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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.


Feb. 6, 2019 - TODAY'S HUMOR (今日のユーモア)

These are actual resume items submitted by job seekers, followed by the personnel director's comments:

"Objective: My position will have pleasant surroundings, a reasonable salary, low pressure, not require me to bring work home, and good benefits." --- Just what we’re looking for. When can you start?

"Salary required: To be paid enough to buy a better house than I and my family currently live in, which has 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and a fenced yard. Inflation must be taken into consideration." --- We think that sounds fair! We feel totally responsible for your standard of living.

"Current salary: $36,000. Salary desired: $250,000." --- I know I said "you have not because you asked not," but this might be stretching it.

Requirements: "I'll need $30K to start, full medical, 3 weeks vacation, stock options, and ideally a European sedan." --- Wow, all we have to do is provide a new BMW to help swing your decision?

Cover letter: "I'm the best accountant you're ever going to find. If your company doesn't want to pay for the high quality, don't call." --- Thanks for the tip – we won’t call!

Cover letter: "My top motivator is MONEY. If asked to choose between a professional desk job and one sanitizing a barnhouse that pays more, I'm headed for the farm." --- Are you competent or just greedy?

Cover letter: "I've updated my resume so it's more appalling to employers." --- I find myself totally shocked already! laughing icon




Jan. 30, 2019 - Surf's UP... right in the heart of the world's largest metropolis!

Citywave Tokyo opened on August 11, 2018, and appropriately so since Tokyo will be hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics where surfing will be an official Olympic sport for the first time ever.

Located in central Tokyo only a 5-min. walk from Oimachi Station in Shinagawa Ward, Citywave Tokyo is part of “Sporu Shinagawa” (スポル品川), a sports park which features 7 olympic sports, and joins other Citywaves in France, Swizerland, Germany, Austria, Israel, with additional locations planned for Russia and America.



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

The German inventors, Rainer Klimaschewski and his wife Susi, who are both trained engineers and were freestyle ski champions during the 80's, have been developing action sport simulators for over 20 years.

Their early inventions included mobile water ramps to practice their ski jumps year-round and a rotating endless ski slope. Then, inspired by river surfing pioneer Arthur Pauli, they developed a rotating “dry-wave” modeled on the Eisbach Wave in Munich. Their first surfing simulator made it possible for surfers to execute the turns and tricks of real surfing without ever getting wet.

But when the Klimaschewskis realised that genuine simulated surfing needed real water, after countless prototypes and tests, the first endless stationary deepwater wave known as Citywave was created.

More info on Citywave Tokyo, in Japanese, is here: https://citywave-tokyo.jp/




Jan. 22, 2019 - New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, Day 8 (January 20) (大相撲一月場所)

On Sunday I had the pleasure of viewing a sumo tournament for the first time in over 20 years. In spite of yokozuna Kisenosato having already retired a few days prior, and another yokozuna and ozeki having already withdrawn due to injuries, I got to see some of my favorite sumo wrestlers, including Kotoshogiku, Takakeisho, and Takayasu.

If all that weren't enough, for the very first time during my nearly 3-decade tenure in Japan, I got to see the Japanese Emperor and Empress with my own eyes, who visited the Kokugikan sumo arena on the same day as me. This was their 23rd visit to the arena and their last as Emperor and Empress before Emperor Akihito's abdication in April.

Don't miss them waving to the crowd at the 21:16 mark in my video below, and also the incredibly heartwarming applause from the sumo fans. Wow, it almost made me cry.



New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, Day 8 (January 20)
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

0:05 Juryo entrance (west)
2:00 Juryo entrance (east)
3:41 Pano inside Sumo Hall
4:00 Makuuchi entrance (west)
6:11 Makuuchi entrance (east)
9:32 Yokozuna entrance
11:45 Kotoshogiku vs. Kaisei bout
14:06 Nishikigi vs. Ichinojo bout
15:38 Takakeisho vs. Onosho bout
17:11 Takayasu vs. Shohozan bout
19:10 Aoiyama vs. Hakuho bout
21:16 Japanese Emperor and Empress greet crowd
22:24 Sumo hall fans give rousing applause to Emperor and Empress




Jan. 7, 2019 - "GW’s 7 Magical Days in Pattaya, Thailand" (my new eBook)

GW's 7 Magical Days in Pattaya cover image
Hot off the press! The eBook project I started on Dec. 31st to document my amazing February 2018 Pattaya, Thailand adventure... over 4600 words (*), 30 pics, and links to 27 video clips in my Pattaya YouTube video... is now complete. YAY!

