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Home: Gary J. Wolff's Blog: Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, October-December, 2012

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives
October-December, 2012

This page shows archived posts for Gary J. Wolff's blog from October-December, 2012.



Dec. 25, 2012 -  Merry Xmas, everyone!!

I'm thrilled that NORAD Santa Cams caught Santa as he passed thru Japan, as well as in my home state of Texas. Yee Hah!! All 33 videos captured by Santa Cams around the world are in a playlist & can be viewed on NORAD Tracks Santa's YouTube channel here.

Here's Santa as he passed thru Texas:

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

Dec. 17, 2012 - Christmas Sale on my new mountain climbing eBook, "The View from the Top of Japan"!!

The View from the Top of Japan
Christmas Sale now on
(To give as a Xmas present, click on "Give as a gift."
Enter coupon code MB69C @ checkout.)

eBooks from Smashwords, the world's largest distributor of indie eBooks, are available in 9 different formats, including the html & pdf formats for reading on your PC or for home printing. Or they can be downloaded to e-reading devices such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, and most other e-reading apps.

This eBook will make a GRRRRRREAT stocking stuffer....besides, it even costs less than a bottle of cheap perfume! smiley

Dec. 11, 2012 - Caretta Shiodome 2012 Xmas 3D Illumination Show

The 10th anniversary of the absolutely stunning Caretta Shiodome Xmas illumination light & music show is now in full swing, with shows every 20 min. from 5-10:30 every night till Xmas night (till 11 pm the 21st thru 25th). This year's magical LED show features 3D projection mapping of Xmas scenes onto the adjacent buildings in the Caretta Shiodome plaza. Just a few minutes walk from Shimbashi Station. My advice: go very early or very late, as it does get VERY crowded after most folks get off work. The best part: it's all FREE!! smiley More info:

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

Dec. 9, 2012 - "The Sounds of Tokyo" Redux

In Dec. ’94, which was shortly after I first moved to Japan, as a Xmas present for family & friends back stateside, I thought it’d be cool to record some of the usual sounds one might hear living in the world’s largest city. The other day I dug out the 18-y.o. cassette, dusted it off, and then digitized it w/ a few pics. Regrettably, the sound quality of the 3rd-generation audio leaves a lot to be desired. But nonetheless, hopefully for those who’ve never been to the Big Mikan, it’ll provide a quick glimpse into the fascinating local culture, as well as give those who’ve already had the pleasure of living here before a good chuckle or 2. Happy holidays!!

                          (View in separate window here.)

 0:00  Sumo wrestling match
 4:14  Rajio Taiso Daiichi (morning stretch song)
 7:32  Pachinko parlor
 8:20  Yaki-imo (sweet potato) man
10:22  Train platform announcement
12:28  Torianse (pedestrian crossing song)
13:11  Fish market hawkers
15:10  Pub Elvis karaoke bar
22:56  Yuyake (5 o'clock dinner) chime
24:19  Shinkansen (bullet train)
25:04  Japanese country band
28:12  Riding on a city bus
29:49  Gary's explanation of sound tracks

Nov. 28, 2012 - Show 'N' Tell Day

University students in Japan share interesting tidbits about their home countries...

                          (View in separate window here.)

 0:00  China #1
 5:22  China #2
11:41  Estonia
22:42  Germany
34:10  Indonesia
40:23  Japan
43:49  Mexico
53:29  Thailand

Nov. 26, 2012 - Nighttime light-up of fall colors @ Rikugien Garden, Tokyo, Japan

                (View all pics at a glance in separate window here.)

Nov. 25, 2012 - Pub Elvis OB会 Karaoke Reunion Party, 11月24日(土)19:00~23:00 貸切, Tokyo, Japan

Shortly after I first moved to Tokyo nearly 22 yrs. ago, it was my good fortune to stumble upon a tiny little karaoke shop directly across the street from Takadanobaba Station. Now this was not just any karaoke was the famous PUB ELVIS. Pub Elvis was not only a karaoke bar with a remarkable 3000 English songs (quite unusual to have SO many in those days), but because its owner, Aki Sasaki, is a BIG Elvis Presley fan, Pub Elvis was like a museum, with Elvis memorabilia visible, posters, license plates, videos, an Elvis Confederate flag, you name it.

