not kept the promise to post my or our performance in Youtube yet. Maybe, next year.

As a listener, I have been more attracted by Mahrer's 9th symphony than ever. The yiddish tune in the last movement sure reminds me of the solitude toward death. It is not a pleasant tune but is still relieving me a lot as if telling me it is not only me who is in grief. The excellent chamber music by Brahms, Faure, Franck and the Franckists have also been soothing me. Bach's pieces have been a real relief for me as well. At my age, it may be dificult for me to find something new in repertoires of classical music. But I still would like to look for any music which satisfies my mind. I have renewed the audio system beside my bed. I am amazed how well it sounds like. The position of each instrument in chamber music is much more stabilized than with the previous one. It is a joy before going to sleep.

Ham radio, especially CW activity, seems to suffer a big change at present. The operators enjoying conversational CW are drastically decreasing in number. Some CW operators were absorbed into the digital modes. There have been contests on plain week days that also reduced the chances for chats on the bands. I won't blame or complain of this trend. I have told at occasions how important it was for us to recongnize the psychological process investigated with the new technology of brain science, that enabls us to tell confidently to the new comers what attracts us most with CW conversation. But, sadly, that idea of scientific approach to CW reception process won't attract most CW operators' attention. CW conversation has been carried out and lead by ex professional R/O. Unfortunately, they are disappearing from the ham radio world and are even being gone silent key for now. CW conversation's art is now going into the museum of vintages for now, I am afraid. I could not help feeling thankful for I could spend the most brilliant age of CW from '60s through !00s.

In Japan, the administrative office and the related organizations like JARD are enforcing a new regulation, which requires us to pay some money to go on using old gears. Old vintage equipment won't be actually used any longer. It is based on the new regulation by ITU, which tells to get rid of any interference to the other communications but won't question about the spurius emission from each equipment. On the other hand, the authority requires us to record the actual spurius emission with each equipment with any proofread measurement device. It is a big hurdle for us. Or they require us to pay some money to JARD, which is closely related with JARL and the authorative office. Surprisingly enough, that payment is to aske them to have the equipment guaranteed for the sprius emission regulation. The guarantee is based on PAPER only. It is like a Yakuza's blackmail. A criminal behaviour. JARD is accepting the former directors from JARL and some retirees most likelily from the authority. It is a matter of despair that former JARL directors are involved in this corruption. A real system of corruption. I am feeling disgusted at such a system. I am sure, in addition to the existing complicated license system, the same concession for the beurocrats and the related merchanst, this will lead the ham radio in our country to the extinction in the future. As one of the peculiarities in our society, there are very few voices against this concession corruption among ham radio operators.

I am feeling it won't take too long before I quit this hobby. I have had a real great time in the brilliant age with so many good friends all over the world.

As for politics and ecomomy, the present administration grasping overwheming power is getting also corrupted. Many cases of corruption or fraud are being open to us. The government and the PM won't answer to the denouncements for those cases. A lot of lies, cover ups and pressure to the bureaucrats involved in their doncucts. While this administration has violated the constitution as for the collective self defence and so forth, they would change the constitution. The change includes the emergency provisions, which are comparable to the enabling act by Nazis. These movements toward authoritarianism is based on the trend toward conservatism based on military power revailing among the people. Who knows where it will bring us to? I am still going to behave against this trend even though it is not helpful. In order to leave the better world and the better couontry to the next generation.

We have made a couple of major modifications to our home. Re painting of the wall, repairing the roof and installing a new septic tank and the sewage system. For those construction/repair, I am always considering that we won't be here longer than 2 decades from now. A personal eschatology. I am sometimes laughed at it when I mention something like that. But I still believe we should behave based on it at my age.  I am not fully understanding the idea of Rabbi Ben Ezra by Browning. However, I still would like to live in the belief something good is left in the last chapter in my life.

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year and good health during it.

The mountains in Nikko area north west of here.


Gardening in the winter

I have been busy plowing the soil in the garden and making leaf mold for the next spring. There were too much gravel and construction debris buried in the ground. I know some constructors used to do that before we moved here. Some of them have bothered the shrubbery of azalea along the entrance road to our home to grow enough. I decided to clear those bothering gravel etc from the soil under the shrubbery.

The gardener of almost the same age as mine has helped me with this project. He is a retiree from a local municipal office having worked there for gardening/park management for decades. Long before retirement, he decided to go on gardening as his profession. He has studied about gardening and obtained a national license. Speniding a couple of years under another gardener as a trainee, he has started his own business. His love and enthusiasm for gardening and trees are amazing. He seems to be happier than ever working in gardens. Looking at some tree for a while as he often is, he admires how beautiful and grand it is. I have learned a lot from him as for not only the technique of gardening but also the love for plants/trees. Being asked how long he would go on working, he answered, smiling gently, that he would do it as long as his health permits it. He is an amateur flutist as well. My wife has known him through her flutist teacher. That is why we have asked him to work at our home. It was my pleasure to know him as a friend of mine. 

With the help of this reliable gardener, I have finished this project a few weeks ago. It was a tough work. There should be even more debris left in the other parts of ground. As my wife always says, however, I would let it stay there since this is not our eternal home. The gardener has approved my idea to make leaf mold at the place where we digged out the debris. We have put the fallen leaves, which had been from the zelkova tree, magnolia, persimmon trees or chestnut tree, into the digged holes. The soil sifted to get rid of the debris has been returned there on the fallen leaves. The ground will become water maintaining leaf mold good for farming by next spring. Strawberry close to the ground will be lead to that places with runners next summer. I could grow some tomato plants as well.

