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Home: Gary J. Wolff's Blog: Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, October-December, 2011

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives
October-December, 2011

This page shows archived posts for Gary J. Wolff's blog from October-December, 2011.



Dec. 27, 2011 - How to Change the World

Change the world(photo courtesy:
When we talk about change, here’s a good starting point: This is an inscription on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abbey:

"When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me. But alas, they would have none of it.

And now I realize as I lie on my deathbed, if I had only changed myself first, then by example I might have changed my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country, and who knows, I might have even changed the world."

Dec. 18, 2011 - The Last Quarter, Moonrise in Tokyo, Sat. Dec. 17, 2011, 11:22 pm

Moonrise in Tokyo

Dec. 17, 2011 - Slurpees in Japan

This morning for the first time in my 2-decade-long tenure in Japan, I saw a slurpee machine in a convenience store. WOW. The 4 flavors in this 7-11 are Coke, Fanta melon soda, Fanta orange, and lemon pop. I hope this idea catches on and there are still a few around during the ungodly hot and humid days of August… smiley

slurpees in Japan

Dec. 15, 2011 - A 2009 Christmas Medley by Santa Mickey

Santa Mickey thrills kids worldwide with Xmas carol karaoke practice.

All 5 videos are in a playlist and will play continuously, non-stop.
Or click on the playlist icon playlist icon above to select the other 4 videos.
(Play the entire playlist in new window here.)

Dec. 4. 2011 - Mt. Fuji & the Tokyo Sky Tree @ sunset, Dec. 4, 2011, 4:58 pm

Mt. Fuji & Tokyo Sky Tree

Nov. 27, 2011 - Japanese University Students Use Content 2.0 Online Forum to Share their Views of the World

This video shows one of over 500 presentations, speeches, and workshops given at the Nov. 18-21, 2011 JALT international conference at the Yoyogi National Olympics Memorial Center in Tokyo. More details on this class project here: What Japanese University Students Think About...?

If you are unable to view the video above, click here to view it @ YouTube.

Nov. 26, 2011 - Japanese construction zone flagman

This video shows a Japanese-style electronic flagman in a road construction work zone along National Highway Route 298, in Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan. Taken @ 4:34 pm, Sat. Nov. 26, 2011.

If you are unable to view the video above, click here to view it @ YouTube.

Nov. 23, 2011 - Global understanding

Global UnderstandingA big high-five to the university students I had the pleasure of helping coach recently on their 2nd-place finish in the e-presentation video contest. As a result of their hard work, they have won a 5-day expense-paid study tour to a partner university in South Korea for training and exchange. Their video was entitled "M-students' Hot News." Congrats to Yuka, Masahiro, and Yuta on a job well done… smiley


"Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love."

--Sir Francis Drake--
16th century English sailor

sailboat & gull at sunset(photo courtesy:

Nov. 3, 2011 - My Recommended Reading List

Little Texas CookbookMy Recommended Reading List shows some of the books that are either already in my personal library or hopefully will be in the near future, and all of which have had a profound impact or helped shape my life through the years. It'd be great to hear if you've read any of these same books & what you thought of them, thanks...

Oct. 30, 2011 - 101-year-old Michigan woman drives 81-year-old Packard 740 roadster...

...and even changes the oil & spark plugs herself. Read story with video here. Notice at the very end of the video when she steps on a little red towel to get into the car so she won't dirty the running board, then picks it up and puts it in the car so she can use it when she gets out! Precious lady!!!!

1930 Packard 740 roadster
1930 Packard 740 roadster
(photo courtesy: NY Times)

Oct. 21, 2011 - Katie Davis, foster mom for 13 abandoned Ugandan girls

Katie Davis in Uganda(photo courtesy:
Four years ago, 22-yr-old Katie Davis was homecoming queen at her high school in Brentwood, Tennessee. Today, she cares for 13 abandoned girls at her home in Uganda. And her Amazima Ministries feeds lunch to 1600 displaced children in the Masese slum community every Monday through Friday & sends 400 orphaned and vulnerable children to school through an education sponsorship program.

By buying food & supplies in bulk, they have been able to get the cost of a meal down to only 8 cents, so the average $25 donation obviously feeds one child for a very long time. Amazima is also partnering with local Ugandans in implementing self-sustaining vocational programs like the Ugandan bead necklace program where women from the Karimojong tribe make Ugandan bead necklaces and sell them in the United States. Additionally, Amazima has trained and hired young Ugandans in carpentry skills, building a community playground and a chapel.

