A great treat and ambivalence

It was like in the midsummer at the peak of solar cycle last night. Twenty meters was fully open to the whole NA at around 13Z. I have had nice chats, literally of the best quality, with 4 old friends in a chain.

Cap W0CCA from Colorado has told me they had frost recently and it was a bit early for them to plant tomatoes. Our tomatoes were bearing fruits now, I said to him. He was envious of our weather suitable for vegetable growth. I told him to build a green house and his wife could grow vegetables even if it got frosty. His orchard of apple trees seemed to be flourishing. I have imagined of beautiful white flowers covering all the orchard. I told him to read the op-ed by the social science/liberal arts researchers I posted in this blog recently. I knew he had had an idea of liberalism and might sympathize the idea they published in the article. 

The next one was Bob W9YXX in Indiana whom I regularly but not so often meet on the air. He has been at the summer cottage possibly for social distancing. However, after 3 months of absence, he could start playing tennis with his company and has just come home from the tennis court. He told me he had not been active on the air recently. I must say so did I. Mainly, due to too few good QSOs on CW. His son, Ryan aged 42 years, was retiring in a couple of months and was starting a farming business close to his home, which he had yearned for a long time. How nice it was for Bob and his wife to have Ryan and his family so close to them! It must be challenging endeavour to start with 30 acre farm by himself. But sure worth challenging. I am sure good farming products will be demanded by people. Our mutual friend, Jim, W9VNE seemed to do well and was planning to visit Bob very soon. Bob has excused of his imperfect fist but was still a beautiful CW sender as before.

I heard a bit slow but flowing bug calling me for the next QSO. It was old Sam K4DGJ. We used to chat in '80s through '90s. He was an ophthalmologist and had common concern in medicine and so forth. He told me he had turned 79 years of age. His sending was quite the same as decades ago. 

The last one was Bernie K1SA from ME. Amazing the band was still alive at around 14Z. It has been a few years since I saw him last time. I told him I had thought of him a few days ago. There are a lot of friends whom I haven't heard for a long time. He was one of them. This QSO has sure reminded me of enjoyable chats we made around '00.

What a great treat it was for me! Too often I switch off the radio after calling CQ in vain for certain long time. Honestly speaking, I was inclined to close down ham radio in the near future. I have had a real great life in ham radio since age 13 years. CW has been my love and one of the most important things in life. I have had so many good friends all over the world through this hobby.

However, as a matter of fact, inactivity of CW and the change in the licensing system in Japan have made me less enthusiastic for radio than before.

I am still wondering what to do with it.

Seeing these great operators on the air sure makes me hesitate leaving this hobby...what shall I do? 


Garden early in the summer

It is already early summer here. Looking back the photo album in the PC taken in the same season, the same thing has seemingly been repeated. At this old age, I still find the garden and the small farm growing in miraculous way. Nothing is the same as in the past years. Or is it only my memory losing the memories in the past? Every morning when I go into the garden being shined by sunray, every plant, vegetable and tree are welcoming me. Shining and vivid.

Despite of a bit of back pain, I have mowed the lawn in the front garden. The rose looked brilliant with that neat lawn on the background.

Peony, gorgeous and lovely, has passed its peak for now.

Tomatoes are growing and bearing some fruits. In a week or two, some of them will be ripe and gratify us on the table.

A few taro plants are finally budding. It has taken a few weeks to have them come out.

This string beans may be another material for salad of hot vegetables soon.

Everything seems wagging around in the same way every year. But nothing is the same as before. I am surprised to see every plants are growing and getting ripened in its own way.

An encyclica in this Corona crisis

It seems the countries in the northern hemisphere is getting through the 1st wave of the pandemic with COVID19. However, the relationship between social distancing and reopening economy should go on in exquisite and unstable balance for the coming year or two.

