To try to stay free from dementia

When my mother was living in the house in the same property years ago and I was serving breakfast, I often found her writing down something on a paper. She was practising writing chinese characters. It was the time when she had developed and progressed dementia. She had been a sharp lady and must be in worry and anxiety for that problem. She did not tell me why she had done that. But I thought she had realized losing her memory and tried to maintain it with that particular behaviour. What could I tell her seeing that? It was an endeavour to struggle with the illness looming on her quietly.

Apart from what it means to us living ordinary life, writing something by hand is a good training to activate our brain. It consists of recalling spells, meanings of what we are going to write and moving our hands to write them down. Then we read it over and assure if the writing is correct in the context. Not writing with a keyboard but by hand is the point. Hand writing requires us active recalling process. Keyboards could tell us wrong spelling etc. In Japanese, they even remind us of what we are going to write in advance. Active commitment to the process is crucial to activate our brain. So does playing music instruments mean to us. It is even more complicated and diverse process of brain than hand writing. Thus hand writing or playing music instrument is regarded to resist or slower the process of brain dysfunction with aging.

As a CW lover, how about keying CW? It might seem comparable to handwriting. In CW reception, our auditory center decodes the code. Our memory works in that process. CW sending is to consider of what message we should send and to convert it to the code, almost automatically, and move our hand hitting the key in front of us. However, exchanging meaningless symbols/numbers is different from handwriting. It won't involve in the higher center of our intelligence. It is just a reflective process, which could be replaced to computer. The digital mode is a product of this replacement. 

Now it is your choice which way of enjoying CW you would do. Playing with CW in order to prevent from suffering dementia may be a bit off the point. If your way of enjoyment attracts you, nothing is to be complained about that. Just go ahead in that way. If not, try to communicate meaningful things on CW, which would give you more pleasure and eventually help you to be free from dementia. Even if it may not be the ultimate solution of this inevitable problem for some of us.


The 40th anniversary

It will be our "ruby wedding anniversary" tomorrow. How fast time has gone away!

Forty years ago, we were settled down at the med school hospital dormitory for residents. A small two storied apartment. We had only a bicycle for transportation. After finishing hectic daytime duty, we went for supper at a local restaurant on that bicycle together. For the first few months, I have prepared scrambled egg for breakfast everyday while listening to Faure's Songs by Gerald Souzay. Sometimes, we spent evenings at the student dormitory where we could play table tennis and my wife sometimes played piano. I can't remember if I played cello then. It took me some time to purchase a new cello. Everything was new to us. At the inpatient ward, I had to learn everything unfamiliar to me. My wife was attending a French study class instructed by the professor of psychiatry early in the morning once a week. I was also ambitious for the future as a researcher in immunology/hematology. Either of us could not accomplish any academic career. It was, however, fun for us to learn everything new to us. And still proud of having been serving for those who needed our help in the later years.

We have never dreamed of the difficult lives waiting for us ahead. It is impossible for me to describe what we have had to go through. With the support of my parents and the other family members, we could do that. I should be deeply thankful for every effort given by them. I also won't forget what you have endured and shared every thing with me.

We are getting into the last chapter of our lives. I don't know how long we could be with together. So far as we are allowed to, let's go hand in hand, whatever may happen to us. Until we are separated with death.

My wife in the honey moon trip. Sorry for uploading repeatedly this same photo, which I love most.


A memory of roasted sweet potato

There are a lot of fallen leaves on the ground from the magnolia and chestnut tree. Raking and collecting them at place in the yard, I have burnt them this afternoon. My mother used to ask me where sweet potato was whenever making fire with the fallen leaves. I always prepared them wrapped in aluminum foil and put them in the fire.

She was smiling at it and would wait for the cooked sweet potato in the fire. 

It surely tasted good. Like boiled chestnut. The roasted sweet potato reminds me of my old mother. I thought the days being with her would continue forever. Of course, it was not true. It has lasted only for a few years. 

Anyway, it is good for me to have such a memory. It is a real great memory since it has lasted only for limited length of time. 

To those who have beloving family members, please treasure every moment being with them. It won't last too long. It is a time of heaven to share time with them. The ultimate goal of our lives might be to learn this fact while we are alive.


An ancient tomb

I still often visit the city where I have worked at own practise for 17 years. I put an end to it already 6 years ago.

The barber whose granddaughter had been my patient since her infancy told me she would graduate a university next spring and would start working in Tokyo. That baby has grown up and would live on by herself in this way. The other patients might also grow to be students or workers.

