A drive trip to the coast area in Ibaraki

For a change of life from normal routine packed with chores, I have driven to the coast of Pacific Ocean in Ibaraki Prefecture 30 or 40 miles east of here.

It is the place I used to drive family in our young days. Time has passed and it is the time for me to go there by myself. I have already posted on such a drive to this area in this blog a few times.

In the city of Hitachi, the biggest city in this area, I was going to purchase fresh fish for Sashimi. But the store along the coast was closed. I was lucky having left home after taking lunch earlier. 

Headed north along the coast, I have seen beautiful houses with white wall and orange colored roof, which reminded me a bit of the scenery in the West Coast in the US.

It was the Cape of Sea Cormorant which I visited. Cormorants were told to be wildly living in that cape. There is a famous public hotel facility named after its place. It is so popular and famous for its beautiful location that it has been quite difficult for anyone to book it in the past. 

When we drove there, we used to tell each other we should come and stay this hotel someday. Our busy duty has made it impossible. 

The hotel looks gorgeous. It was notable, however, there were only few cars in the parking.  

The cape is about 2 or 3 km in width covered with low to medium sized trees. A few promenades were prepared in it. I walked up to the peak of the cape. The breeze coming from the ocean was a bit cooler than in the inland area. Walking for 10 or 15 minutes, I have had much sweating.

There were a few wild lillies blooming. I have met only a few people on the way.

There was a beach just next to the hotel even though it was not allowed to go down there. An epitaph said Tsunami in 2011 had reached to the height of the cliff.

On the beach north of this cape, there was a group of surfers camping. There would be many more in the usual summer without the corona virus outbreak.

 At around 3PM, remembering of cooking duty, I headed back to my home. 

At the exit of the parking lot, there was a young staff taking a bow. Wondering if there was anyone leaving hotel, I looked around there. But no one beside myself. She was bowing to me. I have checked if there was any vacancy at the hotel when I came home. The web site said there had been some vacant rooms on plain week days. I suspect reservations were not so many as before. That was why the staff was courteously bowing even to me who just parked there. 

It took less than a couple of hours. May I take my wife for a visit there some day. 

I still love this area. Some years ago, no, even now, I have dreamed of moving there for retirement. This old place my parents and aunt have lived would never allow me to do that, though. I would visit there from time to time, even though, honestly speaking, I am not very excited to drive there any longer. Aging... 


Something being lost in this hobby

On Aug 20, a good and old friend of mine, John, W1ITU, has submitted an interesting story to Facebook as quoted below.

On that day in 1968, the Warsaw Treaty Organization, lead by the USSR, has invaded Czechoslovakia which was in the process of democratization named Prague Spring. Ham radio has worked as almost only information transmission medium when the other media like broadcasting were shut down at that time of this historical incident.  

John has experienced the exciting event through ham radio as he described here. 


 I was out on a very late college date when the news came over the car radio that the Russians were invading Czechoslovakia. A few hours later, I went over to our college ham radio station and fired it up. There was a Czech station on, sending in Morse code, who had attracted a very large crowd of mostly West Europeans (we had both short and long skip that morning) and he was working one after another, repeating the same short message in English “I protest the Russian invasion and occupation of my country.” The reactions were very sympathetic, even from the Yugoslav stations. Then he was called by a Russian ham from the Moscow area. I thought, “this is going to get interesting.“ The Czech just repeated his same message. But the Russian didn't respond, and he just went away. The Czech worked a couple more stations and then all of a sudden, UA3KAA, the USSR Central Radio Club station in Moscow called. I recognized the station even before the callsign, because it had a very peculiar rattle on its signal. And it was almost never in the main part of the 20m code band. It stayed up higher, running a USSR-wide Russian morse code net. I used to copy them to practice receiving Russian morse code – and the Russians send beautiful code! Anyway, the Czech went right back to him, repeated his message, and then added, in Russian, “Pochemu? Pochemu? (Why? Why?) The Russian op answered in English, “Because old man your country has been in crisis.” I can still hear it! Everyone thought the contact was over, and started calling again. But underneath, I could hear UA3KAA still sending, but now in Russian, and he was flying! I would have given anything to able to have copied that, but the others calling over him made it impossible. And, then, suddenly, the Russian went down, and the Czech went down. It was over!


