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Home: Gary J. Wolff's Blog

Gary J. Wolff's Blog

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

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



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

May 22, 2015 -  Venus & the crescent moon tango together

The dazzling starlike point of light near the 4-day (24%), waxing crescent moon tonight (and last night) is the planet Venus. As a Boy Scout who earned the astronomy merit badge, I always get thrilled watching a pair up of the brightest and second-brightest nighttime celestial bodies.

On another astronomical note, night by night Venus is moving closer to Jupiter, our 2nd brightest planet, for a spectacular conjunction on June 30, the closest these two planets will be next to each other until August 27, 2016. Let's keep an eye on them in the next month!

crescent moon & venus
Pair up of 4-day crescent moon & Venus
7:50 pm, May 22, 2015, Tokyo, Japan

May 17, 2015 - The scariest roller coaster ever opens in San Antonio, Texas

The new roller coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Texas just opened May 13 and it looks CRAZY!! It's called Batman: The Ride 4D. You'll surely get the "4D" part after you watch this amazing video.

The Batman: The Ride 4D is the world's first 4D free fly coaster and features the world’s first magnetic technology that causes you to flip as you fly over the top of a 12-story hill and negotiate 2 beyond-90-degree vertical drops.

The world's latest coastering design delivers 6 full inversions and the stomach-shaking sensation of a true freefall right in the middle of the ride! OMG!

[Warning: Watching this video may cause you to lose your lunch!!] smiley

Batman: The Ride 4D roller coaster
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

May 16, 2015 - The tan lines of the next generation

The tan lines of the next generation
The tan lines of the next generation

Two angels are talking in heaven. One says to the other, "The new arrivals are having a tough time talking to others. They just hold their hands out and twiddle their thumbs."

May 12, 2015 - "Sorry, but I don't have enough time."

Really? According to this graphic from Foundr Magazine, the average person has 37 hours per week to pursue their dreams. How 'bout you? 

But I don't have enough time
But I don't have enough time
(Image credit: Foundr Magazine)

May 5, 2015 - Nezu Shrine Azalea Festival (根津神社 つつじ祭)

The springtime flowers in Japan bring a non-stop exhilirating display of brilliant colors and sweet fragrances to titillate the senses. The plum blossoms begin in mid-February, followed by the absolutely breathtaking cherry blossoms, and then a continuous overlapping of blooming periods for azaleas, camellias, wisteria, magnolias, peonies, roses, tulips, pansies, irises, hydrangeas, etc. that lasts well into mid-summer.

On the occasion of Children's Day, a national holiday in Japan, today I had the pleasure of visiting Nezu Shrine, my favorite spot in Tokyo to view the beautiful azaleas, where they have a festival every spring. This year's Nezu Shrine Azalea Festival ends tomorrow. 

2015 Nezu Shrine Azalea Festival
Click image above to view my 19-pic Flickr album
of the 2015 Nezu Shrine Azalea Festival.

May 4, 2015 - How do I access Classic Google Maps?

If like me, you're not that crazy about the new Google Maps, and would still like to access the classic version of Google Maps, here are some options.

These 2 links will take you to a Classic Google Map, but I wouldn't hold your breath on how much longer they'll be available:


Another option is to sign the petition to Google CEO Larry Page to bring back Classic Google Maps:

At the moment, the petition has 2,632 signers and needs 2,368 more to reach the goal of 5,000 supporters. Let's do it!

Bring back Classic Google Maps
Please sign petition to
Bring Back Classic Google Maps

May 2, 2015 - Austin, Texas sucks

Well.....not really. But my all-time favorite city in Texas, and where I spent 4 years of my early life as a college student, has experienced an astronomical growth rate over the past several years. In fact, it shows up consistently on those "Best Places to Live" lists we've all seen.

