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.


ANP as a remote metastasis suppressor

Cancer has the brutal capacity of remote metastasis which usually kills the patient. Without remote metastasis, it won't fatally harm the patient in most cases. Surgery could be curative to them.

Any medication or therapy to suppress or eradicate remote metastasis has been desired. This news might be a breakthrough for metastasis suppression. Atrial natriuretic peptide;ANP, an antihypertensive hormone produced at heart, seems to be a hopeful medication for this purpose. There are a few reports that  ANP has anti tumor activity in animal model.

I have a friend who suffers from breast cancer and is waiting for curative surgery after chemo protocol. There must be millions of people in the same situation. I really hope this will promise them as a powerful medication for complete remission. 


 2015 Mar 31;112(13):4086-91. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1417273112. Epub 2015 Mar 16.

Atrial natriuretic peptide prevents cancer metastasis through vascular endothelial cells.


Most patients suffering from cancer die of metastatic disease. Surgical removal of solid tumors is performed as an initial attempt to cure patients; however, surgery is often accompanied with trauma, which can promote early recurrence by provoking detachment of tumor cells into the blood stream or inducing systemic inflammation or both. We have previously reported that administration of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) during the perioperative period reduces inflammatory response and has a prophylactic effect on postoperative cardiopulmonary complications in lung cancer surgery. Here we demonstrate that cancer recurrence after curative surgery was significantly lower in ANP-treated patients than in control patients (surgery alone). ANP is known to bind specifically to NPR1 [also called guanylyl cyclase-A (GC-A) receptor]. In mouse models, we found that metastasis of GC-A-nonexpressing tumor cells (i.e., B16 mouse melanoma cells) to the lung was increased in vascular endothelium-specific GC-A knockout mice and decreased in vascular endothelium-specific GC-A transgenic mice compared with control mice. We examined the effect of ANP on tumor metastasis in mice treated with lipopolysaccharide, which mimics systemic inflammation induced by surgical stress. ANP inhibited the adhesion of cancer cells to pulmonary arterial and micro-vascular endothelial cells by suppressing the E-selectin expression that is promoted by inflammation. These results suggest that ANP prevents cancer metastasis by inhibiting the adhesion of tumor cells to inflamed endothelial cells.


A time to recall those who have passed away

I realized breeze was shaking leaves of a tree in the garden when I was working there. It is the time now when a friend of mine left a comment in my blog around this time last year. For my post that the leaves were whistling to breeze around this time and it reminded me of the people around myself since it sounded like something eternal in my mind, having given approval to my post, he commented that he would pass away peacefully. In a month, actually, he has suddenly died from a circulatory problem. Nowadays, there are more and more friends and folks gone away whom I remember of frequently. 

The forest over a field south of my home.

Roses in full bloom in the garden.

It is one of the best seasons here in a year. It is a time when I recall of those having passed away as well.