Spring won't come here so soon.

These photos were taken a couple of days ago. 

Apple trees are budding for the first time after they were planted in the garden 3 years ago. Looking forward to seeing the elegant flowers soon and having the fruits thereafter. 

Japanese apricots are full of buds as well. They will bloom in a couple of weeks.

Those buds are ushering in the arrival of spring here. It is still amazing the seasons are going to change as scheduled even though it has been in a cold snap for the past several weeks.

I was concluding this way when I took these photos.

But, today, it turned to be like this.

Winter won't leave here easily yet. We might have snowfall for a few times for the coming several weeks. It will not be until March when we feel spring arriving here.

By that time, I would finish plowing soil etc and plant veggies in the end of March. 


The first house in Tokyo

My sister has sent me a postcard with a photo on one side, which shows our old house in Tokyo. It was the very first house for us when our family moved there from this place. Literally a hand made house. The wall and roof was made of single wooden plates. It has only one room for 5 of us. The life standard was generally low everywhere in our country those days. However, this was one of the poorest houses, I believe. It was 63 or 62 years ago. The house is on the right upper in the photo. It was in a colony for those recovered from tuberculosis managed by a doctor standing on the left. Without his help, our family could not come to Tokyo.

The generation of our parents have worked so hard from '50s through '80s. It has resulted in the miraculously improved living standard in our country, that is, most of the people could believe they had belonged to the middle class. Macroscopically, it was the days of economically high growth period. People have been paid much more and the social security has been more successful than ever. We should be grateful to those people of my parents' generation, who made it possible with their grinding away for better life.

On the other hand, there is another thing we should never forget. Our country has not experienced any military conflicts or war after WWII. There has been the Korean war in the Korean peninsula during that period, which has brought the economic high growth to our country. While we have enjoyed it, the people in the peninsula have gone through the hard time of war. Even if we are not directly involved in or responsible for the war, we shoule never forget we owe our peaceful and wealthy life to them. Without their hardships, it could not occur.

Our prime minister or the minister of foreign affairs repeatedly states they should pressure on North Korea. It is evidently meaning military pressure. It could give rise to military conflict in the peninsula whether accidentally or intentionally. It would cause millions of victims in the peninsula and in Japan as well. Postwar mess must be hard for the international community to handle with. The president of South Korea is keenly trying to avoid such a disaster by any means. We owe much to them for our present wealth and peace. Despite of that fact, the heads of our administration don't seem to consider of those possible victims and damages due to the conflict. Looking back the modern history in this area, we could never insist to conduct military action against North Korea at present.

In the bed of death, as my sister told me, our father has grasped this photo as well as another of me at the time of entrance to the elementary school. My heart was trembling to hear that. This place of the old house and the family at that time must be things unforgettable for him.


Cold snap causing paucity of vegetables

It has been a cold snap covering our country for a month. They have had much snowfall in north west Japan. It's been far below the freezing point here every morning. They say El Nina phenomenon plus the meandering current in the Pacific Ocean causing this aberrant weather. In Australia, news says, a hot wave is hitting Sydney. In the US, there have been a hard cold snap in the East Coast while a torrential rain has caused land slide in the Sothern California.

I could not help suspecting these are an expression of the global warming. The global warming of the climate change is thought to cause shift to extremes in the weather.

This abnormal climate has caused the rise of the vegetables' price in Japan. Lettuce, cabbage and the other leefy vegtables are becoming more expensive by 2 or 3 times than usual. So are the other vegetables and even the other foods even if soaring of prices are not so marked as the former items. This means our country is so vulnerable to the climate change as for farming products. Considering of food self sufficiency rate in our country, social security for foods has turned out to be very fragile due to such as the climate change or the disturbed imports of the farming products. If the drought causing poor crop harvest in the summer could occur, the result must be devastating.

I have planted some vegetables last fall. Some of them have stopped growing or even died due to this cold snap. However, the other vegetables like this chinese cabbage have survived. There are still some spinach or potherb mustard surviving in the farm. Broccholi may survive and start growing in the spring as well.

I should get ready for the upcoming another hard winter.

A chinese cabbage harvested today. It is bitten by bugs, which is a proof it was grown without any pepticide. It would be a material for hot pot cooking soon.


A mail from a friend of mine with excellent drawings

Jack, WA6FYD, has sent me a post mail with a few drawings he made while he was in Japan back in '70s. It was more than an honor to be said in that way by him.

The drawings  are so excellent that they have brought me back to my young days. Looking one drawn the old fashioned platform, even though it was not the same railway station as I stood on in late '70s, I was touched almost to cry. I sure shared old memories with him. I have started my career standing at such a platform of a station near here in order to start my family and my career. Such a station has already been remodelled to a concrete building.