I have also made flower beds in the other parts of the garden. Using the leaf mold already made from leaves etc at a corner of the garden, I have made them, where my wife has planted pansies a couple of weeks ago. The flowers are still blooming despite of this extreme cold wave. They might go on pleasing us with tiny lovely flowers until next spring.

Some veggies are still growing in this hard weather. A chinese cabbage is grown even though it has been bitten by bugs. These bites by bugs mean no chemical pesticide has been used.

It will be the winter solstice very soon. It will be the time when sun starts to shine longer and brighter. Hopefully, we could step into that season of hope blessed with good health.


The beginning of music

Recent studies show the capability to recognize the flow of sound as segments is provided a priori. It is being confirmed not only in ontogeny but also in phylogeny. They assume it is the basis for the development of laqnguage in human.

When first heard of this finding, I thought it might have brought us music. The flow of sound itself is the most primitive form of music. If this finding is right, music could preceed  phylogenetically acuisition of language. That could be the reason why music affects us most deeply in our emotion. Listening to the sound of nature, our ancestors may mimic it with their voice, that might become tune. That process seems like a kind of religious ritual. In order to share the flow of life together, they might sing that most primitive song together. When we start playing chamber music, the leader player inspire deeply as a sign of starting, as if he/she said let's start playing together. It may not be only the sign of Einsatz but also an expression to live together in the flow of life.

We are often too far from that sense of primitive communion living together. We could not live separetely. It is of no use to occupy wealth or foods by ourselves. It is against the natural rule of the flow of life. When we forget singing together in this flow of life, we could most likelily cause conflicts.

Jim, W6YA, has sent me this flashmob in the end of a year several years ago. He added saying this might serve me to restore faith in relationship with the others. It is just a video clip produced by an Italian bank. But still it could not help moving us.


Apocalypse may be realized

Houthi faction, the anti former president faction in Yemen, has attacked a nuclear power plant under construction in UAE, as the news reported this morning. It has made me surprised or rather felt the most unwanted thing had finally happened there. Now there will be more attacks to nuclear power plants in the Middle East. 

The domestic politics in Saudi Arabia seems to undergo drastic conflicts for the right to the throne there. Saudi Arabia and the allies are fighting with the anti former president faction in Yemen.

Trump administration would move the embassy of the US in Israel from Tel Abiv to Jerusalem. It would destabilize the situation around Israel, which bring forth to the war in the area.

Syria and Iraq are still in fierce terrorism and civil war. Afghanistan and kurdish areas are not exceptions of unstable situation.

Apoclypse seems to turn into reality there. It is not a problem far away from here. Our government is going to export a model of military carrier planes to UAE. It is involved in worsening the conflict in that way. Military industrial complexes are deeming Middle East to be one of the most "hopeful" markets for their products. I am afraid the western countries won't resist or suppress their export of arms to the areas in conflict. Military industrial complexes, global in its nature, are beyond control of each government in the western world. 

In this area, there is still a fear that the US military would attack North Korea in an unexpected manner. They say it won't be realized soon since the military and civilian people of the US have not been evacuated from South Korea. I am afraid, however, Trump administration would do it when they are critically relegated with the issue of Russian gate. Military action would, they know, distract the criticism to them to fanatic support of their military.

Our government won't publish the expected damage/victims due to the possible war with North Korea. It is estimated to be a few million victims if any nuclear bombs are used. Dozens of nuclear power plants along the Japan Sea are vulnerable to military attack by such as missiles from submarines. If a few of them are destructed by missiles, it would mean our country won't survive any longer. 

This realization of Apocalypse won't be localized in this area or in Middle East. It would bring us the end of the civilization of human on the earth. The terrorism and cult based nations like North Korea bieng involved, this crisis is much more serious than that in the cold war era. 


The 39th anniversary

It will be our 39th anniversary tomorrow. Such anniversary could have never been our own affairs for us. It has come, however. Time is surely flowing fast.

Starting our residency at a med school hospital, we were not involved in the sweet life of honey moon. All concern was at the training as med doctors in pediatrics for me as well as in psychiatry for my wife. No car nor TV set at the dorm those days.  No ham radio in the first year at least. The life was full with new experiences and ambition for the future.

Now we are at the last chapter of life. I am thankful to my wife for her dedication and endurance. It is my turn to make her happier from now, even though it might be a bit too late. Never too late. Believe there are good things ready for us in this chapter.

Sorry for the same photo as I posted here in the past but this one is my favorite one taken in the honey moon. She was, no, is beautiful.

It could be taken a cheating. Here is more recent one taken during the trip to Shinshyu 7 years ago. 

Happy holiday seasons to all of you, my friends.


The words a professor has left

Seven years ago, professor of Tokyo University, Yohji Totsuka, has died from colon cancer. He was a disciple of Masatoshi Koshiba, professor emeritus of the same University, a Nobel Prize awardee for quantum physics, and had been making research work regarding elementary particle after his elmer. I bet he was in his fifties then. Of course, I had no acquaintance with him but have known him only through his blog as told below.

In the process to death, he had kept a blog for months. He has written something profound in plain words in it. Once, he was asked by a person with the same illness of poor prognosis how he/she could live positively despite of the fatal illness. Professor Totsuka has answered that person to start writing/reading/listening more carefully as well as deliberately. With that effort, he/she could overcome the fear for death. He has told this in most tender manner to that person. Most affectionate way. I knew that was what he had actually been doing at that time. He also introduced words of Shiki Masaoka, one of the renowned haiku poets in japanese traditional style, who fought against tuberculosis and died in his young age. It was "To be enlightened in life is not to die well but to live well." I was most impressed how he has answered, in kind and open minded way, to the other who suffered from the same fatal illness. Very few could do such a thing in his situation. What he said sounded right and appropriate as an answer to the inquirer. It is, moreover, suggestive to us how to live and die.

