Mother's 10th anniversary

 It was my mother's 10th anniversary a couple of days ago. Her memories are renewed in my mind every year. Feeling it was enough to mention about her in this blog, I could not help referring to a poem by Hermann Heuvers, a German missionary in Catholic, and the president of a university in Japan. He has liveded in Japan from '20s through '70s. His biography tells he has passed due to heart attack when serving a mass at a church in 1977 at the age of 87 years. My sister has sent me this poem at mother's 7th anniversary. Even though I quit Christianity in my 20s of age, this poem touched my heart so deeply that I could not forget it.

It is titled as the Best Work Done in the End of our Lives. It was written in Japanese and all I could do is to translate it in my poor vocabulary in English here. The original is written in noble and simple words in Japanese.

He starts asking us, in the poem, what the best work you could do in the end of our lives. Getting old with cheerful mind. Taking rest while you would go on working. Holding your tongue even if you would like to chat. Staying hopeful when you are inclined to despair. Loyally as well as quietly, carrying own cross on your back.

Not envying at young people who are vividly walking in the God's way. Humbly accepting the kindness of others while not being able to help them. Staying kind and gentle even if you are weakened to help others. 

The burden in the old age is a gift from God to you. 

It will brush up your mind. In order to have you leave for the real homeland. It is a real hard work to release yourself from the chain which binds you to the present world. When you could not do anything, you should humbly acknowledge it.

God leaves you the best work in the end of your lives. It is praying. You could not do anything with hands but fold your hands for praying. In order to pray God his grace and comforts to those whom you love.

Completing all the things, you may listen to God saying; "Come on to me, my friend. I would not abandon you."


I might have beautified my mother. But for the last 10 years or so when she suffered from Alzheimer, she has lived in this way. I always brought breakfast to her at the house where she had lived alone after father passed. She always sat at the table and sometimes prayed. She has lost her recent memory but has been concerned about her friends and family members, especially, about us. I was sure she had prayed for us all. It was a scene serene and divine. I could not forget it. I believe my sister has had the same impression on her life in the later years. That was why she had introduced this poem by Heuvers at that anniversary. 

In a few weeks, I will add a year to my age approaching in age to my parents when they were with us here. I am feeling this poem says what I should do in the coming years of my old age.

My mother with a family member visiting from Tokyo in 2007.


Azalea in full bloom

Azalea is fully blooming along the entrance of our home.

These flowers were planted here in several years since we had moved this place. I don't remember who has done it. At least, I haven't been involved in it myself. My father or someone he asked to might have done this job. 

Then, my father was as old as myself at present. I could finally imagine what he thought at that time. 

He has also planted this kind of azalea at the parking lot of my clinic. It always looked as if a carpet of gorgeous bright red in this season every year. 

I only bow him with hearty thanks.  


A treatment candidate for COVID19

Raloxifene, an estrogen receptor modulator, is reported to be a candidate for treatment for the early phase or for the asymptomatic infection of COVID19. 

It blocks the function of RNA polymerase and of protease which are necessary for virus invasion and replication into host cells. It seems to work for any RNA viruses like SARS CoV2 or Ebola etc. 

This medicine is already widely used for osteoporosis in menopausal women and is known to be safe. In addition, it has generics not costly. 

It's mechanism to inhibit  SARS CoV2 has been understood only with experiments and in vitro studies. We should wait for in vivo results preferably by RCT.

Theoretically, it could work for the mutant strains. In Japan, the vaccination is badly delayed, much less than expected. In Kansai area, B117 strain is surging up at present. It could overwhelm the medical service system. In this context, such a drug as Raloxifene is widely needed.

Of course, it should not be used without regulation. It is used for those with osteoporosis, gynecomastia and so forth. Once it turns out of use for COVID19, it should be manufactured enough to satisfy the necessity.   


Life together with death

Just next to our home across a street to the west, there is a jr. high school which has a few big cherry trees in the campus. The cherry flowers are blooming fully in a day or two. 

In various SNS in Japan, a lot of the same kind of photos showing cherry blossoms fully out have been posted like this. It is often said that Japanese love these flowers in this season. They come out at the same time and, in a few days, fall in a few days, without hesitation. They invariably add a comment to such article that such characteristics of cherry flowers are resonant to our sense of beauty.

I don't know if it is true or not. But I am still a bit doubtful about it. This species of cherry called Somei Yoshino was produced from two kinds of wild species with hybridization in the era of Meiji. The Meiji government is told to have wanted people to love something new matched to the new era. It has been multiplied with grafting ever since. The present Somei Yoshino is politically given birth and is genetically monoclonal. I could not help feeling something a bit artificial with it. 

There are sayings that cherry trees won't live too long. It is not correct. If they are cared for well, they might live long. Even though the monoclonal origin and rapid growth of the tree may make them susceptible to changes in environment.

Investigating about the life span of cherry trees or of the other kinds of trees, I have learned that trees are composed of "dead tissue" as well as live tissue at the same time. Dead tissue work as structure to maintain its external shape. If I am allowed to say it in a bold manner, maybe not accurate in academic sense, trees are living together with death. That is why some of them could live so long as several thousand years.

On the other hand, animals including human beings have lost immortality of individual case trading it with the sexual reproduction. The sexual reproduction assures good quality of life in the species. Our chromosomes have portion named telomere, which decreases in length according to cell division. After 20+ times of cell divisions, it is destined to stop its function. Our cells won't divide any longer and the individual will eventually lose its functions. That is the reason why we get older and eventually die. We traded our own immortality with this effective system to renew the human race. 

At certain age of 40s or 50s, we may suddenly start loving trees. I was not an exception. When we are conscious of our mortality, we might be inclined to love trees which still live longer. Their lives look like eternity to our standard.
Living together with death. 

Some may say it is good so far as cherry flowers look so beautiful whatever it may come from. That's correct. I might be a bit too grumpy and politically concerned. 

I yet won't straightly accepting the full blown cherry flowers.


In really full bloom

 Magnolia is in really full bloom now. As if shining in the background of blue sky.