So this poster is a comical, tongue-in-cheek attempt by locals to somehow stem the tide. smiley

Austin, Texas sucks
(Image credit:

April 29, 2015 - Akebono Tarō becomes the 2015 Champion Carnival champ

On April 25, 45-year-old former Japanese sumo yokozuna grand champion Akebono Tarō (born Chad Rowan) from Hawaii won the Champion Carnival, an annual round-robin professional wrestling tournament held by All Japan Pro Wrestling.

To win the Champion Carnival, All Japan's premier tournament, Akebono defeated Suwama in the finals, the same wrestler he beat in the Ryogoku Sumo Arena on Oct. 27, 2013 to win Japan's Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, but which he was forced to relinquish on May 30 of last year due to health issues.

Akebono, who retired from sumo wrestling in 2001, was the first non-Japanese-born wrestler ever to reach yokozuna, sumo's highest rank, and during his 13-year sumo wrestling career, compiled a career total of 11 tournament championships, and was runner-up in 13 other tournaments.

He took up pro wrestling in 2005, and just last month on March 22 won the World Tag Team Championship for the 2nd time, when he and Yutaka Yoshie, a former NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) intercontinental tag team champion, defeated former Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion Jun Akiyama and Takao Ōmori.

Akebono has now set his sights on getting his Triple Crown title back. GO AKEBONO!!


Akebono Taro - Champion Carnival
Japan pro wrestler Akebono Tarō

April 18, 2015 - Bye-bye Obama Countdown Clock

April 15, 2015 - Download the entire internet onto your hard disk.

Click HERE to download the entire internet onto your hard disk.
(courtesy of Jim Breen)

April 11, 2015 - Camels in western Oman's desert

At first glance, it looks like a caravan of black camels making its way across the sun-scorched sands. But look more closely and you will see that this is actually a bird's eye view of the procession, heading to grazing pastures near Wadi Mitan, western Oman. The dark outlines are the beasts' shadows, and the white shapes at their feet are, in fact, the backs of the actual camels.

This incredible, award-winning picture was taken by National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz, who used a motorised paraglider to get the aerial view.

camel shadows
Photo credit: George Steinmetz
(Click image above to view larger, full-size photo.)

Source: Daily Mail

April 3, 2015 - Japanese Cherry Blossoms 2015

Even after nearly a quarter-century in Japan, I never cease to be amazed @ the stunning cherry blossoms. Click image below to view my 35-pic Flickr album. Most of the album contains pics @ my favorite spot in Tokyo for cherry blossom viewing, Chidorigafuchi, near Kudanshita Station, which every year features an amazing nighttime lightup of the gorgeous cherry blossoms.

Japanese cherry blossoms 2015
Japanese cherry blossoms 2015
(my 35-pic Flickr album)

Mar. 30, 2015 - Cherry blossoms in Tokyo are now in full bloom!

Cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Japan
Cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Japan

Mar. 25, 2015 - This teacher has an amazing response for the inappropriate question "What do teachers make?"

If you're a teacher, this video may make you want to stand up and yell "AMEN!". Do you know any teachers who make THIS? If so, be sure to forward this video to them!

What do Teachers Make? by Taylor Mali
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Mar. 18, 2015 - The magic of Japan's cherry blossom season...

....Coming to a location near you SOON! smiley

According to the latest forecast by the Japan Weather Association, the cherry blossoms will start blooming in Tokyo on Mar. 25 (only ONE WEEK from today!) and peak on April 2. Can't wait!!

2015 sakura zensen
2015 Sakura Zensen (cherry blossom front)

More details on the 2015 Japan cherry blossom season here:

Mar. 17, 2015 - People are awesome!

This is one of those "You gotta be kidding me!" videos. Don’t try this at home! smiley

Two of my favorite parts are the frisbee tricks @ the 0:44 & 2:36 marks.

People are Awesome 2014 video
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Mar. 13, 2015 - Introducing the Apple Watch

Apple watch cartoon
Source: International New York Times, Mar. 11, 2015, p. 7
by editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte

Mar. 11, 2015 - 4-year anniversary of strongest ever Japan earthquake and tsunami

Four years ago today, Mar. 11, 2011, @ 2:46 pm northeastern Japan was hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災), the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to have hit Japan, and the 4th most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.

