2018

diamond wedding

2018-05-19 FUJISAWA, JAPAN -- Noriko's parents celebrated their 60th anniversary.

Being happily married for that long is an accomplishment. Being healthy to enjoy celebrating is cause for double celebration!
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We ordered gorgeous boxed lunches. I was astonished that mom and dad finished theirs. They usually eat light.

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Noriko and Keiko ordered a commemorative manju (a steamed bun filled with sweetened black bean paste).
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This behemoth is about the size of a child's head. It contains 7 tiny manju with colored bean paste.
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Dad is a master gardener. We took group photos in his garden.
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edix

2018-05-17 TOKYO, JAPAN -- We attended EDIX, a trade show for technology in learning.

We rode the
yurikamome train. The automated trains are unmanned (no driver or conductor), and are monitored remotely.
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Cloudy, cool, breezy, comfortable day.
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We attend EDIX each year. Recently they started doing shows in Osaka. Glad to see growing interest in the field.
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tonkatsu lunch

2018-05-05 TOKYO, JAPAN -- We had lunch at our favorite tonkatsu restaurant Tonki.

I was in high school when I went to Tonki the first time. A biology teacher took us to the main store in Meguro.
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An elderly couple runs the store. Their business hours are reduced these days, and the prices are a tad high, but the technique and flavor are superb.
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The pork is dipped in egg sauce, then in flour, for 3 times. No
panko (bread crumbs) are used.
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smoke detectors

2018-05-05 TOKYO, JAPAN -- We replaced our smoke detector, and added 4 more.

This is our old detector that I installed 22 years ago. I brought it from America.
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Japan's law recently changed. They now require smoke detectors (at last!).
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Our new made-in-Japan units come with 10-year batteries.
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motion sensor lights

2018-04-29 TOKYO, JAPAN -- During a 10-day series of national holidays, we returned to Tokyo.

My brother Kan replaced a motion-sensor light fixture for us. The old units were installed by him 22 years ago.
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Let there be light!
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ben jansson sextet

2018-04-21 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Ben Jansson and his sextet performed at the jazz bar Jamusica.

Ben is a professional sax player, who writes and performs his own songs. Tonight all music was his original.
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He autographed his CD for me.
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Ben is spearheading a movement to change all jazz venues in Sapporo into non-smoking establishments. Thanks Ben! That transformation is way overdue!
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practice in the recording studio

2018-04-15 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- I enjoy practicing my trumpet in the recording studio at work.

This tiny soundproofed room is for recording foreign language material for use in language classes. I use the room when nobody is using it.
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My trumpet case sits on a chair besides me.
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I put my 2 iPads (a large and a small tablet) side by side on a book stand I brought from America. The loudspeaker is for practicing with backing music.
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I can view my spectrogram and tuner together. I don't need 2 tablets but I happen to have them so I enjoy them.
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big band hokkyoku

2018-04-14 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Hokkaido University's student big band Hokkyoku (north pole) performed at the Party House Fiesta.

Fiesta is owned by my former trumpet teacher Izuru Konishi. We chatted before the show. I learned that Izuru is still teaching a few students. I left so that he could focus on his new business.
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The restaurant seats 130. The place was packed! Tonight's performance doubled as a recruiting event for new members.
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A former student of ours, a trombone player, is the band leader this year.
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ivy lin at jamusica

2018-04-13 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Ivy Lin, our former graduate student, sang at the jazz bar Jamusica.

Jamusica is now smoke free! Yay!
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Ivy earned her MA in language learning last month. She teaches at 4 universities in Sapporo city.
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polished trumpet

2018-04-07 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- The morning after I returned alone to Sapporo, I spent 150 minutes straight polishing my tarnished silver-plated trumpet. I'm surprised that I didn't even go to the restroom. I was totally obsessed with cleaning.

My Yamaha YTR-8310Z was already black before I left Sapporo 8 months ago. It's blacker now!
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Silver polishing cloth to the rescue!
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Yecch!
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Ta dah!
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I replaced the piston felts too. The G17 glue is used by repair people at Yamaha.
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artificial intelligence trade show

2018-04-04 TOKYO, JAPAN -- We visited a trade show about artificial intelligence and content.

