Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Marvelous Kimiko Date Krumm – クルム伊達公子の健闘


Kimiko Date Krumm celebrated her 40th birthday by winning against Daniela Hantuchova by 2-6, 6-0, 4-0 yesterday, and the day before had she even more excitingly the victory over Maria Sharapova, the defending champion of Toray Pan Pacific Open.
At her 20’s, Kimiko’s aggressive baseline strokes had always been a tough confrontation even for the top ranked players, and now she seems to have achieved the flexibility to rebuild the games with tactical adjustments when things are not going well with her. The remaining challenge is her physical reserve to continue the tournament toward the finalist, and I wish here the best luck!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Doctor G – ドクターG


NHK’s “Doctor G” is an exceptionally distinguished program in the recent television. The patient’s symptoms are presented to 4 young doctors who begin their logical approach to define the name of the illness, and the experienced Doctor G who posed this question assists and discusses with them to arrive at the final decision.
Because the medical treatment gets more and more specialized while the shortage of doctors continues to be serious, the accessibility to general doctors is even more vital today. The concept of general doctor might be a practical remedy to the problem providing us the opportunity to consider the fundamental aspect of what the doctor offers to patients although we cannot exaggerate only the good side of it.
I recall in my company, we used to discuss whether we should focus on the specialists or the generalists.
Unfortunately, the program ends by September. This kind of programs is good evidence of how the media could serve to function with responsibility to the pubic, and I hope it comes back with some more enhancements.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

三崎 - Misaki


It may be the last day of the hot summer today, and it popped up in my mind to go out to Misakiguchi while the weather was fine. Misakiguchi is the end of Keikyu line but it is only 40 minutes train ride from Zushi. It has been years since I visited the area last time. Misaki is known for great tuna, but not chasing tuna today, I took the road in front of the station to the right thinking of a walk to Kurosaki-no-Hana. You may take the bus (from platform #3) and get off at the first stop, Miyata. You will see a gas station and the road toward the sea. Normally, you need to follow the road to the direction of Enjuji temple, but I continued along the water. On the shore was a guardman who told me that no one could go further as there was a movie shooting going on. I took back to take the road for Enjuji and ascending further I was in the middle of huge, flat vegetable field. The end of the cape is on the right, but there was another guardman to stop me. What a day!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lessons to Sing Messiah – メサイアの合唱練習


第12曲 For unto us a Child is born
第28曲 He trusted in God
第35曲 Let all the angels
第51曲 But thanks be to God
第53曲 Worthy is the Lamb

それと全曲に親しむほどに、「I know that my Redeemer liveth」の名曲で始まる第三部は、大詰めに向かって見事な合唱曲が並び、聴き応えがあることを改めて悟る。


[*The photo is Messiah concert in Tokyo, 1983 by Koopman/ABS. Michael Chance, the counter-tenor soloist appears.]

Starting this Saturday, we entered into the mode of the chorus lessons to scan the entire program, and we sang today the Parts II and III from the morning through the afternoon. Among total 54 pieces of music in “Messiah”, there are 20 pieces for the chorus, and there are a few songs that I am particular about:

No.12 For unto us a Child is born
No.28 He trusted in God
No.35 Let all the angels
No.51 But thanks be to God
No.53 Worthy is the Lamb

As you sing, you will find the melodies of these songs for the tenor are so exquisite, and once enchanted, you will be automatically passionate singing.
In case for No.28, other members still struggle with the words, but I did a very concentrated effort of learning by heart a while ago.

As one gets more familiar with the entire Messiah, one will realize that the Part III is very exciting to listen to that begins with the famous song of “I know that my Redeemer liveth” and then lines up series of fabulous chorus songs toward the ending.
For practicing at home, I make use of CDs. I have the sets of Ton Koopman and also of John Eliot Gardiner. It was totally impossible for me to follow them when I started this challenge, but I can now manage singing along with them. As for video, I have a recording of Koopman’s concert in 1983 when he and his crews visited Japan, and this VHS tape is a lovable collection of mine. I also have the LP set by Neville Marriner, but it is slightly too aged in style for now, and the LP is not practical to manipulate, so I do not borrow their performance. It leaves only 6 more lessons before the rehearsal with the orchestra.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Autumnal Skies - 秋空

Typhoon pushed the summer away and brought a dramatic temperature drop.
The skies were clear early in the week. The first photo is the view in front of Isuzu noodle restaurant in Tsumagoi Highlands. The sunset glow of the clouds is the sky up in Kusatsu Onsen.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yundi Li on Tour - デビュー10周年のユンディ・リー