Well, naturally the place attracted other Elvis fans & even Elvis impersonators, and live bands often played there. Pub Elvis was even once featured in an ABC news report by veteran newscaster Forrest Sawyer and Tokyo TV personality Dave Spector, on the occasion of one of the frequent Elvis impersonation contests held there. If that weren't enough, even my mom & dad had a chance to sample Pub Elvis mania during their '95 visit to Tokyo. And one of my all-time favorite keepsakes from Pub Elvis is the audio cassette of my 40th birthday party held there, which became a Xmas present to my family and friends that year.

Well, sadly the shop closed down sometime in the late 90's after Aki decided to move to Germany & study classical guitar under a German guitar master. But on Sat. night, Nov. 24, 2012, a karaoke reunion party was held where many of the former customers, fans, performers, & shop staff attended. Many of participants are pro singers, and some of them Elvis impersonators; so needless to say, with all the free-flowing booze, it was a pretty electric karaoke atmosphere, with most everyone really letting their hair down. smiley

And I was absolutely thrilled to see there my all-time favorite Elvis impersonator, Aaron-san (Aaron was Elvis' middle name), in such top form. After all these years, he hasn't skipped a beat, and the only thing missing Sat. night was his signature white rhinestone jumpsuit and a few more gaudy rings. smiley I believe that you will agree, he looks, sings, and performs just like the real Elvis. Perhaps his best song Sat. night was "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" @ the 47:31 mark.

Pub Elvis will forever & ever occupy a prominent spot in my heart & soul. In the Land of the Rising Sun, the King's legend lives on....

                         (View in separate window here.)

     0:00  Little Sister (Kenji - Elvis impersonator)
     2:19  In The Ghetto (Aaron)
     5:02  I'm Not In Love
     9:23  Chinatown (Ryo - Eikichi Yazawa impersonator)
   13:02  Twist & Shout
   15:02  Aki arrives
   16:49  Stand By Me (Usui-san)
   17:45  Saving All My Love For You (Hiroshi/Yuko duet)
   21:25  J.Boy
   27:11  Unchained Melody (Kenji/Hiroshi duet)
   29:36  Brown Sugar (duet)
   33:24  Suspicious Minds (Aaron)
   37:50  I Want You, I Need You, I Love You (Kenji/Hiroshi duet)
   39:14  Ryo - Eikichi Yazawa impersonator
   42:02  Short speech & kampai by Aki
   42:43  Devil In Disguise (Usui-san)
   44:56  One Night (Kenji - Elvis impersonator)
   47:31  You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (Aaron)
   50:14  Return to Sender (Kenji - Elvis impersonator)
   52:33  Can't Help Falling In Love (Kenji/Hiroshi duet)
   55:22  Can't Help Falling In Love (Yuko)
   58:00  The Wonder Of You (Aaron/Hiroshi)
1:00:23  Ryo - Eikichi Yazawa impersonator
1:02:47  Rokudenashi
1:05:34  Japanese song
1:09:25  Blue Christmas
1:11:32  I'll Never Fall In Love Again (Usui-san)
1:15:26  女の道 - Onna no Michi, famous Enka song (Hiroshi)
1:17:18  Rock This Town (Tamura-san)
1:19:41  Can't Help Falling In Love (Aaron)

Nov. 18, 2012 - "The View from the Top of Japan" now available as a paperback from Amazon!!

