Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives
This page shows archived posts for Gary J. Wolff's blog from
2013 - Japan quakes in the past 100 days
An accident waiting to happen. This map shows all the quakes measuring
Intensity 1 or greater (Japanese intensity scale) that have occurred in
Dai Nippon just in the past 100 days, from Sept. 22 thru 10 am this
morning (Dec. 31). YIKES.
If there was ever any question about how much mom loves her baby boy,
then here's your answer. This pic shows all the wonderful stuff that
arrived in my home today, including not only a very cute 3D Santa Claus
Xmas card, but 6 bags of her delicious homemade Texas Trash snack mix,
2 calendars, Belgian chocolate, a daily devotional, a "Footprints" magnetic bookmark
(I'd never seen one of these before!), a "Someone in Texas loves you!"
refrigerator magnet, and even CASH. WOW! Ho, ho, ho...
Mom's 2013 Xmas gifts
2013 - NORAD Tracks Santa over Houston, Texas & Tokyo, Japan
Santa just passed thru Houston, Texas, my hometown, @ 1:44 a.m. Houston
time on his way to Austin, San Antonio, and Monterrey, Mexico! Yee
hah!! Nearly 6.1 billion gifts delivered so far. Wow, go Santa!
Santa also passed thru Tokyo around 10 pm local time on Xmas Eve, en
route to Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Okinawa, and on to Incheon, South
Korea. Wow, already over 800 million presents delivered so far at the
2013 - Xmas Eve Candlelight Worship Service, Tokyo Union Church, 6:30
75 min. service included 3 songs by the Sanctuary Choir (starting with
a processional to open the service), a flute/harpsichord duet, a
soprano solo, 9 Xmas hymns (the 2nd verse of Silent Night was sung in
Japanese), a Xmas concerto by the church's instrumentalist group,
lighting of the Advent Christ candle, a sermon, reading of the Xmas
Story from Luke Chapter 2, and the sacrament of Holy Communion. NICE!
Xmas Eve Candlelight Worship Service
2013 - Save Tokyo’s biggest nature park and bird sanctuary from the
Please sign the petition to save Kasai Rinkai Koen (葛西臨海公園), Tokyo’s
biggest nature park and bird sanctuary, from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Kasai Rinkai Park is a rare nature haven in the middle of Tokyo. The
park and bird sanctuary boast 226 species of birds, 140 insect species,
80 spider species, 91 types of trees, and 132 grasses -- and is even
home to a flock of endangered black-faced spoonbills. It was built 25
years ago to preserve natural Tokyo Bay habitat and wildlife. It is the
only place in the city where you can regularly spot birds like hawks,
thrushes, daurian redstarts, and brown-eared bulbuls.
But this fragile ecosystem and beautiful bird sanctuary faces a grave
threat due to Tokyo’s winning bid of the 2020 Olympic Games.
Approximately one third of the park is currently slated as the location
for the canoe slalom course for the Olympics which will only be used
for five days. It will be replaced with an artificial waterway and
stands that will seat 15,000 people. The construction of the facility
alone will be highly disruptive. There are also concerns that the large
amount of treated water will affect the surrounding marshland and bird
Read more & pls. sign the petition to protect this beautiful park,
bird sanctuary, and ecosystem that has taken over 25 years to take
Save Kasai Rinkai Koen (葛西臨海公園)
17, 2013 - My hearty partying Filipina friends
My Filipina friends sure know how to party hearty. This 50th birthday
party for Mari (far right) lasted 6 hours & was attended by over
100 people, including dignitaries from the Philippine embassy, a WBC
flyweight boxing champion, and professional singers and dancers who
performed practically non-stop. The ¥2000 (~$20) admission included
delicious all-you-can-eat Philippine food and free karaoke. For obvious
reasons, I just LOVE Japan.
Mari's 50th birthday party
2013 - Jambo Xmas Party & Charity Bazarr
Ho ho ho! Can you believe it's already Xmas party season? Where has
this year GONE?
This party, organized by Jambo International, included a one-coin
charity bazarr, proceeds of which will benefit the Philippines Friends
of the Earth Typhoon Haiyang relief efforts.