It is not so soon when I should consider of dying by myself. But no one knows when it comes to us. At my age, I feel I should get ready for that. Totsuka might mean we should live well in order to die well. I feel it couldn't be too early for us to prepare for that moment.


A military conflict in this area is risky

There is a path that the US high officials enter our country without immigration check. Land on Yokota base then fly to Akasaka Press Center on a helicopter. Our governmental office has no idea how many visitors from the US are in our country.

The large mastery of the air from Kanto to Chubu area, named Yokota air space is controlled by the US. Our civil aircrafts could not access to that area.

These facts are the proof that our counry is not independent yet. President Trump has landed on Yokota but not Haneda or Narita. He has made the first address for the military personel at Yokota base in his visit to our country. Could there be any explanation other than his intention to assert that Japan is a dependency of the US?

President Trump has claimed that our government should have shot the missiles earlier this year. The missiles flied too high to be shot with the missile defence system. If he really knew of that limitation of missile defence system, he must have insisted that Japan should be a military shield against attack by NK toward the US. He also mentioned that Japan was a warrior country but not a country of peace.

He won't care for the victims, refugees and the devastating damage by any conflict between the US and NK in this area. It is estimated at least one million people would be killed in such a conflict. If our nuclear power plants are targetted for attack by NK, our country won't survive any longer. Of course, our bellicose PM Abe should be blamed for his policy of brinksmanship. Yet, hopefully, the US people and the other peoples should know how risky it is to attempt to give rise to military conflict in this area.

A step to police state

A japanese journalist, Shiori Itoh, was raped by a person, Takayuki Yamaguchi, who had been in close relationship with the Abe administration members. Yamaguchi used to be also a journalist and to have written a couple of books regarding the prime minister Abe. They were just intended to flatter Abe.

With approval for arresting Yamaguchi by the court after appropriate procedure, he was being arrested by the regional police in charge of the case, when the chief of criminal investigation in police ordered them to stop it. This chief used to be a secretary of the chief cabinet secretary in the Abe administration. The following site depicts what has happened in this case;here.

Itoh, the victim of the case, has made formal complaints about this cancellation of this arrest to the prosecution committee. But the decision by the chief of criminal investigation was not denied. This chief has been promoted in the police after hushing up this scandal.

Now a number of elites in the police are involved in the cabinet as a step for promotion. They won't go to the field work in police but get close relationship with the pliticians in the ruling party through work at the cabinet. The chief of the cabinet information research is one example, who has worked in the police for a long time and is told to be also involved in this scandal case. With close relationship with the police through these elites, the administration is gathering informations of scandal the politicians of the opposite parties or the bureaucrats resisting to the administration.

Police state is a condition for totalitarianism. I am afraid our country is lead to it.


The general election was over

The general election was over. The issue was the choice between authoritarian nationalism and democracy with grass roots movement. However, the vote rate remained pretty low, even if the effects of the typhoon attack considered, that is, approximately just above 50%. It has made me stunned some vote places were closed earlier due to that typhoon attack. It has violated our right of vote. At any rate, I suspect there has been little consensus among people that the vote right is the fundamental right in our society. Or they have despaired too deeply for the present political situation.

Prime minister Abe would go straight ahead for changing our constitution. His authoritarianism will bring the article of the state of emergency provision into the constitution. It seems to be his ultimate goal in the politics. That article made it possible for him to do anything revisionistic or authoritarian. It is comparable to the enabling act by Nazis. It may reflect the fact some people crave for something strenuous and powerful in the politics even if it could bring forth to severe pain to the people.

With the result of this election, PM Abe would hide the privatization scandal of the national assets as well as of the governance system. He and his administration may blindly follow the brinksmanship of the President Trump against NK. Both the President and NK have been on the edge of military conflict, which may result in catastrophic war in this area. NK has never insisted of invading the other countries including Japan. Their main purpose of this brinkmanship is to maintain their regime. The US government has not taken any strategy against the armament of nuclear bomb by NK but rather permitted the nuclear merchant in Pakistan etc to export the material and devices for nuclear weapon production to NK. There seems to be plots by the military industrial complexes regarding this crisis in the East Asia. The binkmanship policy won't solve the problem but expose us to the risk of nuclear war. Our PM won't care for that but would take advantage of this situation to arrange the authoritarian administration.

It was a real waste of our budget spending the amount equivalent to five hundred million USD only to realize his purpose. The bright aspect of this event is, however, that there is a real democratic party born based on the grass roots movement. It is the Constitutional Democratic Party. It has gained only 50 seats in this election. But the number of the voters to this party was only a little bit less than the LDPJ, the party fo PM Abe, in the proportional representation district in Tokyo. This will be the nucleus for the movement against the authoritarianism in Japan.
I won't stop committing in such political movements for real democracy in order to provide better future for the next generation.  


Learning Morse Code results in qualitative change in white matter

It is interesting that diffusion tensor imaging technique shows the increased integrity and development of neuron fibers in the brain. This study shows learning Morse Code has augmented the fractional anisotropy of the Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus whose function is vaguely understood regarding emotion or thoughts. It means learning Morse Code has caused alteration of this structure of white matter, that is, increased connection of centers in occipital, temporal lobe and the other areas.

Reading only this abstract of the paper, I am wondering how they have set the control in the observation of time dependent change. The other question is if learning Morse Code could be compared to second language acquisition. Since Morse Code system has no grammar, it is not a language itself.

Despite of such questions in this study, it still means Learning Morse Code causes structural change in the white matter, which means the improvement of the skill in Morse Code reception will be done stepwise. Once we obtain its capability, we won't lose it easily. Morse Code reception could be useful to activate our brain. 