I thanked Jack a lot for these drawings. Drawings could move us in this way, maybe, deeper than photographs.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In Facebook, a good friend of mine, Reinhard DL1UF/W7, has posted a beautiful poem and song by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It sure has made my heart trembled. As soon as the iron curtain was opened in Germany, Reinhard, who had already moved from the East to the West years back, told, he was lead to Bonhoeffer's grave by his friend. Bonhoeffer must be an unforgettable person for Reinhard as well. I would like to quote his post here below.

The reasons why his post has moved me so deeply are double.

First, Bonhoeffer was the author of a book titled Resistance and Submission, which a reading circle of a  bible class took up back in 1970 or 1971. I have attended that class so impressive to me, who was wondering what to do in the future. Even if I have left the belief in Christianity later years, Bonhoeffer has shown how to live own life. Now we are confronting to the Nazis or its equivalent movements of politics not only in Japan but also everywhere in the world. "Nazional" means not national but of the people. That political movement was pretended to be for the people. The slogan "certain country first" reminds me of the party platform of Nazis. The 1st article of the platform depicted the movement was for the people. It was based on the racial discrimination. Isn't it what is going on everywhere in the world? I am overwhelmed at the reality going on in the world now. I never thought I should go through this crisis in my life. The same crisis as in WWII won't repeat. But I am still afraid there would be devastating events due to this authoritarianism. Some episodes of conflicts or of civil wars are going on in Africa and Middel East. This East Asia won't be an exception in the very near future. We should be ready for such a crisis. We belong to the generation who has never experienced any total war. It is looming to us in the other way than total war. Bonhoeffer tells us we should be ready for that maintaining the belief we are secured and guarded in any occasion however tough it might be.

Secondly, related with the first written above, I used to have a good friend at the reading circle. I could not forget that circle held at a small hall, quiet and comfortable, in Tokyo, where I have had acquaintance with him. He was a med student at that time. He was a kind and faithful Christian and behaved like a real borther to me. Since he graduated the med school of Tokyo University, he had been working as a neurosurgeon and a med school staff as well as one of the responsible staff of JOCS : Japan Overseas Christian Medical Cooperative Service. He has done a great job in some developing countries as well as at a med school, where we have worked at the same time for a while. As a neurosurgeon, he has treated my father suffering from subarachnoidal hemorrhage due to an accident. He was so kind that he always briefly asked how I was doing etc whenever going across with him anywhere in the hospital. He was invited to his mother school as a professor at his early fifties. In a few years, however, he has found to have memory dysfunction with himself, which was later diagnosed as the early onset Alzheimer. He has resigned his position at the school and has publicated on his illness to people. He has been advocating on the illness to people for a few years. Gradually progressed, his illness has made him bedridden losing the way of communication to the others including his wife. She told that she would see what God would do for him until the end of his life. I could not help imagining what he had thought on himself when he knew he had had the illness. He must have had many plans as a professor, a doctor and a father of children for the rest of his life. What disappointment and despair he has got through! Whenever I hear the name of Bonhoeffer, his story comes up in my mind with deep sorrow. His life seems to overlap that of bonhoeffer in the tragedy even though their lives are/were spent in different ages and in different situations. I believe, however, on behalf of himself, I should do anything I could do against the present movement toward authoritarianism in our country. I believe he has been strongly against the present trend to the authoritarianism.

Here is the post Reinhard has given to us in Facebook;


Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident, wrote the poem “Von Guten M├Ąchten wunderbar geborgen…” in a concentration camp on Christmas 1944 not too long before he was executed. An amazing man… One the family’s favorite songs. Brother Volker sent this link just before the start of the New Year in Germany
By loving forces silently surrounded,
I feel quite soothed, secure, and filled with grace.
So I would like to live these days together,
and go with you into another year.
Still matters of the past are pressing our hearts
and evil days are weighing down on us.
Oh Lord, to our souls, so scared and sore,
give rescue, as it's that you made us for.
And when you pass to us the bitter chalice
of suffering, filled to the brim and more,
we take it, full of thanks and trembling not,
from this, your caring and beloved hand.
But if you want to please us, over and again,
with our shining sun and wondrous world,
let us muse on what is past, and then we shall,
with our lives, in all belong to you.
Warm and bright be our candles' flame today,
since into gloom you brought a gleaming light,
and lead again us, if you will, together!
We know it: you are beaming in the night.
When silence now will snow around us ev'rywhere,
so let us hear the all-embracing sound
of greater things than we can see and wider,
your world, and all your children's soaring hail.
By loving forces wonderfully sheltered,
we are awaiting fearlessly what comes.
God is with us at dusk and in the morning
and most assuredly on ev'ry day.


End of quote

Sorry for the grave and serious content of the post for the very first one in this new year. I hope this will find you in good health and hope for this year.