I cannot believe the number of vendors selling AI-related products and services.
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Lots of graphic artists and manga artists ready to visualize your concepts.
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replace laptop battery

2018-04-01 TOKYO, JAPAN -- Noriko's laptop battery gave up the ghost.

This MacBookAir is easy to open and upgrade. Some years ago, I replaced the hard disk with a solid state drive.
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This is my first time replacing the battery of this particular laptop.
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The old battery swelled to over 5 times its original thickness. Glad I disposed of it in time!
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wash trumpets

2018-03-29 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- I washed my trumpets before leaving Oregon.

The device pictured on the upper left is an ultrasonic cleaner. It works great!
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window trim

2018-03-25 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- After long procrastination, I painted window trim in our house.

Preparation is 90 percent of the work in painting.
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The windows look great just by cleaning.
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Masking is fun.
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Our hardly-noticed, often-forgotten garage window receives another coat of paint.
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We painted 2 to 3 coats.
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Leftover paint goes on the bathroom cabinets.
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We changed the paper on our shoji screen.
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bikerides 05, 06, 07

2018-03-14 LINCOLN CITY, NEWPORT, AND OTIS, OREGON, USA -- Finally the weather improved enough to confidently ride our tandem bicycle. We rode 3 times in 4 days.

Ride 1: We took a short easy ride in our neighborhood. 17 kilometers. The weather was warm, almost hot. The picture below shows us about to depart from our driveway.
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Ride 2: We took a flat, scenic ride along the Yaquina river in Newport. 35 kilometers. We began at the natural gas storage tank, followed Yaquina Bay road along a U-shaped section of the river, and turned back at the turn-around point for the
Newport marathon. The picture below is one of the many bends in the road that gives us constantly changing scenery.
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Ride 3: We took a shady, steeper ride in the forest. 28 kilometers. We begun by riding along the Salmon river between Rose Lodge and Otis, then climbed old highway 101 through the
research forest. The picture below is a small waterfall in the woods.
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I wasted some time because by mistake I left at home our bicycle's front wheel, which I must remove for loading the bike on the truck. Luckily the bike ride begins not far from our house. I'll be careful next time!

improvising music

2018-03-10 (UPDATED FROM 2018-03-09) SEAL ROCK AND LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- 3 months ago my trumpet teacher John Bringetto started teaching me how to play songs. (Until then, I practiced producing notes on my instrument. This practice continues.) We are on our 3rd song now, all jazz standards: "Autumn leaves", "The girl from Ipanema", and "My funny Valentine". Because I play alone by myself (instead of being a member of a band or an ensemble) I rely on iRealPro backing to learn how to stay in time. I am thrilled that after 3 years of basic training (reminiscent of the long training of the archer's apprentice in 中島敦「名人伝」) I am finally starting to learn how to play melody. I sound awful but who cares? I just began. In fact I think I sound pretty good (for a zero-talent beginner) because John took care to give me good sound before connecting those sounds into phrases and songs.

I am bewildered at the speed of instruction. I had (apparently wrongly) assumed that improvisation -- one of the characteristic skills in jazz -- was an ability acquired much later, after the student learned how to play melody and perhaps harmony. Contrary to my misconceptions, John wants me to improvise from the very beginning. As soon as I can play a song in meter (straight, in time) he wants me to "play what sounds good". At first I was terrified (see my
blog entry for 2018-01-15). I am still scared, but thanks to relentless assignments and encouragement from John, I am worrying less and composing more.

John's teaching technique is (as I understand it today) as follows.

(1) Choose jazz standards spanning a variety of styles. The priority is width of different styles before depth in a particular style. (In my case, I have swing, bossa nova, and ballad. There's more to learn of course.)

(2) Play the song straight, in meter. (I can only play straight. I cannot swing yet.)

(3) For each measure, pick and play 1 note. Synchronize the start and end of the each note with chord changes. (I try to select notes that are in that measure of the original melody, and comprise a melody when my selected notes are played in sequence.)

(4) Add notes to each measure. (I am not here yet. Maybe next week.)

(5) Change rhythm, dynamics, and possibly phrasing. (To play this way, I need to confidently detect chord changes.)

