Stir-fried shrimp in chili sauce

Pretty good. the vegetable is boiled cabbage, which was harvested in our garden farm. 


May we get closer to the perfect world

It is still pretty cold here in the morning everyday. It takes me a few weeks to start planting vegetables in the garden farm. I have already purchased a few kinds of seeds of vegetables. In amateur radio, a big solar flare has been going on for a few days. It makes operating radio less attractive now. As a result, I am spending more time with cello.

Music has been a good friend of mine for years. In every practice session, I start with scale from C major, C minor, D major, D minor and so forth. For 4 octaves. For a couple of years, I have been using a tuner, which had corrected my scale so much. I have been feeling guilty to have played it with such incorrect scale for years. I was unwilling to go after such "a machine". In addition, exactly speaking, it is only the well temperament which is not suitable for string instruments performance. Of course, my scale was premature before discussing the subtle difference in tuning. It has been a pleasure for me to complete each scale even in well temperament. I regret I should have used the tuner long before. Telling myself, however, that it is never too late, I would go on practicing with it.

I believe there is a perfect ideal world of music, which must be an apriori existence in the universe. The auditory function in our brain/auditory organ must be like an interface between that perfect music and ourselves. It is really mysterious that there are different kinds of temperament, Pythagorean for melodies, pure temperament for chords and so forth. As you may know, there are subtle and still definite differences between those temperaments. We hear the very high range of audio lower than its actual tone while the low range higher. They say we should play the higher tones a bit higher than the accurate tones. The same thing goes for the lower tones. This complexity in scale may reflect, in my view, the imperfect presence of the world. The theoretical existence of music itself is completely closed in perfectionism. Our auditory function, imperfect itself, may make the actual music sound imperfect. I really hope, some day when I leave this world, I might be allowed to listen to music in perfect form.

Dreaming of such a thing, I again start struggling with cello.


Toward the Easter

It has passed the equinox. Sun is shining brighter day by day. Sprouting are the plants and the trees in the garden. It is the time of joy for vivid lives. Red japanese apricot flowers are fully out in the garden here.

In the mid April, we will have the Easter this year. It is the time for me to listen to Matthew's Passion by J.S.Bach.

I have an old score of this music published by Eulenburg. Soiled with finger markings. The cover has been torn. How many times I have listened to this great Passion reading this score! On the back of the cover, I have written that I bought it at Hongou in Tokyo in 1975. There was a music score store there, where I could walk to in 10 minutes from the med school. I was so much touched by this music that I have got this score then, I believe.

The 67th of the recitativo sung by each part of solo before the final chorus and the final chorus performed by Richter and Muenchen Bach Ensemble in 1971. A renowned performance even though the believers in authentic performance may defame it as an old style. After listening the great drama of crucification of Jesus, we reach this pieces of consolation. At least, in my mind, I could never listen to these without tears.

As reiterated in this blog in the past, my mother has suffered from the big earthquake at a nursing facility far north in Sendai. She had to spend a few days there without any infrastructures like power, water or heating. In a few weeks, she got seriously ill and passed away quietly at a hospital as if a piece of fire of candle had disappeared. Her only wish was to return here her birth place and to live with our father, who had already passed away by that time.

Recalling of her and of myself in the past years, I would concentrate on this music again.


Working memory in conversational CW

I have met Chuck N6UOE again on 20m in morning a few days ago. It was last Sept. when we met for the first time. It was a couple of weeks since he had come back on the air after 45 years of absence. He was 77 years old retired professor from UC Davis. His specialty was communication social science, which I had had least idea of.

He seemed to have been active on CW ever since. We have, however, agreed that there have been much less conversational CW activity on any bands. I was glad, despite of that overall low activity of conversational CW, he had still stuck to this enjoyment of CW.

He thought the reason why it had declined was that they had dropped the requirement of CW skill from the exam. And the internet has taken it over as well. I agreed fully with him about that. It might be very boring and take too much time and labor for young hams to train themselves for conversational CW.

In addition to the reason above, I thought of the old timers whom we missed, mostly retired R/O, so proficient in CW and kind enough to do with new comers and eventually to educate them to be good CW conversationists. I could recall dozens of such examples who were active from '60s through '80s. Sadly enough, most of them have gone inactive or even silent key by now. It was those old timers who had conveyed the art of CW from the previous generation to us.