Sadly the massive, magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 ft) in Miyako, Iwate and devastated cities & seaports along a broad swath of the northeastern Japan coastline.

The tsunami in turn caused meltdowns at 3 reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex, and forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents. Today, radiation levels remain as much as 10 times above normal in areas surrounding the plant, and scores of towns and villages remain off-limits despite a massive cleanup effort.

Fukushima nuclear power plant workers are still battling to contain leaks of contaminated water, and the plant won't be fully decommissioned for at least 3 more decades.

I was home at the time, and never lost my internet connection, so primarily to keep my many wonderful overseas friends & family (who were all BEGGING me to get the heck outta Dodge) updated on the latest news, I started blogging immediately, and over the course of the next 101 days after the triple tragedy, I had posted 467 news updates.

In that first week, the stunning amateur video below is one of the most terrifying I saw, in this case, of the killer tsunami destroying 95 percent of Minami-Sanriku (南三陸町), a fishing port in Miyagi Prefecture.

Mar. 11, 2011 tsunami washing away Minami-sanriku (南三陸町), Miyagi
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Yesterday the Japanese National Police confirmed that the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災) & tsunami caused 15,891 deaths, 6,152 injuries, 2,584 people still missing across 20 prefectures, as well as 228,863 people living away from their home in either temporary housing or due to permanent relocation.

To view more shocking videos and my blog posts for that first week after the Mar. 11, 2011 quake/tsunami, please check out this page: Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, News Updates for March 12-18, 2011

Mar. 1, 2015 - Akihabara traffic cone juggler

Akihabara is never a dull moment. Yesterday just before our Tokyo PC Users Group Akihabara tour, a few of us were entertained by this amazing young man who was performing in the square on the north side of JR Akihabara Station "Electric Town" exit, near the Japanese idol girl group AKB48's theater. Among other things, he was juggling TRAFFIC CONES! smiley

Akihabara traffic cone juggler
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

If you're interested in discount, backstreet electronics shops, you might enjoy the pics from our Tokyo PC Users Group's Akihabara Electric Town tour.

Feb. 20, 2015 - How 'bout some bacon & eggs for breakfast?

Although we were first warned about cholesterol in 1961, America's top diet and nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop cholesterol warnings, considering cholesterol to not be a "nutrient of concern."

The panel cited mounting research that because cholesterol from the diet represents only about 20 percent of the cholesterol circulating in the human bloodstream, lowering cholesterol intake will affect blood cholesterol levels only marginally.

So we can now eat eggs again! The WHOLE egg. smiley

But that's not all: Saturated fat is also making a comeback. Sweden just became the first western nation to officially reject low-fat diets in favor of a low-carb high-fat diet, basically saying steak is better for you than bread.

Australian cardiologist Dr. Ross Walker says that's not the only pro-fat study. "Cambridge University just released a trial with 600,000 people, 32 different trials put together, and there's no link between meat, eggs, dairy, and heart disease."

But the new view on cholesterol in the diet does not reverse warnings about high levels of "bad" cholesterol in the blood, which have been linked to heart disease. Moreover, some experts warned that people with particular health problems, such as diabetes, should continue to avoid cholesterol-rich diets.

Excuse me now, while I catch up on all the delicious cholesterol I've missed out on during this past HALF-CENTURY! smiley

bacon and egg breakfast
Bacon and egg breakfast
(Photo credit:

Feb. 13, 2015 - Japanese inventor of soy sauce bottle dies @ 85

Japanese industrial designer Kenji Ekuan (榮久庵憲司), whose most popular invention is the world-famous red-capped Kikkoman soy sauce bottle, has died at age 85.

Ekuan, a former monk at a Hiroshima temple, later pursued a career in design, graduating from the prestigious Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1955 and founding his design studio two years later.