Pattaya is a coastal resort city about 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand, is one of Asia's largest beach resorts, and is the 2nd most visited city in Thailand, after Bangkok.

Highlights of the adventure include the breathtaking aerial view of Mt. Fuji, the Sanctuary of Truth, the Art in Paradise 3D optical illusion museum, the Pattaya Floating Market, Underwater World Pattaya, the motorcycle-driven mobile women's bra, shoe, and dress shops, and of course, all the stunning sunsets I saw between Feb. 7-14, 2018. 

My latest eBook is now available for only $1.99 in the US Kindle store, or ¥214 in the Amazon Japan store (アマゾン日本). If you don't have a Kindle (neither do I), you can download the free Kindle app (Kindle無料アプリ) and read my eBook on your PC or mobile device by clicking on the "Read on any Device" image in the right column on the pages linked above.

I sincerely hope you will enjoy reading this documentation of my February 2018 Pattaya adventure, and that you will find at least part of it informative or interesting, just as if you were taking the trip with me! smiley

(*) an estimated 58 pages if it were a physical book




Jan. 2, 2019 - Hatsuhinode (初日の出) 2019, First Sunrise of the New Year

I'm sure most folks will think this is about as exciting as watching paint dry, smiley but after all these years of living in Japan, I still think it's really cool how many Japanese like to kick off the New Year by viewing the first sunrise. Before sunrise on January 1, many people will drive to the coast, climb a mountain, or go to the top of a tall building or structure like the Tokyo Sky Tree or Tokyo Tower to view it. Because it was cloudy on Jan. 1, MY 1st sunrise of 2019 occurred on Jan. 2 at 6:50 a.m. laughing icon

The background music I chose is one of my favorite songs, Yanni's "In the Mirror."

Best wishes for a wonderful 2019!



Hatsuhinode (初日の出) 2019, First Sunrise of the New Year
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




Dec. 28, 2018 - 2018, The Year In Pictures (a video!)

A 3-min. movie of 2018 highlights, created with the "Memories" feature in the iOS Photos app. Many of the pics are of my Feb. trip to Pattaya, Thailand, LOTS of beautiful flowers, my Sept. trip to Texas, some of my wonderful Tokyo musician friends, and the absolutely stunning Japanese fall colors. Enjoy!

Best wishes for a super-duper 2019, the Year of the Pig! (oink, oink) laughing icon



2018, The Year In Pictures
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

(The full-size versions of the 65 photos in this video can be viewed in my Flickr album: 2018, The Year In Pictures)




Dec. 25, 2018 - Japanese Christmas trees

Merry Xmas to all my dear friends around the globe! This Flickr album shows just a few of the many interesting Japanese Christmas trees I've had the pleasure of viewing over the past quarter-century in Tokyo, just another testament to the amazing creativity of the wonderful Japanese people: https://flic.kr/s/aHskqXkiDd


Japanese Xmas tree collage
Japanese Xmas tree photo collage
(view full album at Flickr)




Dec. 24, 2018 - My all-time favorite Xmas music video - Andrea Bocelli & David Foster performing "White Christmas"

'Tis the Season! This is without question still one of my all-time favorite Xmas songs by 2 of my all-time favorite musicians. I'm feeling especially blessed these days and would just like to wish a very joyous Happy Holiday season to my family & many wonderful friends, for whom I am extremely grateful. And Happy New Year 2019, the Year of the Pig, oink, oink... laughing icon



Andrea Bocelli & David Foster performing "White Christmas"
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

[Andrea holds that last note for the word "white" a remarkable 18 seconds! WOW!]


Dec. 18, 2018 - Fall Colors, Hondoji Temple (本土寺), Dec. 2, 2018

Hondoji Temple (本土寺), the "Temple of Four Seasons," is famous for its beautiful scenery year-round, including cherry blossoms, hydrangeas, irises, and stunning fall colors. It's located in Matsudo, Chiba near Kita-Kogane Station on the JR Joban Line.

Why can't we have anything like this in my home state of Texas?! smiley

Hondoji Temple fall colors - Dec. 2, 2018
Hondoji Temple (本土寺) fall colors - Dec. 2, 2018
(click here to view all 25 full-size pics)

Hondoji Temple (in Japanese)




Dec. 16, 2016 - "I Forgot My Phone"

The amazing video below caught my eye on Facebook a few weeks ago.

