In the end of 2019

A couple of days ago, among news from abroad, there was an obituary of Peter Schreier, a renowned German tenor singer.

When I was spending student days back in '70s, he has extended his activity as a tenor from East Germany to the western countries. It was the days when I got the sources of music with cassette tapes recorded FM broadcasts. His name was quite popular not only in Lied but also in religious music. He has unconstrained beautiful voice and his technique as a tenor was stable. He has sung in many pieces often together with Karl Boem, a famous conductor, those days. 

In the end of the 2nd year of the medical faculty, at the dormitory of the school, I have had a chance to record Matthews Passion of Bach from an FM program. It was late at night in winter, possibly, in December. A performance of BPO conducted by Karajan. Prepared high quality cassette tapes, I was waiting for the program together with a friend of mine. It was a precious chance for us to listen and record this great piece. I could picture that moment like a quite recent episode. The evangelist in that performance was played by Schreier. At the faintly dark room of the dormitory, I was keenly listening to the Passion. 

The role of the evangelist in Passions after Bach has become not only a story teller but also a highly artistic and important expresser. Schreier was one of the best evangelists those days. He was from a suburb of Dresden and has started his career in East Germany. As told above, he has welcomed by the audience in the western countries in '70s. In 2005, when he ceased his career as a singer, he came to conduct Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa. He has played as the evangelist as well as the conductor from memory. Later, he had become ill and had spent a long time in bed in Dresden until he passed away 2 days ago. The other news told that there had been a populist right wing party active in Dresden and they had ostracized the immigrants over there. I wonder what he has thought of such a movement while he had spent the days of a kind of immigrant from the East in '70s to '80s.
An era has ended for me. I have been listening to that music by Muenchen Bach Orchestra conducted by Richter in 1979 where he sang as the evangelist. Having found the source of this music by Karajan in Youtube I listened to in the med school days, I would spend the rest of the New Year's Eve listening to it. 

Thanks for visiting this blog throughout this year. I am afraid this blog is becoming a mannerism unworthy of reading. That is why I appreciate you visiting here. Until I become incapable of writing anything, I would go it on for a while.

This year, I have omitted or have ended sending a greeting attached to an e mail to my friends, even though I have continued it for the past several years. The reason why I decided not to do that is quite the same as I wrote above regarding this blog. 

It seems the world is messed up by the right wing populism. Clearly, it is a rebound to the neoliberal economy which has damaged societies everywhere. It is amazing that populism won't care for announcing fraud or fake things. They seem to appeal to the emotion of the mass but not to their intelligence. Intelligence seems to be an object of hatred from the standpoint of those mass. While that populism overwhelms around the world, the ruling politicians are backed up by the globalism. Globalism insists things should be entrusted by the market. Thus economical disparity is growing more and more, which drives the mass toward the populism. It is difficult for us to foresee what will follow to this situation.

Turning to age 70 years, I still feel closer to and even look forward to death which might make me free from all the duties and relationships in the world. Until the end of my life, however, I would carry on what I have to do as failtfully as possible. Whenever I listen to the last music of Matthews Passion, my heart is moved to tremble.

A very happy and peaceful New Year to you all!


Dried persimmons and budding magnolia

In a couple of weeks since they were exposed to cold wind outdoor as posted before, the dried persimmons have turned this way.

When they look dark colored and shrunken, it is the time that they are matured as dried persimmons. I have tried one. It was surprisingly sweet and delicious. A couple of them will be sent to my parents in law soon.

Magnolia has developed the new buds on its branches in the garden. Even getting colder and daytime being shortened, it won't forget to bud. It is a kind of regular cycle of life but is still amazing me. Otherwise, the garden seems asleep.


What Dr. Nakamura has done in Afghanistan

This is a program titled "Not an arm but water for life" which recorded how Dr. Nakamura had constructed the channel for the people in Afghanistan. It has converted a desert to a farming area serving for tens of thousands of people there. He told that the idea to develop irrigation system had been born as an extention of medical service.

It is in Japanese and may not be completely understandable to English speaking people. But I am sure you would be surprised how the constructed channel has changed the desert in the dead valley to fertile ground.