Lastly, it seems to be the most important reason to me that few question about the essence of the pleasure to converse on CW. It may be too obvious for them to question about that. Some say CW is a handy mode to work DX with small set up. The others say CW QSO is so quick that it won't take much time. These may be right but seem to be only secondary. What is the essential question to be asked? It is what makes us feel pleasant and relaxed to converse on this mode. Without asking and realizing about it, we could hardly tell young new comers why it deserves to learn CW spending that too much time and work.

 Even after having been on this mode wondering about that question on the intrinsic aspect of conversational CW, I have not reached any definite answer yet. Recently, I have thought that working memory in our cognitive function might be a clue to answer this question. Working memory is a functional concept of cognitive psychology, which deals with the cognition and memory with the short and long term memory cooperating at it. It is closely related with the secondary language acquisition. Recent advance in functional brain science with f MRI is revealing the anatomical sites in brain responsible for this function as well.

CW reception is comparable to reading printed materials as I have reiterated in this blog. That highly intellectual process may progress in working memory. Long term memory provides the code memory itself which is almost dealt in subconsciousness in a proficient operator. In case of non English native, translation process must be made with another long term memory. The information of the other we talk to might come from the long term memory as well. So called head copy requires the short term memory. In this process, we need to comprehend what it has been sent and to conceptualize it, which may help to store the information into the long term memory. This is a pretty rough sketch of the working memory hypothesis in conversational CW. It is important that conversational CW is a highly intellectual process in our cognitive function, where we should activate the whole working memory. When it successfully works, it might give us satisfaction. This is what I believe we still adhere to this primitive as well as slow mode of communication even in this modern era when we could utilize the other modes.    

When I mentioned a bit of this idea to Chuck, he has agreed with me. As the usefulness of conversational CW, he thinks, it would work to prevent the aged people from suffering from dementia. That may be another aspect of conversational CW as the intellectual process, described above. It could be a rehab or prevention of dementia.

I am far from understanding the working memory hypothesis of the essence of conversational CW and even the working memory itself. The above mentioned observation is only very primitive rough sketch of the process. It seems to deserve studying about that, however. That will make me consent to have spent so much time and energy for this mode in my life, which is the basis we could recommend young people to start with it with confidence.


A hot pot dish with hand made meatballs

It is the last hot pot dish in this season. Meatball is available as a commercial item at super markets. I have made it by myself this time. Chicken meat was mixed with small amount of minched radish and japanese leek. Onion was added to keep it soft after being cooked. Seasoned with soy sauce/salt/pepper. It tastes better than ready made meatball. 

The soup is egg flip one. Seasoned with chinese chicken soup powder.

About half of the readers of this blog seem interested "only" in these dish articles so far as I have heard in QSOs.


Mike W7LPV passed away in last Dec

I have accidentally talked to Tony W4FOA on Facebook a few days ago. I have known him through a good friend of mine Mike W7LPV. In short messages, he asked me if I had known Mike had passed away in last Dec. What a sad news! I haven't heard Mike for months and was wondering how he had been doing. I was going to ask Tony about him.

I have been talking to Mike through CW for many years, possibly for 15 years or longer. The span of our friendship is not long for me. Each QSO has always been made in the interval of months. But it won't matter.

In one of the earliest QSOs, he used to tell me he quit working in his late 30s of age and entered a graduate school in order to study philosophy. He wanted to study on an epistemological question; could we congnize any thing and how could it be done? I was impressed at his way of life. In the middle of his life, he has stopped to dwell on such a basic question of life. Very few people could do that. Most of us are losing ourselves in the routine of lives neglecting such a question as he has had. I thought he was a person who lived his own life in intellectual way.

In addition, he loved music. He has been a good pianist since young days. Whenever we met on the air, he always told me what piece he had practiced and where he would play it. He used to play piano at church and, later in his life, at hospice. Even after he had lost his wife, Karen, he was even more eager at playing piano. There are a few performances of piano by himself left in Youtube. This is the 1st movement of the Moonlight sonata. Wearing eye mask is a homage to his piano teacher, a visually handicapped person.

Whenever we met on the air, we talked on life and music. Each QSO has been memorable to me in fact. It has been a real joy for me to see him on the air. Such chance is eternally lost. I should have visited him in Sedona in our trip 5 years ago. Whenever we met on the air, he always asked me when I would visit Sedona and added the door was always open to me. I sure miss him.


