A gift from David Gordon

Today, I found a parcel mail from the US on the table in the living room. The sender's name, David Gordon, hasn't lit in my memory at once. Opening the parcel, I remembered he had been the author of "Carmel Impresarios", of which I have sent some proofreading to him. Yes, it was the book he had promised me to send for the token of his gratitude for my proofreading.

On the title page, he has given me an acknowledgement, which is a great honor to me. 

It says " To Shin Onisawa  In a shared love of the music of J.S.Bach, and with deepest gratitude for reading "Carmel Impresarios   David Oregon USA Feb 2018".

I am deeply honored to receive such a gift from the author of the book I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through. In the dedication of this book "The Little Bach Book", I found the name of Helmut Rilling. Gordon says he was one of the four conductors who had invited him as a soloist at concerts and, without their encouragements, he could not be acquainted with J.S.Bach. It was from 1983 to 1984. As written elsewhere in this blog, in mid '70s, I have listened to Matthews Passion of Rilling conducting Stuttgart Bach Ensemble performed in Tokyo. Ever since then, I have been being enchanted with this great music. I was only a listener then. However, I still feel I have had a mysterious connection with both of them by a chance through the love for J.S.Bach. 

I have sent an e mail saying my heartly thanks to him. I also mentioned of Prof Isoyama who had recently passsed away. He has been one of the most renowned researcher of J.S.Bach and is missed by many music fans here. His book will find a place of bibliography on J.S.Bach in my bookshelf beside to Isoyama's books.  


Professor Isoyama has passed away

Professor T. Isoyama has died from an accident today. He might not be well known to foreign people but has been a great researcher of Bach, a teacher of musicology, a critic and an enthusiastic advocator of music for years. I have known him from his books as well as his speech at a concert of Matthews Passion in Toyama. I have written a post about the trip to that concert before. Here. 

Years ago, he had accomplished a research work on Matthews Passion, which fruited to be a book titled as Matthews Passion. It was a lot informative on this great music, containing a almost complete discography in the appendix. After finishing that work, he has been doing with Johns Passion. Last summer, in his blog, he said he would have the doctoral paper on Johns Passion finished. At first, I thought it had been a paper by one of his students whom he tutored. Later, it turned out to be his own doctoral paper. Of course, he could have applied for and obtained that degree in the past with his erudition in his profession. It must be a memorable milestone for him to get it when he finished the work on Johns Passion. Who has expected it would be his last work? I sure miss him and wanted him to go on further study and advocate on music for us.

Hearing this sad news, I could not help thinking of the famous words of Job, "The Lord gave and the lord has taken away". We should get ready for the last day in our life any time. I sure would like Professor Isoyama to have lived longer and to have made further work. But at present, I would say thanks to him and wish him rest in eternal peace for now. He has lived his life.

For the memory of him and his work, I would listen to these last two pieces from Matthews Passion.

Accidentally, as reiterated in this blog, it was the 22nd anniversary of Takemitsu's death.


Pepper stuffed with meat

We have been in cold waves without any intermission for the past 3 months. The temperature sometimes falls below minus 10 degrees C early in the morning, which is quite unusual even in this area. They say it is due to La Nina phenomenon, which is caused by cooler sea surface temperature in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. I believe it is an expression of extreme climate change but not global cooling. Whatever it might be, it has been terribly cold everyday. They say this will persist until the end of this month at least. In the day time, however, it is getting a bit warmer when sun shines. I have already started working in the garden. Something like pulling the weeds or plowing small farms in the garden. It is of fun for me to do with soil.

The cabbages in the garden farm have gone through this abnormal weather since last fall. Having the sheets against cold weather on them, they have survived even the snowfall last month. I have harvested one of them, which looked pretty ripe despite of small size. Outer leaves were bitten by bugs last fall. It still seemed edible, though.

I have used a portion of this precious cabbage for pepper stuffed with meat this evening. It was the first try for me to cook it. The seasoning was oyster sauce. Pretty successful.

