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Home: Gary J. Wolff's Blog: Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2021

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives
January-March, 2021


This page shows archived posts for Gary J. Wolff's blog from January-March, 2021.

Enjoy...

Cheers, 
Gary



Mar. 31, 2021 - Tony the Tiger (トニー・ザ・タイガー)

When I was a young kid growing up in Houston, Texas (trust me, that was a very LONG time ago, ha ha), smiley like a lot of other American kiddos, I really looked forward to Saturday mornings.

Why? Well, for one thing there was NO SCHOOL! Yay! Also, as a result, Saturday morning TV programming was almost exclusively for children… cartoons, kids shows, Disney programs, game shows, etc.

So naturally, all of the TV commercials were directed towards us youngsters… toys, games, candy, breakfast cereals, you name it.

Through the years I came to admire my favorite cartoon character by the name of Tony the Tiger (トニー・ザ・タイガー). Born in 1952, Tony is the mascot for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes breakfast cereal, known in Japan as Corn Frosty (コーンフロスティ)...

Read more and watch a video of Tony the Tiger TV commercials here: Tony the Tiger

Tony the Tiger & Frosted Flakes
Tony the Tiger (トニー・ザ・タイガー) & Frosted Flakes




Mar. 26, 2021 - In view of the global pandemic, is it possible to climb Mt. Fuji virtually?

YES!! The Mount Fuji Virtual Challenge will take you on an exciting 46-mile (74-km) adventure around the Fuji Five Lakes and then on to the summit of Mount Fuji.... the tallest mountain in Japan.

Using their mobile iOS and Android apps, each time you complete a distance-based exercise such as running, walking, cycling, swimming, etc., you can enter the distance in miles (or kms) into the app either manually or by syncing your activities from your favorite fitness tracker or smartwatch.

After you reach Mt. Fuji's summit, you can celebrate your achievement with a stunning, limited edition Mount Fuji Virtual Challenge finisher's medal, which you can see being proudly displayed below recently by a couple friends of mine in Wisconsin!

Mount Fuji Virtual Challenge finishers
Mt. Fuji Virtual Challenge finishers with their gorgeous medals




Mar. 20, 2021 - Spring has sprung!!

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 mid-summer.

What you see now in the album linked below is just the start, so I'll be adding more pics to it in the weeks ahead! Stay tuned and check back soon! smiley





Mar. 14, 2021 - Ikspiari's Rainforest Cafe in Tokyo, Japan

For the 1st time in AGES, yesterday I had a chance to dine again at the jungle-themed Rainforest Café, this time at Japan's FIRST Rainforest Cafe in the amazing 140-store Ikspiari shopping mall at the gateway to Tokyo Disney Resort.

Part adventure, part restaurant, and wholly entertaining for the whole family, this cafe recreates a tropical rainforest with waterfalls, lush vegetation, bird songs, elephants, gorillas, roaring thunder, and colorful fish in a huge 5-meter-tall cylindrical aquarium.

I found the cafe's American favorites like guacamole, hamburgers, pork chops, pasta, and seafood to be a bit pricey, but I'm sure that includes the cost of the rainforest ambience and the elephant, gorilla, and lightning & thunder shows every 5 minutes or so. smiley



Ikspiari's Rainforest Cafe in Tokyo, Japan
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




Mar. 13, 2021 - My shrimp cocktail yielded a shrimp tail clock

When I was a young kid, Mom always asked me not to play with my food. Now 6 decades later, I’m still not listening.

Tonight I enjoyed my shrimp cocktail so much that I decided to make a shrimp tail clock. And as you can see, that all went down about 7:15 pm.