His other designs included the Yamaha VMAS motorcycle, the Komachi bullet train connecting Tokyo and northern Japan, the Narita Express airport liner, audio equipment, and company logos like the ones for the Ministop convenience store and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Kenji Ekuan in 2003
Kenji Ekuan in 2003
(Photo credit: AP)
Kikkoman soy sauce bottle
Kikkoman soy sauce bottle
(Photo credit: Mj-bird/Creative Commons)

Feb. 11, 2015 - How former Megadeth lead guitarist Marty Friedman (マーティ・フリードマン) attained fluency in Japanese

The 52-year-old former guitarist for the platinum-selling thrash metal band Megadeth of the 90s explains in the video below how he successfully became fluent in Japanese.

Friedman, who has now become a TV celebrity, says he attained Japanese fluency before ever moving permanently to Japan in 2003, by teaching himself and working his way through correspondence courses even while on tour. And Friedman insisted on conducting interviews only in Japanese while touring in Japan.

"Just like music," he says, "when you start, you've got to jam with everybody, even if you don't like the situation. You've got to find those situations, and don't blow 'em off when they happen."

The J-Pop scene welcomed him relatively quickly. He was still shredding on his guitar, but now he was accompanying Japanese pop, country, and rock stars. He started writing a weekly opinion column on J-Pop. Over the years, Friedman's language skills have landed him on Japanese television, and not just on music shows — he does cooking shows too.

Friedman says he's appeared in over 600 TV shows, movies, and ads, including "Mr. Heavy Metal" and "Rock Fujiyama," television shows he hosted in the mid-'00s, as well regular stints on the NHK show "Asia Music Network," his weekly NHK radio show, news shows, political shows, and as a guest on the myriad Japanese variety shows.

Wow, way to go, Marty. Good job! smiley

Marty Friedman on "How to Teach Yourself Japanese"
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Source links: marty-friedmans-journey-to-japanese-pop marty-friedman-became-a-japanese-superstar-20140819

Feb. 10, 2015 - It's still Diamond Fuji viewing season in Tokyo!

"Diamond Fuji" is a phenomenon which occurs when the sun sets into or rises out of Mt. Fuji's cone, setting off sunbeams that resemble a glittering diamond, and is a popular target of both amateur and professional photographers in Japan.

I took the snapshot below this afternoon @ 5:07 pm from my apartment building. Too bad I don't have a better, say, with a 300mm telephoto lens. smiley

Diamond Fuji from Tokyo - Feb. 10, 2015
Diamond Fuji from Tokyo, Feb. 10, 2015, 5:07 pm

In December I decided to put together the webpage linked below, listing the best high-rise spots in Tokyo for viewing Diamond Fuji along with recommended dates, sunset times, admission fees, and links to their Google maps: Diamond Fuji Viewing Spots, Dates, and Times in Tokyo

Feb. 7, 2015 - Texas Rattlesnake Logic

As part of some commentary about the recent rash of evildoings in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world, I heard this timely & appropriate piece on the radio yesterday, written last year by a Texas rancher:

"Here in West Texas, I have rattlesnakes on my place, living among us. I have killed a rattlesnake on the front porch. I have killed a rattlesnake on the back porch. I have killed them in the barn, in the shop, and on the driveway. In fact, I kill every rattlesnake I encounter. 
I kill rattlesnakes because I know a rattlesnake will bite me and inject me with poison. I don’t stop to wonder WHY a rattlesnake will bite me; I know it WILL bite me because it’s a rattlesnake and that’s what rattlesnakes do.

I don’t try to reason with a rattlesnake or have a ”meaningful dialogue” with it...I just kill it. I don’t try to get to know the rattlesnake better, in order to find a way to live with rattlesnakes and convince them not to bite me. I just kill them.

I don’t quiz a rattlesnake to see if I can find out where the other snakes are, because: (a) it won’t tell me, and (b) I already know they live on my place, so...I just kill it...and move on to the next one. 
I don’t look for ways I might be able to change the rattlesnake to a non-poisonous rat snake…I just kill it. Oh, and on occasion, I accidentally kill a rat snake because I thought it was a rattlesnake at the time.