John demonstrates various techniques. I admire, respect, and worship his virtuosity. Although I will never be 10 percent of him, his teachings stoke my curiosity, and his patience calms my fears.

I am a kindergarten kid with a crayon and a coloring book. Noriko says I can now fill in sections of the coloring book without missing spots or crossing over the demarcation lines. I can slowly play a narrow range of notes. Sometimes, when Noriko and I play back video-recordings of our lessons, I sound almost the same as my master teacher. Feels so good!

Below is my homework for tomorrow's trumpet lesson. My improvisation is a series of long tones (l-o-n-g notes that sound exceptionally l-l-o-o-n-n-g-g in this slow song). I tried to give it a melody of sorts.

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Here's John's re-write, with instructions for me to improve the last phrase. Hmm, what shall I do?
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garibaldi

2018-03-06 GARIBALDI, OREGON, USA -- An hour's drive north brought us to Garibaldi, a small coastal town known for scenic train rides (steam locomotives pull historic passenger cars), fishing (both commercial and sport), and a hardwood lumber mill (which I confess I was unaware until today).

We talked to the chairman of the board of the
Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. He gave us a thorough lecture on the technology and history of the rolling stock.

In the picture below, the black locomotive in the foreground was built in 1925. It was designed to burn fuel oil because coal is not plentiful on the Pacific coast. Today it burns used engine oil, obtained mostly from diesel trucks and some from passenger cars.

The brown locomotive in the background is owned by a private individual (surprise!) who is paying the historic railroad organization to restore the locomotive.

Both locomotives are ejecting steam to purge the pipes and valves of debris. They are preparing for the tourist season which is about to begin.
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We walked along a fishing pier built for sports fishing. Crabbing is popular in the Pacific northwest, particularly here in Garibaldi.
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The local folk told us that chicken (surprise!) is the preferred bait for crabs.
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Lower the crab ring (that's what traps are called). Wait ... a while ... and yes you'll probably find crab in your ring. You can only keep male crabs over a certain size. The rest must be released.
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Many American towns sport their town's initial on a hillside. I like Garibaldi because we share our initials. (For the same reason, I like
Groningen in the Netherlands too. I have a hot chocolate mug with our initial.)
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mini misadventure

2018-03-04 HEBO, OREGON, USA -- Summary: I got our truck stuck in the snow. Friendly passersby pulled us out. Nobody hurt, nothing broken.

We had several days of warm weather. We drove up a hill for a hike. At the bottom of the hill, the road was dry.
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Halfway up, we encountered snow. It didn't look bad at first.
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Less than 3 minutes later I got us stuck.
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Various passersby helped us.

One family called us a tow truck. The tow truck never came, because apparently they require (1) confirmation by the police or fire department, or (2) persistent requests by the driver of the vehicle.

Another family drove us back to our truck, after we walked down the hill to get help.

A third car pulled us out of the snow. They attached a chain to the front of their truck and to the rear of mine. We put our trucks in reverse. A young strong man pushed my truck sideways to get it out the rut.
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We gave the 2 men an unopened bag of
sembei we had. The men have friends in Japan and coincidentally had recently enjoyed sembei that their friend had given them. They were happy to get more.

I am grateful for everybody's generosity. I want to help people too.

trumpet arrives

2017-02-27, LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- My new trumpet arrived!

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I ordered it on 2017-09-13 (see my blog entry for that date). The
Hub van Laar people said they would build it in 5 months, which they did -- my trumpet was completed on 2017-02-17, 5 months and 4 days after placing the order.
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It took 10 days for my trumpet to reach me. 4 days (including a 3-day weekend) to wire the payment from my USA bank to their Netherlands bank. (The trumpet manufacturer prefers not to use credit cards or Paypal because the transaction fees are expensive.) 2 days to ship from the Netherlands to the USA. 2 days (another weekend) for the trumpet to clear customs. 2 days to ship from the port of entry to my house.

UPS (the shipping company that delivered my package to my door) charged me a
brokerage fee (I believe this includes import duty). They made me write a check. I had almost forgotten how to do that. According to my checkbook, the last check I wrote is dated 2012-03-20, and the one before is 2010-09-15. 3 checks in 8 years.