Everyone knows the Western countries or the UN have not substantially succeeded endorsing and supporting the democratization in Czechoslovakia. The USA was deeply involved in the Vienamese war and could not go out of the line of the detente with the USSR at that time. The other Eastern communist countries were concerned to be influenced by Prague Spring and were strongly against the democratization process.

The people in Czechoslovakia should wait for the reformation for democratization until 1989.

I remembered of this news at age 19 years, when I was going to wind ham radio up and to start getting ready for the entrance exam to medical school. Without knowing such an exciting drama has been on ham radio.

Ham radio was an important tool for communication world wide at that time. Such a historical event as this invasion of the USSR to Czechoslovakia has been handled by ham radio operators. In personal perspective, ham radio was more humane then. Ham radio was almost the only way to communicate with others in real time. There were a lot of chances to know the others in person.

I am afraid this human aspect of ham radio has been lost, if not all. It has become like a game without humanity itself. If they say it is just a trend irresistible for us in the history, we should accept it as it is. I still wonder if we are doing anything to go against it and to keep something essentially human, seemingly being lost, in this hobby.


A walk early in the morning

 I knew working in the garden farm had not been enough as an exercise to maintain own cardiopulmonary function. I started gaining some body weight as well. I should have moved the center of the gravity, that is, should have walked. Long lasting rain in the rainy season and the cruel heat wave have prevented me from walking. I decided to take a walk early in the morning again.

It is becoming a bit cooler in the morning hours around sunrise. Breeze is leaving comfortable touch on my face when I walk in the farms. 

I found a farmer lady working for an egg plant farm. She seemed to harvest the plants as well as to trim them. I greeted and asked her how she was doing that. She cut unnecessary branches of the plants in order to nourish more to the fruits. Even thinking it was too commonplace words for me to give her, I told her it might be too physically tiring to do that. Showing bright smile on her face, she answered to me "No, it is rather interesting to work for the plants." I knew how wonderful it was to do with something alive. The more we work for them, the more they will reply to our efforts. 

I have a couple of egg plants at home, which have yielded a few in a day for the past week or two. I have been grilled them with sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and so forth. Very simple dish. It's still a wonderful one for this time in a year. I have written about it in the post on Aug 1. They may give us a bit more of egg plants until fall starts on a full scale.

Farming, which has already been an essential work, will become more evident as for its nature from now. As reiterated in the previous posts, our country has only 37% of food self sufficiency rate on caloric basis. If there is crop failure world wide or in certain regions in the world, which is pretty likely to happen, we could easily starve. The politics and we ourselves should consider of its importance. 

Working for something living, whether it is animal or plants, needless to mention of human, is always a fun in addition. That farmer lady must have known of that by herself. A great work in fact.

So far, I am still going on walking. It's sometimes still hot even at sunrise. But it won't take too long before it gets that fall breeze full blown. 



Brahms and his clarinet trio

I have read over a bio of Brahms, titiled "Brahms, His Life and Work", by Karl Geiringer. It is a translation version. The author is famous for his critics in music and for this book. The original book was written in 1950s and has earned good reputation as one of the best bio of this composer. Different from the previous bios by other authors, Geiringer was allowed to access to more than 1000 mails from or to Brahms, which had belonged to Vienna Wiener Musikverein, and could write his bio with much deeper and broader knowledge of his life.  

According to this book, Brahms has made conflicts or quarrels with close friends, such as Joachim, Von Buelow or even Clara Schumann. He seemed to be a character of sarcasm and misanthropy while he found it most valuable to have good friends. In his work "Alto Rhapsody" after a poem by Goethe, that ambivalence was clearly expressed. In his last years of life, however, he has reconciled with most of them even if not perfectly. 

Geiringer wrote of him in the last years as follows;

Brahms was immersed in a kind of resignation in serenity. He won't be so sarcastic or acrimonious to others as before. He has become more thoughtful to others. 