In close up view. 

The same scene comes up every spring. It still touches me a lot. No words to admire it. Spring is coming earlier by a couple of weeks this year. 

I have been busy plowing the tiny farms by hand. Together with pulling the weeds, it is a pretty good exercise for me. After the soil being neutralized with bitter lime, some compost and fertilizer are given and half cut potatoes are planted. So far about 20 of them are ready to bud in a few days. Some more will be added in the other farms soon.

Recently, I have given up taking beer which has been fun thing early in the evening. In addition to working hard in the farm, I have lost weight a little bit.

In next month, a lot of the other vegetables will be planted. Working in the farm makes me physically as well as mentally healthier.  


Magnolia coming out

The magnolia in the garden has bloomed. It always surprises me. The flowers come out almost as if synchronously.

In close up view.

As I always mention of this flower, my mother used to love it most. With smiling face, she came to say that the magnolia had come out. 
The same thing seems to happen as usual. But there are people already gone away. It could not be the same.
The next flower to come out is cherry in the campus of the jr. high in our neighborhood.  



The 10th anniversary of Great East Japan Earthquake

It has been 10 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake today. 

A few years prior to that disaster, I and my wife have visited our mother at a hospital in Miyagi. She has welcomed us with the usual gentle and affectionate smile. I was saddened to hear her saying repeatedly she would like to come home here in Tochigi.

On the way back home, we have driven along the coast in Fukushima. I might have written about this trip in this blog before. But it is still an important event for us and I remember of that trip in this anniversary.

It was a peaceful rural area along the coast. Farms and forests were lying on the gentle slope toward mountains in the west while houses, mostly of farmers, were scattered among them. At that time, no one could imagine there would be such a tragic disaster hitting that area. More than 20,000 people have been killed while more than 2,000 are still missing. In Fukushima, that nuclear power plant accident has left ever lasting tragedy to the people there. More than 1,600 died due to causes related with the nuclear plant accident. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homeland, that is, their job, community and the place they had lived for decades. There are more than 40,000 people evacuated from that area at present. Most of them would lose their homeland throughout their lives. 

We have learned, rather should  learn two things from this disaster.

One is that we should expect such a devastating disaster any time and get ready for that to minimize the damages. They say there is still geological distortion left along the Pacific ocean off the coast of Iwate Prefecture north of the epicenter or in the northern part of the epicenter. There are a few places which could be hit by big earthquakes all over our country. Typhoon and torrential rain are becoming more serious year by year. It might be related with the global warming. 

The other is that the myth nuclear power plants are safe has been totally turned out to be false. The long operation of the plants was not expected when they were built. While they were constructed with the expectancy of usage for 16 years in the beginning, the government is trying to elongate it to 40 years and longer. The plant structures are worn out and the neutron exposure on the pressure vessels must has fragilized it. Such aging issue would bring forth another devastating accidents. Those old plants were designed to tolerate only lesser seismic intensity than the real earthquakes our country have had. 

Our government has restarted a few nuclear power plants just in order to let the power line company get profits. The people won't vote against them in elections as if they have forgotten the crisis in Fukushima. The myth of safety in nuclear power plants seems to be reviving in this country. 

We relearn these things from the experience 10 years ago. In the next disaster, we might lose everything and won't recover from it. It is not only for ourselves but for the victims and evacuees from Tohoku/ Fukushima.

My mother has died from GI tract bleeding at a hospital in a month possibly due to the stress of the disaster.

The beautiful mountains of Adatara in Fukushima. It was taken a couple of years before the disaster.


K5PKA, WG3U and then W1ITU

John W1ITU has been an old friend of mine since '60s. He has uploaded a photo of his old log in facebook. It shows the record of our very first QSO in August 1966. It was when he had put up a decent antenna, a 3 element quad, for the first time as he said.

I was using a quad, 2 element on this side, made of bamboo spreaders. The pole was also a bamboo rotated by hand! It was fragile and won't last too long. By a typhoon or some storm, it has been broken very easily. It was only 5 or 6 meters high. But with the excellent condition in the peak of the solar spot cycle, I could have much fun working world wide on 15m.  

The log reads that I was signing as Sin and introduced my age as 17 years. It also says my antenna was that quad. Yes, I was living in a suburb of Tokyo with my family. In a small house. I wish I had kept some photos taken my shack etc those days. They were gone. But this short description of the QSO is good enough to bring me back to those days.  


It was in '80s when I met John again when he was still K5PKA in, possibly, Louisiana. I have, possibly, mentioned of that QSO after long absence somewhere in a past post. I was driving to the med school hospital where I was working as a staff in the Dept. of Pediatrics. I still remember feeling so thrilled to work such an old friend from mobile. 

Later, he has moved to MD and changed his call to WG3U. I could not talk to him so often but sure from time to time. This is one of the photos he sent to me those days. I still feel time has flied since his children have grown up and have given him some grandchildren now. He is called "Grumpy" in stead of grandfather by his granddaughters. 

Now, he is settled down in CT and got a new fancy call W1ITU. When the bands open there, I could hear his fast and excellent fist like in '60s. Now both of us retired and are spending good time in the same way, even though I don't have any little one who calls me "Grumpy".  

The log book on the photo shown above sure made me go back to the good old days.


Spring is coming

It is getting warmer in the daytime. Weeds are starting to grow. Some of them are flowering. They will seed and bring up new weeds soon. In order to avoid that, I would pull and cut weeds in the garden. Not entire lot. Too big to do with them. Around the trees or in the farm.

In a tiny farm, among the weeds, I have found several small plants of onion which I planted last fall. I thought they had been dead in the sea of weeds. They were still alive and are ready to grow. Carefully, I pulled weeds around them, covered the roots with soil and gave fertilizer to them. It is much easier and even cheaper to buy onions at supermarket. But, doing that, we could not have the pleasure to do with something living. 

The plants of garlic are also growing steadily. They may yield some fruits of garlic in the spring. The only problem is that they get matured at the same time. I am planning to send them and the other vegetables to my brother, sister and friends. 