 2017 Jul 26;11:383. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00383. eCollection 2017.

Learning Morse Code Alters Microstructural Properties in the Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus: A DTI Study.


Learning relies on neuroplasticity, which has mainly been studied in gray matter (GM). However, there is mounting evidence indicating a critical role of white matter changes involved in learning processes. One of the most important learning processes in human development is language acquisition. However, due to the length of this learning process, it has been notoriously difficult to investigate the underlying neuroplastic changes. Here, we report a novel learning paradigm to assess the role of white matter plasticity for language acquisition. By acoustically presenting Morse Code (MC) using an in house developed audio book as a model for language-type learning, we generated a well-controlled learning environment that allows for the detection of subtle white matter changes related to language type learning in a much shorter time frame than usual language acquisition. In total 12 letters of the MC alphabet were learned within six learning session, which allowed study participants to perform a word recognition MC decoding task. In this study, we found that learning MC was associated with significant microstructural changes in the left inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF). The fractional anisotropy (FA) of this associative fiber bundle connecting the occipital and posterior temporal cortex with the temporal pole as well as the hippocampus and amygdala was increased. Furthermore, white matter plasticity was associated with task performance of MC decoding, indicating that the structural changes were related to learning efficiency. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate an important role of white matter neuroplasticity for acquiring a new language skill.


Harvests in the garden farm

Cooked pumpkin, sweet potato and chestnut, all of which have been harvested in the garden farm this fall. Seasoned with bee honey, soy sauce, sake and so forth. I haven't realized that these materials were all from the garden until this dish was cooked.

It has been too wet this summer. The growth of these vegetables were not necessarily ideal. My heart is still filled with gratitude for the harvest. Lettuce, spinach and broccoli would follow in a few weeks. If they grow well, some of the harvest will be sent to my friends as my father used to do.



From Perception to Pleasure

This is an interesting article regarding the origin of pleasure in music. It also indicates the pleasure of CW as a communication mode comparing CW to music. This analogy between CW and music is possible due to the fact that each intellectual activity is based on expectancy.

The author of this review says the cortical loop between the auditory center and the frontal cortex enables recognition of the structural regularities in music pattern. The limbic system is involved in rewarding and pleasure. The connectivity between this nucleus accumbens and the cortical loop shows the level of pleasure through expectancy.

The fact the pleasure of music comes from the expectancy and the sense of rewarding as a result of expectancy attracted my eyes a lot. I enjoy both music as well as CW. This study result coincides with what I feel with both.

It may deduce that the meaningful conversation on CW communication is the source of pleasure in it. Without meaningfullness, CW communication should be just exchange of symbols which won't require any expectancy. This exchange of symbols would not be associated with any pleasure inherent to conversational CW communication. 

Resignation in life and Brahms

A couple of months ago, a renowned novelist, Taichi Yamada, has announced in an interview that he would cease writing since he had cerebral bleeding. He was 83 years old.

In the interview, he told our lives were conditioned with many factors like abilities, fortune, outlook and so forth, which we could not deal with even if we try to endeavor pursuing for them. We are destined to resign in our lives. Admiring that it is worth making efforts for better things in life, we eventually realize we should live in resignation. The absolute resignation comes from the limited span of our lives.

Yamada also says that resignation means clarifying things in our lives. When we see things calmly as they are, we could see what they mean. It is a process that we could not experience when we seek after them. However, standing still looking around things lets us understand what they are. This sounded like a wisdom of Buddhism even though I am not sure what has given him such an idea.

In old age, we still spend everyday as we have done in the past. Looking for something interesting, eating something tasty or pursuing some income. But the basic tune being played as basso continuo should as well as is that for resignation.

Having interviewed with Yamada, the interviewer said he had looked cheerful, calmed and transparent. It is often difficult for us to accept our fates with resignation. Reading this interview, however, I thought I would follow him. It is the meaning of living old age, possibly.

His story was reminiscent of this symphony by Brahms to me. I have loved this performance of Staatskapelle conducted by Kurt Sanderling. I could hear the steps of Brahms getting through struggles and resignation in life in this symphony. You may be absorbed into the world Brahms expressed in this music when you listen to the very first auftakt in the 1st movement as if he sighed.


Fall has advanced

Fall has advanced. Not too long before it starts being frosty in the morning. It is a question how the veggies like broccoli are ripened by that time.

This is a baby broccoli plant germinated a couple of weeks ago. Lovely as if an own child.

Cosmos flowers are fully blown. They are very sturdy grown from spontaneously flown seeds in the ground. In a sense, they could belong to wild weeds. On the other hand, mariegold is neatly coming out as planned. The seeds are being collected for the next season.

The other vegetable, again germinated some time ago, are growing. It is named sunny lettuce, akin to usual lettuce but not forming spherical shape. It will be in the dish of fresh salad every day.

Chinese cabage, bought as a baby plant at a store, will be good as a material of pot dish in the winter. This may tolerate the cold weather to some extent if it grows to certain size by then.

It is already mid fall here. One of the best seasons in a year. Treasure every moment when I could play and work in the garden. 


Arrival of fall season

It is a real first fall day today. Crisp breeze is blowing over the trees of magnolia or zelkova. Persimmon trees bear fruits, some of which are getting colored. 

The soil on the ground has been wet throughout the last month. It was not very good for tomatoes. I hope the newly planted ones would yield some before it gets too cool.

The flowers are passing their best time. It will be the time for me to collect the seeds from marigold for the next year. As told before, persimmon and chestnuts will be ripened in a month or so.  

The sweet potatoes are growing thick at various places in the yard. 