In the works such as Clarinet Trio OP114, we could hear what he thought of life in its very last chapter. Of course, his masterpiece in that time was Clarinet Quintet OP115. Together with it, this trio was an expression of his feeling of resignation on things and still a passion to life through that. The more pessimistic his attitude was, the more passionate he was for life. What an ambivalence! Music is such an art which could express complicated feelings for life.

I used to listen to this piece at a small concert at a hall of a temple near to my mother school. It was an afternoon in a weekend. I can't remember what has brought me there. The cellist was Sumiko Kurata in her young days, who has achieved a position of leading performer in solo and chamber music after being taught by Tortelier. It was one of the moments shivering my spine up, which I have seldom experienced in my life, when she played the 1st motif of the 1st movement in the recapitulation on C string.

I happened to know of this performance. The clarinet part is replaced by viola. An impressive and excellent performance. If you won't get absorbed by their performance straightforwardly appealing to our mind, you would never understand Brahms.



A couple of memorable QSOs

Last night, I happened to see an old friend of mine, Aki, JJ1TTG on 40m. It has been a few months since I saw him last time, a ragchewing oriented ham on CW. The condition was not very helpful to us. We still have had great time conversing on her mother's passing, his work and time before retirement etc. He remained being a young guy in my memory. He told me, however, he would turn to be 58 years of age in a month. Assignment on his business has forced him to live alone in JA7 and later JA6 for several years away from his family in Tokyo area. He used to be pretty active with his modest set up from those places then. We used to chat on his way back home in his driving trip from JA7, which required a few hours one way. His keying, not very fast but reliable, has reminded me of those days. It has not changed a bit as his personality has not. He is keeping the operating style from the good old days.

After that QSO, I have called CQ DX for a while. I have been annoyed by a few beginners in the Eastern/South Eastern Asia endlessly calling me whether I was in QSO or not. Too bad they have not been trained themselves listening the band before starting operation. The same trouble is occuring everywhere in the world. It could be worst in this region in the world, I am afraid. They are taking CW as a kind of PC game but not as a communication with living human being.

I was called by Gord VE5UJ later. His call sounded familiar to me but has not lit in my memory. Despite of QRN/QRM, I have not missed him saying he was a friend of Summer VE5SDH. Yes, Summer used to tell me of him and she was often operating from his shack. It was him. Gord told me he had enjoyed being with her and she used to tell him, when Gord's wife was not at home, Summer complained of too simple meal Gord had prepared. Their relationship must be so close that she said something like that. 

I have first met Summer in 2014, a year later from her starting ham radio. She was not very proficient with CW yet then. But in a year, she has became a real great CW operator. It was a big surprise. Gord told me he used to give her lesson on CW early in the morning those days. At 6AM every day. As I told in the previous post in this blog, ham radio through CW must be literally a window open to the world for her, a visually handicapped since very early childhood. She has gained the membership of FOC by 2016. I still remember she has proudly given me the membership number 2090. She seemed to be invited to W4 FOC gathering as a guest. It must be one of the most brilliant times for her in her life. It won't take too long, however, before she was diagnosed as advanced breast cancer. She has been missed by many people. 

I know how much Gord has done for her. He has taught CW, helped to set up her own station and let her operate his big station from time to time. I believe Gord and his wife have treated her like own daughter. I thought this story should be remembered by many hams and proposed to make a write up on his relationship with her. It should be a great article in FOCUS, the FOC magazine. I don't know if he has not copied it or he was not willing to do that. He has not answered to me. Maybe, he thought he had done only what an old elmer used to do for beginners since good old days. 

We should not forget what happened 75 years ago

 August 6th and 9the were the 75th anniversaries of being bombed with atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. They should have been memorable ones for everyone in our country as well as in the world. 

At the memorial service in each city, our prime minister has made almost the same speech. The chief cabinet secretary has excused for that telling that the prime minister was so deeply involved in the thoughts for the atomic bomb victims as well as survivors that his expression for each ceremony was almost identical. That excuse was, however, evidently a sophistry to anyone.


What has brought this issue?

