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Gary J. Wolff's Blog

Gary J. Wolff's blog is my mini-journal about GaryJWolff.com. It...

  •  lets you know whenever any new pages are added to GaryJWolff.com
  •  allows me to periodically share some interesting stuff about Japanese culture  
  •  keeps you up-to-date on any other postings or news regarding GaryJWolff.com


Enjoy...

Cheers, 
Gary


Recent website updates (at bottom of the page)
Feel free to share your comments below.





May 27, 2016 - Japanese university ESS (English Speaking Society) speech contest

I never cease to be amazed at the ambition of some Japanese university students who are so passionate in improving their English and public speaking skills. For the 7th consecutive year, on Sunday, May 22, 2016 I had the pleasure of helping judge a university student English speech contest sponsored by my university's ESS (English Speaking Society). These 2nd-year students were truly amazing, sacrificing an entire day to give by memory in front of 100 people a 7-min. speech which they composed themselves.

2016.5.22 Meiji speech contest 1

2016.5.22 Meiji speech contest 2

2016.5.22 Meiji speech contest 3




May 20, 2016 - Mt. Ushiokunogangaharasuriyama (牛奥ノ雁ヶ腹摺山)

Is this possibly the longest mountain name in all of Japan?

This pic was posted recently in the "Hiking in Japan" Facebook group, and having scaled 38 of Japan's 50 tallest peaks, it really jolted my attention. Loosely translated, I believe it means "Rubbing the belly of a wild goose inside a cow" Mountain. Wow, how funny! smiley

For anyone interested in hiking to the top of this 1990m peak in Yamanashi Prefecture which offers an excellent panoramic view of Mt. Fuji, here's some information in Japanese including route map and here's the Google Map.

Mt. Ushiokunogangaharasuri
Mt. Ushiokunogangaharasuriyama
(Photo credit: Lan Jin)

p.s. This reminds me of a story written by a Japanese university student a few years ago about the longest train station name in the world, the "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch" train station in Wales. Wow!




May 13, 2016 - Tokyo's famous train riding cat

A cool cat has brought fame to Tokyo's otherwise ordinary Seibu Ikebukuro Line, bringing plenty of smiles to commuters & animal lovers, many of whom get on just to have a chance of meeting this very special feline passenger. 

Apparently, the cat travels on his own and decides where to get on & off. And it is said that the cat has even learned proper train etiquette, keeping himself neatly in a compact manner to save room for other passengers to sit, yet taking the liberty to spread out for a nice cat nap when the train isn't so packed.

Generally, in Japan animal carriers are required for pets on trains, however, for the time being, the Seibu Ikebukuro Line seems to be turning a blind eye to this popular feline commuter.

Source: http://www.lovemeow.com/feline-1708143982.html (click open to see more cute cat pics)

Tokyo's train riding cat
Tokyo's famous train riding cat
(Photo credit: Twitter: @manpukuoya)




May 4, 2016 - Have you noticed that bright orange "star" in the lower southeast sky?

The red planet Mars is often difficult to see, as it’s not a very large planet. But every 2 years, around the time we pass between Mars and the sun, the planet brightens dramatically and becomes a splendid sight in our night sky. That’s happening right now.

In fact, we’re now less than a month away from the planet’s May 22 opposition, when Earth will pass between Mars and the sun. When Mars then reaches its crest of brightness, it will have quadrupled in brilliance since the beginning of April.

Mars is easy to spot in the lower southeast sky, and although it's not so bright, you can also see Saturn a little down to the left of Mars, as well as Antares, one of the sky’s brightest stars in the constellation Scorpius, almost directly below Mars. In early May, Mars rises at about 9 p.m. local time at mid-northern latitudes.

2016 is a grand year for seeing Mars. The best months for Mars viewing in 2016 are May and June. But the planet remains bright throughout the summer of 2016. Don't miss it!

Mars, Saturn, & Antares
Mars, Saturn, & Antares, May 2016

[Note: Because Fri. 5/6 is the new moon, the next week is a good time to see Mars in a dark sky without any interference from a bright moon.]




May 4, 2016 - Japanese windmill house (風車の家)

While out on my mountain bike during Golden Week a few years ago, the highlight of that day was to run across an elderly lady's home adorned by an uncountable number of handmade windmills (kazaguruma, 風車). As you can see in the video below, most of these windmills are made from aluminum drink cans and PET bottles. According to the nice lady, making these amazing windmills is her son's hobby.


Japanese windmill house (風車の家)
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




May 2, 2016 - Can you tell that it's azalea season in Tokyo? smiley

Just LOVE this color! The 2016 Bunkyo Azalea Festival at Nezu Shrine, one of the best places to view azaleas in Tokyo, runs thru Thurs. 5/5.