Today, my purchases and payments are almost totally electronic, plastic, or cash. Online orders often arrive in days.

My experience with buying a trumpet from the Netherlands reminds me of when I moved from Tokyo to California in 1986. My mom sent me care packages that routinely took months to arrive. Because I had to wait for my trumpet, I was reminded of how grateful I was for packages from my mom and brother. To look forward is to appreciate.
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This is a
Hub van Laar model B9.2 trumpet. My name is engraved on the 3rd slide.
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Compared to my
Carol Brass 6580 (the trumpet I play in Oregon), my new trumpet sounds brighter, feels lighter and smaller, and gives me wider range (that is, I can play a bit higher and lower). I cannot wait to show my new instrument to my trumpet teacher John Bringetto! I want him to breathe life into the instrument, and show me what the it is capable of. (On 2018-03-02 John played his and my instruments. We agree that the B9.2 plays brighter with a piercing tone compared to his Kanstul trumpet and my Carol Brass.)
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My Hub van Laar model B9.2 (top) and Carol Brass 6580 (bottom) trumpets with my Bach 3C mouthpiece (left center).
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depoe bay walk

2018-02-24 AND 26, DEPOE BAY, OREGON, USA -- Noriko and I walked the back streets of Depoe Bay. We drive through town often. After 15 years we finally discovered the footpaths. We enjoyed it so much that we visited twice.
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Depoe Bay is located on a rocky cliff. The waves crash and spray.
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Sea lions!
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ninja shinobu-san

2018-02-18 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- For the last week or so, I read Yuzuchiri's manga "Ninja Shinobu-san no junjou" (Ninja Shinobu's pure heart) so many times that I memorized most of the dialog.

Yuzuchiri and I share our alma mater. Here is a self-portrait from his semi-fictional autobiography.
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I bought the Amazon kindle ebook. Easier to buy, carry, store, and read in bed. No dust to trigger allergic reactions. But impossible to get autographs.
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The heroine Shinobu is shy and cute just like Noriko.
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Shinobu's girlfriend Kazumi plays trumpet.
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A frog makes a crucial guest appearance. He must be Kerochan's friend!
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The story ended on Noriko's birthday, and the last comic book was published on my birthday. The coincidences are endless!
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cooking calamity

2018-02-17 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Several evenings ago, I cooked tragic tempura. I am reeling from shock. I haven't yet thrown away my deadly disaster. The result was so horrendous that I cannot release graphic images to the internet.

My mom trained me to make tempura batter using flour and eggs. For quite some time now (maybe 30 years) I have used tempura ready-mix flour. This time I used organic whole wheat flour, organic eggs, baking soda, and water. I used freshly-opened clean canola oil.

What went wrong? Have I forgotten my teenage training? I was so confident that I could make tempura batter from scratch that I purposely did not bring back any from our recent trip to Japan.

Or maybe whole wheat flour is nutritious yet too coarse for tempura. The batter felt knotty and crumbly, not smooth and fluid.

I cannot pinpoint the cause of my catastrophe.

The last time I failed in the kitchen was maybe 25 years ago when I baked 2 whole chickens in the oven, but mistook the time required to roast them. At least at that time all I needed was to add more cooking time. Our house guests were without food though.

Tonight we are roasting beef. This I ought to be able to accomplish.

valentine dance

2018-02-10 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Noriko and I attended a big band performance led by my trumpet teacher John Bringetto.

The Valentine Day dance was held on the Saturday before St Valentine's Day. This was our 1st time attending. In the past, we had to miss it due to commitments in Tokyo.
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Until last year (if I recall) they offered dance lessons before the music performance. I was looking forward to it because I wanted Noriko to be happy. Too bad, no lesson this year.
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Monochrome is much better for music photography I think.
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The accordion was John's 1st professional instrument. I understand that he played for tips at restaurants when he was in kindergarten. His father made John promise to continue playing accordion as a condition for allowing John to play trumpet. I believe that John honors his father by playing the accordion at his major gigs.
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delta flight museum

2018-02-07 ATLANTA, GEORGIA, USA -- I am still enthralled by aviation although I stopped flying after my friend Bruce died. Noriko and I walked from our motel near Atlanta airport to Delta airline's world headquarters. We visited their flight museum.

