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Gary J. Wolff's Blog

Gary J. Wolff's blog is my mini-journal about GaryJWolff.com. It...

  •  lets you know whenever any new pages are added to GaryJWolff.com
  •  allows me to periodically share some interesting stuff about Japanese culture  
  •  keeps you up-to-date on any other postings or news regarding GaryJWolff.com

Enjoy...

Cheers, 
Gary


Recent website updates (at bottom of the page)
Feel free to share your comments below.

Oct. 25, 2021 - Houston Astros headed to the World Series…

​...for the 3rd time in the last 5 years! After clinching the American League pennant against the Boston Red Sox last Friday, the Astros will be hosting the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, October 26 at Minute Maid Park in Houston to begin the 2021 World Series.

The Astros have home field advantage, where 4 of the 7 (if necessary) games will be played in Houston, and will be playing with 3 days of rest compared to only 2 days for the Braves, which includes the time required for them to fly to Houston.

In 2017 after the Astros reached the World Series en route to their world championship, I purchased ​a new Astros ball ​cap at the ​"Selection​"​ American sporting good​s​ shop in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Before leaving​,​ the shop staff asked if he could take my picture wearing my new cap so he could add it to the store's ​"​snap​ photo" blog pa​​ge​​ and I said ​"Of course."

I’ve been sporting my Houston Astros ball cap for the past week or so, including in my online university classes, smiley and here I am wearing my cap in 2017​. Go Astros!​


new Astros cap
Caption on Selection blog page: ヒューストンからお越しのお客様です!アストロズのキャップ購入頂きました♪キャップを被ってアストロズを応援して下さい\(^o^)/
Translation: This customer comes from Houston! He bought an Astros cap. Please support the Astros by wearing the cap.




Oct. 12, 2021 - Young Japanese boy softball pitcher (日本の少年ソフトボールのピッチャー)

​I almost fell off my bicycle the other day when I noticed this young boy, I’m guessing no more than 7 or 8 years old, pitching like a real pro against grown adults in a parents vs. children softball game. Having grown up watching my Hall of Famer softball pitcher dad, Walter F. Wolff, I must say I was totally impressed. And this precious, tiny little boy was SO cute!​​



Young Japanese boy softball pitcher (日本の少年ソフトボールのピッチャー)
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




Oct. 8, 2021 - U.S. Freedom Flyers



U.S. Freedom Flyers - We Do Not Consent
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

Background song: "Rescue" by Lauren Daigle




Oct. 5, 2021 - Chichibu Hiking (秩父ハイキング), Oct. 3, 2021

​One of the beauties of living in the world's most populous metropolis is how easy it is to get back to nature. Just one example was a couple days ago when I joined the Jambo International hiking group for a 4-hour mountain hike in Chichibu, Saitama.

Within just a 2-hour train ride from th​​e city, we were enjoying a beautiful, sunny fall day and enveloped by thick green forests, a gurgling mountain stream, colorful cosmos flowers, chirping birds, a stunning scenic overlook of Hanno City, and new friendships with fellow hikers from around the world.

Countless easy and accessible hiking courses near Tokyo is just one of many reasons I have chosen to live in this beautiful country for over 3 decades now.

Here is the hiking course, ​with more details on the Jambo International event page:

Higashi Agano Station (東吾野駅) → Mt. Monomi (物見山) → Mt. Hiwada (日和田山) → Kinchakuda (巾着田) →  Koma Station  (高麗駅) (about 4 hours, およそ約4時間)

Chichibu hiking
Chichibu Hiking (秩父ハイキング)
You can view my Flickr photos here: Chichibu Hiking (秩父ハイキング)




Sept. 22, 2021 - Korakuen (幸楽苑) ramen shop robot

Watch this cute little robot deliver orders to tables in this Tokyo ramen chain restaurant. The future is HERE! Restaurant servers, your job is in jeopardy... smiley



Korakuen (幸楽苑) ramen shop robot
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




Sept. 18, 2021 - Fall 2021 Edutainment Lesson Plans

Let's have fun learning English! Edutainment lesson plans on this page are optional, but if you take the time to do them, they will not only improve your overall English communication skills, but will also broaden your cultural horizons to help you become a more successful international citizen in today's global society! smiley