Tokyo azaleas
Tokyo azaleas




May 1, 2016 - Sumo's all-time winningest wrestler hawks Mickey D's new Grand Big Mac

Mongolian yokozuna grand champion sumo wrestler Hakuho, the most successful sumo wrestler in Japanese sumo history, is the new poster boy for Mickey D's Grand Big Mac. And having twice tried it myself, although the taste I believe is exactly the same as a Big Mac, I can assure you that this burger is truly GRAND!! Forget the fries or other side orders, as it's a meal all by itself. smiley

Hakuho & McDonald's Japan's new Grand Big Mac
Hakuho & McDonald's Japan's new Grand Big Mac




April 30, 2016 - Geisha girl bento

Japanese people are SO creative! But wait....isn't she a little too gorgeous to eat?!! smiley

Geisha girl bento
Geisha girl bento




April 28, 2016 - 35 flying koinobori (鯉幟, carp streamers) along the Edo River (江戸川) in Tokyo

It's that time of year in Japan again....GOLDEN WEEK!! To celebrate Children's Day (こどもの日, Kodomo no hi), May 5, one of the 4 national holidays during this week-long holiday period, "koinobori (鯉幟)," or carp streamers, are flown around the country in honor of Japanese children in the hope that they will grow up healthy, strong, & happy. These koinobori were flying along the banks of the Edo River (江戸川) on an absolutely gorgeous day in Tokyo.


35 flying koinobori (鯉幟, carp streamers)
along the Edo River (江戸川) in Tokyo
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




April 17, 2016 - Attention university students! The Odakyu Railway Co. is hiring.

And your dream job is waiting for you as a train station attendant. smiley Make up to ¥1,300(~$12)/hour if you're willing to brave the morning crush hour from 7:00-9:30 am. 

Odakyu Railway Co. help wanted poster
Odakyu Railway Co. help wanted poster
Tokyo, Japan




April 13, 2016 - Japanese mini-steam locomotive (ミニSL)

Wow, even a shinkansen! smiley In Gyotoku Ekimae Koen & operated the 2nd Sun. of every month (except August) by the Ichikawa Steam Railway Club. Google map for Gyotoku Ekimae park: http://g.co/maps/tbekf



Japanese mini-steam locomotive (ミニSL)
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




April 9, 2016 - Stair climbing calorie consumption

Ever wondered exactly how many calories you burn up when walking up the stairs? Well, the Japanese have you covered. In fact, they have it down to an exact science in the famous Tokyu Hands household goods store in Shibuya, Tokyo.

From the B2 (2nd basement) floor all the way up to the top 6th floor, they've put the cumulative calories consumed on each stairstep! WOW! Only in Japan! smiley
 
kcal consumed while stair climbing
Calories consumed,
from bottom of B2 floor
kcal consumed while stair climbing
Calories consumed,
@ top of 6th floor

[Note: As for measurements of nutritional energy, Japan uses kilocalories (kcal), the metric unit for the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius. This equates to the term "Calorie" (with a capital 'C') used in America.]
 
Bonus question for extra credit: How many total stairsteps are there in the Tokyu Hands Shibuya store? smiley (The first person to post the correct answer in the comments section below is the winner!)




April 8, 2016 - Nihonbashi Sakura Dori light & music show

As part of the 2016 Nihonbashi Sakura Festival, visitors to the vibrant and historical Nihonbashi Sakura Dori between the Coredo Muromachi 1 and 2 restaurant and shopping complexes are being treated to an immersive projection mapping light and music show which wraps you in an authentic feeling of the sakura season, as if the cherry blossoms are snowing down upon you. 3/18(Fri)–4/10(Sun), 5:30-8:00pm



Nihonbashi Sakura Dori light & music show
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




April 1, 2016 - Cherry Blossom Season 2016

Yep, it's that time of year again! Even after a quarter-century in Japan, it never gets old. I wish we'd had a little more sunshine today, but some of my pics turned out pretty well anyways.

Please check out my 36-pic Flickr cherry blossom album if you get a chance. Chidorigafuchi Park, without question one of the most popular spots to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo (especially for the nighttime lightup), was stunning (and very CROWDED) as always.

Cherry Blossom Season 2016
Cherry Blossom Season 2016
(click link to see the other 35 pics in my Flickr album)







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Website Updates

May 28, 2016

Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The most frequently asked questions about climbing Mt. Fuji, including info on routes, maps, videos, transport access, traffic stats, weather, and climber stories.

Continue reading "Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)"

May 27, 2016

Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Page 2

The most frequently asked questions about climbing Mt. Fuji, including info on routes, maps, videos, transport access, traffic stats, weather, and climber stories.

Continue reading "Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Page 2"

May 27, 2016

Can you camp on Mt. Fuji?