Now a cabbage costs about 3 or 4 USD. This cabbage, a survivor of this cold season, is economically quite helpful to us! It is free from chemicals as well. I am planning to plant more cabbages this fall.

 I have never waited for spring so eagerly as this year in the past. One reason might be that I became older and was vulnerable to the cold weather. Anyway, the warm breeze would be most appreciated soon.


A pin badge has crossed the Pacific Ocean twice in almost 30 year interval

There used to be an active ham in San Francisco, Ray Eichmann, WA6IVM. He used to work with japanese beginners on 40m CW in our evening hours from '60s through '90s. For many CW beginners in Japan, he has been the very 1st ever DX or 1st ever USA. He was so kind that he always sent very slow CW to them. I was one of those beginners in '60s, even though he was not my 1st USA. In late '60s, I have donated 2 or 3 bucks to some DX pedition through him. He has paid the ARRL fee for a year for me on behalf of me, which must cost him much more than the donation I made. He also recommended me for a member of RCC. He was such a kind person.

When I came back on the air in 1980, I knew his son Steve, WA6IVN, in a suburb of San Francisco. We often talked on 40m in QRQ. What a thrill and enjoyment! He has had malignant lymphoma since his teen age days. I have been told about it and subsequent complications by him. It was not in rush but steadily progressive. Unfortunately, he has gone SK due to metastatic melanoma in early '90s. We have met in eye ball twice, once at his home in Manteca and the other time at Bob W6CYX's home. It was not easy for him to live with that illness. He has still lived his life so hard as if not to miss anything he could experience in it. 

Since steve's death, I and Ray have become closer friends each other. One factor might be that we had operated 40m CW at the same time in a day. It must be another reason that I had known his son so well in his last decade. I believe Steve was his only son. Ray, a famous ham of the USA in our country, used to visit Japan a few times, I believe, in '60s to '70s. He and his wife, Cathy, have planned a trip to Japan in mid '90s. I have welcomed them at Narita and have driven them here. We have held a reception party in Tokyo, which a few dozens of his old friends gathered. They seemed to be very happy to see old friends there. I believe they have visited a few places mainly in Kanto and Kansai area after that.

He has brought some souvenirs from the USA. One of them was a pin badge shown in the photo.

I thought Ray had told me that it was from the Coast Guard, that turned out to be false later as told later. I have kept it in the book shelf since it seemed an important thing for him. Unfortunately, he has died around 2000, I guess, before I asked about this pin to him. 

A few weeks ago, I have posted this photo of the pin asking what it was and how I should do with it. Another Ray, K7FU, has given me a comment to say his friend, Rick, KD7CAY, has been collecting those items and he would ask him about it. Rick told Ray he would get it for his collection. A few days later, it has been sent to Rick in a plastic box. It has travelled across the Pacific Ocean in almost 30 year long interval.

Today, Rick has given me a home made soap in the same box. And he told me the pin badge belonged to the US Army Transport Service. He also told me he would display it with his chalange coins. I am not sure how the pin is related with those coins. Anyway, I am very pleased the pin badge has found the home for eternity for now. Ray in the heaven might be smiling at this consequence.

I really appreciated Rick and Ray, K7FU. The pin badge has travelled over the Pacific Ocean to and fro. It was all thanks to the friendship of my friends. This kind of communion, pretty common back in '60s through '90s, has been found very scarcely in ham radio nowadays. Recalling of the people who showed me their friendships and fraternity, I again appreciated this hand made soap.

Thanks, Ray and Rick.


Flowers are ready to come out

This afternoon, I have found japanese apricots starting to bloom. It is a bit later than usual. In spite of the long lasting cold snap since last Dec, they are still coming out now. It is simply surprising me. 

Magnolia are ready to bloom as well. My mother used to love this kind of flower. 