New lessons will be added each week. Read more to begin your free, self-study course here: Fall 2021 Edutainment Lesson Plans




Sept. 10, 2021 - HAA3, with the Shepherd Pickers

Cheers to one of my all-time favorite musicians, a remarkable fella I had the pleasure of rooming with in our college days and hearing his wonderful tunes and lovely voice almost every day. My favorites in those days were songs by John Denver and Neil Young. And now, decades later, he still has his stuff! smiley


HAA3, with the Shepherd Pickers
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

0:00 Go Rest High On That Mountain
5:43 Little Mountain Church House
7:42 In Constant Sorrow
12:04 Jesus is Just Alright
15:53 Spirit in the Sky
18:53 Everybody Hurts

And a big TEXAS-size hug to his videographer for her excellent camera work. smiley Thanks for sharing, my dear friends...




Aug. 26, 2021 - Climbing Mt. Fuji's Yoshida Trail - Aug. 24-25, 2021

Thirty years ago this month, along with a bunch of other crazy friends, I climbed to the top of Mt. Fuji's Yoshida Trail, the busiest and most popular of its 4 trails. Because one of the most visited pages on my entire website is the Climbing Mt. Fuji (富士山) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, I felt it was about time to go back and refresh my data. smiley

To put it into perspective, from the 5th Station trailhead to the top requires an elevation gain of over 1400 m (4600 ft), equivalent to 3.7 Empire State Buildings or 4.7 Abeno Harukas Buildings (あべのハルカス), Japan‘s tallest in Osaka. Needless to say, this climb seriously kicked my rear, but I was thrilled to learn that this sexagenarian's body could still pull it off. smiley

I hope you have time to check out the stunning beauty of Japan’s tallest peak, which is also one of its 3 holiest peaks: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmWveVV5
(on the Flickr page, click small right arrow in upper right for automatic slideshow viewing)

Gary with Mt. Fuji friends
Climbing Mt. Fuji's Yoshida Trail - Aug. 24-25, 2021
(click link to view entire album)



Climbing Mt. Fuji's Yoshida Trail - Aug. 24-25, 2021
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




Aug. 9, 2021 - Shikinejima (式根島), one of the 11 exotic tropical islands of Tokyo

Even after 3 decades in Dai Nippon, it still blows my mind that one can enjoy such a beautiful tropical paradise less than a 3-hr boat ride from the world's most populous metropolis. Shikinejima (式根島), only 3.7 sq km (1.4 sq mi) in size, is the smallest of 11 islands that extend some 1000 km south of central Tokyo.

Blessed with not only gorgeous white sand beaches, snorkeling, rare birds, hiking trails, and the Milky Way, this tiny island is also famous for its seaside open-air hot springs whose temperature varies with the tide, determined by the amount of seawater that mixes in with the hot water in the natural rock baths which are free and open 24/7. Heaven on earth.


Shikinejima (式根島)
Shikinejima (式根島), one of the 11 exotic tropical islands of Tokyo
The full photo album is viewable here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmWsbhAn
(on that page, click small right arrow in upper right for automatic slideshow viewing)



Shikinejima (式根島), one of the 11 exotic tropical islands of Tokyo
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




July 31, 2021 - My visit to the Mt. Fuji 5th & 6th Stations

Yesterday I climbed Japan’s highest and holiest peak for the 4th time. Well, this time only to the 5th Station. And by bus. smiley Since it'd been 6 years since my last visit to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station (also by bus), I felt it was about time to go back and refresh my data. smiley

But also for mental therapy purposes, I was fortunate enough to escape Tokyo‘s hot and humid concrete jungle to spend a day hiking around, and really, really nice and refreshing to breathe cool, crisp fresh air for a change.

From the 5th Station, I hiked up to the 6th Station Safety Guidance Center, down past the Seikanso mountain hut to the Sato-goya mountain hut at the Yoshidaguchi Trail 5th Station, then back to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station.

I also took time to hike around part of the Ochudo Nature Trail, a level course that partially circumnavigates the Mt. Fuji volcano. It was SO green and lush, with the Hakusan rhododendrons in full bloom!