Delta's flying car.
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I am embarrassed that I required a textual explanation to understand why 4-stroke (but not 2-stroke) radial engines require an odd number of cylinders.
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Delta, named after the Mississippi Delta (not triangular wings), started their business in crop dusting. Boll weevils were damaging cotton plants. Spraying from the air was effective. The boxy chute on the belly of the aircraft is where the insecticide is ejected.
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Noriko experiencing the pitch, roll, and yaw axes of aircraft control.
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I flew on Northwest Orient! A long time ago, but in the jet age, nonstop between Japan to USA. Northwest (nicknamed Northworst) was one of the cheapest trans-Pacific airlines in the 1980s.
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Delta reservation center in 1946.
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I was dismayed to learn how old I was when I found that a Boeing 767 had been
retired and placed in a museum. My turn next?
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When I walk beneath the aircraft, my head almost touches the red strobe light on the belly.
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The B-767 tires are not that large.
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A Boeing 747 is also on display. I suspect (but unsure) that I flew on this very aircraft when it flew between Japan and America.
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Finally we realized why Delta serves Coca Cola products. Both Delta and Coca Cola (and CNN) are headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. (Our trip out here was for visiting Georgia Tech, but that's another story. I try not to talk about work on my website.)

jimmy carter

2018-02-05 ATLANTA, GEORGIA, OREGON, USA -- We visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. This is our 1st time visiting any presidential museum. Jimmy Carter is the only president whom I admire.

The museum has a Japanese garden.
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The museum documents the life history of the president. When he was campaigning, he flew on an airplane nicknamed Peanut One. The pilot was also named Jimmy Carter.
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The museum houses a replica of the Oval Office, replete with furniture and decorations he used while he was president.
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Jimmy Carter is 2 years older than Noriko's dad. I wish them both more years of continued contribution to society.

noriko's birthday

2018-02-02 FUJISAWA, JAPAN -- We celebrated Noriko's birthday at her parents' house.

After 3 years, 7 months, and 3 weeks of practicing trumpet, I finally managed to play "Happy Birthday" for Noriko! And in 3 keys (my G, A, and C). Sorry no pictures or video of the event. Noriko -- the poor girl -- was focused on filing tax returns for our parents.

Noriko's dad and I had drinks and sushi and hors d'oeuvres.
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We all had cake. I chose Mont Blanc, a quintessential Japanese edition of Italian pastry (apparently the recipe wasn't invented in France).
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tokyo walk

2018-01-31 TOKYO, JAPAN -- I walked 7 kilometers from Ginza to Shibuya. The map below shows Ginza on the far right edge (east), with a dotted blue route skirting along the south side of the imperial palace, the diet (that is, parliament) building, the supreme court (a hideous piece of architecture), the Akasaka palace, Aoyama Gakuen University (Noriko's mom's alma mater and my callsign suffix JM8AGU), the Apple store at Omotesando, and Shibuya station at the far left (west) of the map.
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I started my walk at the Yamaha music flagship store in Ginza. I wonder whether music instruments belong in the same category as jewelry and designer clothing. Are we paying extra for the fancy buildings and impeccably dressed store people?
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I had an appointment with a technical salesperson to inquire about soundproofing my room. Retrofitting an existing room with soundproofing material is not necessarily expensive, but for reasons of acoustics physics the soundproofing material must be thick and/or heavy. Because most Japanese rooms are small, and because most residential floors are not designed to support more than 200 kilograms per square meter, Yamaha has chosen to compromise by adding dense but not-so-thick material on the floor, walls, and ceiling of the room to be soundproofed.

