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Home: Gary J. Wolff's Blog: Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2013

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives
January-March, 2013

This page shows archived posts for Gary J. Wolff's blog from January-March, 2013.



Mar. 29, 2013 - Nighttime light-up of Chidorigafuchi cherry blossoms, Tokyo, Japan

Before coming to Japan, I'd never even heard of the nighttime light-up of flowers, but now it's fair to say I'm thoroughly hooked. This is the 2nd consecutive day I've been to Chidorigafuchi. I'm in LOVE with Japanese cherry blossoms! smiley

View all of my Flickr pics at YouTube here.

Mar. 28, 2013 - Full-bloom cherry blossom festival @ Chidorigafuchi Park & Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, Japan

Today's full-bloom cherry blossom festival @ Chidorigafuchi Park & Yasukuni Shrine, two of my all-time favorite cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo. The entire 66-photo Flickr album is here.

Mar. 26, 2013 - Jambo Ohanami Cherry Blossom Viewing Party & Canal Hike, Koto Ward, Tokyo, Japan

This cherry blossom viewing party & hike included Kiba Park & Sendaiborigawa Canal in Koto Ward, Tokyo, and was organized by Jambo International:

View all pics at a glance in separate window here.

Mar. 3, 2013 - My Fiji Travel page

If you should ever have any interest in visiting the beautiful South Pacific island nation of Fiji, you might enjoy reading my day-by-day account of the magical 6 days I spent there last month, including my pics, video, & map. I was very touched by the unbelievable hospitality of the wonderful Fijian people! To read more, click here: Fiji Travel

Orchid @ Garden of the Sleeping Giant
Orchid @ Garden of the Sleeping Giant

Feb. 23, 2013 - My Fiji vacation video (Feb. 13-20)

Besides the amazing fish (and sharks) I saw snorkeling (too bad I don't have an underwater camera), the prettiest place I saw in Fiji was Natadola Beach, especially in front of the Intercontinental Resort. But by far the most touching experience was the South Sea Island performers. The C3 Church was pretty cool too. Enjoy!

View in separate window here.

     0:00  Singapore Air in-flight airshow - Singapore to Auckland, NZ flight
     2:10  Air New Zealand in-flight airshow - Auckland, NZ to Nadi, Fiji flight
     7:07  Musical Fijian welcome @ the Nadi, Fiji airport
     7:26  Fiji flag
     7:49  Wailoaloa Beach Resort Fiji
     8:18  Fijian dancers @ the Sitar Indian restaurant - Dance 1
   10:06  Fijian dancers @ the Sitar Indian restaurant - Dance 2
   12:42  Fijian dancers @ the Sitar Indian restaurant - Dance 3
   17:00  Fijian dancers @ the Sitar Indian restaurant - Dance 4
   20:16  Kava ceremony & Fiji cultural presentation
   27:14  Riding on a highway bus to Natadola Beach
   27:49  Natadola Beach
   28:11  Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, Natadola Beach
   29:12  Riding on the highway from Natadola Beach back to Nadi Town
   29:34  C3 Christian City Church Nadi
   31:40  The Denarau Golf Club
   32:47  Port Denarau Marina
   34:09  Port Denarau passenger terminal
   34:24  Boat cruise to South Sea Island
   37:29  Welcome greetings @ South Sea Island
   40:00  South Sea Island lunch buffet
   40:23  South Sea Island Fijian song & dance performers
   52:20  South Sea Island Coral Explorer semi-submersible vessel
   55:07  South Sea Island snorkeling boat
   55:18  Return boat cruise from South Sea Island back to Port Denarau
   59:22  Fresh chilled coconut juice
1:00:10  Does water drain clockwise or counter-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere? THAT is the question. smiley
1:01:04  Japanese high school boys in the Auckland airport wait for our flight to return back home to Ibaraki Prefecture from their 10-day excursion to New Zealand
1:01:20  Beautiful cumulus cloud we passed en route back to Japan

Notes: (1) "Bula" in the Fijian language means "hello" or "welcome."
(2) Kava is a native drink made from a root with sedative and anesthetic properties which is consumed throughout Polynesia.

Feb. 22, 2013 - My Fiji vacation pics (Feb. 13-20)

Just finished uploading my vacation pics of Fiji, a blessed nation of 333 sun-bathed islands in the tropical South Pacific. It's no wonder that Tom Hanks' "Cast Away" and Brooke Shields' "The Blue Lagoon" were filmed here.

You can view the entire Flickr set here.

Feb. 9, 2013 - Mt. Fuji (富士山) to erupt by 2015

According to Masaki Kimura, a professor emeritus at Ryukyu University, signs are pointing to an imminent Mt. Fuji eruption by 2015. He says the volcano should have erupted during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, but there is a usual 4-year margin of error, which should run out by 2015. The eruption could force some 567,000 people to evacuate their homes, and has caused the Shizuoka Prefectural Government to develop a new evacuation plan.

Also, the experts monitoring the activity of the volcano say its “magma chamber pressure” had risen to 1.6 megapascals. This is higher than the chamber pressure that preceded its last eruption more than 300 years ago in 1707, which was triggered by a massive earthquake near Osaka a month before. Kimura also says that magma is rising from beneath Mt. Fuji and cracks in the crust have been increasing.

