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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.


Aug. 13, 2018 - USA victorious in Women's Softball World Championship

"USA repeated as Women's Softball World Champions today in Chiba, Japan, after a memorable finale against the host team, in front of almost 12,000 fans at ZOZO Marine Stadium. The American team defeated Japan, 7-6, on a walkoff single by Kelsey Stewart in the 10th inning, and went undefeated in the tournament. USA also secured a berth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

It was one of the best softball games in the history of the World Championship. The best 2 teams in the world clashed in a classic battle, that will last forever in the memory of thousands present at the stadium, and millions watching around the world."

Source: https://wswc.wbsc.org/news/usa-wins-softball-world-championship

And I was there to see it with my own eyes!! Yee hah! smiley

USA Women's Softball World Champions
USA women's softball team celebrates repeating as World Champions on Sun. Aug. 12, 2018 in ZOZO Marine Staduim in Chiba, Japan, as losing pitcher Japan ace Yukiko Ueno looks on in disbelief
(photo credit: World Baseball Softball Confederation)




Aug. 5, 2018 - Free yukatas for Gaijin!

Today's USA vs. New Zealand women's softball world championship game coincided with Narashino City's Obon Matsuri, so Gaijin got free yukatas! Wow.

Plus, USA beat New Zealand 7-0, and thus along with Japan & Puerto Rico are still undefeated after 4 games in the 2018 Women's Softball World Championship. Today was my lucky day (twice)!! Yee hah! smiley

free yukata, 2018 Women's Softball World Championship
Free yukatas, Akitsu Stadium, Narashino City, Chiba, Japan
2018 Women's Softball World Championship




July 31, 2018 - New Zealand vs. Italy Women's Softball Game, 10 am, July 30, 2018

This exhibition game played at Konodai Baseball Stadium in Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan paired these 2 countries' national women's softball teams in advance of the 2018 Women's Softball World Championship to be held in Chiba, Japan from Aug. 2-12. New Zealand, the Visitors, is in black; Italy, the Home Team, is in blue.
New Zealand starting pitcher: Courtney Gettins
Italy starting pitcher: Greta Cecchetti
Final score: New Zealand 4, Italy 3

Don't miss the New Zealand team performing the Haka traditional Maori war cry at the 4:54 mark!! smiley


New Zealand vs. Italy Women's Softball Game, 10 am, July 30, 2018
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

0:00 Ballpark entrance banner
0:06 Panorama of softball field and New Zealand batting practice
1:06 New Zealand hurlers warming up
2:09 Pre-game coach & umpire conference
2:42 Intro of New Zealand starting lineup
4:54 New Zealand team performs Haka traditional Maori war cry
6:36 Top of the 1st inning (beginning of game)
13:47 Bottom of the 1st inning
16:53 Top of the 2nd inning
25:25 Bottom of the 2nd inning
28:03 Top of the 4th (the Kiwis scored all 4 of their runs this inning)
38:18 Top of the 5th inning
40:21 Bottom of the 5th inning (new New Zealand southpaw relief pitcher Rita Hokianga)
41:46 Top of the 6th inning (new Italy southpaw relief pitcher Alice Nicolini)
47:44 Bottom of the 6th inning
56:32 Bottom of the 9th inning (end of game)




July 29, 2018 - School's Out For Summer

In celebration of my spring semester finishing yesterday, I'm playing this Alice Cooper hit from 1972 almost non-stop. 16 classes of over 400 university students on a 6-days-a-week teaching schedule have seriously kicked my butt, in what was probably the busiest I've ever been in my 6-decade-plus lifespan. Whoo, I'm now breathing a big TEXAS-size sigh of relief. School's Out For Summer!! smiley



School's Out For Summer, Alice Cooper, 1972
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




July 22, 2018 - Texas Exes, Japan Chapter, 2018 Annual Meeting

Last month, for the first time in nearly 20 years, I had the pleasure of attending the annual meeting of the Japan Chapter of The University of Texas at Austin Ex-Students Association. At one time, the Japan Texas Exes was the largest overseas UT alumni club in the world.

The meeting is always held in Tokyo in June, when current students, who are home for the summer break, can meet those of us who graduated up to a remarkable half-century ago.