The magnolia is still getting ready to bloom. Maybe, after cherry blossoms come out in the end of next month. Spring will be fully blown then.


Similarity between Schubert and Mahler

I have had an impression that Schubert and Mahler have had a similarity beyond belonging to the romantic school in the beginning and in the last, respectively.

One point is that both have started from the lied. Schubert has intensified it into the lied in original style of a pianist and a vocal solo. It has converged to his last work, Winterreise. It was a main theme how to save himself with music from fear of death for Mahler throughout his life. Both of them have taken the style of funeral march in their works, such as the 1st movement of the 5th symphony or the last song of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen for Mahler. His 2nd or 9th symphony is dealing with the death itself. Schubert has written also funeral march in the 2nd movement of the string quartet, Tod und Maiden, or of the 2nd piano trio. Winterreise itself is doing with a trip to death. 

Schubert was indulged in the intimate world of lied from the beginning to the end while Mahler has extended his music to the limit with a large scaled orchestra. But their works seem to have the essence told above in common.

I was pleased to find a clip by LA Philharmonic commenting almost the same idea as mine. I won't care for if anyone has the same idea or not. But knowing that someone thinks in the same way as for those two famous composers, I am a bit relieved as well as pleased at that. 

The clip is here;


Honestly, Mahler is so attractive that I could be intoxicated when going on listening to his works. Nowadays, I am more inclined to the works of Schubert, his impromptu, string quartets or piano trios etc.  

I sometimes wonder if the relief from fear of death was a driving force for those geniuses to go on composing. Even pleasant opera could be an excellent divertissement from that fear. From this standpoint, I believe we could appreciate any music even deeper.  

It was the 3rd anniversary of Prof. Isoyama's passing yesterday.


A woodwork

 There was a place for flower pots in the kitchen. On the aluminum sash of the window open to east, my wife has placed a few pots for flowers which could not survive outside in the cold weather.

But our rascal cat liked to step into that narrow space and had the pots fallen on the floor. It was a real tragedy for me to have them fallen and get the floor dirty with the soil. 

I have decided to build a table for those pots. I planned to prevent the cat from getting into it. Getting ready the electric drill I haven't used for years and purchasing the necessary parts, I started that woodwork. Without any drawing, I could make such as a small table or a rack for ham radio gear. But for the past several years, I seemed to have lost that capability! I have made a few mistakes and had to run to the store for further parts etc. The wood seemed to be cypress, pretty hard to fill the screws. I should have used lauan much softer and easier to do with. Anyway, even in an incomplete outlook, it is finished. The only hope is that the rascal won't invade there and mess the things again.

I should do woodwork more like operating CW. Capabilities will be lost in time...

PS;This morning, the living dining room was unusually peaceful and quiet. And the beast rascal was already there...

He seems to love a place narrow, sunny and surrounded with flowers...


A senior friend's death

 A sad news has been brought to me by my brother a few days ago. He said that our senior friend, Dr. Wakai, had died on 10th of this month at age 74 years. I have mentioned of him in a post dated on Jan. 3 2016 of this blog. 


I have first seen him at a bible class in my teenage days for the first time. He was a med student of Tokyo University at that time. It was when I had decided to go to a med school after graduating a college. He was kindly giving me advices and supports regarding my attempt from time to time. As if doing with his real brother.

While I quit Christianity in my twentieth, he became a competent neurosurgeon with firm belief in Christianity. He has worked for JOCS, Japan Overseas Christian Medical Cooperative Services, and has been to Taiwan for medical aid as a neurosurgeon. Later, he has become a staff of Dept. Neurosurgery at a medical school in this area, where we have worked at the same time for a few years.

Whenever we ran across on corridor of the med school building, he smiled at me saying "How are you doing?" or something else. When my father has occurred traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage due to falling down on an icy road, he has become the doctor on charge for him and eagerly treated him. My father has recovered almost completely. 

He has been promoted to a professor in Dept. of Neurosurgery in a few years. It was around 50 years of his age when he moved to his mother school as a professor of International Health in social medical science, where he must have tried to compile all his efforts in medical aid to the developing countries throughout his life. A tragedy has struck him in his mid fifties that he suffered from juvenile Alzheimer's disease. He has had conflict to accept the reality as he told in an interview in a medical journal where he confessed of his illness. Since he published of his own illness, he and his faithful wife have made speeches to advocate on the illness at various places. In the last several years, he has been bed ridden at home cared by his wife and the others. 

I wanted to visit him sometime while he was alive. But I have lost the chance. Whenever my sister met him, he always asked her how I and my brother was doing. Recalling of him and his kind friendship as a senior doctor, I feel he has been a role model for me even without being conscious of that. I believe he has asked himself why he should suffer from such an illness in the latter half of his life. It was an absurdity for him but also for me. But I also believe he has reconciled with and accepted his fortune. When, with his illness progressed, it became hard for his wife to make verbal communication with him, she still told the others she would see and testify what God might do with his husband. Even without belief in Christianity, her words, which might reflect her husband's belief, have overwhelmed me.

I would thank to him from the bottom of my heart and say rest in the peace.

The couple's photo taken 5 or 6 years ago.



A nurse friend and a temple gate nearby

I went for lunch to an Italian cuisine which is owned and managed by a friend couple about 30 minutes  drive away from home. Before the Corona pandemic started, I had visited there once several weeks. It has been several months since I last went there this time.

The mistress came to greet me. Recently, her husband has undergone an endoscopic surgery for hernia successfully. I have known both of them for almost 30 years since they had a restaurant in the hospital I was working for. I often took lunch there. 