Hey I'm gonna be climbing up Fuji in late July. I was wondering if it was allowed/possible to set up camp just on the mountain. I have a swag that I

Continue reading "Can you camp on Mt. Fuji?"

May 27, 2016

Gary J. Wolff's Blog

Gary J. Wolff's blog keeps you up-to-date with my everyday life in Japan, as well as recent additions/changes to the GaryJWolff.com website.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog"

May 26, 2016

Which Japanese mountain range should I go to in August?

Hi Gary, I plan on taking a nice month in August this year to climb the mountains in Japan. I really loved your detailed plan for Mount Tateyama, and

Continue reading "Which Japanese mountain range should I go to in August?"

May 21, 2016

What are the temperature and precipitation on top of Mt. Fuji?

How the temperature and precipitation on the top of the volcano have changed with the ongoing climate change? I Would be grateful if you have paper on

Continue reading "What are the temperature and precipitation on top of Mt. Fuji?"

May 20, 2016

Can I purchase a Mt. Fuji climbing stick outside of Japan?

Is there any place other than Japan (online?) to purchase a Fuji stick? With or without stamps. I am trying to find a replacement Fuji Stick for my brother.

Continue reading "Can I purchase a Mt. Fuji climbing stick outside of Japan?"

May 20, 2016

Mt. Ushiokunogangaharasuriyama (牛奥ノ雁ヶ腹摺山)

Is this possibly the longest mountain name in all of Japan?

This pic was posted recently in the "Hiking in Japan" Facebook group, and having scaled 38 of Japan's 50 tallest peaks, it really jolted my attention. Loosely translated, I believe it means "Rubbing the belly of a wild goose inside a cow" Mountain. Wow, how funny!...

Click link to see photo of mountain sign.

Continue reading "Mt. Ushiokunogangaharasuriyama (牛奥ノ雁ヶ腹摺山)"

May 13, 2016

Tokyo's famous train riding cat

A cool cat has brought fame to Tokyo's otherwise ordinary Seibu Ikebukuro Line, bringing plenty of smiles to commuters & animal lovers, many of whom get on just to have a chance of meeting this very special feline passenger.

Apparently, the cat travels on his own and decides where to get on & off. And it is said that the cat has even learned proper train etiquette, keeping himself neatly in a compact manner to save room for other passengers to sit, yet taking the liberty...

Continue reading "Tokyo's famous train riding cat"

May 13, 2016

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2016

Posts include Tokyo Metro's Mega Solar project, a paraglider flight thru Norway’s Northern Lights, and a video interview with ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2016"

May 12, 2016

Mt. Kiso-koma-ga-take (木曽駒ヶ岳) and Mt. Utsugi-dake (空木岳), Japan's 25th & 42nd highest peaks

Pics, maps, and trail description of my Aug. 2002 climb of Mt. Kiso-koma-ga-take and Mt. Utsugi-dake in the Central Japan (Chuo) Alps.

Continue reading "Mt. Kiso-koma-ga-take (木曽駒ヶ岳) and Mt. Utsugi-dake (空木岳), Japan's 25th & 42nd highest peaks"

May 04, 2016

Have you noticed that bright orange "star" in the lower southeast sky?

The red planet Mars is often difficult to see, as it’s not a very large planet. But every 2 years, around the time we pass between Mars and the sun, the planet brightens dramatically and becomes a splendid sight in our night sky. That’s happening right now.

In fact, we’re now less than a month away from the planet’s May 22 opposition, when Earth will pass between Mars and the sun. When Mars then reaches its crest of brightness, it will have quadrupled in brilliance since the beginning of April.

Mars is easy to spot in the lower southeast sky...

Continue reading "Have you noticed that bright orange "star" in the lower southeast sky?"

May 03, 2016

Japanese windmill house (風車の家)

While out on my mountain bike during Golden Week a few years ago, the highlight of that day was to run across an elderly lady's home adorned by an uncountable number of handmade windmills (kazaguruma, 風車). As you can see in the video below, most of these windmills are made from aluminum drink cans and PET bottles. According to the nice lady, making these amazing windmills is her son's hobby.

Click link to view video of the Japanese windmill house (風車の家).

Continue reading "Japanese windmill house (風車の家)"

May 02, 2016

Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

The latest news updates about the strongest ever Japan earthquake and tsunami on Mar. 11, 2011, including maps, photos, and videos.

Continue reading "Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake and Tsunami"

May 02, 2016

Can you tell that it's azalea season in Tokyo? :-)

Just LOVE this color! The 2016 Bunkyo Azalea Festival at Nezu Shrine, one of the best places to view azaleas in Tokyo, runs thru Thurs. 5/5.

Click link to see beautiful Tokyo azaleas!

Continue reading "Can you tell that it's azalea season in Tokyo? :-)"








Tokyo Weather/Sky
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Gary J. Wolff


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