Well, now you can see why my university students love me so much… I am STILL a child! laughing icon

shrimp tail clock
Gary's shrimp tail clock smiley
 



Mar. 5, 2021 - 2021 Cherry Blossom Forecast

Only 10 more days till the cherry blossoms are forecast to begin blooming in Tokyo on Mar. 15! Yay! This is 11 days earlier than last year and the 2nd earliest ever! Full bloom in Tokyo is forecast for Mar. 23. Can't wait! smiley


2021 cherry blossom front in Japan
2021 cherry blossom front in Japan
(Source: Japan Meteorological Corporation)




Mar. 3, 2021 - Ending Nighttime Urination

Too many trips to the toilet in the middle of the night? Frequent nighttime urination is the #1 problem for many seniors, a number of whom suffer dangerous falls to or from the toilet in a darkened home. This is especially hazardous for elderly who must navigate up and down stairs.

Many people think that frequent nighttime urination is just an inevitable part of getting old, but we now know that most cases have a specific cause: the water you consume during the day is being stored up in a certain part of your body... and it's not where you think!

This 45-min. Japanese TV show with English subtitles reveals some very shocking and surprising facts about how and where our bodies store water and why it always seems to want to exit after we go to sleep. Presented in a jocular, quiz-style game show format, it also includes 3 tips for what you can do about it.

I found the program very enlightening and well worth my time...

[Mar. 5 update: Dang, it looks like the video was made private! Sorry 'bout that.] frownie

In short, because our calves store HUGE amounts of water, here were the 3 tips:
1) Wear medical compression stockings during the day
2) Lay down and elevate your legs 10-15 cm for around 30 minutes in the afternoon
3) Reduce your salt consumption




Feb. 22, 2021 - Today's Humor: "Do you have a dime?"

Now that we all live in a masked society, what we often think we hear is not what was actually said. The funny comic strip below I discovered last night by accident on the back side of a sports news clipping Mom sent me from the Houston Chronicle newspaper. laughing icon

Do you have a dime?
"Do you have a dime?"
(Source: chron.com)




Feb. 19, 2021 - Marriott Marquis Houston's Lazy River pool

The Marriott Marquis' Texas-shaped Lazy River pool is now looking more like frozen Alaskan tundra rather than a tropical sunbathing spot in downtown Houston, Texas.

Marriott Marquis' Lazy River in Houston
Marriott Marquis' Lazy River in Houson
(Photo credit: chron.com)

My heart goes out to the millions of folks in my home Lone Star State without power, and dealing with record snowfalls and the coldest winter storm in decades. And thank God for global warming! Can you imagine how much worse it would be WITHOUT it? laughing icon




Feb. 12, 2021 - Catchy Traffic Safety Slogans

Early in my professional career, I was a registered professional traffic engineer in the states of Texas and Arizona. And part of my duties, while working for state and city transportation agencies as well as in the private sector for traffic engineering consulting firms, was to design traffic signals, traffic signs, and pavement markings to ensure the safety of our streets and highways.

Also, for a few years I was even licensed through the National Safety Council as a Defensive Driving Course instructor. Needless to say, developing a strong traffic safety consciousness was part of that work, and which I have carried with me to this day, even though I haven’t worked as a traffic safety engineer in over 3 decades now.

One of the fun things about working in the traffic safety field was learning and sharing interesting, catchy traffic safety slogans that I became aware of through the years...  (Read more and check out my list of slogans here.)




Feb. 9, 2021 - The Japan ‒ Texas Connection: Best Friends Forever (BFF)

Hot off the press! After years of just dreaming about it, I finally got around to writing about the surprisingly large number of cultural and business connections between the Land of the Rising Sun and my home Lone Star State of Texas. I've been at it fairly consistently for the past couple months now, and finally uploaded my latest ebook yesterday.

With over 80 images and 24,000 words of text, I first introduced some interesting facts which highlight in general the many connections between Texas and Japan.

I then covered other topics in more detail including early Japanese settlers to southeast Texas over 100 years ago, sister city relationships, Japanese gardens in Texas, the amazing Samurai Wall in Dallas, the authentic Little Texas honky-tonk in the heart of Tokyo, NASA, sports, education, and many other business, political, and cultural connections which I hope will prove to be both interesting and enlightening for the reader.