She told me our mutual friend sometimes visited the restaurant and she had rumored about me with her in her recent visit. That lady, named K for the initial, used to work with me at the outpatient clinic ward of the hospital. K has become a nurse when one of her parents got sick with some illness. Maybe, in her thirties. K was a competent nurse. Most impressive was that she was fair and righteous to anybody, even if she was doing with the president of the hospital. And we have had a lot of quarrels at the work. No conversation for a few days like a real couple. But in sometime, we got friendly each other again. I can't remember for what we have had such quarrels. Maybe, something trivial. Considering her fairness and righteousness, I have asked her to work at my own clinic when I planned it. At first, she said OK and even made a grand design of the clinic building. Later, she might think it was beneficial for herself to remain at the hospital, a bigger facility than my pediatric practice. Her position might be much more stable there as she thought. She didn't come to work with me. I was sad but fully understood of her situation. Another nurse and a nurse aid were applying for the position at my office in stead. Since I quit the work at the hospital, we have exchanged season's greeting post cards for a few years. But nothing for the past 10 plus several years for now.

The mistress told me she was still working at the same hospital and was concerned about me. Because I have closed my own practice in 17 years. She might know of that. As the mistress told me, she seemed to look the same as before except for whole hair becoming grey. Maybe, a bit chubby but always with her shining smile. 

I was happy to hear about her. She was curious to know how I had been doing. I told the mistress to tell K I have been working as a house husband ever since. I sure would visit K at the outpatient clinic and renew our friendship. She must be over 70 years of age for now.

On the way back home, I visited a temple, exactly, a gate of an old temple. I have seen it on the way to that restaurant or to the hospital I used to work for.

It is named Choei ji. It was founded in the 9th century. The original buildings were lost. A local castle owner in this area has built the temple again in the 17the century. Only this gate is left for now.

The gate is named Cherry Gate, pretty grand appearance. The tile roof must be renewed in the later era. The building itself is a really gorgeous structure. 

The woodworking of the building is really impressive.

I am sorry the other buildings were already lost. One of them has transferred to a town nearby. I would visit there sometime. People in this area might treasure this temple gate for a long time. That may be the reason why it is still preserved. They should be honored.



The earthquake last night and the nuclear power plants in Fukushima

It was when I was going to bed last night that the big quaking with earth rumbling hit here. In a moment, the power went off. In the darkness in my room, what I did first was to grope for the cello lying on the floor. I found and put it into the hard case. When I knew doing that almost subconsciously, I was grinning myself. Ten years ago in the terrible earth quake hitting Tohoku, I had a big mess at my room in the office. There had been things like TV or books fallen on the instrument. That experience might have made me act that way as soon as that earthquake turned out pretty big. 

Anyway, actually no damage. The power outage was the only event which reminded us of the big earthquake 10 years ago. I was concerned about the nuclear power plants in Fukushima which had never been under control but had been with a number of serious problems. So far as I listened to the news with a portable radio, it only said TEPCO, the power company in this area responsible for the Fukushima diaster, was checking if the plants were intact. Later, this morning, TEPCO has announced the contaminated water spilled out of the reservoir(s). It said "so far as now" the plants were intact. They were planning to pour the contaminated water into the ocean. How much polluted water has poured out is the subject to be discussed. They have not given any definite information about it.  

Fortunately, no damage to us, the cat and furniture. Needless to say the radio gear was OK. In the big earthquake, the operation table was broken and the radio gear fell on the floor. Compared with that, this one was not strong enough to make me fear. 

In the darkness, we slipped into the beds. I was listening to the news with a tiny portable radio. The darkness and cold atmosphere have reminded us of the experience 10 years ago. The power had been off for 2 or 3 days. The biggest concern was about the nuclear power plants in Fukushima undergone that terrible accident. Knowing it was not under control at all, I was concerned about what the earthquake damaged it if not at all. Most Japanese know that the statement "It is under control" the former prime minister Abe has made at the Olympic Games invitation meeting is a total lie. But I am afraid those in foreign countries might forget it or even believe in it. Again, it is a lie. The lid structure of the pressure vessel in a couple of plants are highly contaminated with nuclear substances, which makes it quite difficult to access to them. The demolition work of those plants won't be progressed as planned before. It may take much longer to finish demolishing and accomplishing decontamination.  

I have fallen asleep in 10 or 15 minutes listening to that news and considering of the devastated plants. It turned to be brightly fine day today. The power was back on. Replying to a few mails from friends and family members asking about the earthquake, I have started a day. A few days ago, I have read an article that said there was a geological distortion still accumulated in the area north of the epicenter of the big earthquake. The quake last night was not due to that but an aftermath of the big one 10 years ago. We should get ready for another big earthquake which must come on in certain time. It is a matter of when it comes but not if it comes. 

In the garden, ume flowers are still coming out. It was a warm day today. The garden will keep me so busy in the coming months.

Good old days

Recently, when I was looking for something in the living room, I found old albums on a shelf by chance. They were sorted out for each of the family members. I guess my wife has done it years ago. 

There were old photos of myself in an album. One of them was uploaded in the previous article. It was taken at an excursion to a mountain with local ham friends, all of them pretty young, in my teen age days. That photo sure tells I have devoted myself to ham radio in my teen age days.

Before graduating a college, at the age of 20 years, where I learned mechanical engineering, I wanted to do with human beings but not with machines. It was a  choice to become a school teacher. I have liked doing with children. But I was more interested in studying medicine to be a psychiatrist. That will might be subconsciously formed because my parents and other family folks had been involved in medical care works even though there was no medical doctor around me. As a result, I have not become a psychiatrist but a pediatrician. It was tough for me to prepare for the entrance exam for a medical university. Getting it through, I have spent my twenties of age for studying medicine and, in the end of that era, training as a resident of pediatrics.

Once passing into a university, I was going to play some sport and also to do singing in a chorus. Not dreaming coming back to ham radio at that time. 