Other signs to its impending eruption are the rising water level of nearby Lake Saiko (西湖, one of the Fuji Five Lakes), numerous steam explosions, and the increasing number of volcanic earthquakes. In 2012, a huge fault line measuring 21 miles was discovered beneath Mt. Fuji and an earthquake along that fault line could actually cause the volcano to collapse entirely. An increased number of small quakes within a 30-km radius and underneath Mt. Fuji have been recorded during the past several weeks.


Quakes near Mt. Fuji in 2013
Quakes near Mt. Fuji in Jan. 2013
(photo courtesy:


Feb. 1, 2013 - Texas Burger goes on sale in Japan

Today McDonald's Japan kicked off this year's Big America campaign. First up, and back by popular demand, is the Texas Burger which serves up the wild west taste of Texas, complete with a juicy 1/4-pound all-beef patty sandwiched between 3 baked buns, mustard relish, spicy barbecue sauce, fried onions, fried crispy bacon, and cheese. Yes.....been there, done that. It was totally DELISH (they couldn't keep this Texican away)! On deck is the Idaho Burger, scheduled to go on sale at the end of this month when the Texas Burger will be phased out (Oh, and don't miss the yum-yum BBQ french fries!). More info here:

McDonald's Japan Texas Burger
McDonald's Japan Texas Burger

Jan. 23, 2013 - Cultural Presentation Day

Foreign exchange university students in Japan make cultural comparisons between various countries in areas like job recruitment, dating & marriage, food, festivals, and what it's like to be a science student.

View in separate window here.)

  0:00  Job Recruitment - Mexico & Japan
  9:14  Family Values & Wedding Traditions - Russia, Egypt, & India
22:02  Life of a Science Student - Estonia vs. Japan
34:02  Dating & Food - Japan & China
43:47  Cross Culture - Biggest Celebration Day - Japan, Indonesia, & Germany
56:21  Splendid Festivals in China & Japan

Jan. 14, 2013 - Tokyo Snow!!

For the 1st 13 days of the New Year, Tokyo had been blessed with clear, sunny days and zero precip...albeit a tad COLD. But today it started raining around 4 am, the rain then turned to snow, and now we have a winter wonderland, our first snowfall of the season.

As of 2 pm, Tokyo had received 7 cm (2.8") of snow & Yokohama had received 13 cm (5.1"), the most since 2001. In neighboring Yamanashi Prefecture, they received 42 cm (16.5"). So far, 267 injuries had been recorded in the Kanto region, 862 flights had been cancelled at Tokyo Haneda Airport, and the Japanese capital's transport had virtually ground to a halt, with the Sobu, Chuo, & Saikyo Line service completely cancelled.

The winter storm couldn't have come at a worse time, on Coming-of-Age Day, a national holiday when over a million 20-year-old Japanese today attempted to participate in ceremonies across the country to celebrate reaching adulthood. The TV evening news showed scenes of gorgeous young women in kimonos out on the street trying to push cars that had become stuck in the snow. (

We remained under a winter snow warning till 11 pm...

View in separate window here.

Jan. 11, 2013 - God wants us to become obsessively preoccupied with each other's needs.

"There is only one way to obtain money in an honest and transparent environment, and that is to serve God's other children. We've got to absorb into our mindset that we don't chase the money, but we chase opportunities to serve other people. Chasing the money turns us into a venal person that radiates desperation from every pore, but being desirous of serving other people is all you have to do. Because if you serve enough people, you'll get more than enough money....the money will flow automatically.

Does God want us to be rich? I don't really know, because he hasn't confided in me to that extent. But I do know he wants us to be obsessively preoccupied with supplying the needs and wants and desires of his other children. I think money is holy….I really do, because it's proof that I have served in some way one of God's other children. That's how money got into my bank account or got into my hand or my pocket....ONLY because I pleased another human being. No other way."

--Rabbi Daniel Lapin Dec. 31, 2012 free iTunes podcast 

Jan. 10, 2013 - McDonald's Japan's New 60-Second Campaign

Until Jan. 31 between the hours of 11 am till 2 pm, receive your Mickey D's order in less than 60 seconds or get a free burger. They even have a 1-minute hourglass on the counter to prove it. I received my juicy chicken filet set in a remarkable 25 seconds! Wow, you just gotta LOVE Japan!! smiley More details here.

View in separate window here.

Jan. 8, 2013 - Discover a new you in the New Year.

Of the "Top 10 World's Greatest Hotel Spas" as rated by TripAdvisor, a remarkable THREE of them are in Mexico, with the "Esperanza - An Auberge Resort" in Cabo San Lucas taking the top spot. Which one will YOU visit this year?

Esperanza Cabo
Esperanza - An Auberge Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
(Photo courtesy: TripAdvisor)

Jan. 1, 2013 - 2013 Hatsuhinode (初日の出) First Sunrise of the Year viewing party with my new izakaya buddies

It is a Japanese tradition to view the Hatsuhinode (初日の出), the first sunrise of the New Year. 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. The Tokyo Sky Tree & Tokyo Tower were already fully booked this year by Hatsuhinode viewers, and I didn't want to go to the trouble of heading to the coast or climbing a peak, so I just settled for the top of a nearby 7-story condo... smiley

View in separate window here.

Jan. 1, 2013 - Japanese New Year's Eve Countdown Kimono Stripteaser

Note: Some parts of this video may be unsuitable for younger viewers.

The last few minutes of the video were filmed on the streets of Roppongi, Tokyo.

View in separate window here.

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