To donate, sponsor a child, or read more details, pls. visit these links:

Oct. 20, 2011 - Tokyo sunset

Tokyo sunset
  Tokyo sunset, 5:10 pm, Oct. 19, 2011

Oct. 17, 2011 - Mt. Norikura-dake (乗鞍岳), elev. 3026m, Japan's 19th highest mountain

Atop Mt. Norikura-dake Atop Mt. Norikura-dake (乗鞍岳),
Japan's 19th highest mountain
(Mt. Ontake-san in background)

Along with 7 wild & crazy Japanese guys in June 1993, we hiked w/ ski boots & poles to the summit of Mt. Norikura-dake (乗鞍岳), Japan's 19th highest mountain, and then skied down.

It was without question one of the most bizarre, yet incredibly fun, mountain climbing trips I've ever made.

Read the full report on my Mt. Norikura-dake page.

Oct. 12, 2011 - Join rock climber Alex Honnold in his ascent of Yosemite's Half Dome, nearly 2,000 feet — without a rope.

(View video in separate window here.)

In Sept. '08 Alex Honnold became the first person to free solo the 2000 ft Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, California. 2000 ft of climbing. 2 hours and 50 minutes (this route normally takes a day or 2). No rope. No harness. Or any sort of safety gear. 26-yr-old Alex is from Sacramento, CA and started climbing when he was 11 years old. At age 19 he dropped out of UC Berkeley, where he was an engineering student, to climb full-time. Referred to as the Michael Jordan of rock climbing, Alex is also regarded by some as the greatest free soloist who ever lived.

Oct. 9, 2011 - Japanese fire drill & disaster training

The fire dept. comes out annually to the larger residential & office bldgs. in the city to demo emergency safety equipment & procedures to help keep citizens safe. Fire dept. personnel give up many of their weekends & receive no extra pay for providing this service to residents. Ya gotta just LOVE Japan ! (Interestingly, in Japan they still teach the mouth-to-mouth method of CPR.)

(View video in separate window here.)

Cue marks:
0:00 Evacuation & assembly in parking area
3:15 Greeting by fire captain
4:15 Fire extinguisher demo
8:50 Fire extinguisher practice
11:20 AED demo
16:45 CPR demo
21:50 CPR practice
33:20 AED practice
36:35 Earthquake Experience Vehicle demo
41:30 Close-up of fire truck
42:30 Veranda emergency ladder demo & practice
44:40 Emergency floodlight demo

Oct. 8, 2011 - "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?"

"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: 'If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.' It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

--Steve Jobs (1955-2011), Apple co-founder & former CEO--
(2005 Stanford commencement address)

Oct. 7, 2011 - "Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment"

"Washington keeps telling us our border is more secure than ever, but this detailed military assessment, by two of America's top generals, offers proof to the contrary. It's time to shed the cloak of denial and protect our citizens and national security. Would Washington stand by and allow terrorists from Canada to make daily incursions into New York? The answer is a resounding, 'No.' We expect and demand that same level of protection in Texas. It's time for Washington to uphold its constitutional duty to protect Americans on their home soil."
--Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples --

Texas border security graphic

Despite border security constituting the single largest item in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget, they have failed to develop a border security strategy that protects American cities and rural areas from Latin American & Mexican drug, gun, and human smuggling cartels operating inside our borders.

The 182-page report, "Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment," was prepared by retired four-star Army General Barry R. McCaffrey, former Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Bill Clinton and former Commander of all U.S. troops in Central and South America; and retired Army Major-General Robert H. Scales, PhD, the former Commandant of the United States Army War College. 

Oct. 5, 2011 - Left-behind dads take desperate measures; bureaucracy in 'land of the abducted son'

I love this country dearly, but it's not doing nearly enough about the growing epidemic of international parental child abductions. Pls. continue to remember my dear American friend & his children in your prayers. There is still hope he will someday be reunited w/ his kidnapped sons. Click here to read his article published Tues. Oct. 4, 2011 by the Japan Times.

birthday card by Richard Cory's daughter
When Richard Cory's 14-year-old daughter, who lives with him, tried to hand over a birthday card she had made for her 11-year-old brother, who lives with their mother, police raced to the scene to prevent delivery. (Photo courtesy: Richard Cory)

Japan-Texas ebook cover thumbnail
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Alaska ebook cover
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