Do you think you use your phone too much? Are you addicted to it?

The video shows a number of scenes where folks are clearly over the top with the use of their phone.... some humorous, some serious. In the last 5 years, it's been viewed over 51 million times. Wow...   


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




Dec. 12, 2018 - Mental Ward

Please come visit me... laughing icon


Mental Ward - We're All Here Because We're Not All There
Mental Ward - "We're All Here Because We're Not All There"




Dec. 2, 2018 - Nighttime lightup of Japan's gorgeous fall colors

It’s that time of year again. Even after 27 years, I just can’t seem to get enough of Japan’s stunningly beautiful fall colors. Nothing even remotely close to this in my home state of Texas, yet many of my stateside family & friends still don’t get why I love Japan so much. laughing icon

Last night I saw, without question, one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my whole lifetime. And to think I'd never even HEARD of such a thing as the nighttime lightup of fall colors before coming to Japan. smiley God is very skillful with his paintbrush.

Click here to view all 25 pics of the beautiful yellow ginkgo trees (ichou, イチョウ) at Gaien Ichou Namiki Dori and the red Japanese maple (momiji, 紅葉) trees at the 316-year-old Rikugien Garden.

Nighttime lightup of Gaien Ichou Namiki Dori
Nighttime lightup of Gaien Ichou Namiki Dori (whole album)




Nov. 25, 2018 - Animusic's Pipe Dream

This is without question one of the most impressive things I think I've ever seen. I first saw this on Facebook about a week ago. Animusic, based in Ithaca, New York, is a computer animation company with the singular focus of animating music.



Animusic's Pipe Dream
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




Nov. 18, 2018 - "The Birds" are BACK!!

The starlings in Ichikawa, Chiba have been going crazy in the past couple weeks. Reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic horror film, "The Birds." Noisy, noisy birds! frownie



Massive swarm of Tokyo starlings. OMG! Taken November 17, 2018.
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




Nov. 4, 2018 -World’s oldest barber still working full-time

107-year-old Anthony Mancinelli is still working full time, cutting hair 5 days a week from noon to 8 p.m. in a cheery hair salon in New Windsor, about an hour’s drive north of New York City. Eleven years ago when he was already 96 years old, he was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest working barber. 

Mr. Mancinelli, who sports a full head of snow white hair, says he has never smoked or drank heavily, and was never big on exercise. Diet-wise, he said, “I eat thin spaghetti, so I don’t get fat.”

107-year-old barber
107-year-old Anthony Mancinelli, world's oldest barber
(photo credit: New York Times)

Longevity does not run in his family, and he only goes to the doctor because people tell him to, because he has "no aches, no pains, no nothing. Nothing hurts me,” he says. He has all his teeth, is on no daily medication, has never needed glasses, and never calls in sick.

One motivating factor for continuing to work is that it helps him stay busy and upbeat after his wife of 70 years, Carmella, passed away 14 years ago. He visits her grave every day before work.

Mr. Mancinelli lives alone, not far from the salon. He drives to work, cooks his own meals, shops for himself, does his own laundry, pays his own bills, and likes watching TV — he's a big pro-wrestling fan. He even trims the bushes in his front yard with no help.

One of 8 children and who now has 6 great-great-grandchildren, Mr. Mancinelli was born in 1911 near Naples, Italy, and emigrated with his family to New York when he was 8 years old. 

He dropped out of high school at age 12 to cut hair full-time, back when a haircut cost only 25 cents. Now, a haircut from Mr. Mancinelli costs $19. Yep, that's right... he's only 5 years shy of having cut hair for an entire CENTURY! Wow.

Source: New York Times




Oct. 31, 2018 - Gyotoku Festival (行徳まつり), Sunday, October 28, 2018

An amazing all-day event, featuring Bon Odori dancers in beautiful colorful kimonos, taiko drumming, Halloween costume-clad families, and even a marching band in full military attire. Yee hah! laughing icon



Gyotoku Festival (行徳まつり), Sunday, October 28, 2018
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




Oct. 21, 2018 - Metamorphosis of Sir Sean Connery

Cheers to one of my all-time favorite movie stars, Scottish actor and producer Sir Sean Connery, who was the first actor to portray British secret agent James Bond 007, starring in 7 Bond films between 1962 and 1983.

