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.