If you have anyone on your Christmas shopping list who's a book reader, you may wish to consider my new mountain climbing book for that someone special, which I'm pleased to announce, in addition to an eBook, is now available as a paperback from Amazon. The 126-page book includes over 70 color images, mostly of Japan's spectacular high country. So by all means, please do shop till you drop... smiley

The View from the Top of Japan book cover

Nov. 1, 2012 - Sunset from I-Link Town Ichikawa

Today was Day 1 of a 6-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ichikawa, Chiba's Sister City relationship with Gardena City, California, USA. As part of the celebration, a photo exhibition is being held in the 45th floor Observation Lobby of I-Link Town Ichikawa's West Tower, 1 min. from JR Ichikawa Station. The 3-min. sunset starts @ the 10:34 mark. I was hoping to catch Diamond Fuji, but I was a few days too early.

                          View video in separate window here.

Oct. 31, 2012 - Climbers of Nagano's mountains may be taxed

"The move comes as limited public funds amid a recent mountain-climbing boom--especially among young female climbers called "mountain girls," the middle aged and elderly--has squeezed the finances of the local government, particularly in regard to expenses related to mountain conservation and alpine safety."

Source: Daily Yomiuri 

Karasawa Col
Karasawa Col
(Photo credit: Yomiuri Online)

Oct. 31, 2012 - FM Setagaya 83.4 MHz radio interviews

The following interviews were conducted in Dec. 2009 by Kanae, a junior at Showa Women's University in Tokyo, as part of her class project to produce a weekly 15-min. radio show interviewing foreigners living in Tokyo.  The radio show was called "What's Up Setagaya?" and broadcast on FM Setagaya 83.4 MHz.

Gary Wolff on Japan
Gary Wolff on Mountain Climbing
Gary Wolff on his Website
Gary Wolff on his Work

Oct. 24, 2012 - Quote of the Day

"Don't complain. Eighty percent of the people you complain to don't care and the other 20 percent are glad you have problems."

--Legendary college football coach Lou Holtz

Oct. 22, 2012 - Spanish singer Jose @ Greg's fabulous birthday party

Greg's amazing fresh fruit-decorated birthday cake arrived @ around the 21:20 mark.

                           View in separate window here.

Oct. 13, 2012 - New eBook now an Apple iTunes iBook

I worry I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but for my friends who own an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and have previously inquired about my new book, I just wanted to let you know it's now available as an iBook in the Apple iTunes bookstore. Ok, I'm gonna shut up now...  smiley (click on blue "View in iTunes" button)

View from the Top of Japan iBook screenshot

Oct. 10, 2012 - Gary P. Nunn, Fri. Sept. 7, 2012 at Blanco's, Houston's #1 live country & western music spot

Now this is the REAL Texas. If you've never seen real live good ol' country & western 2-step dancin', here's your big chance. Gary P. Nunn, an icon in the Texas country music industry, is one of my favorite musicians, but not just because of his first name. smiley  My favorite song this night was "Luckenbach, Texas," starting around the 36:30 mark. If you get time, check out Gary's official website, where you can see the latest news, his tour schedule, photographs, links, and purchase merchandise from his store, including his new album, "One Way or Another." At this 3-hr. concert, he sold 60 of his new albums @ $20 a pop. Wow...

                          (View in separate window here)

Oct. 7, 2012 - My 9 Fabulous Days in the Great State of Texas - Sept. 8-16, 2012

I finally got a ROUND TUIT. smiley The highlight, accounting for over half the video, is my friend's 263-acre (106-hectare) ranch in the beautiful Texas hill country. I hope you enjoy seeing my part of the world...

                     (View video in separate window here.)

 0:00  Sunrise from the plane
 0:10  Surprising Mom
 2:08  Lunch @ Christie's w/ college buddies
 2:31  Russ Pitman Park
 7:09  Road trip to Kerrville
 8:39  JW's ranch (AWESOME!!)
11:28  Restocking the deer feeder
12:47  Bushwhacking it back to nature
14:40  The lake, springs, and feeding the BIG fish
20:53  Wild squirrel
21:53  Interesting rock formation
22:44  Wild turkeys
22:55  UT Austin campus
23:12  Guitar player
25:30  Jester dorm (w/ UT basketball player)
26:44  Tokyo Narita flight cancellation

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