The free download is available in 7 different formats from Smashwords, the world's largest publisher of indie ebooks. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it. Enjoy! smiley


Japan - Texas ebook cover
The Japan ‒ Texas Connection: Best Friends Forever (BFF) ebook cover


[For iOS users, for best readability I recommend the epub version which you can open up on your iPhone/iPad in the Apple Books app (the pdf version had a few formatting conversion glitches this time, plus doesn't include the ebook cover image). Instructions for viewing options on other devices (e.g. Android, Kindle, etc.) are explained at the top of Smashword's FAQ page.




Jan. 27, 2021 - Diamond Fuji (ダイヤモンド富士) Viewing Spots, Dates, and Times in Tokyo

It's already that time of year again when we might get a chance in Tokyo to view an amazing phenomenon known as "Diamond Fuji," when the sun sets into the cone of Japan's tallest peak, setting off sunbeams that resemble a glittering diamond, and which is a popular target of both amateur and professional photographers in Japan.

Until mid-February, if you're lucky, you might be able to catch Diamond Fuji from the top of some of Tokyo's tallest buildings and towers.

In December 2014, I decided to put together the webpage linked below, listing the best high-rise spots in Tokyo for viewing Diamond Fuji along with recommended dates, sunset times, admission fees, and links to their Google maps: Diamond Fuji Viewing Spots, Dates, and Times in Tokyo

Best wishes! Let's get LUCKY!! laughing icon

 
Diamond Fuji
Diamond Fuji - July 30, 2012
(photo credit: The Asahi Shimbun, Asia & Japan Watch)




Jan. 16, 2021 - Origami (折り紙) Changes Everything

The ancient art of paper folding known as origami (formed from 'ori (折り)' meaning folding and 'kami (紙)' meaning paper) has been used for centuries, but in recent years research teams have adapted the origami folding technique to many other interesting applications, ranging from microscopic stomach cleaning robots to solar sails and telescopes that can unfold in outer space. One obstacle to its full potential, though, has been achieving mass production.

Professor Ichiro Hagiwara, Ph.D., a professor in Meiji University's Institute for Advanced Study of Mathematical Sciences, and his origami engineering research team have been working to solve this problem and have successfully developed a 3D origami printer. He believes origami-based manufacturing will greatly improve our lives in the near future in fields like automobile safety technology, car parts, space development systems, beverage containers, and more.

Watch the "Origami Changes Everything" video below to learn more. [The video is also available with Japanese subtitles (日本語字幕) here.] It's one of several other videos in Meiji University's "Incredible Senseis" series viewable here in a YouTube playlist.



Origami Changes Everything
[The video is one of several others in Meiji University's "Incredible Senseis" series.]
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




Jan. 1, 2021 - 1st Sunrise of the New Year in Tokyo - 初日の出 Hatsuhinode

Hatsuhinode (初日の出) is the Japanese Shinto tradition of viewing the 1st sunrise of the New Year to greet Toshigami (年神), the god of the New Year, with hopes of receiving good luck, well-being, and health. 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. Here's the one which occurred in Tokyo this morning at 6:51 am. Happy New Year!! May we all be blessed this year with "good luck, well-being, and health."


1st Sunrise of the New Year in Tokyo - 初日の出 Hatsuhinode
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

The video's background music, George Harrison's "Here Comes The Sun," is sung by Brooke White, an American indie pop singer-songwriter from Arizona who was the 5th place finalist in the 7th season of American Idol.


Japan-Texas ebook cover thumbnail
Hot off the press! 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)


What's New?

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

    Jul 31, 21 11:35 PM

    The most frequently asked questions about climbing Mt. Fuji, including info on routes, maps, videos, transport access, traffic stats, weather, and climber stories.

    Read more

  2. My visit to the Mt. Fuji 5th & 6th Stations

    Jul 31, 21 09:45 PM

    Yesterday I climbed Japan’s highest and holiest peak for the 4th time. Well, this time only to the 5th Station. And by bus. :-) Since it'd been 6 years since my last visit to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th…

    Read more

  3. Gary J. Wolff's Blog

    Jul 31, 21 08:45 AM

    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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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
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Only $2.99 at Amazon
(¥343 at アマゾン日本)