It's always a fun time for my alma mater's alumni, as well as new and prospective Japanese students, to socialize and reminisce about memories of our days on the UT Austin campus. This year I met business owners, professional engineers, fellow professors, and even a former neurosurgeon at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center in my hometown Houston.

I still remember one Texas Exes meeting several years ago, when I saw a guy who, like me, was also studying civil engineering at the time and whom I often saw doing research in the concrete lab. This gentleman went on to earn his PhD and was working with the Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Authority at the time we reconnected. What an amazing coincidence!

 Texas Exes Japan, Tokyo, June 9, 2018
Texas Exes Japan, Tokyo, June 9, 2018




July 15, 2018 - Death toll from torrential rain reaches 210

As of 8:30 pm Sun. 7/15, here are the latest stats on the record flooding and landslide devastation in western Japan:

- 210 deaths
- 22 people still missing
- 4,800 people in 14 prefectures staying at evacuation shelters
- more than 162,000 households still without running water

And yesterday it was reported that 8,100 landlines and Internet connections were cut off. 

The Japanese Red Cross Society and the Central Community Chest of Japan are both organizing cash grants and support funds for the affected people in western Japan.

If you'd like to help out the disaster victims, please click the links below:

http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/relief/180712_005348.html

https://www.akaihane.or.jp/english/2018disaster/



Pray for Japan!
Please pray for Japan!




July 8, 2018 - When it rains, it pours!!

As of 6 pm Sunday, July 8, 69 people in western Japan are dead and 6 remain in critical condition from flooding and landslides, with at least 62 missing.

Hiroshima Prefecture was the hardest hit with 29 fatalities, and 20 were killed in Ehime Prefecture.

Fatalities were also reported in Okayama, Hyogo, Kyoto, Shiga, Fukuoka, Kochi, Gifu, Yamaguchi, and Saga prefectures.

Some cities and towns have received more rainfall in 1 day than they usually receive in an entire month. Rainfall totals of over 100 mm (~4 in.) in 1 hour, over 600 mm (~24 in.) in 24 hours, and over 1000 mm (~40 in.) over the past few days have been recorded.

Japan rainy season as of 18.7.7
Western Japan 24-hour rainfall totals, as of 6:20 am, Sat. July 7, 2018
(red bars indicate >100 mm (3.9 in.), the tallest one (551 mm) belonging to Motoyama, Kōchi)
(Source: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/weather/rain/index.html#ko=nk;)




July 2, 2018 - Mt. Fuji climbing season starts (山開き)!!

Climbers celebrate with banzai cheers at the summit of Mt. Fuji, with the rising sun in the background at 4:29 a.m. on July 1, 2018.

Fujisan opening day - July 1, 2018
(photo credit: Hiroshi Kawai, asahi.com)

For the most frequently asked questions about climbing Mt. Fuji, including info on routes, maps, videos, transport access, traffic stats, weather, and climber stories, please visit Climbing Mt. Fuji (富士山) - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), the most visited page on my entire site.




June 24, 2018 - Today's Dale Carnegie quote

"You can make more friends in 2 months by becoming interested in other people than you can in 2 years by trying to get other people interested in you."

—from the top-selling book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie (1888-1955), American writer and lecturer




June 17, 2018 - WARNING: Vegetable gardening may be hazardous to your health!!

A 23-foot-long python has swallowed a woman in central Indonesia, a village official said Saturday. The 54-year-old woman went missing while checking her vegetable garden near her village on Muna island in Southeast Sulawesi province on Thursday evening, according to the village chief, Faris.

On Friday, her family went to look for her at the garden, but found only her belongings, including sandals and a flashlight, said Faris, who uses a single name.

The family and villagers launched a search for the woman, and found the snake with a bloated belly about 50 yards from where her belongings were found.

The villagers killed the snake and carried it to the village.

"When they cut open the snake's belly they found Tiba's body still intact with all her clothes," Faris said. "She was swallowed first from her head."

Videos posted on some websites showed villagers slicing open the python's carcass to reveal the woman's body.

Faris said the victim's garden, about half a mile from her house, is located in a rocky area with caves and cliffs believed to contain many snakes.

Reticulated pythons, which are widespread in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia, grab onto their prey with dozens of sharp curved teeth and then squeeze it to death before swallowing it whole.