The metamorphosis slideshow of Sir Sean Connery below is one of the coolest things I think I've ever seen...



Metamorphosis of Sir Sean Connery
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)




Oct. 14, 2018 - Yale University's most-popular-ever "Happiness 101" course now available online for free

In the Spring 2018 semeseter at Yale University, approximately 1200 students, or 1 in 4 undergrads, enrolled in Psychology professor Dr. Laurie Santos' class named "Psychology and the Good Life." That’s the largest enrollment ever reported for a single class in Yale’s 317-year history.

Now an expanded online version of the course called "The Science of Well-Being" is available for free at Coursera. Here's part of the course description:

"The purpose of the course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy, but also to put those strategies into practice. The first part of the course reveals misconceptions we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do. The next part of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness along with strategies to build better habits. The last part of the course gives learners time, tips, and social support to work on the final assignment which asks learners to apply one wellness activity aka "Rewirement" into their lives for 4 weeks."

The free online course includes access to all assignments, quizzes, and video lectures, but to receive the course certificate after completing all course requirements, you'll need to submit the $49 tuition fee.

I've been keenly interested in this topic of "positive psychology," ever since last year viewing psychologist and Harvard professor Shawn Achor's May 2011 TEDx talk, "The happy secret to better work," one of TED's 25 most popular talks of all time, now viewed a remarkable 18.4 million times.







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Website Updates

Feb 08, 2019

The "What’s New? Line Game"

The What’s New? Line Game is a 5-10 minute warm-up exercise where students discuss with their classmates anything of interest in their lives since the last class.

Continue reading "The "What’s New? Line Game""

Feb 08, 2019

Useful iPad Tools for the EFL Teacher

This article identifies a few of the most useful iPad tools for EFL teachers and describes how they are actually being used in and out of the classroom.

Continue reading "Useful iPad Tools for the EFL Teacher"

Feb 08, 2019

Quizlet Live: The Classroom Game Now Taking the World by Storm

Quizlet Live is a new in-class, team-based learning game which allows students to use their mobile devices with any of the millions of Quizlet vocabulary study sets.

Continue reading "Quizlet Live: The Classroom Game Now Taking the World by Storm"

Feb 08, 2019

The Motivating Magic of Songs in the EFL Classroom

Professor Gary J. Wolff shares tips on how singing English songs helps motivate his Japanese university students in EFL classrooms in Japan.

Continue reading "The Motivating Magic of Songs in the EFL Classroom"

Feb 06, 2019

TODAY'S HUMOR (今日のユーモア)

These are actual resume items submitted by job seekers, followed by the personnel director's comments:

"Objective: My position will have pleasant surroundings, a reasonable salary, low pressure, not require me to bring work home, and good benefits." --- Just what we’re looking for. When can you start?

"Salary required: To be paid enough to buy a better house than I and my family currently live in, which has 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and a fenced yard. Inflation must be taken into consideration." --- We think that sounds fair! We feel totally responsible for your standard of living.

"Current salary: $36,000. Salary desired: $250,000." --- I know I said "you have not because you asked not," but this might be stretching it.

Requirements: "I'll need $30K to start, full medical, 3 weeks vacation, stock options, and ideally a European sedan." --- Wow, all we have to do is provide a new BMW to help swing your decision?

Cover letter: "I'm the best accountant you're ever going to find. If your company doesn't want to pay for the high quality, don't call." --- Thanks for the tip – we won’t call!

Cover letter: "My top motivator is MONEY. If asked to choose between a professional desk job and one sanitizing a barnhouse that pays more, I'm headed for the farm." --- Are you competent or just greedy?

Cover letter: "I've updated my resume so it's more appalling to employers." --- I find myself totally shocked already! :-)

Continue reading "TODAY'S HUMOR (今日のユーモア)"

Feb 06, 2019

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"

Feb 04, 2019

How to avoid altitude sickness while climbing Mt. Fuji?

Hi, Thank you for a great source of information. Been wondering about some things still in preparation for a climb. Concerning food along the hiking

Continue reading "How to avoid altitude sickness while climbing Mt. Fuji?"

Feb 04, 2019

Is it possible to climb 5 Kamikochi mountain summits over 3000m in just 48 hours?

Hi Gary, First off, amazing article! Fantastic reading and loaded with content. My name is Nathan Bell and I am from the UK. I am planning an expedition

Continue reading "Is it possible to climb 5 Kamikochi mountain summits over 3000m in just 48 hours?"