Jambo Xmas party & charity bazarr, Dec. 7, 2013
(photo credit: David Howenstein)
2013 - The brightest Venus of 2013 pairs up with the crescent moon
Praise be to the creator of the universe who blesses us with such
celestial beauty. Venus, our brightest planet, on its brightest night
of the year, courts the 3-day crescent moon in Tokyo, Japan @ 5:10 pm.
2013 - The busiest travel day of the year
In America, the day before Thanksgiving Day is generally regarded as
the busiest travel day of the whole year. Well, I'd have to say that
this screenshot captured on Wed. around 5 pm Pacific Standard Time
certainly lends a lot of credibility to that claim. Flightradar24
is a flight tracking service that provides real-time info on thousands
of aircraft around the world. (http://www.flightradar24.com/)
Wed. Nov. 27, 2013 air traffic
2013 - Christmas Sale
on my new "Climbing Mt. Fuji" eBook!
NOW ON SALE @ SMASHWORDS
FOR ONLY $2.99
UNTIL CHRISTMAS DAY !!
for yourself or give as a Xmas present to that someone special by
clicking on "Give as a gift" and entering coupon code TS93M @
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 stocking stuffer....besides, it even
costs less than a cup of coffee @ Starbucks! Merry, merry Xmas!!
It's university festival season (大学祭のシーズン) in Japan! This cute
signboard shows all the action-packed events & performances
scheduled for the main stage over the next 3 days, including dance
shows, live rock bands, a cappella choir, taekwondo, impersonator
contest, faculty IQ quiz, and even freestyle soccer. Japanese
university students rock!
Ikumeisai (生明祭) signboard
19, 2013 - 11/17 IMA Charity Flea Market
A happy group of music-makers at Kristin's songwriting workshop, which
was part of the Sun. 11/17 charity flea market & bake sale to
benefit Tohoku victims of the 2011 Japan quake & tsunami. Totally
worth coming out early on a Sunday for! Thank you, Kristin! With
Louise, Mirai, Amanda, and Yuta.
I wonder if the heart isn't a subliminal marketing reminder that
Valentine's Day is right around the corner.
Valentine's Day is BIG business in Japan, where sales of chocolate
alone top $500 million, accounting for 12% of the entire whopping
annual chocolate sales of $4.4 billion.
Xmas tree with heart
12, 2013 - Busy 2013 Pacific typhoon season
If you think it's been a busy typhoon season in the Northwest Pacific
Ocean this year, right you are! Because of an above average number of
fall typhoons (aki-taifū, 秋台風), Japan had 28 typhoons thru Oct. and the
number is likely to surpass 30 — the first time this will have happened
in 19 years. The largest typhoon in a decade and 2 typhoons occurring
simultaneously certainly made 2013 "taifū no atari doshi" (台風の当たり年, the
year when we hit the jackpot of typhoons).
...adorn the streets of Harajuku, Tokyo. Thurs., 5:12 pm.
Crescent moon & Venus in Harajuku, Tokyo
5, 2013 - Kibō no Kabe (希望の壁, wall of hope)
A huge 9-meter-high (~30 ft), 78-meter-wide wall (~256 ft), covered
with 100 varieties of flowers and greenery including cosmos flowers,
has been unveiled in an office district of Osaka, western Japan.
Osaka-born architect Tadao Ando, who designed the project, said he
wanted to make Osaka more beautiful by adding greenery and hopes the
wall makes people cheerful.
Let's all save electricity! If you're going up 3 floors
or less or going down 5 floors or less, let's give the elevator a
breather & take the stairs. Oh, and did we mention we can burn off
a few calories in the process?
3 floors up, 5 floors down
29, 2013 - Digital Analytics Fundamentals
Woo-hoo. Lifelong learning is where it's at, baby.
This was a 3-week online course to learn the latest analytical tools
for tracking website performance, particularly as it relates to
2013 - MAY I HAVE THIS DANCE?
"Tango is not like life, my dear. There are no mistakes in Tango -- if
you get tangled up, you just Tango on."