It will be the fall with good weather and rich harvest soon. 

Chicken cooked with welsh onion

I still cook supper every day. Sometimes burden and, in the other occasions, pleasure for me. I sometimes wonder if it is what I should do at present in my life. So far, no one takes it over. I owe to my wife for many things in the past. I should turn my negative feeling for cooking to positive. Believe that it is a calling for me at present. I won't ask such a thing as this to myself too often. Just having a glass of beer, I set hand to cooking every day. Sometimes watching TV. If I would like it, some classical music is played such as h minor Suite by Bach or Piano Quintet Nr1 by Dvorak.

Chicken was cooked with welsh onion seasoned with soy sauce, sake and sugar. Not bad.

I still would like to travel to the mountain area in Shinshyu when the fall breeze blows in the valley there. i have a cousin, old and living alone, over there. I have promised her for a visit some time ago.


Seventy two years have passed

Seventy two years have passed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered from atomic bombing. Three days ago in Hiroshima while today in Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly non military citizens, young or old, have been killed at once. Many more should spend their hard lives with the late onset sequel of irradiation afterwards.

I have a few points to comment on this memorable days.

Firstly, we are obliged to ask ourselves why the people should undergo such a tragedy 72 years ago. I know quite some people in the US and the other countries think it was a retaliation for Pearl Harbor attack and the invasions to neighbor countries by our military. In addition, some people insist the atomic bombing has hastened defeat of our country. I won't discuss on these point in detail. They are making the points to some degree. But it doesn't seem to be the main reason. i would emphasize the emperor as well as the government/military authority should have admitted being defeated in the war much earlier. The authority is told to have expected mediation to the allied nations by Stalin, which was a ridiculous dream. It is not yet elucidated who was responsible for this delay to accept the unconditional surrender. The authority was concerned only about survival of the emperor system. It is the reason why this tragedy has happened even though the responsibility for this wrong decision has never investigated yet.

Whatever the cause/reason might be, it is a reality that innocent citizens have been killed. It should be remembered as a war crime killing so many non military people. It should never be happened. The world leaders, especially the president of the US, seem to be inclined to use nuclear weapon in certain conflict or in certain local war. I should say, however, it is a crime of mass murder and an event which leaves so many people suffering from the effects of irradiation throughout their lives. It is still a crime to human being.

Third, among 140000 victims in Hiroshima, 30000 to 40000 are told to be Korean people. Even more than 10 American people were killed. Some Korean people moved to Japan with their own will while there were a lot of people who were forced to come to Japan. Either case was due to poverty in Korea which had brought them to Japan. With this respect, we, Japanese, are not the sufferers but also the offenders to the neighbor country. Commemorating this event, we should never forget this fact.

Nuclear weapon is not only a mass destruction/murder arm but also leaves the irradiation effects on many people who survive the destruction. It is an arm of the evil. The balance of nuclear weapon is quite unstable and always tempts certain leader of a country to use it. It could result in ruining the world. It is only a false optimism that the balance of nuclear weapon will last forever. 


Lorin WA1PGB

It has been 10 years since I first heard of Lorin WA1PGB from Drew VK3XU. Drew told me there was a ham who had been a professional pianist as well as an enthusiastic CW lover. I had to wait for another 6 years until I could meet that pianist on the air.

He was in Maine, where I could scarcely have good path with. We have still enjoyed conversation on music as well as CW. He has made debut as a professional pianist at Carnegie Hall at age of 11 years. He seemed to have spent a brilliant life as a pianist. Recently, I have run across with him staying in California. His simple set up at the temporary place has put out a great signal compared with that in Maine. He said he would move to somewhere in the Bay area very soon. He has decided to make that move because his son is living in Berkeley and he wanted to live close to him. I believe he is already in his 80s now. It is a good chance for him to spend his retirement in California.

He has let me know of his performance of Schubert piece with his young wife Tara in Youtube. I haven't known of this piece. I was moved at its ever lasting song by Schubert for 4 hands of piano. Dark and melancholic. Sometimes it expresses will for life but still sinks in the darkness. This gloomy song was composed in the last year of Schubert's life. In addition to its nature as a present to a heartbroken lady, the time this piece was composed must be a reason why it sounds so gloomy. I still enjoy his performance with warm touch in perfect harmony with his wife Tara. 

Even though I am the least musician, he told me he enjoyed talking to me about music on the air. I am looking forward to talking much more on music and his life when he is settled down in California.



It's the season of Indian Lilac

The Indian Lilac at the entrance gate is blooming. My father used to tell us it was coming out in this season. Even though I can't remember how he told about it to us, I bet he might have been smiling then. It was impossible what he has thought about it then. Now, I could share that with him. Vividly and clearly. There is something we could hardly understand or sympathize at young age.

In a few weeks, hopefully, there will be cool breeze blowing in morning and evening. 

I am still cooking dinner almost everyday. This is pork with eggplant seasoned with soybean paste. It was dished up on the leaves of perilla, an Asian herb, which gives refreshing odor to the dish.


In commemoration of my history

I have a couple of bookcases of moderate size;apx, 1.2mx2.0m in my study as well as the room for radio, that is, the shack. They are too small to store all the books I own. But it is what I could set in my small room. Since I retired, I have added books of history and social science in them. Even though I have already moved most of the medical books to a storage room, a thought I might be forced to quit from medicine completely once I organize the bookcases and do away with the old medical texts etc has made me hesitate to do that.

However, the bookcases are almost full. I have decided to move several medical books left there now. I have scarcely read or looked up with them for the past years since retirement. And those medical texts are getting older in content in several years. Some of them were added to the bookcases even a few decades ago.

