This page shows archived posts for Gary J. Wolff's blog from
29, 2015 - Jupiter/Venus conjunction
Tomorrow night's the best night, but it wasn't too bad tonight.
Jupiter, Venus near-conjunction
Tokyo, Japan, June 29, 2015, 7:59 pm
If it's cloudy/rainy in your area on June 30th, July 1st should be a
good viewing night too. More info on the earthsky.org website.
28, 2015 - Japan: Land of 40-year-old virgins
When it comes to relationships and sex, lots of Japanese can't be
bothered, according to the latest statistics in a new survey.
Nearly 40 percent of Japanese in their 20s and 30s are not in a
relationship and don't think they need a partner, with many calling
relationships "bothersome," a government survey has found.
A study by the Japan Family Planning Association found that half of
Japanese adults are not having sex, with almost 20 percent of men
saying they either have no interest in it or extremely dislike sex.
A 2010 study found that one in four Japanese men in their 30s who had
never married were virgins. The figures were only slightly lower for
women. Read more...
20, 2015 - Tonight's Moon, Jupiter, & Venus trifecta
According to this month's moon calendar which is the wallpaper on my
PC, tonight was supposed to be the 4-day crescent moon. But when I
looked up into the nearly clear sky around 7:45, boy did I ever get a
big surprise! The 3 brightest objects in the night sky were all having
4-day crescent Moon, Jupiter (left), & Venus (right) on June 20,
Only 10 more days till the spectacular conjunction of Venus and
Jupiter, our two brightest planets in Earth's sky! More info on the
June 30, 2015 Venus/Jupiter conjunction is here.
2015 - Uniformity in Japanese car colors
One of the things about Japanese culture that's always fascinated me is
the WIDE selection of colors chosen for personal automobiles.
Reminds me of one of Henry Ford's famous quotes about the Model T: "Any
customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it
There are LOTS of silver-colored cars in Japan!
2015 - Japanese university ESS (English Speaking Society) speech contest
I never cease to be amazed at the ambition of some Japanese university
students who are so passionate in improving their English and public
speaking skills. For the 6th consecutive year, on Sunday, May 24, 2015
I had the pleasure of helping judge a university student English speech
contest sponsored by my university's ESS (English Speaking Society).
These students were truly amazing, giving up a whole Sunday to give in
front of 100 people a 7-min. speech which they composed themselves.
2015 - Climbing Season Sale on my new "Climbing Mt. Fuji" eBook!
NOW ON SALE @ SMASHWORDS
FOR ONLY $2.99
UNTIL SEPT. 14, THE END OF MT. FUJI CLIMBING SEASON!!
for yourself or give as a present to that someone special by
clicking on "Give as a gift." Either way, just enter coupon code GE59G
checkout to get the discounted price.)
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 travel companion on your mobile
device as you make your way up Fuji-san's slopes....besides, it even
costs less than a cup of coffee @ Starbucks!
2015 - Wow, now THAT was a quake!
I'm guessing tonight's 8:23 pm M8.5 quake which registered a 5+ on the
Japanese seismic intensity scale was one of the strongest to strike
Tokyo since the devasting M9.0 quake of March 11, 2011 that killed
nearly 16,000 in Tohoku. And it's so rare to see shaking recorded
throughout the entire Japanese archipelago. Wow.
Praise the Lord we managed to dodge the bullet yet again...
2015 - My final issue as TLT Chapter Events Editor
The May/June 2015 issue of The
Language Teacher (TLT) was my final column as Chapter Events
Editor, a position I served in since November 2011.
The TLT is the bimonthly publication of the Japan Association for
Language Teaching (JALT,
全国語学教育学会) which publishes academic articles and other material related
to language teaching, particularly in an Asian context. First published
in April 1984, the TLT was until 2008 the only monthly, fully refereed
language education journal in the world.
Producing a publication of this quality and consistency is especially
remarkable for the fact that the staff (almost 40 people, plus advisory
board members) are all volunteers! JALT is a nonprofit organization
dedicated to the improvement of language teaching and learning, and has
nearly 3,000 members in chapters and affiliates across Japan, as well
as members abroad.
TLT Chapter Events column, May/June 2015
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
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!
Pair up of 4-day crescent moon & Venus
7:50 pm, May 22, 2015, Tokyo, Japan
More info on the June 30, 2015 Venus/Jupiter conjunction is here.
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
[Warning: Watching this video may
cause you to lose your lunch!!]
Batman: The Ride 4D roller coaster
(If player above is not visible, you can view video
@ YouTube here.)
2015 - 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."
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
2015 - Nezu Shrine Azalea Festival (根津神社 つつじ祭)
The springtime flowers in Japan bring a non-stop exhilarating 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 last well into
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.
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
So this poster is a comical, tongue-in-cheek attempt by locals to
somehow stem the tide.
(Image credit: kamvasart.com)
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
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.
15, 2015 - Download the entire internet onto your hard disk.
Click HERE to download the entire internet onto your
(courtesy of Jim Breen)
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
Steinmetz, who used a motorised paraglider to get the aerial view.
Photo credit: George Steinmetz
(Click image above to view larger, full-size photo.)
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.
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