It was the soft tennis club which I spent the first 2 years in the university. I spent that 2 years at the preparatory course studying liberal arts before the professional course in the later 4 years. Time was going by very slowly. Other than some classes of English, German and French, I have not been very serious at the classes. I have spent whole day on the tennis court. I was told to be the head of the preparatory course club in the sophomore. Mostly because I was actively attending the club almost every day. Not because of proficiency in tennis at all. The colleague club members of the same year classes, in medicine and dentistry, were friendly and not in hustle at all. This photo shows them in a summer camp. There were 2 or 3 guys beside them not on the photo. I am the 2nd from the right. We did not know what busy and hectic days would start in the junior for the professional training. The preparatory course for 2 years was called Ranch Kohnodai after the place name of the preparatory course. The students were like "cows" being kept in a ranch. In fact, we felt as if that slow and relaxing time would have lasted eternally. In my case, however, the orchestra club I joined in the fall of freshmen year would keep me even deadly busy.   

I used to tell my elder sister about my wish to start singing in a chorus at the university. In grimace, she told me not to do that but rather had better play any instrument at an orchestra. Her advice was a bitter sarcasm to me. At that time, I haven't taken it seriously but, in stead, have decided to join the university orchestra. The guy at the same dorm room in the preparatory course would like to take part in it as well. That friend of mine and I went to the club room together in the professional course campus in a downtown of Tokyo. In the room at semi basement, dark and quiet, I was asked what instrument I would play by a guy in the higher year. While my friend answered "oboe", I chose "cello" without thinking of that deeply. The scene of Paul Tortelier playing an unaccompanied suite of Bach was in my mind, which I have seen on TV at a summer camp of tennis that year. This was the moment when I was dedicated to this instrument throughout my life.

I was a real nutty cellist for the first few years. I should have spent more time and energy for basic training. But it was such a fun for me to play certain works like symphonies or pieces of chamber music that I played those genres of music more.
This photo shows the piano trio members. Both of the other girls specialized music, the left one with violin case, a very good violinist, who would be a concertmistress for a while in the orchestra, the middle girl, a great pianist, whom I have asked for chamber music performance in 20 years. The pianist used to join the orchestra as a cellist but has dropped off in a year or two. This photo was taken at a summer camp in Shinshu. 

Another shot with the gang of the 2nd violin. The tall guy behind of them is a class mate of mine who also played cello. I don't remember why this photo was taken. Those 2nd violin girls were gentle and friendly. Not self-asserting so much as the 1st violin people...

This shows most of the same year members of the cello part. The cello part has had numerous members that was enough to make 6 rows or even more in the orchestra. Each member was "a character" and enjoy parties at night in such a camp. Another unforgettable company.

Oh, it is enough. These old photos have taken me back to my good old days. This orchestra activity was an essential part of the youth for me. It is not bad for me to recall things in those days. Especially, when standing before the harsh time of senility is starting.

Later, when I started working as a pediatrician, ham radio returned before me. It has been another chapter of life, I should describe it in another article. 


On the Olympic Games organizing committee

Sexism or discrimination against woman by the head of the Tokyo Olympic Games organizing committee is taken for a serious problem. Of course, it should be denounced severely and the chairman of the committee, Mori, should resign his position as soon as possible. He has been an incompetent politician but has been capable of coordinating with businesses etc. He has been sensitive to concessions. It was this Olympic Games where he and his supporter companies had found enormous concessions.  

His problem has been emphasized as the relic of the prewar ideology. The more serious problem is that he and his endorsing businesses have been seeking concessions with this world wide event. In the era of LA Olympic Games in '80s, Dentsu and a head of Adidas, the famous company of sporting goods, have established a company named ISL. Ever since, IOC has been changed to a commercialism organization pursuing as much as benefits from ths Olympic Games. Its stance is clearly against the Olympic Charter. Dentsu has been suspected to bribe IAAF executives to invite it to Tokyo. Dentsu is only an advertising agency but its business covers all over the world. It also controls the mass media through broadcasting advertisements and is influential on the national politics as well.  

Such corrupted organization of the Olympic Games should be liquidated once and be rebuilt after the Olympic Charter away from commercialism and aberrant nationalism. In our country, the countermeasures for COVID19 epidemic are being delayed. The vaccination is not started yet. I don't believe the Olympic Games could be held this summer at all. No other choice than halting it. At this chance, we should consider to reconstruct the Olympic Games committee.


Forerunner of SOTA activity in mid '60s

In a previous post, I have uploaded an old photo which showed the company of ham radio friends in a local club taken in mid 60s.

This is the photo taken at the same time. We were operating radio on a summit west of the downtown of Tokyo. It must be in the summer vacation. From lt to rt. JA1RHL, me, JA1OTE and JA1RIX. JA1RHL, later VK1ARA, is the only guy whom I could hear on the air or could get in touch with. There were several more in the group. It was a good old and brilliant day. It was a forerunner of SOTA in a sense even though ham radio operation was more emphasized.

The transmitter was TX88A of Trio, later Kenwood. It was most popular AM/CW transmitter for HF. The PA tube was a single 807 running only 10W. A lot of beginners were using it, even though I could not afford this gear for myself. We have built it at the club station in the college I was attending to. The receiver was a double super hetrodyne  of Taiyo Musen, not in business any longer. The model name was possibly NT110 and apparently was imitating some model from Hallicrafter. It belonged to JA1RHL, who probably taught me how to use it on this photo. Again, I could not buy such a receiver and have built one by myself. It was a "collins type" receiver but has made much trouble with image interference that has annoyed me a bit.

There is a hand key on the bench. It seems we have mainly operated AM. At our home, we were mostly CW operators those days. Luckily or unluckily, I have been the craziest one for CW ever since except during '70s when I had the medical training. Probably the only one who still enjoys this mode.



After the first day of spring

According to our traditional calendar, it was the first day of spring 3 days ago. It is still getting quite cold in the evening and early morning. But it gets warmer in the daytime. The first storm of spring has blown from south yesterday, which was record early this year. Every plant will become lively very soon. 

This morning, in the mild atmosphere, I went out and plowed a corner of the yard. Of course, it is to make farm in spring. Plowing the soil, I have discarded garbage, the roots of weeds and stones. There had been leaf mold piled over the ground, which was mixed with the soil. It is ready for farming for now.

