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Home: Gary J. Wolff's Blog: Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, October-December, 2018

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives
October-December, 2018

This page shows archived posts for Gary J. Wolff's blog from October-December, 2018.



Dec. 28, 2018 - 2018, The Year In Pictures (a video!)

A 3-min. movie of 2018 highlights, created with the "Memories" feature in the iOS Photos app. Many of the pics are of my Feb. trip to Pattaya, Thailand, LOTS of beautiful flowers, my Sept. trip to Texas, some of my wonderful Tokyo musician friends, and the absolutely stunning Japanese fall colors. Enjoy!

Best wishes for a super-duper 2019, the Year of the Pig! (oink, oink) laughing icon

2018, The Year In Pictures
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

(The full-size versions of the 65 photos in this video can be viewed in my Flickr album: 2018, The Year In Pictures)

Dec. 25, 2018 - Japanese Christmas trees

Merry Xmas to all my dear friends around the globe! This Flickr album shows just a few of the many interesting Japanese Christmas trees I've had the pleasure of viewing over the past quarter-century in Tokyo, just another testament to the amazing creativity of the wonderful Japanese people:

Japanese Xmas tree collage
Japanese Xmas tree photo collage
(view full album at Flickr)

Dec. 24, 2018 - My all-time favorite Xmas music video - Andrea Bocelli & David Foster performing "White Christmas"

'Tis the Season! This is without question still one of my all-time favorite Xmas songs by 2 of my all-time favorite musicians. I'm feeling especially blessed these days and would just like to wish a very joyous Happy Holiday season to my family and many wonderful friends, for whom I am extremely grateful. And Happy New Year 2019, the Year of the Pig, oink, oink... laughing icon

Andrea Bocelli & David Foster performing "White Christmas"
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

[Andrea holds that last note for the word "white" a remarkable 18 seconds! WOW!]

Dec. 18, 2018 - Fall Colors, Hondoji Temple (本土寺), Dec. 2, 2018

Hondoji Temple (本土寺), the "Temple of Four Seasons," is famous for its beautiful scenery year-round, including cherry blossoms, hydrangeas, irises, and stunning fall colors. It's located in Matsudo, Chiba near Kita-Kogane Station on the JR Joban Line.

Why can't we have anything like this in my home state of Texas?! smiley

Hondoji Temple fall colors - Dec. 2, 2018
Hondoji Temple (本土寺) fall colors - Dec. 2, 2018
(click here to view all 25 full-size pics)

Hondoji Temple (in Japanese)

Dec. 16, 2016 - "I Forgot My Phone"

The amazing video below caught my eye on Facebook a few weeks ago.

Do you think you use your phone too much? Are you addicted to it?

The video shows a number of scenes where folks are clearly over the top with the use of their phone.... some humorous, some serious. In the last 5 years, it's been viewed over 51 million times. Wow...   

I Forgot My Phone
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

Dec. 12, 2018 - Mental Ward

Please come visit me... laughing icon

Mental Ward - We're All Here Because We're Not All There
Mental Ward - "We're All Here Because We're Not All There"

Dec. 2, 2018 - Nighttime lightup of Japan's gorgeous fall colors

It’s that time of year again. Even after 27 years, I just can’t seem to get enough of Japan’s stunningly beautiful fall colors. Nothing even remotely close to this in my home state of Texas, yet many of my stateside family and friends still don’t get why I love Japan so much. laughing icon

Last night I saw, without question, one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my whole lifetime. And to think I'd never even HEARD of such a thing as the nighttime lightup of fall colors before coming to Japan. smiley God is very skillful with his paintbrush.

Click here to view all 25 pics of the beautiful yellow ginkgo trees (ichou, イチョウ) at Gaien Ichou Namiki Dori and the red Japanese maple (momiji, 紅葉) trees at the 316-year-old Rikugien Garden.

Nighttime lightup of Gaien Ichou Namiki Dori
Nighttime lightup of Gaien Ichou Namiki Dori (whole album)

Nov. 25, 2018 - Animusic's Pipe Dream

This is without question one of the most impressive things I think I've ever seen. I first saw this on Facebook about a week ago. Animusic, based in Ithaca, New York, is a computer animation company with the singular focus of animating music.

Animusic's Pipe Dream
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

Nov. 18, 2018 - "The Birds" are BACK!!