Also, I know for every rattlesnake I kill, two more are lurking in the brush. In my lifetime, I will never be able to rid my place of rattlesnakes. 
Do I fear them? Not really. Do I respect what they can do to me and my family? Yes!! And because of that respect, I give them the fair justice they deserve...I kill them.

As a country, we should start giving more thought to the fact that these jihadists are telling the world that their goal is to kill Americans and destroy our way of life. 

They have just posted 2 graphic videos on the internet showing them beheading Americans. They are serious. They are exactly like rattlesnakes. It is high time for us to start acting accordingly!"

[Author unknown. No further explanation necessary.]

Texas rattlesnake
Texas rattlesnake
(photo credit: Casey Kanode)

Feb. 5, 2015 - Top 10 winners in the International Pun Contest

  1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."
  2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says "Dam!"
  3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
  4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says "I've lost my electron." The other says "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."
  5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocaine during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
  6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?" they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."
  7. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."
  8. A group of friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.
  9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
  10. And finally, there was the person who sent 10 different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Feb. 3, 2015 - Super Bowl XLIX from the New Sanno Hotel, Tokyo, Japan

Thanks to my buddies, James & Joe, I was able to watch Super Bowl XLIX from the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo, and it was one of the best football games I've ever seen!

Game time in Japan was @ 8:30 am, Mon. Feb. 2, 2015. This amazing party cost only $10, which included a gorgeous, all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet.

The New Sanno Hotel is a wonderful, reasonably-priced accommodation in central Tokyo which serves the U.S. military community.

Katy Perry performing @ Super Bowl XLIX
Katy Perry performing @ Super Bowl XLIX
(Click here to view my 32-pic Flickr album)

Feb. 1, 2015 - Checking your email every few minutes?

Thanks to our smartphones and tablets, a lot of us check our email over and over from wherever we are, because we dread missing anything from anyone, whether urgent or not.

Sounds stressful, doesn't it? Well, it sure can be, but perhaps there's an alternative. What would happen if you checked your email only 3 times a day?

Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada took 124 people and split them into 2 groups. One group was asked to check their email only 3 times a day, while the other group was told to check their email just as often as they could.

This went on for a week and then, the 2 groups traded places: the people who had limited checking their email now had to start checking their email all the time..... while those who had been checking their email constantly now had to stick to only 3 times a day.

Researchers found that in both cases, when people in either group were asked to look at their email just 3 times a day, their stress levels went down.... way down.

They say unless there is a real emergency, it's probably better for you to sift through your emails in a few chunks of time during the day, rather than on demand.

Tim Ferriss, author of the top-seller The 4-Hour Workweek, calls email "the greatest single interruption in the modern world." He also recommends checking email only twice a day.... @ 12 noon & @ 4 pm.... and to never check email first thing in the morning. Good luck with THAT.

But wait, how about work emails? Well, that's another matter entirely. smiley

Source: The Osgood File, Jan. 19, 2015

Jan. 25, 2015 - Danish archer video becomes internet sensation

Lars Andersen, a Danish archer who has studied historical descriptions of ancient war archery to re-discover their techniques, is now known as the “world’s fastest archer.” Over the past few years, he has fine-tuned his skills and is now able to fire three arrows in only 0.6 seconds.

Two days ago he released a video demonstrating these forgotten techniques and how holding arrows in the firing hand and placing them outside of the bow allows archers to fire at speed and while running.

The video hit its 1st million views on YouTube within 13 hours, was watched more than 4.5 million times in under 24 hours, and at the time of this posting had been viewed over 10 million times. WOW. To say this video has gone viral would be the understatement of the year! smiley

(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Jan. 22, 2015 - Real-time, animated world hacking map

Feeling nervous about your PC getting hacked? Take a look at this real-time map of global hacking attacks, developed by a St. Louis-based company called Norse. At a glance, the color-coded world map shows in real time the highest ranked countries which are both attacking and being attacked, plus the type of hacking attacks. AMAZING!