Yundi Li appeared in a program of TV Asahi this morning and played Chopin’s polonaise “Eroica”. He visits a few countries celebrating the 10th anniversary of his debut. Yundi has turned into a very mature adult now from a young, skinny boy. His performance was not so much appealing with numerous errors, but it was probably a mere promotional appearance. The female newscaster asked him afterward if he was not good at waking up early, and it sounded implying.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Land Bank in Japan – 日本の森林が買われていく


NHK broadcast the program “Close-up Gendai” yesterday reporting that foreign capitals were buying forests in Japan, which was a small shock to us typical Japanese.
In practice, Hokkaido Prefecture looked into the situation to find that some forests were already owned by British, Australian, Chinese, NZL and Singaporean capitals. Because the demand for woods in China is increasing enormously, they did some large-scale deforestation illegally in Indonesia and Russia, and the same kind of excessive development of forests by foreigners becomes a concern for us to react with uneasiness. Openness of the market is not necessarily a bad thing, and this particular issue may not be only related to foreign capitals, but it ultimately boils down to the unprepared legal arrangement and regulation with regard to the possession and the maintenance of forests being attributed highly as the fundamental social resource.
The forest grows through human hands and it requires the manpower. Nevertheless, the forestry business significantly recessed since the introduction of low-cost foreign woods, and the successors are disappearing that has caused some catastrophic situation not being able to execute such works as the proper culling. The forests are crying. If the forest owners are offered the money that is 5 times more than typical domestic value when they have lost the hope for the future, it is easy to expect that they would give up their land. Ironically, this cul-de-sac, if observed from the outside, appears as a property with high value because the woods are about the time to cut and the climate is rich with water.
I could be superficial, but I think it is quite possible to gather individual investors of small amount nationwide organizing a group to start with some small forests in practice inviting the young generation to the forestry to maintain and grow from there. It is simply a better alternative to mere selling and buying of forests by rich investors.
According to the English broker, his Chinese client bought the forest in Hokkaido as a long-term investment, and today the forest funds are attracting more attention in US along with the “green” boom. On the other hand, the forest is the fundamental factor of our country’s land preserving the woods and the water, and we must not treat it as a money-game objective like the oil or the corn as we have seen a while ago.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

ガーディナーの「モンテヴェルディと私」 - Monteverdi and Me


The news page of Monteverdi Choir website features the old story of how Sir Gardiner turned to be a conductor in relation with the Vespers in his early days, as interviewed by Tom Service in the Guardian. I have translated the first half of the content as follows:



Thursday, September 2, 2010

Die Walküre in Bayreuth – バイロイト生放送


The live broadcast of Wagner’s Walkure in HD and 5.1 surround from Bayreuther Festspiele was transmit in the late night on August 21. I watched it fully prepared over the projector screen in my listening room. The vivid sound of strings in the beginning was so terrifying that I was immediately trapped and lost the distance. The performance of the orchestra was outstanding.
As the curtain opened, the mythical stage was rather contemporary with clear resolution in all details, and I have never seen “The Ring” in depth so digestibly before. This stage of quality was absolutely exciting to watch even not being a Wagnerian myself.
On the other hand, as the camera closed up the singers, some people might find somewhat conflicting to their imagination in recognizing the physical size of the bodies of Siegmund and Sieglinde. To me, it evidently owed to their physical structure for the characters to successfully sing through this long masterpiece. The dying Traviata is almost never a slim character in the opera, and only by overcoming this paradox, you will be a true opera fan! If I may continue this topic, I would hope the hairstyle of Brünnhilde different: While the flaming red was right, its shape looked like a typical fixed wig for old woman. The passionate hair should be waving in my opinion.
2 intermissions were 1 hour long each, and I found it required some determination to participate this ceremonious and almost religious event. The biggest applause at the curtain calls was given to Johan Botha as Siegmund, Edith Haller as Sieglinde, and Christian Thielemann the conductor. I thought it was a fair reaction.
This broadcast was indeed an epoch.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September but Summer Continues – 9月もまだ夏


It is the record-breaking summer in Japan this year. Japan Meteorological Agency reported today that it was the hottest summer in 113 years since they started the measurement in 1898. Let’s look at the average daily temperature focusing on August: 30.5 (+2.1) in Osaka; 30.3 (+2.7) in Fukuoka; 29.6 (+2.5) in Tokyo. The difference from the typical is significant. As for Tokyo, it had record-breaking 48 “tropical nights” that exceed 25 degrees.