One problem is that any memory could be forgotten and would not be seriously remembered as own painful one. It occurs when the memory is fading away as a historical event and there are very few who have experienced it by themselves. We should make effort to retain the memory and to deliver it as our heritage to the next generation however difficult it might be. Needless to say education is the fundamental importance in this succession of historical memory between generations.

The other issue is that the prime minister, a grandson of a war crime politician, Shinsuke Kishi, has gone up the stairs to this position as a ultra right historical revisionist, who dreams to realize the prewar sociopolitical system of imperialism. It is his own problem whatever idea he owns. The problem is that there are certain percentage of people support such an idea. The historical revisionists are aiming at revising the constitution. Abe administration has substantially changed it as for the article of collective self defense for the past years. The public opinion has questioned of that. But in the elections, his administration has won. The revised plan of constitution by the LDPJ, the major party, denies the basic right of the people or the pacifism of the present constitution and adds the article of emergency clause as the German Nazis has realized dictatorship with the Plenipotentiation Act. There is, I am afraid, an atmosphere to accept it, intentional or unintentional, in our country. The prime minister's indifference to the nuclear bomb victims may reflect his intention toward returning to the prewar system.

I have spent a quiet day at home on the memorable 75th anniversary of defeat  yesterday doing with the garden under the heat. I could not help remembering of my father who spent cruel days as a soldier in WWII and won't stop accusing those responsible for the war. 


The day of rising fall passed 3 days ago

It was the first day of fall 3 days ago according to our old calendar based on 24 division of solar term. It is called "Rissyu" in Japanese. It stands for rising fall. At present, it is still far from real fall but, whenever listening to this special term for this season, we feel this cruelly hot weather won't last too long. In the end of this month cool breeze will start to blow ushering in the arrival of real fall. 

For the past several years, I have always grown this Marigold in this season in a year. It  pleases our eyes for a few months. In the beginning of fall, the seeds will be collected from the dead flowers. They will be planted again next spring. This cycle will be repeated so far as I could take care of it. 

The flowers are not gorgeous but rather plain. Still lovely. It is the only flower I take care of in this garden. The others like roses belong to my wife. Marigold is in full bloom at present. Without boasting it to others, I am still a bit proud of them.

As told in a previous post, some of the vegetables like tomatoes were damaged by the long lasting rain from June to July. On the other hand, there are kinds of vegetables very vivid. One of them is this taro. It may be the time of harvesting soon.

This 3 plants of green pepper have yielded so many fruits since the mid of the rainy season. They have been served for salad, tasting subtly sweet, and grilled seasoned with sugar and soy sauce.

The lawn in the eastern part of our property has been headache to me. With a tiny engined lawn cutter hung on shoulder, I should work for an hour or so to care for that. During the rainy season, I could not do it and the lawn was almost overwhelmed by weeds like jungle. Finally, a few days ago when we had fine weather after a long series of rainy days, I have done that job feeling as if I got heat intoxicated. This work should be repeated 2 or 3 times before it becomes real fall.

The small land between the row of Satsuki Azalea and the lawn along the entrance should be done with my own hand. It is about 100 ft long or so. Squatting there and sweating like torrential rain, I have completed it the other day as shown in the photo below.

We could not enjoy the Indian Lilac at the entrance gate so long as in usual summer. It has withered earlier than usual. This is a close up shot of the flowers still alive.

All after the hard work in the garden, this waits for me in the radio shack. Am I working so hard to trim and harvest there or to enjoy this after the work, I am not sure. In the happy hours an hour before sunset here, I always look for good friends of mine like Ellen W1YL or Jim KF7E. Unfortunately, I could seldom enjoy chatting with them as if sitting side by side at a bar counter for now. I turn to the other things recalling good old days when there were a row of friends greeting to me. 

Anyway, this is how I am getting along. Slowly getting into the depth of old age while finding things new to me or I haven't noticed in the daily life in the past. Getting old seems a process to know of things in the new way.


Pumpkin dish Recent findings on the novel Corona

I have digged out the roots as well as their plants of vegetables in the farm. Some tomatoes were withered by the long lasting rain. They might have got certain illness due to too much rain. Long beans won't bloom and were infertile. While pulling them out from the soil, I uttered to them that they had lived as much as they could under this unusually wet weather. 