The cutaway life-size model below shows that each wall is shortened by over 260 millimeters, and the ceiling height is decreased by 190 millimeters to reduce sound by 35 decibels in addition to the soundproofing offered by the existing walls. (Sound attenuation depends on audio frequency. The values I state here are appropriate for my trumpet.) Compared with soundproofing techniques commonly used in the USA, Yamaha's method offers less reduction in room size at the expense of less reduction in sound. Soundproofing techniques in America often result in reduction of over 600 millimeters in wall and ceiling dimensions, yielding 60 or more decibels of reduction in sound.
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On 2017-12-15, Yamaha released
a 2nd-generation version of their Allen Vizzutti trumpet. They discontinued the 1st generation model 6 years ago. The updated model is being sold in a limited run of 200 silver-plated and 5 gold-plated trumpets. At the Yamaha Ginza store I saw (but did not test-play) the new instruments. The plastic bags are chemically treated to retard corrosion.
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Tokyo is a small city but tiresome to walk because numerous traffic lights break your stride and force you to stand still. It took me 10 minutes to cross the intersection in front of the diet building. Security had nothing to do with the delay. Automobiles have priority over pedestrians, that's all.
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Snow disrupted life in the city a few days ago. No problem today. Traces of snow lined the palace moat.
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I visited
Kawai musical instruments at Omotesando. If I ever own a piano, it hope it is a Kawai because it will have my name on it! They sell toy versions too so a Kawai piano is not out of my reach.
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I had an appointment with an engineer at Kawai musical instruments regarding soundproofing. The engineer has been playing trumpet for 35 years (10 times my duration) and was understanding of and sympathetic to my needs. The advice he gave me was essentially identical to what Yamaha told me.

I gave up installing soundproofing at our house in Japan, because (a) the upper floors of the building cannot safely support the weight of soundproofing material, and (b) while the ground floor can easily support the weight, its ceiling would become too low if insulation is installed. Noriko says that it would be cheaper and more fun to buy a car (a
van or minimalist motorhome for instance) and to travel to different places where I can practice, like we did in England. Clever Noriko! As a fallback idea, a karaoke store nearby allows me to practice trumpet for about $4 an hour.

I continued my walk to
Ikebe music supply at Shibuya station. On a whim, I bought a Bach 3B trumpet mouthpiece. The 3B has dimensions close to my 3C, and is reputed to have a darker sound. (I can't tell the difference.) I bought the 3B partly as a spare for my 3C, and partly as an experiment. Curiously, Bach mouthpieces are cheaper in Japan than they are in America, where they are made.
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I put my trusty 3C and new 3B in a compact camera case I bought for $4.
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computer games

2018-01-27 TOKYO, JAPAN -- I rarely play computer games. Lately I have become addicted (temporarily, I'm certain) to 2 games: 虹色カノジョ (Dream Girlfriend) and 旅かえる (Travel Frog). Noriko is ambivalent to the former (although many girls and adult women play it) and shares my passion with the latter. I play both games for free.

I learned of Dream Girlfriend when I bought my Amazon Kindle Fire 10 tablet. Apparently the game has been around since 2015, perhaps even before that. The game is still actively being developed.

Just in case you are concerned, there is no sex or violence in the game. You meet a young female android, and you help her choose hair styles and clothing. That's all! The storyline is essentially non-existent (neither goal nor growth) and the conversations are brief ("Let's take a walk in the snow", "Good idea", the end).

The game's allure (to me at least) is the fantastic artwork. Japanese manga and anime graphic creativity at its best. You can imagine lots of back stories or fan fiction just by combining backgrounds with your girlfriend's hairdo and outfits.

The screenshot below shows my girlfriend Panko (meaning she-panda, not bread crumbs) working as a docent at a museum. Panko knows a lot about the history of the castle, and is working towards her PhD in architectural design ...
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Travel Frog is a brand-new game, released on 2017-11-24, just 2 months ago. I learned of Travel Frog from an article in the
New York Times (I subscribe for $1 per week), which reported a new Japanese-language game becoming the rage in China. Apparently 96 percent of downloads are for players in China, with only 1 percent for Japan. And this is without localization (that is, the game has not yet been translated to Chinese or English language).

Noriko and I suspect that the designer of the game must have been secretly observing our lives -- perhaps they work for the NSA? Or CIA? Or the Xinhua news agency? Whatever. Here is a frog that travels the world and takes selfies (photos of himself) and sends back souvenirs. Sounds just like our own frog Kerochan! And he has a snail for a friend! That's my dad-in-law! The inexplicable uncanny resemblance to our family is endless!