It has been almost 34 years since we moved from the small dorm at the med school hospital. These trees have lived together with us for that long time, even though some of us have been missed. They are coming out as if nothing has changed. 


The 22nd anniversary of Toru Takemitsu's passing

On 22nd of this month, the 22nd anniversary of the great composer, Toru Takemitsu's passing, will come. As time passes, I feel more of how magnificient and profound his being as a composer has been. I have introduced the relationship between him and Matthew's Passion by Bach last year. Here.

It has been snowy last night again;I have started writing this draft some 10 days ago. Everything has been covered by snow. In the quietness of this snowed world, I recalled of the episode that he had listened alone to this greatest piece ever in the music history 2 days prior to his death. That episode overlapped with that music still remains in my mind as one of the dearest memories.

Here is one of his favorite musics composed by him. It was originally composed as an anti war song against the Vietnamese war back in 1965. It still sounds like an elegy for human beings. We could do only little in our lives. They are still precious. This song seems to appeal this simple truth with most affectionate emotion.

A translation of the song by Shuntaroh Tanigawa found in the internet;

A man died and left behind a widow and a child.
Oh, that was all the man left behind him when he died.
Oh, not another thing did he leave when he died.
His grave was left unmarked;
there was not a single gravestone.

The widow died and left behind a child and a flower.
Oh, that was all the widow left behind her when she died.
Oh, not another thing did she leave when she died.
Her clothes had turned to dust;
there was not a single garment.

The child died and left behind his legs, a twisted tangle.
Oh, that was all the child left behind him when he died.
Oh, not another thing did he leave when he died.
His tears had dried to dust;
there was not a single mem'ry.

A soldier died and left behind the pieces of his rifle.
Oh, that was all the soldier left behind him when he died.
Oh, not another thing did he leave when he died.
The Earth was still at war;
there was no sign of peace there.

And now in this empty world there's only you and me.
Oh, we are all the people left behind them when they died.
Oh, not another thing did they leave when they died.
Just you and me alive;
not another souls remains here.

When hist'ry died it left behind today and tomorrow.
Oh, that was all the hist'ry left behind it when it died.
Oh, not another thing did it leave when it died.
Today, this shining day,
not another thing remains here.
Contributed by Riccardo Venturi 2009/6/21 - 18:15


A reliable elmer is necessary for a learner of CW

In Facebook, there is a group for CW operators. One of the frequent asked questions there is how to improve head copying. For the past several years, I was often involved in the discussion on that issue. I am feeling a bit bored with it lately.

My answer is simple. Take the meaning of each word. Ask for longer spaces between words if your copying is carried over to the word coming next. Our recent memory buffer is rather small. Unless we understand what the word/sentence means, we could hardly go on head copying.

On the other hand, in addition to the advices from less experienced hams such as just encouraging to go on learning etc, there is the advices from those firmly believing in writing down the codes literally. Some of them seem to be or used to be professional R/O. For them, CW must be a mode to copy completely on letter basis. But for us, amateur radio CW operators, it is to communicate with others. As I have reiterated here, writing down requires excessive function of writing, which is often disturbing to take the meaning of the message. When writing down, we should concentrate on motor function of the arm but not on taking the meaning. Of course, most R/O are capable of reading CW by head even without writing down the message. Their capability of head copying has come not from training writing or typewriting but from reading the message on word/sentence basis. 

There are a lot of "CW operators" who have been educated with writing the message on letter basis. When they are trained that way, they won't be able to convert to head copying later. Writing itself should be the aim for them. In such a case, it is often difficult even for the native operators to change from writing copy to head copy. They could be psychologically dependent on writing process.

Anyway, this thesis, I am quite sure of its rightness from own experience and observation of a lot of CW learners in the past. But there are still a lot of arguments about it. Some people, apparently not able to do head copying, insist their own way of writing training. It is as if we learned music instrument in the internet. We should look for a reliable elmer as a reliable teacher in music.