While working in the farm, I always wonder what vegetable I would plant there. It is a time of joy expecting the harvest. Tomatoes, potatoes and pumpkins will be the main this year. Last year, too many potatoes and pumpkins were harvested. I will send some to my brother/sister and friends if there is such big crop this fall.
This corner of the yard has been done with nothing. There were high acorn trees grown and a lot of weeds with bulbs. The trees were cut and the weeds were pulled away. There is this small land with fertile soil left in this corner of the yard. Without being cared for, it would turn to wild bush with trees grown in an unplanned manner again. But it would be beyond my ability and/or responsibility to keep it neat. So far as I could, I would go on caring for this tiny lot.
Brussels sprouts are ripe now. It will be the material for salad or soup soon.

Plants of garlic are growing as well. In a month or two, they will be harvested.

Spinach has gone through this severe weather in winter. Maybe, I should have covered with a sheet to protect them from cold weather. Without it, it is sure surviving.

Farming has made me sweat a bit for the first time this year. The work will keep me busy and active. It works well not only for my physical health but also for mental conditions. 



Going after Trump or Bolsonaro in a double standard

 At the diet, the 3rd supplementary budget was determined. It should be spent until the end of March this year. On the contrary to our hope, about 80% of the budget is for the other purposes than the expense for Corona crisis, like digitalization of the administration, the expansion of the new ID card system or even for the military expense including the payment to the US.

It seems to coincide with the policy "Economy First", that the government has adopted since last spring. The core of this policy is involved with holding the Olympic games this summer, which is unlikely to occur. It seems to drag the plan as late as possible for the interests of the related businesses. Subsidiary policy to promote travelling or eating at restaurants has turned out to let the crony companies acquire concessions. This was another example of "Economy First" policy.

The government has recently given up following up the person closely contacted to the patient/asymptomatic carrier except for those related with nursery facilities etc. Accordingly, the number of PCR tests is decreasing, which resulted in the number of new cases. Of course, this 3rd wave of epidemic since last fall could be getting settled down now. But the still increasing number of deaths may mean it is not the case. It was a fault for the administration office to have decided not to investigate the cluster cases or the people closely contacted with patients. Because it makes difficult to evaluate the effect of any policy for this outbreak.   

One more thing, which surprised me a lot recently, is that those returning our country from oversea has been asked for self quarantine somewhere for a couple of weeks but they seem to have stayed home with their family for that period. It is never an isolation but could cause contagion at home. The governmental office seems not concerned about that.

The government has announced that they would give the vaccine to every people in the country at the expense of the government. It is reported, however, the contract with Pfizer says they would distribute the vaccine, not by June as formerly reported, but by the end of this year. The vaccination has not been started at present at all. The logistics and the vaccination program at periphery have not been determined nor prepared yet, even though the doctors and related personnel have been working hard to build the system. 

Considering what is going on, or not going on, by the government, it seems to go after the administration of Trump in the US or of Bolsonaro in Brazil. Our government pretends to rely on scientific findings on COVID19 and on the epidemiological data in our country. But I could hardly believe they have not done that from scratch. Together with the administrative office governed by bureaucrat MDs, they are concerned only not to mitigate  but to pretend to do that. 

A big member of the Diet who belongs to the ruling party could be hospitalized without any symptoms as soon as he was diagnosed as COVID19 positive. There have been thousands of patients, at home, waiting for the beds in hospitals. Dozens of people have succumbed at home without any access to medical care. All the personnel at the center of LDPJ, the ruling party, have been tested by PCR for COVID19, since there was a case of COVID19 there. These disparities in managing people infected with COVID19 between the people of the ruling party and the other people clearly tells us how the government is doing with this crisis. 


Flowers are budding

An enkiantus perulatus tree has boren a lot of tiny flower buds on branches. It has been far below the freezing point every morning for past weeks here. But the tree must sensitively perceive elongation of the day light and is getting ready for the spring coming soon.

Hoping that the blossoms may come out for now, I have turned eyes to a japanese apricot tree in front of the other house. I haven't taken notice to it in this season yet. The flower buds are swollen and even coming out already.

In front of the fence facing south of our place, I remembered there was a japanese apricot tree in the neighbor's lot. It has already fully come out for now. Whether it is another species or is thanks to its place without any obstacle to have sun light, it is fully blooming.   

The magnolia's flower buds are also becoming grown. These may bloom in a couple of months from now. As I already told, it was my mother's favorite.

In this season every year, I have written almost the same thing with those flower trees budding or even blooming as the earliest sign of spring. But we are changing from a year to another. The neighbor guy about 20 years older than me used to talk to me over the fence with his smile and in the local accent. He has passed away a few years ago. Of course, my parents who loved these trees are not with us any longer. I should get ready for the time when I say farewell to the world, even if the flowers are coming out in the same way every year.



A T shirt of 30 years long history.

 Eric, W6DU, SK might allow me wear this T shirt when I paint the wooden veranda. I have worn it for the last 3 decades. He was a kind gentleman and, as the president of NCDXF at that time, has donated this T shirt to the crew of XU0JA in 1991.

Eric and me at his home in mid '80s.

I sure miss him.


A mutant against neutralizing antibodies and its meaning

 There have been a number of articles showing a mutated strain escaping the ordinary neutralizing antibodies. This article in a preprint server is such an example.


It is no wonder such a strain could be brought up since a strain of SARS CoV2 could undergo mutations for 20 times in a year.

This finding warns us to urge the present vaccination program. 

It is also found that the original strain could survive in asymptomatic carriers while the mutants are alive for a limited time. That is why there are surges of infection in certain interval. We should disclose the asymptomatic cases in the society and keep them isolated from the other people.

Unfortunately, our government has implemented the policies oriented the opposite way. They won't try to pursue the asymptomatic cases in the society but would let them go on their routine lives. They have been unwilling to perform PCR tests as they are required. They have been concerned only with the cluster analysis which won't work in the time of community acquired infection. They have recently decided to impose pretty severe punishments to those who denied to be hospitalized. It will make those infected, who could not accommodate themselves into isolate facilities or hospitals, hidden in the society. Such infected people would further aggravate the outbreak.