Travel Frog lives in a delightful house located within a hollow rock. Here's a screenshot of Travel Frog at home.
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trumpet mouthpiece

2018-01-16 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- My trumpet teacher John Bringetto gave me his trumpet mouthpiece that he played when he was in college. John played professionally when he was in undergraduate and graduate schools during the late 1960s to the early 1970s.
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Bob Reeves, the manufacturer, was located in Hollywood, California (spelled "Hollyw'd. CA") when this mouthpiece was made. Now they are in Valencia, California, across the freeway from Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park.
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I cleaned and sent the mouthpiece to
Bob Reeves to have it re-plated (that is, have a new coat of silver placed upon the brass surface).
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The mouthpiece has been loved a lot. Note the nicks and scars of battle. The manufacturer intentionally did not polish or buff the metal, in order to avoid altering the playing characteristics of the mouthpiece.
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Mouthpieces are like shoes. They need to fit you perfectly, and, for some people and uses, the slightest change in dimension can change how it feels and sounds. On this mouthpiece, the rim (the part that comes into contact with the lips) and the shank (the tube that fits into the trumpet) screw apart, so that the player can exchange parts having different shapes and lengths.
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I showed John his refurbished mouthpiece at our lesson on the following day. I am ecstatic with receiving part of my master's heritage. I love the classy case, too.
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improvising

2018-01-15 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- At our trumpet lesson on 2017-12-27, my teacher John Bringetto instructed me to play along with him, with him playing the melody of "Autumn Leaves" and me "coming in and out whenever you feel like it, and playing what feels good" (although this is not a verbatim transcription of what John said, it captures his wording). I didn't expect that (it was my 1st time) and even if I had anticipated it I wouldn't have known what to do.

After coming home, I started struggling with recording myself playing the melody (never can get it right), and messing with "what feels good" (everything I do is primitive and awkward). I got so nervous and self-conscious that I asked to postpone our lesson. John needed to take a trip, so instead of an interval of 1 week between lessons I received 3 weeks.

During that time, I transmogrified the melody. I post it here because it is my 1st attempt. It is the equivalent of kindergarten kids drawing primitive stick figures that represent their parents. Lots of patient love required to interpret the intent. I don't know the difference between arranging, embellishing, or writing harmony. Plus I can't tear myself away from the melody. The song has an AABC pattern. My modification technique differs between the AAB part and the C part. The stylistic difference bothers me but I don't know how to fix it. There's another more upbeat tune I have in my mind but I can't put it to paper or through the horn. Oh dear.

I want to show you the lead sheet from the Real Book that I own. For copyright reasons I believe I should not.
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After doing all this, Noriko pointed out that I had misunderstood John's instructions. Oops!

Noriko video-records our lessons. We watched the recording the same day of the lesson. I did not understand what John was doing or asking me to do. 2 weeks later after the lesson, we watched the video again. Of course Noriko was right. I finally realized that John wanted me to play fills (as for vocalists) or responses (as in call and response) ... my knowledge of concepts and terminology is severely lacking.

Last night in bed, I wore earphones, played with a piano application on my computer tablet, and experimented with "coming in and out whenever I feel like it".

I need to think more. Alas, today I have a heavy workload ... Maybe later this afternoon or early tomorrow?

bikerides 03 and 04

2018-01-06 COTTAGE GROVE AND TOLEDO, OREGON, USA -- Great weather for 2.5 days out of a 3-day weekend. (Monday is Martin Luther King Day, celebrated by many but not all workplaces. One of my former workplaces did not observe MLK day.) We rode our bike on Saturday and Sunday.

On 2018-01-13 we drove to Dorena Lake, a reservoir located east of the city of Cottage Grove, Oregon. We rode the
Row River trail, between the Mosby Creek and Culp Creek trailheads. The trail used to be a railroad. Cyclists and pedestrians only. No automobiles. Our ride was 44.8 kilometers with 100 meters elevation change.
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Sky clear, wind calm, estimate 12 C, wonderful day.
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The reservoir is designed for controlling floods. The lake is mostly drained during winter months in order to contain water during heavy rains.
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A short break at the end of the trail. We wear highly visible clothing, in order to be seen and avoided.
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From our house it's 230 kilometers and 2.5 hours of driving each way. Next time we would like to stay overnight nearby to enjoy the area fuller.