In the historical perspective, this crisis might be basically due to the problem of financial capitalism. Based on neoliberal economy, financial capitalism seeks maximizing the profits of the stakeholders while developing natural environment outrageously for further profits. It has brought the exposure of zoonotic pathogens into human society. It has also deprived the workers of the right to participate in the governance of their firms. Labor has been commodified in the economy. The economic disparities has become evident between developed and developing countries and within a country under this system.

Three researchers of social science in Belgium, France and the US have planned to publish the following initiatives while they were in the midst of Corona crisis. Before they published it as an op-ed in Le Monde, there was a couple of weeks. During that period, they have seeked researchers who signed in the article with them. Eventually, 5000 researchers in social science and liberal arts from 700 universities all over the world have approved and signed the article. Translated into 27 languages, it has been published on 43 newspapers in 36 countries.


I am touched to know there are so many researchers considering the problem as depicted in the 2nd paragraph of this post. Without taking it as above, the crisis won't be overcome, I believe. 

Their motto is a truth.

"It is time to democratize, decommodify work and remediate the environment."


For an intermezzo by Brahms on my 71st birth day

Lately, before sleeping, I am often listening to the Intermezzo OP118-2 by Brahms. One of the famous piano pieces he has composed 3 years before his death. Together with other five other pieces of OP118, it was dedicated to Clara Schumann.


This intermezzo expresses what he felt in the latest chapter of his life. It is as if he talked of that to his old friend Clara. I could not help imagining him close to her talking softly of memories they had shared. In the most intimate way. Possibly in the garden having sun ray in the Indian summer.

A good old memory of this music comes up in my mind whenever I listen to it. In my med university days, I had a good  friend junior by 3 or 4 years. He was a proficient violinist and would take the seat of the concert master later years at the university orchestra. He was always shyly speaking in subdued voice. In the week ends, we used to have regular rehearsal of the orchestra at a women's university. That university was in coalition with ours for the orchestral activities.

We often came home together after the rehearsal. It was sometime in fall. The campus was lit here and there with street lights. I can't recall what we were talking about and in what context he told this to me. That guy all of sudden wanted me to agree that the intermezzo by Brahms was great. I was surprised to hear that and stared at him walking beside me. There was his beautiful profile emerging lit by the street light in the darkness. Honestly, even though I have loved his chamber musics, I had least knowledge of his piano pieces. I might not say anything to him at that time. I just wondered what had made him ask that to me.

If I should have a chance to see him again, I sure would like to ask if he still remembered of that episode and what he had thought of at that time. I wonder if he has already noticed of the intimate story telling of the old memories in this music. And, all after our lives almost for the past half a century, what does he thing of with this music.

Recently, a few serious news of lives have come to me from old friends. The friend and/or the spouse have often had health issues. It is not only their problems. The same thing might happen to me any time in the coming years. It is not always a pleasant thing but is a kind of struggle to live our old age. May we have chances to talk on our sharing old memories as if Brahms might do with Clara. It may give us some power to walk along this uphill course before us. It is not a sentimentalism but a wisdom to go through this tough time in our lives.

I have turned to be 71 years old today. Having thought of my parents who raised me in such poverty and of my family members who are with me, I have spent today.


Conversation with a gardener

As already told about him for a few times, we have a gardener whom we ask to do gardening here. When he comes here for work, I always serve tea and something sweet for him at around 10 o'clock. And I enjoy talking with him for a while. He is as old as myself and, as I told before, was born in another countryside of the northern area of this prefecture. As soon as he graduated from a high school, he got a job for civil engineering at the municipal office nearby. Retired at age 60 years, he started working as a gardener. He told me he had been loving working for plants/trees since his young days. He seems to have found the real calling in gardening for now.

When he left home for work in the capital of the prefecture at around 20 years of age, I happened to spend a summer at the home of my sister and brother in law in their honeymoon in an area of the skirts of a big mountain named Nasu. He has grown up next to that area. Our lives have crossed each other that way. His love for plants/trees might have been brought up since those days.