A couple of books remained in the book case. One is the textbook of pediatrics, Nelson's, famous for a textbook of pediatrics. It is a token that I have studied and worked in pediatrics. The other is a diagnostics textbook written by a professor whom I have been taught at the medical university. The field of diagnostics does with diagnostic procedure with very simple tools like stethoscope or hammer etc. It was a subject we had to learn in the beginning of clinical medical training. Almost half a century ago, CT scan has just introduced into the clinical services. There were only limited number of diagnostic tools or machines available. Moreover, the diagnostic procedures with very simple tools were really fascinating to us, medical students. Reading that textbook, I surely felt a historical atmosphere in it. Without modern medical equipment, the ancestors of doctors have made effort to reach right diagnosis with their perception and the simple tools. It was sure a historical heritage which was still useful to us. What an excitement to learn it! I know I won't read it for practical purpose any longer. It is, however, still to commemorate in my memory that I have studied medicine and worked for the patients.



Discussing proper sending way of CW

In the FOC reflector, there has been a discussion going on regarding sending CW. Some people claim that we should send accurate CW with proper dot dash ratio and spacing for some time. It helps the listeners to read us easier.

The problem may be divided into two aspects. CW sending should be accurate as if it were sent by keyboard. Dot dash ratio should be exactly 1:3 while there should be proper spacing between characters/words. The other problem is that such mechanically accurate sending is often boring to our ears. We appreciate musical rhythm in CW. It varies in time. We often feel comfortable with something exquisitely changing. It may reflect our heart beats. Anyway, that is why CW is called as an art.

Even though I admitted that such a discussion is not meaningless and is quite right, I felt a bit reluctant to go on such a discussion. This is the reason why I feel that way as shown in this post in the reflector. 


In my view, there are two points which make me reluctant to discuss
about this problem.
Firstly, this problem is often critical since recognition of bad keying
could be subjective. Certain keying could be artistic to some 
operator s while it sounds like a mess to the other, depending on 
the capability of reception.

Secondly, another difficulty to discuss about keying is that some 
operators have physical or even mental problems which prevent 
them from sending appropriately. It is not courteous nor beneficial 
to comment on their keying since it is almost impossible for them 
to improve it. 

However, there seem to be the case of anosodiaphoria. The operator 
could have improved keying but are not conscious of the problem with
their keying. In this case, we should tell them it is difficult for us to read 
them. It may let them realize the problem with their keying.
With this anosodiaphoria, they won't record their own keying etc. Our 
candidate report must be the only thing to help them realize it. Maybe,
no use to discuss about it in the recflector.

Let me realize it when my keying sounds sloppy. I will try not to be 
cranky at such a report.


Kidney beans and carrot rolled with pork

Kidney beans named "Morocco Ingen" in Japanese have been harvested for the past week or two. Being boiled, it is served for salad. Soft and a bit sweet. Those sold in super markets won't taste that way.

I have cooked it with carrot rolled with pork. Seasoned with sweetened sake and soy sauce. Pretty good.

The garden farm will be into the time of harvest very soon. As often told, I feel blessed having a gust of cool wind touching me in the mid summer sunshine while working in the farm. 

I was invited to an orchestra where I used to play cello a couple of years ago. A small ensemble. They might be puzzled not having any cellist in it. No matter what reason they have had to invite me, I was glad to come back into that cozy company. I felt really excited playing the fugue in the 3rd movement of Brandenburg Concerto Nr 4 by Bach. So far as I could, I would go on for such ensemble. It is the day for another ensemble in Tokyo. It must be a hard work to walk outside carrying cello. However, I would go there. I would play the Concerto for Two Violins by Bach. In that music, two violin concertants would sound like one instrument. It is another fascinating piece by Bach. I would smile at myself sweating much to travel to Tokyo with cello. However, it is one of the reason why I still live. 


My Father's 13th Anniversary

It will be my father's 13th anniversary in 3 days. My sister has written to me telling she had been reading the papers for application of pension of military he left to her. It says he has served in the army from 1939 to 1945, that is, from 20 to 26 years of age. His youth, which could have been most brilliant time in his life, has been forced to serve for the military nationalism.

He has been sent to China where he experienced the hell of the war and was almost dying in the battle. It was his regret that Japanese troops had done all criminal behavior to Chinese citizens over there. He has repeatedly told us we had owed much to them. It was his dream to travel Chine for a trip of apology, which did not come true.

Coming back from China, he was luckily assigned to an educational division of the army in this area. It meant he had been spared going to abroad again in the end of the war. Later, he might feel guilty for those having lost their lives abroad on behalf of him.

After the WWII, he has become a firm pacifist. It was due not only to his belief in Christianity but also to his cruel experience during the war. He must face to the problem of emperor system when he searched the cause of the war. It was the reason why the people have approved the invasion to the neighbor countries based on the aberrant idea of elitism. In the present time, studying of the reason why our society, at least, a part of the politics, is heading back to the regime before WWII, I feel we could not go without dealing with the problem of emperor system as a quasi religion which leads us to the nightmare idea of nationalism. I sometimes could not help smiling at myself reading the same kind of books as my father used to and thinking in the same way as he did.    

On July 1st 3 years ago, the collective self defense was approved by the government, which has been the purported reason why a nation started any war in the past. Whatever the government might explain of that change in explanation of our constitution, it meant our country would go for war abroad in the future. I often wonder what my father would say about this situation.

Remembering of him, I would do what I could to protest against such movement in the politics. It was a bit muggy morning when I and my wife have been called for his passing by the hospital staff. It has come on all of sudden. How lonely he has felt when passing away. I would take over his pacifist position for the token of my apology for not being with him at that time. It is also important what a country we would leave to the next generation. Even if I could do little for that.


