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.