He told me there were various kinds of trees in our country. It might be due to presence of definitely different four seasons and of different climates from subtropical to cold area. The ancient people have utilized those trees for different purposes. Persimmon trees have smooth surface and have been used for brazier owing to the comfortable touch on its surface. I understood why there had been so many buildings made of woods since Nara era in the 8th century. They must have utilized certain wood for particular portion of those buildings. Without the variety of the woods in our country, there could never be such a culture of wooden buildings.

The other thing I was most impressed at was that it took a long time for trees to grow up. He said an azalea 2 feet tall might require almost 10 years to grow from a tiny baby tree. Trees in our garden are mostly over 30 years of age. If I plant a young tree in our garden, it could only be a gift to the next generation. Almost all the trees in our garden were planted by my father. Not sure if he was conscious of that, I believe he has left those gifts to us. It is a string of lives in dual sense.

I could see a forest of various woods over a farm here. The sanatorium where my parents have started their marriage at the very same place as we live now used to be surrounded with these forests.

Unfortunately, the forest in this photo has not been cared for and is badly crowded with too many trees. The forestry has not been carried out as an industry anywhere in our country for many years. I and the gardener have agreed this situation is a quiet crisis for our culture.

It is always a pleasure for me to listen to him backed up with his affection and experience for gardening. In addition, he is an experienced flutist, who has been taking lesson from the same teacher my wife used to. 

I really hope, blessed with good health, he will go on working as a gardener and will help us to care for our big garden.


Removing an old azalea

In order to build a new carport at the east side of our house, I asked the gardener to move an old azalea to a new place. It is a fairly big one with the diameter of 2 meters or so. It has grown there for past 3 decades. At first, I told him to remove it. But he wanted to move it to another place. Such a gorgeous and beautiful azalea could not be found easily. I agreed with him. It was after it had fully bloomed this spring.

But the move was really tough. In an hour or two, I proposed him to help him. I could not be a big help to him at all. However, even though he had digged it out, it was almost impossible for us to take it out and move to the new place. I could not help telling him to give it up and to remove it. He seemed a bit sad but said OK to me. There was another azalea with white flowers which, a few years ago, I planted in front of the house parents used to live. I asked him to move it to the place we had planned to move this old one.

I fully understood how much the gardener loved that old azalea. For a person who has been watching various trees for his profession, it must be a valuable one and he believed we should have it survived. In addition to that, that old one was a tree which had lived together with us here almost since the beginning of our this home. Of course, trees won't have consciousness or memory. It has, however, lived with us for that long time. In other words, it has lived in our memories. The fact is beyond our sentimentalism but a value in our life. Having heard from me what happened to the tree today, my wife told me some memories on that tree. We kept a dog named Jiro around that tree and so forth. Anyway, any living things could not be eternal. The gardener cut a part of the tree and planted it to another place. When it grows again, we might remember of the mother tree which had lived with us that long time.

After being pruned off the branches which bore beautiful flowers, it was ready to move. But unsuccessful due to its heavy weight. 

I should have taken a photo or two of this old azalea before today. It was at a corner of the property not drawing our attention so much that I had not taken many photos. Seeking any photo of this azalea, I could not help grinning at myself. There must be another better shot in the album in PC. The azalea is on the lower left corner on this photo taken in the same season 5 years ago.


Neuroplasticity and prevention from aging with CW

In the mailing list of FOC, Dave VE9CB has recently made a post regarding prevention from dementia with CW operation. It is a short introduction of a paper written by W4DNN, which I tried to link or paste here without success. The paper by W4DNN says training CW will bring forth neuroplasticity which may mean to prevent from aging and/or dementia. The original article W4DNN mentioned was also introduced here by myself; http://nuttycellist-unknown.blogspot.com/2017/10/learning-morse-code-results-in.html

Learning Morse Code is comparable to learning foreign languages, as the paper says. It takes too long to observe neuroscientific findings associated with learning foreign languages and observing it with learning Morse Code could be a replacement for that study. Morse Code may survive as a subject/study tool in that field in neuroscientific research. Morse Code is composed of simplest symbols as you know, which is advantageous in such research in scientific epistemology.