Oblivion by Fournier Trio

Oblivion by Piazzolla is still one of my favorite tunes. Melancholic melody is more than fascinating to me. I have uploaded the performance of this piece by a piano trio and cello solo in this blog, both of which I still love so much. I have found another excellent performance by Trio Fournier, seemingly a Taiwanese trio of young musicians. Great lyricism. I love this cellist who sings the tune softly as well as elegantly. I wonder if he has received music instruction by renowned cellist Pierre Fournier. Smooth and lyrical performance sure reminds me of Fournier.


To do or not to do

I have been wondering if I should renew the ham radio license which expires this August. There were a few reasons why I felt reluctant to do so. It is the very first time that I wondered about renewing the license in my career of ham for the past 55 years except during preparing for the entrance exam for med university and studying medicine there.

One problem is that there are too few who enjoy conversational CW. This is the theme I have repeatedly mentioned in this blog. CW itself is declining as a communication mode. If I could find someone who speaks on CW, not just exchanges codes as symbols, he or she seldom converses with me. If I should be luckily able to run across with a ham who converses on this mode, he or she talks about him/herself one way in all likelihood. There could rarely be any dialogue between us. Of course, I know I expect too much to the others. Someone may blame me making monologue by myself, I know. It is still a reality that I feel biting something tasteless when finishing a QSO with such a person. I have been trying to make each QSO meaningful but, so far, am not successful to reverse this overwhelming trend of CW.

The other reason is that the bureaucracy of the governmental office is becoming even worse and there are people devouring the concession of the licensing system. These people are retirees from our FCC or former directors of JARL. I have mentioned of the terrible new regulation of spurious emission by the authority elsewhere in this blog. They require us to pay some "fee" to guarantee the spurious emission below the level ITU has indicated. It is for some old equipments which have not been qualified to fill the spurious emission level by ITU. The problem is that they "guarantee" that only by paper work. Too ridiculous! The license system is leaving further from the ideal comprehensive license system. It is all for the concession for the certain group of people mentioned above. I am feeling disgusted at them.

I thought I had had other things to do for the time I spent for ham radio as well. I am feeling I got mentally as well as physically less capable of things like playing cello, reading or writing etc. I wondered if I should concentrate on those things other than ham radio.

I have told a few friends of mine that I could not decide to quit ham radio or not. They kindly encouraged me to renew it this time. Vic W9RGB told me to "endeavour  to persevere" this situation. Even if I could do with the trend of declination of conversational CW, I might be able to enjoy good chats with friends. I may quit ham radio any time in the future while it might be difficult for me to come back once I do so. It is only a boring conclusion but I decided to renew it this time. For the coming 5 years while the license is valid, I would see what goes on in the license system as well as in the conversational CW.

So I have done it a couple of days ago. For the coming 5 years, if I stay fine, you may hear this call on some bands.


Piano quintet f minor by Cesar Franck

In my another blog written in Japanese, I found a post in 2007 that had told of a QSO with John 9V1VV. In that QSO, he told me that he had loved the piano quintet of Cesar Franck, which I have totally forgotten. I was surprised to know he loved such a chamber music in the modern era. I knew his best music era was the Baroque.

In Youtube, there is a historical performance of this music by Richter and Borodin Quartet. The performers, especially Richter, are not self-asserting but are only letting their performance express what this class work is. Beautiful, faithful and classy. The 2nd movement is, in my view, one of the most beautiful musics in the history. This piece as well as his other musics tells what personality, most honest, faithful and earnest, he had. That must be the reason why there were so many composers learning from him, directly or indirectly, who have been named as Franckists.

I have played the 1st movement of this music twice. The first time was at a small concert for farewell to the graduates at the university orchestra. The pianist, a quiet girl majoring in music, has played it, I remember, as if she had become insane. The other chance to play it was when I came back in music around 50 years of age. The string players and the pianist were all good friends of mine. Another fond memory. I am still feeling thankful for them all giving me chances to feel this wonderful piece closer to myself.

This is an unforgettable music for me in multiple meanings.


To have ragchewing on Morse code completed

This fMRI study shows that perception of the Morse code activates STG while lexico-semantic process involves left IFC and OTC, known to related with lexical understanding, in addition to STG. This result means understanding what is sent with Morse code is qualitatively different from copying each Morse code. In ragchewing, we should go through this qualitative step of Morse code communication. Comparing ragchewing to second language acquisition, we should socialize Morse code communication to have ragchewing on Morse code completed.

Intelligent people could imagine what I am implicating with this post, couldn't they?


 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.


Attending a meeting against the bill of conspiracy law

After working in the garden farm, I left home for Tokyo. I was attending a meeting against the bill of conspiracy law in front of the Houses of Parliaments. I thought this conspiracy law would change our country from the rule by law to the rule of man. Actually, the prime minister and the government have already dictated our country with the former, which has been revealed with the recent scandals by the government. It will bring us the surveillance society since conspiracy is punished before any crime is conducted and conspiracy is investigated with such as wiretapping or internet surveillance. Our government has already obtained the surveillance program named XKeyscore from NSA of the US, which must be already in operation in Japan.

With darkness of night fallen on it, the illuminated Parliament Houses were standing out there. Dozens of policemen were keeping watch on the people joining the meeting. It was held by an NPO named Public for the Future, which announced there had been 4000 people in the meeting. Yelling slogans against the bill and the government were alternated with addresses by some guest speaker like members of parliaments and university professors. It seemed to be a regular meeting supported by the same members who carried own unique placards or some rhythm instruments. 