Our country is going along the worst scenario so far. People are being irritated but have no idea to do so far. The government and the professionals in the advisory councils lack of ability to deal with the problem. Researchers in virology, gene sequence science, epidemiology and interdisciplinary studies are required. I hope the vaccine could work as a gamechanger but, with such a finding cited above, it might not come true. 


A snowy day

This morning, I found everything covered with snow. Not so much. Dry powder like snow of a few mm in thickness. Exactly, we have had the 1st snowfall for this winter yesterday, which was very small in amount and melted away in an hour or two. 

My wife hates driving on snowed street and left for work earlier than usual. Coming back home this evening, she told me it had snowed only in this city and it was dry when driving westward. This area is a kind of basin and is always cold in winter.

With rather high humidity associated with snowfall, it was felt not too chilly. Still cold outdoor. This is a scene of the forest south of here over a field. A lot of miscellaneous trees, deciduous or ever green, are growing there around a community center. They are all tinged white. This scenery is typical for this area 70 years ago when I was born. No houses around here but a lot of such trees surrounded the tuberculosis sanatorium where I was born. A kind of nostalgic view.

Our cat could not go for a walk like this with a lead. He has been confined to the utility almost all day. He is too mischievous when he is freed in the living dining room. Since my wife came home, he would enjoy some free time with her sometimes making her scream.


Vaccination and mutations

 I am glad there are vaccination programs started in a lot of countries. It will take us a couple of months at least before it starts in our country.

In Israel, they have started vaccination for the people on Dec 19 last year. Since the population is pretty small there, that is, only 5 million and they are vaccinating 10% of the people for 10 days, they will finish it in 10 weeks as they planned. The efficacy of the Pfizer product will be shown in a few weeks. It could be my bias but the graph of the daily diagnosed number of cases and of the death cases seem to be flattened now. Close observation is necessary to conclude about it.


They say the virus is undergoing mutations 20 times a year. There could be a mutant for more infectivity or for more virulence. For example, the recent UK mutant strain is told to be 70% more infective. The strain reported from S. Africa seems to evade from our immunity, that means it could be resistant to the vaccine as well. We should hasten the vaccination program all over the world before such mutation is prevailing.


I have heard they are registering the vaccination in the internet. It seems a bit complicated to some people. There could be people who could not access to the internet as well. In our country, so far as now, I have never heard them preparing for the vaccine program. Pfizer product requires very low temperature storage. And there are a lot of elderly who are supposed to take the vaccine first and are not readily accessible to the internet. I just wonder how the administration office handles it. From the experience of H1N1 Influenza in 2009 as a medical staff, there could be a big mess with vaccination in our country, I suspect.




 Twenty meters was half open to the US this morning. In a series of QSOs with guys in the East Coast to the Middle West, whose signals were pretty weak, I got a call from Dennis WA2USA in Indiana. His call sounded familiar at first look from the suffix. But I was cautious not to mix it up with another friend of mine WA0USA. 

He told me he had been glad to see me after a long absence. It has convinced me of our QSO in the past. My old index notebook I used to keep before starting with the PC log about 10 years ago told me we had had the 1st ever in 1989. He was pleased to know our 1st ever was back such a long time ago. He told me he was 71 years of age now. 

I have told him the following story; I am in the same age. There are a lot of hams with the same age. We call ourselves as 49ers, sometimes, almighty 49ers. 

I was surprised that he had mentioned of John K1JD as another example of 49ers. i answered to him that he had been the guru of 49ers. Dennis has agreed that and told me John had been the main person. 

 Not too often but sure sometimes, I have fun to see those with the same age. In Japan, 49ers are the last generation of the baby boomers after the WWII. We 49ers have fought in the competition of entrance exam for universities, of that for "good" companies and so forth. We have got through the same mile stones of life for the past decades. Even though the situation might not be quite same in the US mainly due to their experience with a series of wars out of their country, we might share many things in the past time. It makes us feel close each other. While talking to Dennis on the almost closing band, I was thinking of such a thing.

Our generation might go away from the history not too long. But until then, may we have pleasure to share our own histories as 49ers on the air.

John in his young days; the right, the left is K1MEM when he was still alive.

Me and my wife in early '80s when I came back on the air from a resident house of a university hospital, taken at the campus.



The stock price of BOJ hit lowest ever

Needless to say Bank of Japan is the central bank in Japan responsible for monetary stability and smooth operation of financial system. Its stock price has been dropping for the past years, especially, since the former Abe administration started the massive quantitative easing in 2012. It has reached the lowest price ever in Jan. 5th when BOJ published its own financial report. The stock price has fallen from 755000 JPY in 1988 to 25200 JPY. Its total assets rose to 702 trillion yen, that is, 6.8 trillion USD. It was 23% rise in the last year mainly due to purchasing national bond and ETF, which was to financially embellish the former administration.

This drop of BOJ stock price means the market judges its finance is jeopardized with debt monetization for the government. In addition to the astronomical amount of the debt of the government, this financial crisis of BOJ may bring forth decline of currency value for JPY in the near future. It will cause the uncontrollable inflation in our country. BOJ could not take the countermeasure of selling the national bond in the market. It could cause further drop of the national bond price.

Debt monetization has been deemed as a forbidden policy after WWII when our country experienced the hyperinflation. But it has been neglected by the government, mass media and even the people. 

This simple and most probable prospect for the finance of BOJ and of our country won't be discussed fully by the politicians, either of the ruling parties or of the anti ruling parties. Of course, the former is more responsible for this issue since they have implemented the policy of astronomical quantitative easing. 

The solution could be either starting war or letting the economy and finance go into hyperinflation. Of course, the latter is much more probable, I should say. I don't know when it starts but it will hit our country possibly related with this corona crisis.

It is a tragedy that most of the people has not realized of this crisis in our country.


Gardening getting ready for spring

It has been 10 days since the New Year's Day. Time is elapsing in the same way. Even in the mid winter, when the temperature drops even to minus 10 degrees, it is getting brighter in the daytime. I am trying to be busy at garden while sun is shining. 