Real-time animated world hacking map
Real-time animated world hacking map
Click here to see the amazing live action.
(The animated attack lines didn't display properly on my iPhone or iPad,
so perhaps it's better to view the map on your PC.)
(photo credit: Norse Corp.)

Jan. 8, 2015 - "Winter Hiking Tips" by Wes Lang

1) Don’t do it – Stay at home. Curl up under the kotatsu with a good book in your hand. Hug your loved one. Skype with your relatives. Watch a cool mountaineering movie. Hang out with your friends. Plan some amazing summer trips. Just don’t risk it by going out there and tempting fate. Yeah, I know you only live once, but do you really want to play Russian Roulette?

Ok, now that you’ve chosen not to heed my advice, let me give you a few tips. Read more...

Jan. 5, 2015 - First Full Moon of 2015 in Tokyo

1st 2015 full moon in Tokyo
1st Full Moon of 2015 in Tokyo
(taken @ 5:07 pm, just after moonrise)

Jan. 1, 2015 - Happy New Year!!

This is the most amazing animated New Year's greeting card, designed by the talented graphic designers @, and sent by my dear Mom (click image below to view it). This animation shows 7 famous clocks around the world striking midnight on New Year's Eve (be sure to click special link at the end of the animation to learn more about these 7 famous clocks, including Big Ben in London).

Happy New Year, everyone, and best wishes for a wonderful 2015, the Year of the Sheep! smiley

sheep counting men

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Website Updates

May 22, 2015

Mt. Oku-hotaka-dake (奥穂高岳) & Mt. Yari-ga-take (槍ヶ岳), Japan's 3rd & 5th Highest Mountains

Pics, maps, trail description, & elev. profile of my Aug. 1994 climb of Mt. Oku-hotaka-dake & Mt. Yari-ga-take, Japan's 3rd & 5th highest mountains.

Continue reading "Mt. Oku-hotaka-dake (奥穂高岳) & Mt. Yari-ga-take (槍ヶ岳), Japan's 3rd & 5th Highest Mountains"

May 22, 2015

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 22, 2015

What kind of food can we expect at Mt. Fuji mountain huts?

Hi! We already made our reservation for Tomoekan 8th station on the 5th of July taking the Yoshida trail. Is it advisable to place our reservation without

Continue reading "What kind of food can we expect at Mt. Fuji mountain huts? "

May 22, 2015

How do you climb Mt. Jonen from Kamikochi?

Hello! I am looking for a good mountain climb based out of Kamikochi. I am considering Yarigatake and Jonen-Dake. I am afraid that Yarigatake may prove

Continue reading "How do you climb Mt. Jonen from Kamikochi?"

May 22, 2015

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 website.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog"

May 21, 2015

How do you make reservations for Mt. Fuji mountain huts?

My husband and I really want to climb Mount Fuji when we visit in July/Aug. However, It seems impossible to make a reservation for a space at a mountain

Continue reading "How do you make reservations for Mt. Fuji mountain huts?"

May 19, 2015

Oku-hotaka-dake/Yari-ga-take hiking partner in first week of June 2015

Hi Gary, Thankful for your website. Among the many sites/blogs on hiking in the Japan Alps (English ones), this one of most helpful for my preparation.

Continue reading "Oku-hotaka-dake/Yari-ga-take hiking partner in first week of June 2015"

May 09, 2015

Are there any log books at the summits of Japanese mountains?

Hi Mr. Wolff, I would like to know if there are any log books (or summit registers) at the top of the Japanese mountains, or at least in the huts or any

Continue reading "Are there any log books at the summits of Japanese mountains?"

May 08, 2015

Climbing Mt. Fuji's Fujinomiya Trail (富士宮登山道)

Pics, video, maps, and trail description of my Aug. 2012 climb of Mt. Fuji's Fujinomiya Trail, the shortest route to the highest point in Japan.