Source: www.cbsnews.com




June 9, 2018 -  Thee Blackdoor Blues, Club Que, Shimokitazawa, Tues. June 5, 2018

On Tues. night I had the pleasure of hearing the amazing punk rockers Jocelyn Guzman from Mexico and Naoto Sutou from Japan. By all means, don't miss Jocelyn's passionate on-stage antics in the "Dirty Water" song, beginning at the 15:30 mark! Cheers, Thee Blackdoor Blues. Best wishes to you!

Jocelyn Guzman - vocals, guitar, keyboard
Naoto Sutou (須藤直音) - guitar, drums



Thee Blackdoor Blues, Club Que, Shimokitazawa, Tues. June 5, 2018
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




June 1, 2018 - Mt. Fuji 2018 climbing season congestion forecast

For anyone interested in scaling the nation's highest peak this climbing season (opening 1 month from today), Fuji-san's official site has posted a calendar of the forecasted most congested climbing days, as well as the most crowded times of day from the 8th station to the summit for the Fujinomiya, Subashiri, & Yoshida Trails.

The site states that one of the dangers of climbing the busiest and most congested Yoshida Trail is: "Being in high risk of falling over like dominoes or hit by falling rocks." As one of my Facebook friends aptly commented, "It makes one almost want to be a part of it." Ha-ha. smiley

Mt. Fuji 2018 forecasted most congested climbing days
Mt. Fuji 2018 forecasted most congested climbing days
(image courtesy: fujisan-climb.jp/en)




May 18, 2018 - Rambling Steve Gardner, live at Lown in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

Mississippi Roots and Bluesman Steve Gardner is without question Tokyo's most accomplished harmonica playin' & finger pickin', slide playin' blues guitarist. For more on Steve and his music, including his videos, photos, blog, & live gig schedule, head on over to: http://www.ramblingsteve.info



Rambling Steve Gardner, live at Lown in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




May 13, 2018 - 7-Eleven electric mini-cars (セブン-イレブン 電気ミニカー)

7-Eleven stores in Japan are using single-seater, 50-cc Toyota electric cars for their home delivery service aimed at helping the country’s aging population do their grocery shopping.

According to 2014 estimates, about 26% of the Japanese population are aged 65 and over. With the disappearance of smaller, local shops, there are increasing numbers of people who struggle with their daily shopping.

The 7-Eleven electric mini-cars cost about 700,000 yen ($6400), have a 6-hour charge, and have a range of around 50 kilometers (31 miles).

Founded in 1927, 7-Eleven is based in Irving, Texas (a suburb of Dallas), and is owned by Japan's Seven & i Holdings which operates, franchises, and licenses some 64,319 stores in 18 countries, as of January 2018.

Of those 7-Eleven stores around the globe, 20,260 of them (31% of the total) are located in Japan, more than any other country in the world. 2,601 of the Japan stores are in Tokyo alone.

Sources: japantoday.com; wikipedia.org


7-Eleven electric mini-car in Japan
7-Eleven electric mini-car in Japan




April 30, 2018 - Koinobori (鯉幟, carp streamers) along the Edo River (江戸川) in Tokyo

It's that magical time of year in Japan again... GOLDEN WEEK!!

According to ancient Chinese legend, a carp once swam upstream against the rapid current in the Yellow River to become a dragon. Because of the carp's strength and determination to overcome all obstacles, in Japan it was chosen as a symbol for Children's Day (こどもの, Kodomo no hi), May 5, one of the 4 national holidays during the week-long Golden Week holiday period.

To celebrate Children's Day, "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, and happy. These wind socks are made by drawing carp patterns on paper, cloth or other non-woven fabric. They are then allowed to flutter in the wind. Landscapes across Japan are decorated with koinobori from April to early May.

Yesterday I had the good fortune of seeing some of these HUGE flying carp along the banks of the Edo River (江戸川) on what was one of the most beautiful days in Tokyo so far this year.

Koinobori (鯉幟, carp streamers) along the Edo River (江戸川) in Tokyo
Koinobori (鯉幟, carp streamers) along the Edo River (江戸川) in Tokyo


And here's a video of 35 flying carp along the Edo River I made several years ago, complete with background music, courtesy of the "Memoirs of a Geisha" soundtrack: smiley


35 Flying Carp along the Edo River in Tokyo
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




April 21, 2018 - Never a dull moment in the world's largest metropolis!