I have pulled the weeds in the lawn facing to the street today. I wondered if I should spray the herbicidal a bit later when they started growing again. At least, I would have it look neat until then and have done the job. The lawn has totally withered but the root is still alive below the weeds. Getting off them may help the lawn grow later in the spring. There were some people taking walk along this street, who always greeted me saying hello when they went by. 


The trees of enkianthus perulatus, a kind of azalea,  along the lawn have leaves fallen. But the new buds are ready to grow. They may bring fresh leaves and pretty flowers in spring.

My wife, in a long week end, is feeding fertilizer to her roses. This rose is named "Knock Out" pretty sturdy in cold weather. She also transplanted a pot grown rose. She is responsible for flowers while I am for vegetables. 

Silk pods seedlings grown from seeds are as if they were in winter sleep. Under the cold protection cover sheet, they are surely alive and are ready to grow in the spring. They look lovely, don't they? I have never felt plants in that way when I was young. But these days, they look like own children.

I am getting ready for the small farm to plant vegetables in the spring. Mixing home brew leaf mold, I am plowing the soil with the deep layer reversed on the surface. It is to avoid continuous cropping disorder for such as tomato or potato.

This is where I make the leaf mold. At the south eastern corner of the yard, I accumulate fallen leaves and pulled weeds. The right half is the old one while the light half is the fresh one. The fresh one will turn to be fermented and turn to be leaf mold in a year or two. 

 So everything is going on in the same way while we are getting older year by year. Nature won't be changed easily but we are changing ourselves pretty quickly. That is why we should treasure every moment of our lives. 


Year in and year out

In the end of a year, I have been issuing a greeting mail to friends and family members for over the past decade. I have, however, omitted it last year. I felt it had been in mannerism and had lost energy to do that.

Having had simple dinner of soba noodle with my wife, I am writing what the year out has meant to me now. In itemization style simple and concise. I have started writing this article late at night yesterday.


In the end of Jan. or the beginning of Feb., when I first knew of this COVID 19, I have never expected it to prevail all around the world in this way. The pathogen, SARS CoV2, an anthropozoonosis, with moderate virulence and rather high prevalence rate, could contagion all over the world under the circumstances of no treatment/vaccine and of global traffic developed. This pandemic was inevitable in a sense.

This pandemic has clearly revealed what the government in certain country is for the people. Our government has stressed on the measures to maintain the economy. The countermeasures should be based on science. But policy making should be through transparent decision. In our country, unfortunately, not only policy making but also the published epidemiological data have been unlikely to be realized in transparency.

The biggest fault of our government has been limitation of the number of PCR tests for correct diagnosis. Even after cluster analysis won't solve the problem, they have not changed their policy not to do the tests as they are required. The other issue is that they have intentionally underestimate the number of the cases, the fatality cases or the serious cases. 

The mass media have not showed these issues at proper timing. There have been so called professionals for this issue who supported the view of the government. At this explosive epidemic, people are starting to recognize these issues. 

These problems resulted in the worst outbreak and victims due to COVID19 in the Eastern Asia.  

I am not sure if the present vaccination programs will work as a game changer or not yet. But it will be the only candidate of the maneuver to overcome this pandemic. By March, the efficacy of the vaccine will be revealed in such as Israel, where vaccination program has started in last month. If it would work and 70% of the people could get immune to the virus, it will bring them the ultimate solution to the pandemic. I still hope it will come true.

*Politics and society*

Populism and tendency for fascism have been noted in various countries in the world. Our country was not an exception of such trend. I believe the politicians who appeal for populistic and dividing policies have been more and more approved by the people. I suspect more people are accepting such politics. Selfishness and ephemeralism seem to prevail among people. I suspect the neoliberal economy which has covered the world since 1980s or 1990s has left it in various countries, either communistic or capitalistic. I would keep interests in this trend and go on studying about it.

I won't discuss further but am most concerned about the budget deficit and astronomical level of debt of the government. BOJ has been buying tremendous amount of national bonds and of stocks. It is surely abnormal. I am afraid this corona crisis would the coup de grace to our country in the near future.

*Music and radio*

I have played the 1st movement of the 1st sonata of Brahms with my niece in Oct. I felt I had gone through the last stage of my cello performance history in my life. Through practicing for that performance, I have realized what I could do with it and what I could never reach with it. I still go on playing it but just for own fun. I am more inclined to listen to good music like chamber music of Faure or of Brahms, Bach's religious works or Beethoven's chamber music in the last part of his life. 

I could not help saying that what ham radio/CW used to be for me has almost gone away. Good friends of mine have gone inactive or even silent key. I believe it will be the time for me to downsize ham radio activity if not completely.


We have had struggles in a family member. It is impossible for me to describe about it right now. So far, everyone is getting along OK. My wife is still working in full time. It may take her a couple of years to retire. I would support her and the other members as much as possible as a house husband. In such hardship of life, the meaning of our lives becomes clearer and more evident. I am learning how little I have served my family as a father and a husband. Wondering if I could catch it up in the rest of my life.

Wow, I have written too much pessimistic and discouraging. I am still in good temper and willingness. I ran across with Darrel AA7JV on 20m this morning, who used to be a researcher in radio astronomy. I have asked him if he had done with observation of the background radiation. He answered yes and told me it was a struggle against the receiver's noise floor level and the noise from the thousands of satellites orbiting around the globe. I have read the research of the background radiation has taught much about the origin of the universe and the progress afterward. So intriguing. Struggling against aging with loss of memory, I still would like to know more of such a thing before my life is put an end. In spring and summer, my garden and small farm might keep me busy. It is a real joy for me to work there under sun. House chores and cooking will also be a pleasure for me. 

I appreciate all of you, my friends and the visitors to this trivial blog, for your support. Leave a word or two if you notice or feel anything about the topics in it. May the new year be healthy and happy to you all.  

A Happy New Year to you!

Shin Onisawa