Three pumpkins were harvested. Remembering some chestnuts cropped last fall were still frozen in the refrigerator, I have decided to cook one of them with that frozen chestnuts.

The pumpkin was well grown.

The dish was pretty successful. The chestnuts were not very fresh after having been frozen for a year. But the pumpkin was freshly rich in flavor. Not only sweet but also rich like fresh chestnuts. The pumpkin has compensated deterioration of the chestnuts.

I won't give up growing tomatoes. I still have some of them ripening at the other corners of the garden. Some new plants of tomatoes were planted at the different places. I bet the sunny and dry weather upcoming will make them ripe in a month or two. 

As for the novel Coronavirus, the 2nd wave outbreak has started in the beginning of the last month. They say a new mutated strain has caused epicenter in Tokyo and Saitama, which is spreading to the other parts of our country. Apparently, the case fatality rate still remains low mainly due to accumulated infection rate in the younger generation. It is spreading more to the older generations and the case fatality rate may be increases sooner or later. 

Vaccine development is heralded by a couple of Mega Pharma, Pfizer and AstraZeneca. The preliminary reports say both were successful to induce neutralizing antibodies as well as specific T cell response. Both of them are in the 3rd phase of trial at present. Hopefully, they will be available by next spring. What concerns me is that, at least, Pfizer's product will be effective against certain strain of the virus. The vaccine should be renewed every season, as the president of Pfizer said. They should be thoroughly tested not to cause aberrant immunological reactions like the cases with RS virus Dengue virus before they are in clinical use.   

Recently, long term sequelles have been reported with this infection. The primary lesion in lung could leave constrictive lung dysfunction and/or diffusion abnormality. It could be chronic respiratory dysfunction. We should remember even asymptomatic cases could occur pneumonia findings once tested with CT scan. Asymptomatic cases won't be free from these severe complications in later life.

It was shocking to me that German researchers reported heart could be infected with the virus in pretty large proportion of cases. Heart failure could be detected in them. Viral infections were known to cause myocardiopathy, which is a pretty ominous illness. This novel Coronavirus could be another pathogen responsible for that illness which sometimes leads to cardiac transplantation. 

This virus seems neurotropic. Infecting through olfactory nerve, it could infect CNS, which could result in degenerative disease like multiple sclerosis in the future. It is only a hypothesis but, if it is true, it could leave us another serious problem.  

We still should be hopeful to control this pandemic. If human being could overcome it as whole, we won't reach the solution. "I win, you lose" won't bring us the solution. We should win together.


Rainy season is finally over

The long lasting rainy season will have been over in a day or two. It was brightly sunny this afternoon. I went out to the yard farm and was sad to find quite some of tomatoes were decayed due to the rain. Tomatoes are vulnerable to rain. The other plants were intact. I could not help being amazed at the fact that some are destined to death while the others are alive under almost the same environment. It is a mysterious selection in life.

This bizarre weather reminds me of the climate change. It also brought us flooding and disasters of landsliding etc. Some lives were lost in the southern Japan. They say we have had rain throughout this month without any exception of single day. There were no typhoons recorded in this month, which is another unusual phenomenon in weather in this season. In Germany, I heard, the government is concerned about the climate change as well as the coronavirus epidemic at the same time. I believe it is a right attitude for the government. In those countries, including our country, which are reopening economy before the epidemic is controlled, there seems to be further exacerbation of the epidemic. 

Furthermore, it seems plausible to me that the climate change due to excessive development of nature is closely linked with emerging infectious diseases like the novel Corona virus infection. Most emerging infectious diseases are thought to appear in that way. From this perspective, both the climate change due to development by human and the threat of the emerging infectious diseases should be considered and solved at the same time, I believe.

Among disturbed vegetables in their growth, eggplants were growing nicely. I have picked up a couple of them in the farm and have grilled them with sour sweet seasoning. Very good! Whenever I cook such eggplant dish, I remember of an old friends K5FA Fred, who used to tell me he harvested a lot of eggplants in this season. He was in Miss. I haven't heard him for years.