At a supermarket, which I used to do shopping for foods on the way from the office back home, I sometimes meet those patients and their family members. A couple of days ago I went there last time, I could not see any of them. Of course, on plain week day, they might not hand around such a place like I did. It would be a hidden pleasure for me to have even a glance of them even if I won't talk to them.

After shopping some foods, I went back to home on the way I used to commute. Very little change has occurred along the route. There is an ancient tomb, Bentenduka, on the way in the midst of rice farm. Rice plants have already been harvested. The tomb stood quietly among the farm with stubbles in regular lines. I have repeated about what I felt when passing by this old tomb in this blog. I don't know why but feel pacified watching this simple tomb. It has been there since 7th or 8the century. The tomb must be for the powerful family in this area those days. Later, the ancestors around here have worshipped the people passed away and buried in it. Later, the object of worship must be mixed with or replaced to Benten Benten which was originally a goddess in Hindu and introduced into Buddhism. What a mixture of religions! Anyway, the tomb looks like showing the eternal phase. Whenever I pass by there, the quiet and everlasting existence of this tomb tells me that those ancestors have gone into the phase of eternity and so will I soon. It is a fascinating idea that I could be free from all the problems and worries around myself.

Of course, it will take me some time to have it happen. But I am sure it won't be too long. Until then, I would do whatever I could for family and the others around me.

When commuting to office, having fully opened the window and sunroof of my Honda, I used to drive at high speed on that road, straight ahead among rice farms, listening to such a music like this one. The Orchestral Suite 2 by JS Bach. The tune expresses two different aspects of life, pleasure and sorrow, at the same time. It was a real enjoyment of commute.


A hot pot dish

Japanese style hot pot cooking is a routine menue in our country in this season. This evening, I was intending to purchase materials for that dish at a super market. As I often do lately, I forgot getting chinese cabbage for that. I should have made a memorandum of the items I should buy. When I came home and got ready for that pot cooking, I remembered forgetting getting it. 

I rushed into the garden farm already dark and harvested potherb mustard and green onions. Together with home grown and harvested cabbage, I put them into the pot. It seems they might substitute chinese cabbage. I could not be more thankful for those veggies growing for this situation.

This pot is a gift for our wedding from Dr. Kamoshita, who was the professor of the Pediatric Dept at the med school I served residency. He kindly attended our wedding ceremony. I owe much to him. A real great doctor. I have learned a lot from him as for the profession as well as the way of living. He has passed away long time ago. This pot always reminds me of him and his kindness to both of us. In 15 days, we will have the 40th anniversary. 


Bob N6EA

I have accidentally read about a novel by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It must be a sister work of the famous novel, Little house in the Prairie. A TV program of that story has hit the air around 1980. We used to watch it with children at the dorm house of the med school hospital.

It has brought me back to a memory of Bob Schmidt, N6EA, who had gone silent key almost 20 years ago. I have known him on the air in late '80s. He was an avid contester as well as a ragchewer. He had worked as an engineer at Varian or something in the Bay area. An operator typical for the good old days. We used to talk a lot around when I joined FOC in 1988. His elegant keying is still vividly alive in my memory. Beautiful and smooth. While living in the Bay area, he had known Eric W6DU well possibly through his job and ham radio. Bob went up to Sonora when he retired. Both of them have kept schedule on 20m every morning. Of course, on CW.

In 1987, possibly, I had a chance to visit Bob in Sonora. It was the 2nd trip to the US for me. even though I was expecting to visit there with my wife, her pregnancy has prevented her from going for this trip with me. In stead, Hide, JH0FBH, went for this trip around the Bay area and Santa Barbara.

Inland near to the mountain area, there spreaded hills in Sonora. We have managed to reach Bob's home on a rental car. Bob and his wife Phyllis have welcomed us there. A quiet place for retired people. Phyllis has served nice lunch for us, which we took in the terrace. Sunray filtering through trees was shining on us. A peaceful and wonderful time.

Bob was a very kind gentleman. When talking to us, he has not stopped smiling. Phyllis looked charming and gentle. Both of them have treated us as close friends for them even though it was really the very first meeting for each other. I could not forget seeing them at their home that time. Bob used to come to see me at W6DU later on when I visited the Bay area a few years later.

Sadly enough, he has gone silent key around 2000. I have never kept in touch with Phyllis. I suspect she has also passed away by now. Such good people are going away from the earth so soon. I sure miss them. It is the way, however, things go on. There will be less and less people who rememer of Bob and Phyllis. The same thing will happen to me in some time. I don't feel sad for that. I have already lived a meaningful life. The only thing I should do is to try to do in my way whatever I could in order to leave a better world. That may be the same way Bob and Phyllis have done for us.