Search this site:             
Home: Gary J. Wolff's Blog: Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, April-June, 2017

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives
April-June, 2017

This page shows archived posts for Gary J. Wolff's blog from April-June, 2017.



June 25, 2017 - Japanese university English speech contest

This university ESS (English speaking society) holds a recitation speech contest every June just for college freshmen, where they recite from memory a famous speech from history, like JFK's 1963 inaugural address, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech, Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford commencement address, etc. These kids were truly phenomenal! And it was my honor to help judge the contest again this year for the 8th straight year.

2017 recitation speech contest

June 18, 2017 - Feeling the Wind

One of my greatest pleasures while residing in the planet's most populous metropolis is cycling up and down the nearby Edogawa riverside on sunny days.

Yep, I'm the crazy guy who several years ago started the fad in Japan of wearing ankle weights on my wrists while cycling along the riverside. Since cycling exercises primarily the lower body, I felt I needed to spend that time working my biceps and triceps as well.

A few years ago while I was out on my mountain bike, I took a breather at the "Kaze o Kanjite" (風を感じて, "Feel the Wind") statue in Junsai-ike Park (じゅんさい池公園) in Matsudo, Chiba (千葉県松戸市). In the pic below, I'm in my usual attire, sporting 4 kg (~9 lbs) wrist weights on each arm.

And for some reason, this spring so far I've encountered an above average number of days with fairly strong headwinds. So I'm hearing the naked statue lady's message loud and clear, as I'm definitely "feeling the wind"! smiley

"Kaze o Kanjite" (風を感じて, "Feel the Wind") statue
"Kaze o Kanjite" (風を感じて, "Feel the Wind") statue
Junsai-ike Park (じゅんさい池公園), Matsudo, Chiba (千葉県松戸市)

June 13, 2017 - New Guinness World Record for biggest swimsuit parade

This is old news from a June 11, 2010 post, but it was so noteworthy, I felt it deserved a replay! smiley

Bikini parade at the Venus Fort shopping complex
To promote its new Gillette Venus razor, parent company Procter and Gamble assembled 323 Japanese bikini-clad beauties at the Venus Fort shopping complex in Odaiba, Tokyo to set a new world record.  

June 3, 2017 - Fond Memories of My Favorite Japanese Peaks

Just a quick trip down memory lane today, reflecting back on my quarter-century of climbing Japan's gorgeous peaks. I hope my many friends will enjoy the 4-minute video below. I chose Enya's "Caribbean Blue" as the BGM.

I believe the final frame in the video sums it up well: "Can you see now why I love Japan so much?!" smiley


Fond Memories of My Favorite Japanese Peaks
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

June 2, 2017 - 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 8th consecutive year, on Sunday, May 21, 2017 I had the pleasure of helping judge a university student English speech contest sponsored by my university's ESS (English Speaking Society). These 2nd-year students were truly amazing, sacrificing an entire day to give by memory in front of 100 people a 7-min. speech which they composed themselves.

May 2017 speech contest

May 2017 speech contest

May 28, 2017 - Tokyo Eco-Toilet, Edogawa River

This totally self-sufficient eco-toilet along the Edogawa jogging/cycling path in Tokyo is powered by wind and solar energy, and collects rainwater from the roof for the toilets. Furthermore, it is covered by greenery to reduce heat absorption. Click below to view my 3 min. narrated video...

Tokyo Eco-Toilet, Edogawa River
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Tokyo Eco-Toilet, Edogawa River
 Tokyo Eco-Toilet, Edogawa River

May 23, 2017 - Japanese man oldest person to scale world's tallest peak

Four years ago today, Yuichiro Miura (三浦 雄一郎), an 80-year-old Japanese mountaineer, became the oldest person to reach the top of the 29,035-ft (8,848-m) Mount Everest at 9:05 a.m. local time (just after noon in Japan).