On 2018-01-14 we drove to the city of Toledo, Oregon. We rode
Yaquina Bay Road from the Yaquina Pacific Railroad Museum to Yaquina Bay Road milepost approximately 2.5.
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Broken 5000, wind calm, estimate 16 C, another wonderful day.
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Yaquina Bay Road is an automobile road. Ample shoulder, light traffic, friendly and kind motorists.
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A short break alongside the road. We dismount our bike because our bottoms hurt.
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Toledo is about as far from our house as it is to my trumpet teacher's house. 50-minute drive.

Rain is forecast starting Monday early afternoon. I intend to wash our truck and bike by midday.

robot talk

2018-01-08 BEAVERTON, OREGON, USA -- We attended a robot talk and demonstration. The talk took place in a building adjacent to my old office at OHSU.

Dave Shinsel recently retired from Intel, and builds robots as a hobby. His creations are professional level, high-end serious stuff. One of his latest robots appears in a
Microsoft Surface commercial.
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Most of the shell of the robot is made using a 3D printer. Some parts, such as the head, ears, and hips, are made from plastic globes sold at pet stores for gerbils and hamsters to play in.
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Dave disassembled the robot so that we could peek inside.
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Noriko and I loved the technical presentation and demonstrations. Apart from the robotics, what impressed me was the aging of the engineers. I belong to the same generation. Computer science is no longer a young field! We are past-middle-age senior-citizen geezers. Shocking!

bikeride 02

2018-01-06 LOGSDEN, OREGON, USA -- We went bicycling from Moonshine Park. The roads were paved and had short shallow hills. Traffic was light. People were friendly. We saw cattle, alpacas, chickens, ducks, geese, and miniature donkeys. 30 kilometers, 90 minutes. Wonderful!

After riding with us, Kero is becoming emboldened. A short while ago, Noriko wouldn't have allowed Kero to sit on the bike saddle by himself.
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Moonshine Park has a waterfall feeding the Siletz River.
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Twin Bridges Memorial Park has 2 sets of bridge supports. The set in the background used to support a covered bridge. The covered bridge aged and a new bridge, the one in the foreground, was built alongside the old one. Hence the name Twin Bridges park. The covered bridge carried pedestrians (but no cars) for some time, until it had to be demolished.
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We bought locally grown honey at the Logsden county store. We met delightful people there.
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bikeride 01 of the year 2018

2018-01-03 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- We grabbed our chance at good weather, and went bicycling up Schooner Creek Road.

It's a marshy area with lots of streams and creeks.
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Google maps shows elevation gain and loss. Great for planning bike rides. The blue line shows roughly where we went today. 24 kilometers, 215 meters elevation gain (and loss), 80 minutes travel time.
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bringetto jazz duo

2018-01-02 YACHATS, OREGON, USA -- John and Joanne performed dinner jazz tonight at the Drift Inn in Yachats.

The restaurant was packed when we arrived. Great! We concentrated on enjoying the music while we waited for our table.
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Joanne the drum player added singing to her performance during the past year.
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John performed on trumpet, flugelhorn, flute, voice, and keyboard. He played tunes for me so that I could learn from them.
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chimney cleaning

2018-01-02 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- We had our chimney and wood stove cleaned and inspected.

We cleaned our family room in preparation for cleaning.
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Chance from Robben gave our chimney and stove a clean bill of health. Yay!
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new moon yoga

2018-01-01 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- Noriko and I started our new year with a yoga lesson at the New Moon Yoga studio.

Today is their 4th anniversary. We have supported them from the start.
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The studio is coincidentally located in the same building as where we attended the New Year's Eve dance several hours ago.
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new year's eve

2017-12-31 LINCOLN CITY, OREGON, USA -- The Lincoln Pops Big Band, directed by my trumpet teacher John Bringetto, performed for the New Year's Eve dance.

A former restaurant manager decorated the auditorium.
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The band played 4 sets for the dancers.
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I got to walk through the dressing room, and peek at the band from behind.
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From the audience seats, we cannot see the drummer, bass, and trumpet playing in the back row.
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The daughter of our neighbor across the street manages the cultural center.
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