Continue reading "Climbing Mt. Fuji's Fujinomiya Trail (富士宮登山道)"

May 07, 2015

Can we hike up the Gotemba trail and down the Yoshida trail?

Hi Gary, Thanks for your informative post. It's made me even more excited about climbing Mt. Fuji this year. Do you know if it's possible to climb up

Continue reading "Can we hike up the Gotemba trail and down the Yoshida trail?"

May 07, 2015

Can we start climbing Mt. Fuji on the evening of June 30?

The trail opens on July 1st. Is that as of midnight? Will huts be available? Because we were thinking of climbing overnight starting at night on June 30

Continue reading "Can we start climbing Mt. Fuji on the evening of June 30?"

May 04, 2015

Which 3 or 4 Japanese mountains are essential that you recommend me to climb?

Hi Gary, First, thanks for your website which is very interesting and useful information. I would appreciate it if you can tell me which 3 or 4 Japanese

Continue reading "Which 3 or 4 Japanese mountains are essential that you recommend me to climb?"

May 04, 2015

​I am just looking for a hill or small mountain....A couple of hours walking

Hi Gary, I am moderate hiker having hiked in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Scotland. I understand April still has snow on most peaks. ​ ​I am just looking

Continue reading "​I am just looking for a hill or small mountain....A couple of hours walking"

May 03, 2015

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2014

Posts include sexy Japanese dancers, a video of my first sunrise of 2014, musician Rambling Steve Gardner, and pics and video of my Cook Islands vacation.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2014"

May 03, 2015

The Highest Mountains in Japan

Listing of the 25 highest mountains in Japan, complete with pics, videos, and descriptions, based on the 2-decade climbing experience of Gary J. Wolff.

Continue reading "The Highest Mountains in Japan"

Apr 09, 2015

Mt. Fuji mountain hut availability at night

Dear Gary, First of all, thank you so much for all the information you provide over here. It really makes planning your trip so much easier. I have a

Continue reading "Mt. Fuji mountain hut availability at night"

Apr 09, 2015

Mt. Fuji Mountain Huts (富士山の山小屋)

Listing of Mt. Fuji mountain huts for the main Yoshida trail, along with website addresses, phone numbers, elevations, and sleeping capacities.

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Apr 05, 2015

Does Mt. Fuji and its transport there close on national holidays?

A friend and I was wondering if we would be able to walk up Mt. Fuji on the 20th July which happens to be a national holiday. And if transport links there

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Apr 01, 2015

Acting and Modeling in Tokyo

Some samples of acting & modeling roles possible for foreigners in Tokyo, along with a short list of some of the reputable Tokyo talent agencies.

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Mar 31, 2015

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, April-June, 2014

Posts include a freak June hailstorm in Tokyo, & videos of my musician friends, a cherry blossom blizzard, and my Disney children's show performances.

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Mar 29, 2015

"The View from the Top of Japan" book

The View from the Top of Japan book details Gary’s 2-decade-long journey to the summits of the 25 highest mountains in Japan, including pics and maps.

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Mar 28, 2015

"Climbing Mt. Fuji" book

Climbing Mt. Fuji details info on climbing trails, transport access, fun facts & recent news stories, and select Q&A from the author's website.

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Mar 28, 2015

Mt. Yakushi-dake (薬師岳), elev. 2926 m, Japan's 27th Highest Mountain

This mountain just about killed me, but Mt. Yakushi-dake had some of the most striking panoramas I've ever seen while climbing the Japan Alps.

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Mar 28, 2015

Mt. Tateyama (立山) & Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳), Japan's 20th & 22nd Highest Mountains

Mt. Tateyama (立山), elev. 3015 m, and Mt. Tsurugi-dake (剱岳), elev. 2999m, are without question two ofthe mostspectacular mountains in the Northern Japan Alps, if not in all ofJapan.

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Mar 28, 2015

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, October-December, 2013

Posts include the busy 2013 typhoon season, Tokyo’s stunning fall colors, and screenshots of NORAD tracking Santa as he passed thru Houston & Tokyo.

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