The starlings in Ichikawa, Chiba have been going crazy in the past couple weeks. Reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic horror film, "The Birds." Noisy, noisy birds! frownie

Massive swarm of Tokyo starlings. OMG! Taken November 17, 2018.
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

Nov. 4, 2018 -World’s oldest barber still working full-time

107-year-old Anthony Mancinelli is still working full time, cutting hair 5 days a week from noon to 8 p.m. in a cheery hair salon in New Windsor, about an hour’s drive north of New York City. Eleven years ago when he was already 96 years old, he was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest working barber. 

Mr. Mancinelli, who sports a full head of snow white hair, says he has never smoked or drank heavily, and was never big on exercise. Diet-wise, he said, “I eat thin spaghetti, so I don’t get fat.”

107-year-old barber
107-year-old Anthony Mancinelli, world's oldest barber
(photo credit: New York Times)

Longevity does not run in his family, and he only goes to the doctor because people tell him to, because he has "no aches, no pains, no nothing. Nothing hurts me,” he says. He has all his teeth, is on no daily medication, has never needed glasses, and never calls in sick.

One motivating factor for continuing to work is that it helps him stay busy and upbeat after his wife of 70 years, Carmella, passed away 14 years ago. He visits her grave every day before work.

Mr. Mancinelli lives alone, not far from the salon. He drives to work, cooks his own meals, shops for himself, does his own laundry, pays his own bills, and likes watching TV — he's a big pro-wrestling fan. He even trims the bushes in his front yard with no help.

One of 8 children and who now has 6 great-great-grandchildren, Mr. Mancinelli was born in 1911 near Naples, Italy, and emigrated with his family to New York when he was 8 years old. 

He dropped out of high school at age 12 to cut hair full-time, back when a haircut cost only 25 cents. Now, a haircut from Mr. Mancinelli costs $19. Yep, that's right... he's only 5 years shy of having cut hair for an entire CENTURY! Wow.

Source: New York Times

Oct. 31, 2018 - Gyotoku Festival (行徳まつり), Sunday, October 28, 2018

An amazing all-day event, featuring Bon Odori dancers in beautiful colorful kimonos, taiko drumming, Halloween costume-clad families, and even a marching band in full military attire. Yee hah! laughing icon

Gyotoku Festival (行徳まつり), Sunday, October 28, 2018
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

Oct. 21, 2018 - Metamorphosis of Sir Sean Connery

Cheers to one of my all-time favorite movie stars, Scottish actor and producer Sir Sean Connery, who was the first actor to portray British secret agent James Bond 007, starring in 7 Bond films between 1962 and 1983.

The metamorphosis slideshow of Sir Sean Connery below is one of the coolest things I think I've ever seen...

Metamorphosis of Sir Sean Connery
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

Oct. 14, 2018 - Yale University's most-popular-ever "Happiness 101" course now available online for free

In the Spring 2018 semeseter at Yale University, approximately 1200 students, or 1 in 4 undergrads, enrolled in Psychology professor Dr. Laurie Santos' class named "Psychology and the Good Life." That’s the largest enrollment ever reported for a single class in Yale’s 317-year history.

Now an expanded online version of the course called "The Science of Well-Being" is available for free at Coursera. Here's part of the course description:

"The purpose of the course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy, but also to put those strategies into practice. The first part of the course reveals misconceptions we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do. The next part of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness along with strategies to build better habits. The last part of the course gives learners time, tips, and social support to work on the final assignment which asks learners to apply one wellness activity aka "Rewirement" into their lives for 4 weeks."

The free online course includes access to all assignments, quizzes, and video lectures, but to receive the course certificate after completing all course requirements, you'll need to submit the $49 tuition fee.

I've been keenly interested in this topic of "positive psychology," ever since last year viewing psychologist and Harvard professor Shawn Achor's May 2011 TEDx talk, "The happy secret to better work," one of TED's 25 most popular talks of all time, now viewed a remarkable 18.4 million times.

Japan-Texas ebook cover thumbnail
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Pattaya ebook cover
Only $1.99 at Amazon
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Alaska ebook cover
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(¥340 at アマゾン日本)

Summer 1974 hitchhiking trip ebook cover
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GW's road trip ebook cover
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new Climbing Mt. Fuji book
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Only $2.99 at Amazon
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