Personal interests

What I enjoy so much that I create time to do them.

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Noriko prompted me to start taking trumpet lessons on my 53rd birthday. She encouraged me to explore a world totally unknown to me, to open a door leading to wonders that I envied yet until now have been denied to me. Noriko also sought to fill a void in my heart created after the death of 2 people that were close to me or becoming so.

I promised to Noriko and myself that I would spend at least the next 3.5 years (between my 53rd birthday and the end of my sabbatical at Hokudai) learning trumpet. During that period I practiced a total of approximately 1600 hours (this is time spent in the practice room, including frequent breaks). In addition I read references and textbooks on music theory, history, and physics. I will also attend live music performances.

I have been taking lessons for over 7.5 years now. I rented 1 and bought 4 trumpets during this period.

My objectives are: (1) to overcome a deep-seated inferiority complex of my woeful lack of musical knowledge and skill, (2) to become a member of the general music-lover community, (3) to strengthen my perseverance, will power, and time-management skills, (4) to learn how to acquire automaticity via repeating physical actions, and (5) to play music to my family and close friends. I am not interested in performing in front of strangers.

I realize I will never play decently. Embarking on a trip that is guaranteed to terminate before reaching the destination would have struck me as futile 30 years ago. At my age I accept such hindrances as part of the aging process. We need to keep growing, to repeatedly hatch from our eggs. Those shells are of our own making. To halt is to recede.
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I hate exercise. I lack coordination and motor skills. I'm uncompetitive. But I do enjoy the outdoors in my own way.

I run. My goal is completing a half-marathon. At one time, I comfortably ran 12 km. During a long period of inactivity forced by the nCOVID-19 pandemic, my body weakened considerably.

I swim breaststroke a few times a week -- slowly -- my usual swim is 40 minutes,1400 meters.

Noriko and I like to step outside the office.

On land, we take long walks. When we are in Oregon, we ride our tandem bicycle. I ride in front because I'm much bigger and she's a trusting soul. Riding a 4-wheel bicycle and sitting side by side is fun for us too.

On water, we enjoy tandem kayaking. I paddle in the back seat, and she enjoys the view.

Under water, we like tropical skin diving. We are certified scuba divers.

Our favorite winter activity was snow-shoeing. The picture above shows Noriko trudging along Hokudai's poplar lane. This is an aspect of Sapporo that we miss.
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Amateur radio is one of my more affordable hobbies.

I have an Extra Class license in the United States (callsign N6UOK), a Second Class license in Japan (callsign JK1EAS, formerly JM8AGU and 7L1FQE), and a HAREC class license in Belgium (callsign ON6UOK).

The Belgian license exam is given in Dutch or French. I took the test in Dutch to improve my reading skills. My Belgian friends were not impressed (they have high standards for language proficiency) but did congratulate me for my effort.

I belong to W6YX (the Stanford amateur radio club) and JK1ZYP (the Murui amateur radio club).

Noriko (KD7SYK) and I often visit ON4OSA (the Antwerp O.S.A. amateur radio club) and ON7LR - OT5A (the Fort Lier multi-multi contest club).

Most of my recent involvement has focused on understanding and building electronic kits such as the one pictured above.
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Sado or chado, the way of tea, has influenced my thinking and behavior. I was trained in the urasenke school tradition. I have received hikitugi, which allows me to teach at the introductory level.

The picture above shows Noriko and me at the rinkaian chashitsu (the seaside tea villa) in Santa Cruz, California.

I was also trained in kado or ikebana, the way of flora, in the koryu school. I am not licensed however.
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Flying is a passion. For the first time in human history, we are able to fly for pleasure. Yes, it is expensive. Yet we almost owe it to our ancestors (whose cravings to soar were denied) to fulfill their ambitions.

I am licensed as a Private Pilot (a pilot who can fly for personal, non-financial purposes) in the United States and Japan. Like most pilots, I started training in landplanes (airplanes that take off and land on land). Later I learned to fly floatplanes (airplanes that take off and land on water).

I have briefly flown (but am not licensed for) gliders, helicopters, and gyroplanes.

The picture above is me as a dock hand tending a floatplane in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

The plane picture above was later involved in an accident that killed my instructor. They closed the flight school.

My friend built a 4-seater amphibian airplane. He died during a test flight.

I hung up my wings. My instructor, my friend, me and our families were all aware of the dangers of aviation. I gave up flying because I do not wish to fly alone. I enjoyed my friendships and our common interests. Perhaps you might understand if I said walks in the park feel empty after your dog dies.