--Al Pacino to Gabrielle Anwar in the '92 flick, "Scent of a Woman"--
2013 - Post-Typhoon 26 sunset in Tokyo, 4:55 pm
Post-Typhoon 26 sunset in Tokyo, 4:55 pm
14, 2013 - Akebono Taro goes for All Japan pro wrestling championship
44-year-old former Japanese sumo yokozuna grand champion Akebono Taro
(born Chad Rowan) from Hawaii, and who took up pro wrestling in 2005,
will fight for the All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) heavyweight triple
crown on Oct. 27 in the Ryogoku Sumo Arena vs. current title holder
Suwama. During his 13-year sumo wrestling career, Akebono, the first
non-Japanese-born wrestler ever to reach yokozuna, sumo's highest rank,
compiled a career total of 11 tournament championships, and was
runner-up in 13 other tournaments. GO AKEBONO!!
are the luckiest Russians (still) alive! Miraculously, everyone
(including the dog) walks away from these wrecks captured by dash cams.
(If player above is not visible,
you can view video @ YouTube here.)
11, 2013 - EARLY crescent moon !!
Wow, today's 7-day, 47% waxing crescent moon was up EARLY! I first
spotted it around 2:30 pm...
Early crescent moon
10, 2013 - The most beautiful time-lapse ever?
Norwegian photographer Stian Rekdal combined thousands of photos to
create this time-lapse video showcasing Iceland's natural beauty. He
spent three weeks—and more than 3,000 miles—on the road and took more
than 40,000 photos. He used about 3,500 of these to make the video.
Don't miss the stunning aurora borealis, starting at 1:49.
If player above is not visible, you can view video
separate window @ Vimeo here.
2013 - The train hammock gaijin (電車ハンモック外人)
If you're on a crowded Tokyo subway or train and can't find a seat,
then just take a cue from Cloudyb Tokyo, my Aussie friend also known as
the "train hammock gaijin (電車ハンモック外人)," who just simply hangs up his
hammock to make his own seat. I used to sing & dance with this
fella in children's English education stage shows
(子どもの英語教育のショー) all over Japan and trust me, he's a VERY funny guy...
Cloudy B Tokyo...
...a.k.a. the Train Hammock Gaijin
A priceless video of Cloudy, featuring his famous
vacuum cleaner named Erick, is here.
Oct. 7, 2013 - My barber's
I don't believe I've ever seen tires this HUGE on a bicycle
before! Have you?
My barber's new fat tire bike
4, 2013 - ATTENTION all Tokyoites,....
...especially if you patronize bars in Roppongi. The following comes
courtesy of the Oct. 2013 Newsletter from the U.S. Embassy Tokyo: "The
U.S. Embassy continues to receive reliable reports of U.S. citizens
having been drugged in area bars. Most reports indicate that the victim
unknowingly drinks a beverage that has been secretly mixed with a drug
that renders the victim unconscious or stuporous for several hours,
during which time large charges are fraudulently billed to the victim,
sums of money are charged to the victim’s credit card, or the card is
stolen. Victims sometimes regain consciousness in the bar or club,
while at other times the victim awakens on the street. Assaults on
Americans have also been reported in connection with drink-spiking."
More detailed info on serious crimes in Roppongi, including physical
and sexual assaults, drug overdoses, theft of purses, wallets, cash,
and credit cards, beatings, and even a murder ("Japan is a SAFE
country!"), can be found on the U.S. State Dept.'s country specific
page for Japan: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/japan.html
(Click open "Safety and Security.")
2013 - Double
Typhoon 22 (台風22号) passed by this afternoon, I saw what I guess is the
most spectacular double rainbow (二重の虹) of my whole life. As soon as I
exited my exercise gym around 17:00, a Japanese guy was shouting at the
top of his lungs (in ENGLISH!), "Double rainbow! Double rainbow!" So it
was kinda hard to miss. But regrettably, I still haven't found the
accompanying double pots of gold.
If you've found value on
please consider sending a donation of any amount
to help cover my web hosting expenses. I have intentionally limited ads,
have never used pop-ups, and do not collect email addresses
in order to provide visitors a pleasant, hassle-free experience. Thank
(Please rest assured that when you click
the 'Donate' button,
your transaction will be encrypted and secure.
Your information is safe with PayPal,
one of the largest payment processors on the Internet.)