One of the biggest culture shocks I had when I first arrived in Tokyo, and that even after all these years still haven't completely adjusted to, is the overwhelming propensity for most people to wear BLACK… black suits, black coats, black bags, black shoes.... and of course, black hair. So when you navigate the trains and subways on your everyday commute, it's a sea of black.

Well, I'm happy to report that in the past several years, we've finally begun to see a bit more COLOR. smiley Never a dull moment in the world's largest metropolis!

Colorful Tokyo commuter
Colorful Tokyo commuter




April 8, 2018 - Spring 2018 Tokyo Flowers video

Spring flowers in Tokyo are therapeutic to my heart and soul. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have...



Spring 2018 Tokyo Flowers
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

[This year's gorgeous Tokyo cherry blossoms already got their own special attention here.] smiley




April 6, 2018 - Sayonara 70-day-old beard! ​​

​Well, it’s back to the work grind tomorrow after a long, enjoyable 2-month spring vacation. Thus, today I lost my 70-day-old beard (in stages) and had a lot of fun playing around with different styles. Ha-ha.

If you have a preference, please feel free to cast your vote by writing the number of your preferred look, along with any thoughts, in the commenting section below. smiley

George
George clone
Astros beard 1
Astros beard 2
Astros beard 3
Astros beard 4




April 5, 2018 - Ancient Japanese Proverb

Ancient Japanese Proverb








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Website Updates

Aug 14, 2018

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

Page 2 of the most frequently asked questions about climbing Mt. Fuji, including info on routes, maps, videos, transport access, weather, and climber stories.

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

Aug 12, 2018

USA victorious in Women's Softball World Championship

"USA repeated as Women's Softball World Champions today in Chiba, Japan, after a memorable finale against the host team, in front of almost 12,000 fans at ZOZO Marine Stadium. The American team defeated Japan, 7-6, on a walkoff single by Kelsey Stewart in the 10th inning, and went undefeated in the tournament. USA also secured a berth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

It was one of the best softball games in the history of the World Championship. The best 2 teams in the world clashed in a classic battle, that will last forever in the memory of thousands present at the stadium, and millions watching around the world."

And I was there to see it with my own eyes!! Yee hah! :-)

(click link to see pic of winning USA team)

Continue reading "USA victorious in Women's Softball World Championship"

Aug 12, 2018

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"

Aug 05, 2018

Free yukatas for Gaijin!

Today's USA vs. New Zealand women's softball world championship game coincided with Narashino City's Obon Matsuri, so Gaijin got free yukatas! Wow.

Plus, USA beat New Zealand 7-0, and thus along with Japan & Puerto Rico are still undefeated after 4 games in the 2018 Women's Softball World Championship. Today was my lucky day (twice)!! Yee hah! :-)

(click link to see photo of free yukatas)

Continue reading "Free yukatas for Gaijin!"

Jul 30, 2018

Video of New Zealand vs. Italy Women's Softball Game, July 30, 2018

This exhibition game played at Konodai Baseball Stadium in Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan paired these 2 countries' national women's softball teams in advance of the 2018 Women's Softball World Championship to be held in Chiba, Japan from Aug. 2-12. New Zealand, the Visitors, is in black; Italy, the Home Team, is in blue. New Zealand starting pitcher: Courtney Gettins Italy starting pitcher: Greta Cecchetti Final score: New Zealand 4, Italy 3

Don't miss the New Zealand team performing the Haka traditional Maori war cry at the 4:54 mark in my video!! :-)

Continue reading "Video of New Zealand vs. Italy Women's Softball Game, July 30, 2018"

Jul 29, 2018

School's Out For Summer

In celebration of my spring semester finishing yesterday, I'm playing this Alice Cooper hit from 1972 almost non-stop. 16 classes of over 400 university students on a 6-days-a-week teaching schedule have seriously kicked my butt, in what was probably the busiest I've ever been in my 6-decade-plus lifespan. Whoo, I'm now breathing a big TEXAS-size sigh of relief. School's Out For Summer!! :-)

(click link to view video)

Continue reading "School's Out For Summer"

Jul 28, 2018

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.