As I wrote in the previous article here, he had been sent to Pakistan for medical aid from JOCS, an organization of Christians for medical services to developing countries, in 1984. It was the beginning of his great job in the area. My father used to be involved in this JOCS and has contributed them a bit. I have heard of this doctor from him those days. Unfortunately, I haven't been paying much attention to his activity but just have heard of him. If I could excuse myself a bit, I was too busy to be engaged in such activity abroad. Anyway, I could not help being moved by his persistent effort there.

He has emphasized the situation in Afghanistan had drastically worsened since the US started air bombing over there. Liberty from the radical Taliban was, as he said, a liberty to be a refugee, a liberty to be a prostitute and a liberty to grow drug plants. Military intervention won't bring real peace but exaggerate the terrible situation. Only civilian non military aid would help them to be peaceful and to live on by themselves.

Just take a look of that video clip.


A respectable doctor has been killed in Afghanistan

A very sad news has popped out on the display this afternoon. I could hardly believe of that at once. A Japanese doctor Tetsu Nakamura has been shot to death in Afghanistan. The news is here.

He has started working as a physician in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 1984. In an interview, he told he had realized clean water and irrigation system were necessary for the people to live by themselves. It was "an extention" of emergency medicine to help people to develop irrigation system there. In addition to hard work as a physician for the people, he began constructing canal in the desert by himself and helpers and converted it to green field and farms.

His endeavour was based on the reality of what the people needed. He has always been very careful of what was needed by them. The canal′s banks were made of willow trees but not of concrete. It was intended to let the people maintain it by themselves after its construction. It seemed to me that he had not brought nor forced his own idea to them but had done what the reality required him.

In 2014, when our government was inteding to introduce the right of collective self defense in our country which was clearly against the constitution, he announced it would jeopardize those working in NGO for the developing countires with the risk of military conflict/attack. The Pacifism in our constitution has made the people, whatever faction they belonged to, belive Japanese NGO members won't do anything harmful to them.

It is not known yet who has killed him and the other 5 people on the same vehicle today. I won't believe the decision by our government to deploy some vessels of Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces to the Middle East has triggered this tragedy. Military intervention into the Middle East by our JSDF, however, may badly influence on the situation NGO personel is in the Middle East and adjascent areas.

As I have respected him as not only a doctor but also a human being, this news could not be more sad to me. It is a real absurdity that such an excellent person should die in this way. I really hope his idealism based on the real world would be taken over by some young people. May they be successful to further convert the desert to fertile soil. Doctor Nakamura used to tell that the people in Afghanistan invariably told him if they had water, food and environment they could live peacefully with their family, the war would have gone away. I really hope it will come true. Military intervention won't solve the problems.


Mt. Tsukuba

Staying at home throughout the daytime yesterday, I wanted to take a walk on the way for shopping. It was a bit far away south of my home but I have driven to an western skirt of Mt. Tsukuba. Not for sight seeing but for a walk! 

It took me some 30 minutes to drive there. It was past 3PM and was getting cold. 

There was a cycling road along the western margin of this mountain, the only mountain in the north-eastern part of Kanto plain. I knew this road was converted from a raiway running north south around the mountain and abadoned in 1987. A row of cherry trees were planted on the both sides. Either due to being too late for a walk at that time or not, there was very few walking there. You may see everything was red tinged with sun set color. Yes, it was already less than a month before the winter solstice came.

This Mt. Tsukuba is only 877m above sea level. Even though it is not high at all, it is surrounded with plain area, which makes it is conspicuously visible from everywhere all around. This outlook has attracted ancient people's religious interests and has been worshipped itself by them. There is an old shrine halfway up there. I have already posted some photos taken in a drive on the ridge. There is a nice drive way there. I used to take family every January to a large park covered with lawn on the mountain and snapped some shots. It was the days when children were small.

The mountain is located in the most southern part of Yamizo mountains running from the border to Fukushima north of here. As depicted elsewhere, ridges of low mountains are seen north and south in northern part of Tochigi/Ibaraki. The mountain was again colored with the setting sun ray. Deep orange or red. The forests and trees were also in fall color themselves. 

Another shot from far away. Getting dark and chilly.

There were a lot of old houses, mostly of farmers, I believe. This was a house with long entrance way with a big gate. 

Walking around on a hilly place, my legs were screaming. I felt I needed more walking. Sun has almost sunk in the horizon at 4:30PM. Terribly chilly. only 5 or 6 degrees C. Hurried to a supermarket nearby there and got some nice items for dinner.