Miura also conquered the planet's highest peak when he was 70 and 75. In the photo below, Miura, right, poses with his 43-yr-old son Gota at the C4 camp (elev. 26,247 ft) en route to the summit.

A noted veteran adventurer, Miura became famous when he was a young man as a daredevil speed skier. He came to worldwide attention in 1970 when he became the first person to ski down Everest. The feat was captured in the Oscar-winning 1975 documentary, "The Man Who Skied Down Everest." He has also skied down Mount Fuji.

Miura has since skied down the highest mountains on each of the 7 continents, following the tradition of his late father Keizo, who skied down Europe's Mont Blanc at the age of 99.

Miura conquered Mt. Everest despite undergoing heart surgery in January 2013 for an irregular heartbeat, his 4th heart operation since 2007.

Sources: Various, including ESPN

Yuichiro Miura
Yuichiro Miura, right, poses with his 43-yr-old son Gota
at the C4 Mt. Everest camp

May 19, 2017 - Australia's jacaranda trees

I'm in LOVE with Australia's jacaranda trees, which bloom in October (springtime in the southern hemisphere), which were introduced to me by one of my foreign exchange students from Brisbane who shared this remarkable story: https://www.garyjwolff.com/jacaranda.html

Australia's jacaranda trees
Australia's jacaranda trees

May 3, 2017 - Tokyo's Wisteria Festival (藤まつり) at Kameido Tenjin Shrine (亀戸天神社)

I first visited this beautiful wisteria festival about 20 years ago, but I'd forgotten how stunningly gorgeous the wisteria flowers actually are. Some strands of wisteria blossoms I'm guesstimating were at least 10 feet (~3m) long.

It was a wonderful experience, in spite of the hoardes of people on a picture-perfect Golden Week national holiday. If you're in Tokyo, the wisteria festival this year runs through Sunday, May 7th.

The rest of my wisteria pics are here (don't miss the kissing turtles!): smiley
Wisteria Festival (藤まつり) at Kameido Tenjin Shrine (亀戸天神社)

Wisteria Festival (藤まつり) at Kameido Tenjin Shrine (亀戸天神社)
Wisteria Festival (藤まつり) at Kameido Tenjin Shrine (亀戸天神社)

April 29, 2017 - Rainbow Cycle Monorail (レインボーサイクルモノレール)

This is just one of the million reasons why I love Japan, where I routinely stumble unexpectedly upon something really cool, and which I would likely never, ever see in my own home country...

Rainbow Cycle Monorail (レインボーサイクルモノレール)
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

April 23, 2017 - Tokyo Bay Fishing at Miura Kaigan (東京湾三浦海岸釣り)

This Saturday, June 16, 2007 adventure with one of my coworkers was, without question, one of the most awesome fishing trips I've ever been on. The water and sky that day were the most stunningly beautiful shade of blue I've ever seen..... ANYWHERE, EVER.

One of the highlights of the day was catching the most amazing Japanese fish with butterfly wings shown below, but it touched my soul in such a profound way, I decided to release it back into the Big Blue Pond. smiley

Click open the 25-photo album to check out the breathtaking view of Mt. Fuji and other pics of Tokyo Bay's beautiful blue water.

Miura Kaigan butterfly fish
My Miura Kaigan "butterfly fish"
(In Japanese, it's called a hōbō (魴鮄), or red gurnard in English)


Maxine's Universal Laws of NatureMaxine
1. Law of Gravity - Any tool, nut, bolt, or screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.
2. Law of Probability - The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.
3. Law of Random Numbers - If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.
4. Law of Mechanical Repair - After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.
5. Variation Law - If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).
6. Law of the Bath - When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.
7. Law of Close Encounters - The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.
8. Law of the Result - When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.
9. Law of Biomechanics - The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.
10. Law of the Theater & Hockey Arena - At any event, the people whose seats are farthest from the aisle, always arrive last. They are the ones who will leave their seats several times to go for food, beer, or the toilet and who leave early before the end of the performance or the game is over. The folks in the aisle seats come early, never move once, have long gangly legs or big bellies and stay to the bitter end of the performance. The aisle people also are very surly folk.
11. The Coffee Law - As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
12. Murphy's Law of Lockers - If there are only 2 people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.
13. Law of Physical Surfaces - The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor, are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.
14. Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
15. Brown's Law of Physical Appearance - If the clothes fit, they're ugly.
16. Oliver's Law of Public Speaking - A closed mouth gathers no feet.
17. Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy - As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it (especially in Japan!).
18. Doctor's Law - If you don't feel well and make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you'll feel better. But if you don't make an appointment, you'll stay sick.