Jan 30, 2019

Surf's UP... right in the heart of the world's largest metropolis!

Citywave Tokyo opened on August 11, 2018, and appropriately so since Tokyo will be hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics where surfing will be an official Olympic sport for the first time ever.

Located in central Tokyo only a 5-min. walk from Oimachi Station in Shinagawa Ward, Citywave Tokyo is part of “Sporu Shinagawa” (スポル品川), a sports park which features 7 olympic sports, and joins other Citywaves in France, Swizerland, Germany, Austria, Israel, with additional locations planned for Russia and America.

The German inventors, Rainer Klimaschewski and his wife Susi, who are both trained engineers and were freestyle ski champions during the 80's, have been developing action sport simulators for over 20 years...

(click link to view video)

Continue reading "Surf's UP... right in the heart of the world's largest metropolis!"

Jan 27, 2019

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"

Jan 23, 2019

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

I came across a 1957 Mt. Fuji walking stick with stamps from top to bottom. If anyone is interested, please contact me at byrdthompson2002@gmail.com. Not sure on pricing, will send photos.

Thank you.

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

Jan 22, 2019

New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, Day 8 (January 20) (大相撲一月場所)

On Sunday I had the pleasure of viewing a sumo tournament for the first time in over 20 years. In spite of yokozuna Kisenosato having already retired a few days prior, and another yokozuna and ozeki having already withdrawn due to injuries, I got to see some of my favorite sumo wrestlers, including Kotoshogiku, Takakeisho, and Takayasu.

If all that weren't enough, for the very first time during my nearly 3-decade tenure in Japan, I got to see the Japanese Emperor and Empress with my own eyes, who visited the Kokugikan sumo arena on the same day as me. This was their 23rd visit to the arena and their last as Emperor and Empress before Emperor Akihito's abdication in April.

Don't miss them waving to the crowd at the 21:16 mark in my video below, and also the incredibly heartwarming applause from the sumo fans. Wow, it almost made me cry.

(click link to view video)

Continue reading "New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, Day 8 (January 20) (大相撲一月場所)"

Jan 22, 2019

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"

Jan 12, 2019

Hatsuhinode (初日の出) 2019, First Sunrise of the New Year

I'm sure most folks will think this is about as exciting as watching paint dry, :-) but after all these years of living in Japan, I still think it's really cool how many Japanese like to kick off the New Year by viewing the first sunrise. Before sunrise on January 1, many people will drive to the coast, climb a mountain, or go to the top of a tall building or structure like the Tokyo Sky Tree or Tokyo Tower to view it. Because it was cloudy on Jan. 1, MY 1st sunrise of 2019 occurred on Jan. 2 at 6:50 a.m. :-)

The background music I chose is one of my favorite songs, Yanni's "In the Mirror."

(click link to view video)

Continue reading "Hatsuhinode (初日の出) 2019, First Sunrise of the New Year"

Jan 08, 2019

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, July-September, 2018

Posts include pics/video of GW's Sept. 2018 Houston vacation, Women's Softball World Championship, and July flooding and landslide devastation in western Japan.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, July-September, 2018"





Pattaya ebook cover
Just released!
Only $1.99 at Amazon
(¥214 at アマゾン日本)




Alaska ebook cover
Only $2.99 at Amazon
(¥340 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. The "What’s New? Line Game"

    Feb 08, 19 11:40 PM

    The What’s New? Line Game is a 5-10 minute warm-up exercise where students discuss with their classmates anything of interest in their lives since the last class.

    Read more

  2. Useful iPad Tools for the EFL Teacher

    Feb 08, 19 11:40 PM

    This article identifies a few of the most useful iPad tools for EFL teachers and describes how they are actually being used in and out of the classroom.

    Read more

  3. Quizlet Live: The Classroom Game Now Taking the World by Storm

    Feb 08, 19 11:40 PM

    Quizlet Live is a new in-class, team-based learning game which allows students to use their mobile devices with any of the millions of Quizlet vocabulary study sets.

    Read more









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Gary J. Wolff
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GW's road trip ebook cover
Only 99¢ at Amazon
(¥114 at アマゾン日本)




new Climbing Mt. Fuji book
Only $2.99 at Amazon
(¥343 at アマゾン日本)




Only $2.99 at Amazon
(¥343 at アマゾン日本)