The important difference between learning foreign languages and Morse Code is that Morse Code could not be a language due to no grammar in itself. Morse Code is only a system of symbols corresponding to each letter, numerical letter or symbol. If CW communication should be claimed to be comparable to a language, it should convey some sort of meaning in the message and should be constructed with the grammar of certain language the communication is made with. Without meaningfullness in CW communication based on certain language, it won't be associated with neuroplasticity.

Thus meaningfulness in CW conversation is still of primary importance if it should be compared to learning foreign languages which could stimulate our intelligence and may prevent us from dementia.


Our garden and a present for Mother's day

This is a row of azalea on a flower bed between the lawn/farm and the house area. The old trees of azalea were damaged by a kind of worm and have been abandoned a couple of years ago. The gardener who we ask for gardening work has planted them then. They have grown well and look very vivid. Over the fence, there is a watered rice paddy, north west of our place. Together with the other flowers, german iris is blooming. This dark purple flowers were my father's favorite. He has planted them at a few places. On the opposite side of the flower bed, a plum tree also planted a couple of years ago stands and grows vigorously. It has had many flowers coming out this spring and may be promising some fruits later in the summer. Even though not seen well on this photo, there are some strawberries on the same side bearing some fruits right now.

There are three broccoli in the farm. This one was on the table this evening. It could not be fresher and sweeter. A few more fruits may follow this one on the same plant.

I have a lot of things to do with the garden/farm. I sometimes wish I had a small cultivator. But, convincing myself this is a good exercise for me, I always go on working sweating a lot. Potatoes are growing and are ready to bloom. Some tomatoes are blooming. Burdock, pumpkin, green bean or okra is budding out. Pulling the weeds and seeing them growing, I could not stop smiling at them. Lovely vegetables.

This afternoon, a carrier has visited us at the entrance. Without seeing what he has brought here, I wondered what item I have ordered through the internet. It was a bouquette from our daugher to her mother. The gift of Mother's day. I wondered if I had to prepare one for my wife since I knew no one of our kids would present that to her. My wife told me she had told our daughter not to send such a thing any longer a few years ago, even though I knew she was most delighted to receive it from her. That is why our daughter has given it up. She might have thought it was necessary for her to do this event and sent this bouquette today. I was deeply touched and told my wife it had been worth being their mother. 

There is something good in our lives even though the world is full of absurdity and poverty. We should believe in the better future.


My brother and his wife

I wondered if I should post about it here.

My brother, working as a psychiatrist in Tohoku area, has suffered from reactive depression and is off from his duty at a hospital. Several weeks ago, unusually, he has given me an e mail asking if ACE blocker, a drug for hypertension, had an adverse effect to augment the novel Corona virus infection since the drug could enhance the expression of ACEII receptor, known as the receptor of the virus as well, on the host's cell surface and it might facilitate infection of the virus. I was almost ignorant of that but have answered what I knew, possibly, it won't occur. Later, researches on this problem have revealed that the drug won't enhance the infection of the virus but could work to inhibit it. I believe my brother has accessed that research works by now.

Anyway, he seemed to have worn out with the outbreak. Maybe, having worked as a doctor for a long time without any pause, he must be mentally tired. When he let me know of taking sick off, I told him he had worked enough and deserved a long off for now.

He has been a faithful and loyal son and has been good to our parents for years. Together with his wife, he used to visit our home for week ends once every 2 weeks while parents were alive. What a pleasure it was for our parents to have てthem here in regular interval. His wife kindly served our parents as if they had been her own parents. Working in full time those days and being busy with cares for the children, we could not thank more to them. Whenever recalling their efforts to help parents and, indirectly, ourselves, I become full of gratitude to them.

The emergency period has been elongated for another 4 weeks. The government won't compensate the economical loss to those who should stop working due to stay home request, that is, actually stay home order by the government. Some of them would step into a disastrous poverty comparable to that in the time of war. Namely, we are getting into an era of poverty unimaginable and unprecedented for most of us. If the infrastructure of the society, that is, those working for the life line, would be jeopardized, there could be a panic in the society. Even in this situation, certain faction of public and private sector is still getting obscure profits from the policy of distributing benefits to the people.