Today 6 years ago

Today 6 years ago, we have had that big earthquake in Tohoku and Kanto area, followed by the serious nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima. Nearly 20,000 people have been killed while about 2500 are still missing. More than 120,000 are still evacuated all around the country. 80,000 of them are gone from their homeland in Fukushima due to the nuclear power plant accident. A large portion of them should never return home. As told before, they have been socially killed losing their home, their neighbor community, their work and so forth. At temporary evacuation houses, more than 1200 evacuees have lost their lives. Some areas in the vicinity of the destroyed nuclear plant are released from the evacuation order by the government based on the estimated radiation of 20mSv per a year, which is only a criteria of the radiation limit for residential area immediately after the accident. Those returning to the post evacuation order areas will lose the right to have support from the public. The suicide rate especially of young people is getting higher in Fukushima while the other disaster areas have less rates than Fukusima.

From these abstract statistic data, however, we could not understand what pain and anxiety those sufferers have. Recalling spending nights at home without infrastructures like electricity, water or gas, we should do whatever we could do for them. We should go on protesting to the politics that the support from the government should be directly given to them, but not enriching only those constructors, university staff or those retired from the governmental offices.  

Researchers have warned we are now in the seismologically activated era around the Pan Pacific Volcano/Earthquake belt. The densely populated area of Tokyo is still highly probable to suffer from a big earthquake. All of the nuclear power plants scattered around our country should be abandoned since we learned any nuclear power plants could never spare a big earthquake in the near future. Seismologists predict such a disaster in Tokyo in the coming years. We should be ready for such a disaster and should cease nuclear power generation immediately.

It is the day 6 years ago today.


Choice of the future

A throwback Thursday. This was taken at the entrance of Dept Dentistry when I succeeded at the entrance exam to Dept Medicine of my mother school. I was applying for the entrance to the school. Almost half a century ago. Why before Dept Dentistry? I can't remember that. Stubbly beard wearing sandal?? Terrible outlook. Have not imagined what would follow this. In the end of March somewhere in Tokyo.

I have told about it somewhere before. While studying mechanical engineering at a college, I felt it was not a calling for me. I would like to learn something more human. At first, Russian literature or something was in my mind. A vague idea to be a teacher after studying literature. Later, I was fascinated by psychiatric humanology or philosophy. I have read the works of Jaspers, Minkovsky, Frankle or Kamiya etc. Understanding each individual from the psychiatric or psychological standpoint seemed really attractive to me. Of course, the fact my parents had worked as medical staff at hospitals was another factor which lead me to this profession.

Studying medicine at the school, I knew there were only limited ways to treat psychiatric patients those days. Philosophical humanology might work, I thought impudently at that time, to understand the patients but give us little chance to treat them. I was more inclined to do with the sick children, who were more responsive to treatment than the patients in psychiatry, which was another prejudice, if it was proper. Anyway, at graduation, I have made up my mind to be a pediatrician. On the other hand, I told a girl colleague to be a psychiatrist. She was so naive to follow my advice. Yes, she is my wife. I have never asked if she had been happy with that choice of specialty. So far, no complaint to me.

Years have passed.


Takemitsu, Tarkovsky and Matthew's Passion

It was the 21st anniversary of death for the renowned composer, Tohru Takemitsu, on 20th of the last month. In her essay, his wife has told how he had spent the last days in his life.

Two days before his passing, he told his wife to go home sooner since it was heavily snowing and it might take her long time to get to home. On that evening he spent alone at the hospital, he has by chance listened to the Matthew's Passion by Bach broadcasted on the radio. It was the most favorite piece in music for him. Snowing quietly outside and this music resonant to our existence flowing at the hospital room he spent the night alone.

The day after, he told his wife how wonderful that piece was. When he started composing something, he always listened to the famous Aria, Er barme dich, mein Gott, which was the best in this music for him.

He also loved the movies of Tarkovsky. In Tarkovsky's last work titled "Sacrifice", that aria in Matthew's Passion was impressively featured at the last scene. Tarkovsky has told we could live with certain sacrifice in the world we never knew of its existence.

When I am quitting this world, I sure would like to listen to this music as Takemitsu and Tarkovsky might have done.