April 13, 2017 - 2017 Tokyo Cherry Blossoms

Even after 26 years, I don't think I'll ever tire of the gorgeous Japanese cherry blossoms.

2017 Tokyo Cherry Blossoms
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

The cherry blossoms normally peak in Tokyo around the beginning of April, when both the school year and business year begin in Japan, and so are symbolic of a fresh start. And from the time the blossoms first open until they start falling off the tree, they rarely last for more than 2 weeks, representing the fragility and shortness of life. Now you see them, now you don't.

And by far one the most stunning aspects of their demise, is the remarkable way the cherry blossoms fall off the tree and get blown around in the breeze, resembling a snowstorm. So it is no big surprise that the Japanese refer to this phenomenon as "sakurafubuki" (桜吹雪, cherry blossom blizzard).

[If you have time, you can watch 8 more videos of the amazing Tokyo cherry blossoms I've taken thru the years, including some cherry blossom blizzards and the stunning Chidorigafuchi nighttime lightup, in my new "Tokyo Cherry Blossoms" playlist at YouTube.]

April 8, 2017 - Japanese playground slide with rollers 

I want to be a kid again!!

It looks FUN! I wanted to try it, but I guess I'm too big.

[Just after I stopped filming, I saw a dad sliding down with his kid.] smiley

Japanese playground slide with rollers 
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

April 5, 2017 - Japanese "high-jumper" (ハイジャンパー)

This interesting piece of Japanese playground equipment is known as a "high-jumper" (ハイジャンパー), to measure how high you can jump up and touch. The little numbers range from 210-280 & indicate height in cm, e.g. the red "225" represents 2.25 m (~7 ft. 5 in.). Only in Japan... smiley

Japanese high jumper
Japanese "high-jumper" (ハイジャンパー)

April 1, 2017 - Japanese bicycle escalator in Tokyo - ONLY in Japan!! smiley

This bicycle escalator starts from the basement bicycle parking garage in the 45-story i-Link Tower near JR Ichikawa Station.

No, this is NOT an April Fool's joke! smiley

Japanese bicycle escalator in Tokyo
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

Japan-Texas ebook cover thumbnail
A FREE download at Smashwords

Pattaya ebook cover
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)

Let's connect!!

Gary J. Wolff
Facebook badge

View Gary J. Wolff's profile on LinkedIn

My pics:

My videos: YouTube logo

GW's road trip ebook cover
Only 99¢ from 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)

What's New?

  1. Freedom Fighters Rally in Geneva

    Jun 14, 24 09:35 AM

    Thousands of freedom fighters from around the world in ‘The Road to Geneva People’s Convoy’ protested the WHO (World Health Organization) IHR (International Health Regulation) Amendments to their Pand…

    Read more

  2. The 16-year Plan to Destroy America

    Jun 13, 24 09:44 AM

    "As we know, Barack Obama was the first 8 years of the 16-year plan to destroy America and Hillary Clinton was supposed to be the second 8 years of the 16-year plan to destroy America. Everything that…

    Read more

  3. Health Freedom Defense Fund (HFDF) wins appeal in the 9th Circuit against LA school district's Covid vaccination mandate

    Jun 10, 24 07:02 AM

    HFDF, California Educators for Medical Freedom, and individual plaintiffs have won a significant victory in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed dismissal of their lawsuit challenging the…

    Read more