We have had a wonderful dinner together with my brother and his wife several years ago. It was really like heaven on the earth. A lot of talks, laughter and compassion only those with the same family history could share. May it be realized again not far from now.


High excess mortality in Tokyo

From March through April, the excess mortality related with influenza pneumonia has been prominently increased. Influenza outbreak itself has been settled down by that time. This strongly suggests that the excess mortality was due to novel Corona virus epidemic. It was the time when the prevalence had increased greatly in Tokyo.


In this graph in Japanese, the green line shows the baseline, the pink line the threshold and the black boxed line the actual mortality number.

Our PM has reiterated that the pneumonia mortality cases with the etiology unknown had been tested with CT scan and confirmed with PCR test if they were due novel Corona virus or not. This statement has been denied by the Japanese Society for  Forensic pathology. There have been cases which the pathologists thought highly suspicious of novel Corona virus infection at necropsy but have been rejected for the test by th authority.

It is an absurdity if the authority has pretended to have smaller number of mortality cases. The epidemiological data published from the authority in Japan won't be accepted as scientific reality.


Peaking out?

There could be a peak out of novel Corona virus infected cases occurring in the beginning of the last month in our country. The graph of the cumulative number of infected cases has shown a downward convex curve until the beginning of April while it turned upward convex after that. It is only preliminary observation with limited number of PCR test cases. The change in projectile of the graph could be accepted as real since it has occurred with PCR test cases being increased. The graph looked doubtful when PCR test cases were limited. The authority should execute more PCR tests than ever in order to obtain more accurate epidemiological data. This is a positive aspect in the novel Corona virus outbreak so far.

The negative side is that there could be much more infected people than revealed with PCR tests. There must be fatal cases which have not been counted as the dead. In the end of March, when the influenza outbreak was on the downhill, there was a rise in the excess death due to influenza recorded. It could have been death due to novel Corona virus. They say the corpses due to pneumonia with unknown cause have been treated as highly infectious ones. The administrative office might be aware of the possibility that some of them were due to novel Corona virus.

Together with the limited number of PCR tests, this suspicious cause of death should be strictly investigated. Without accurate data of epidemiology, they could never take maneuver against this highly contagious pathogen. So far, the politics seems to come first while science second or after politics. It is not a right thing.

At present, the issues to be solved are

1) Finding anti viral drugs. Remdesivir and Favipiravir are good candidates. Though they are promising to some extent, they won't be the trump cards yet.

2) Establishing effective and safe vaccine. I have heard dozens of the candidates are being developed. Pfizer has recently announced starting clinical trial of their product.

3) Reactivation of the virus or reinfection of the other strain of novel Corona virus undergone mutation have been observed with the people apparently recovered. It is mandatory to investigate if the antibody one has got from infection could neutralize the virus or not. If it could, the recovered people could resume social activities. If not, the problem becomes tricky.

4) If it was the peak out, it is only the 1st wave. We should get ready for the 2nd and thereafter. This outbreak is a real disaster to the economy we have ever experienced in the past. The politics should care for the people who are jeopardized by the outbreak. The economy could revive if the people survive. Vice versa is not true.

5) Our authority seems to aim at herd immunity among the people, I suspect. In the supplementary budget for this outbreak, no more PCR tests are planned to be executed. Whether they would head to herd immunity or not, the information should be disclosed thoroughly. It is directly related with our lives.

PS;After posting this article, I found this prediction on the epidemic of novel Corona virus infection in each country by a German researcher.


My prediction might be too optimistic. Like in Sweden, our government has implicitly aimed at the herd immunity acquisition in the country. With considerable numbers/amount of victims and damages, it seems to be accomplished. The epidemic may last until the end of the summer. Whenever I hear of the news that Taiwan, China or South Korea has achieved new patient zero, I feel complicated about it.