In an hour, having stood there all the way, I felt really tired. Considering of the time necessary to travel back home, I have quit there. I don't know what this behavior means for me. It might just be to confirm that I am really against this movement toward dictatorship against democracy. It has been half a century when I last joined such a political movement. It was a candle demonstration against Vietnamese war that time. Quiet walk holding a candle in the season of Christmas. Confirming where I stand on, I would do whatever I could do for the generation upcoming.       

On the way, I have looked around the station of Tokyo. It has undergone a drastic change except for the old building of the station. I haven't been there for decades.


Summer solstice coming soon

It will be the summer solstice soon. We are already in the rainy season, which lasts until mid or end of July. It will get more muggy day by day.

Vegetables are growing. Tomatoes are getting ripened now. Hopefully, they will be matured before they get harmed with much rain.

Kidney beans are blooming. They may yield many beans very soon.

In the garden in front of the house our parents used to live, there are numberous flowers coming out. 

Until the fall breeze starts blowing, it will be the time of struggle against weeds in the garden. Years ago, when he was alive, my father used to cut the growing weeds with a long handled mowing sickle. Making ticking sound with the sickle struck to the ground, he has quietly gone on doing that for a long time. Time has passed. It is my turn to do the same thing.


Historical revisionists contemplating amendment of the constitution in Japan

With the ruling parties in Japan retaining a two-thirds of majority in the parliaments, which is the least requirement for the referendum of the constitutional revision, the prime minister Abe announced to revise it by 2020. By the end of this year, the ruling parties plan to make the draft of the reformed constitution.

It is to neglect the efforts of the research commission of constitution which has made discussions to achieve the nonpartisan agreement of this issue for the past years. Of course, it is too soon. Maybe, Abe would hasten it not to let the people consider of this important issue. He seems to take advantage of the majority in the parliaments at this time in order to realize the state system before the WWII, which he has pursued for years, even if it is anachronistic as well as against democracy. He believes in the system based on the state Shinto worshiping the Emperor. He won't accept the result of WWII and the SF Treaty with the US. 

Four points they would revise the constitution are already published. The biggest issue might be regarding the Japan Self Defense Force. They would add a clause to the 9th article of present constitution, which would relate the existence of JSDF. It may cause much debate since the 9th article declares non possessing military power. They have agreed it won't exclude possessing military power for self defense. The addition of that clause may mean emphasis of possessing military power and may lead to the military force. This argument may not be easily understood by non Japanese people. At least, under the regime of Abe, a historical revisionist, it is not advisable to add that clause.

Another point attracting my attention was regarding the provisions of emergency. As well known, it means the prime minister could deny, upon any situation he believes necessary for the public order in the society, the constitutionalism and the basic human rights. Yes, it is the article in Weimar Consitution by which Hitler has legislated the Enabling Act of 1933. The special rapporteurs of the UN have questioned of the freedom of the press and of privacy right with freedom of speech recently. The government has reacted violently as well as emotionally to their question, which reminds us of the time our government has resigned from the League of Nations before WWII.  

I don't believe our country would go on the same road even if the revision of the constitution would be succeeded as the ruling parties plan now. The national finances may collapse due to military expansion as well as to increased needs for social security for the aged under the circumstance of immense budget deficits. And the people are not accustomed with the military nationalism since we have lived war free period for 72 years already. One thing I could predict is that we would be in a huge mess, political and economical, in the near future if this revision is done.

I might have lived in too much peace in my life. The generation of my parents or of grandparents have experienced disastrous wars during their lives. It might be the time of war for us. We should get it through for the better lives of the next generation.


Neuroimaging study for learning Morse code

Functional MRI studies have widened our view on what is going on in various cognition and behaviors. Remembrance of Morse code and, possibly, reading through it are not the exceptions. This paper tells us learning Morse code, one of the lexico-semantic skills, produces increased connectivity between the language networks and the anterior salience networks. As an amateur for those neuroimaging studies as well as brain physiology, I could not give proper explanation on this result. However, learning Morse code seems to be involved with the connection of sensory, emotional and cognitive functions with language acquisition functions.

In conversational CW, this change may be augmented or progressed to further combinations of neural networks. I have a hypothesis that conversational CW requires higher functions of the brain than simply deciphering codes. I could never be involved with such studies. Hopefully, some CW lover as well as neuroimaging researcher at the same time would be interested in epistemological understanding of conversation through Morse code, the simplest symbols in communication, and conduct some research work. If you would do this, just remember and acknowledge me in the end of the paper.


 2017 Feb 1;146:429-437. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.08.065. Epub 2016 Sep 1.

Dynamic changes of resting state connectivity related to the acquisition of a lexico-semantic skill.


The brain undergoes adaptive changes during learning. Spontaneous neural activity has been proposed to play an important role in acquiring new information and/or improve the interaction of task related brain regions. A promising approach is the investigation of resting state functional connectivity (rs-fc) and resting state networks, which rely on the detection of interregional correlations of spontaneous BOLD fluctuations. Using Morse Code (MC) as a model to investigate neural correlates of lexico-semantic learning we sought to identify patterns in rs-fc that predict learning success and/or undergo dynamic changes during a 10-day training period. Thirty-five participants were trained to decode twelve letters of MC. Rs-fMRI data were collected before and after the training period and rs-fc analyses were performed using a group independent component analysis. Baseline connectivity between the language-network (LANG) and the anterior-salience-network (ASN) predicted learning success and learning was associated with an increase in LANG - ASN connectivity. Furthermore, a disconnection between the default mode network (DMN) and the ASN as well as the left fusiform gyrus, which is critically involved in MC deciphering, was observed. Our findings demonstrate that rs-fc can undergo behaviorally relevant changes within 10 training days, reflecting a learning dependent modulation of interference between task specific networks.