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.