Continue reading "Mt. Fuji Mountain Huts (富士山の山小屋)"

Jul 22, 2018

Texas Exes, Japan Chapter, 2018 Annual Meeting

Last month, for the first time in nearly 20 years, I had the pleasure of attending the annual meeting of the Japan Chapter of The University of Texas at Austin Ex-Students Association. At one time, the Japan Texas Exes was the largest overseas UT alumni club in the world.

The meeting is always held in Tokyo in June, when current students, who are home for the summer break, can meet those of us who graduated up to a remarkable half-century ago.

It's always a fun time for my alma mater's alumni, as well as new and prospective Japanese students, to socialize and reminisce about memories of our days on the UT Austin campus. This year I met business owners, professional engineers, fellow professors, and even a former neurosurgeon at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center in my hometown Houston.

I still remember one Texas Exes meeting several years ago, when I saw a guy who, like me, was also studying civil engineering at the time and whom I often saw doing research in the concrete lab. This gentleman went on to earn his PhD and was working with the Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Authority at the time we reconnected. What an amazing coincidence!

Continue reading "Texas Exes, Japan Chapter, 2018 Annual Meeting"

Jul 20, 2018

Japan Links

A short list of links to some of the more noteworthy Japanese websites I've bookmarked thru my many years of residing in this phenomenal country.

Continue reading "Japan Links"

Jul 15, 2018

Death toll from torrential rain reaches 210

As of 8:30 pm Sun. 7/15, here are the latest stats on the record flooding and landslide devastation in western Japan:

- 210 deaths- 22 people still missing- 4,800 people in 14 prefectures staying at evacuation shelters - more than 162,000 households still without running water

And yesterday it was reported that 8,100 landlines and Internet connections were cut off.

The Japanese Red Cross Society and the Central Community Chest of Japan are both organizing cash grants and support funds for the affected people in western Japan.

If you'd like to help out the disaster victims, please click the links below:

http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/relief/180712_005348.html

https://www.akaihane.or.jp/english/2018disaster/

Please pray for Japan!

Continue reading "Death toll from torrential rain reaches 210"

Jul 12, 2018

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)"

Jul 11, 2018

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)"

Jul 08, 2018

Beautiful Russian girls

If I hear something about Russia, the first thing that appears in my mind is Russian girls. Why? Because Russian girls are one of the top-ten most beautiful

Continue reading "Beautiful Russian girls"

Jul 08, 2018

When it rains, it pours!!

As of 6 pm Sunday, July 8, 69 people in western Japan are dead and 6 remain in critical condition from flooding and landslides, with at least 62 missing.

Hiroshima Prefecture was the hardest hit with 29 fatalities, and 20 were killed in Ehime Prefecture.

Fatalities were also reported in Okayama, Hyogo, Kyoto, Shiga, Fukuoka, Kochi, Gifu, Yamaguchi, and Saga prefectures.

Some cities and towns have received more rainfall in 1 day than they usually receive in an entire month. Rainfall totals of over 100 mm (~4 in.) in 1 hour, over 600 mm (~24 in.) in 24 hours, and over 1000 mm (~40 in.) over the past few days have been recorded.

(click link to view rainfall map)

Continue reading "When it rains, it pours!!"

Jul 07, 2018

What can I do during my 2 free days after climbing the Gotemba Trail?

Gary: Thanks for the great resource on Mt Fuji. I have scoured your website and am stoked for my trip late August. My question for you is for the couple

Continue reading "What can I do during my 2 free days after climbing the Gotemba Trail?"





Alaska ebook cover
Now available for only 99¢ at Amazon (¥112 at アマゾン日本)


Summer 1974 hitchhiking trip ebook cover
Only 99¢ at Amazon (¥105 at アマゾン日本)

What's New?

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

    Aug 14, 18 08:15 PM

    Page 2 of the most frequently asked questions about climbing Mt. Fuji, including info on routes, maps, videos, transport access, weather, and climber stories.

    Read more

  2. USA victorious in Women's Softball World Championship

    Aug 12, 18 09:38 PM

    "USA repeated as Women's Softball World Champions today in Chiba, Japan, after a memorable finale against the host team, in front of almost 12,000 fans at ZOZO Marine Stadium. The American team defeat…

    Read more

  3. Gary J. Wolff's Blog

    Aug 12, 18 09:31 PM

    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.

    Read more








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new Climbing Mt. Fuji book
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eBook price just dropped to only $2.99 at Amazon! (¥343 at
アマゾン日本)