It was a magnificent, fun-filled 7 hours in God's country. I hope you enjoy my pics... especially the Mt. Fuji toilet paper and the Eruption Veggie Curry dish I had for lunch, with the white rice piled up in the shape of Fujisan, ha ha… laughing icon

Mt. Fuji 5th & 6th Stations
Mt. Fuji 5th & 6th Stations
(view full album here)




July 29, 2021 - In loving memory of Larry "LJ" Jones

Best wishes in the next stage of your eternal journey up there on the big playground in the sky. Thanks for your loyal friendship and for touching our lives in a very profound way the past half-century. Will always luv ya like a bro....



In loving memory of Larry "LJ" Jones
July 14, 1953 - June 10, 2021
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

Larry's photo album
Larry's obituary




July 17, 2021 - Mt. Fuji's climbing season opens for the 1st time in 2 years!

In celebration of Mt. Fuji's climbing season opening for the 1st time in 2 years, I was reminded of this breathtaking view I was lucky to capture a remarkable decade ago of Japan’s tallest peak, as seen from near Mt. Kita-dake, Japan's 2nd tallest peak, some 60 km (37 mi) away. And unbeknownst to me at the time, I found out later that my longtime good buddy George was standin​​g at the summit of Fujisan at the exact same moment, worshiping the same sunrise as me. Wow, what an incredible coincidence. Happy trails and best wishes for Covid safety to this year’s Mt. Fuji climbers...

Mt. Fuji at sunrise
Mt. Fuji at sunrise, 5:31 am, Aug. 14, 2011,
taken from near Mt. Kita-dake




July 3, 2021 - TODAY’S ENGLISH LESSON (今日の英語レッスン)

- I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger.......then it hit me.
- To write with a broken pencil is…….pointless.
- When fish are in schools, they sometimes…….take debate.
- A thief who stole a calendar…….got twelve months.
- When the smog lifts in Los Angeles…….U.C.L.A.
- The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes…….was on shaky ground.
- The batteries were given out…….free of charge.
- A dentist and a manicurist married…….and then fought tooth and nail.
- A will is a…….dead giveaway.
- If you don't pay your exorcist…….you can get repossessed.
- With her marriage, she got a new name…….and a dress.
- Show me a piano falling down a mineshaft and I'll show you…….A-flat miner.
- You are stuck with your debt if…….you can't budge it.
- Local Area Network in Australia: …….The LAN down under.
- A boiled egg is…….hard to beat.
- When you've seen one shopping center…….you've seen a mall.
- Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was…….resisting a rest.
- Did you hear about the fellow whose whole left side was cut off? …….He's all right now.
- If you take a laptop computer for a run, you could…….jog your memory.
- A bicycle can't stand alone:…….it is two tired.
- When a clock is hungry…….it goes back four seconds.
- The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine…….was fully recovered.
- He had a photographic memory…….which was never developed.
- Those who get too big for their britches will be…….exposed in the end.
- When she saw her first strands of gray hair…….she thought she'd dye.
- Acupuncture: …….a jab well done.
- You can tune a piano.......but you can't tuna fish.
- Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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Website Updates

Oct 25, 2021

Houston Astros headed to the World Series…

...for the 3rd time in the last 5 years! After clinching the American League pennant against the Boston Red Sox last Friday, the Astros will be hosting the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, October 26 at Minute Maid Park in Houston to begin the 2021 World Series.

The Astros have home field advantage, where 4 of the 7 (if necessary) games will be played in Houston, and will be playing with 3 days of rest compared to only 2 days for the Braves, which includes the time required for them to fly to Houston.

In 2017 after the Astros reached the World Series en route to their world championship, I purchased ​a new Astros ball ​cap at the​"Selection​"​ American sporting good​s​ shop in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Before leaving​,​ the shop staff asked if he could take my picture wearing my new cap so he could add it to the store's ​"​snap​ photo" blog pa​​ge​​ and I said ​"Of course."

I’ve been sporting my Houston Astros ball cap for the past week or so, including in my online university classes, :-) and here I am wearing my cap​. Go Astros!​

(click link to view my Astros ball cap!)

Continue reading "Houston Astros headed to the World Series…"

Oct 25, 2021

Gary J. Wolff's Blog

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.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog"

Oct 19, 2021

Young Japanese boy softball pitcher (日本の少年ソフトボールのピッチャー)

​I almost fell off my bicycle the other day when I noticed this young boy, I’m guessing no more than 7 or 8 years old, pitching like a real pro against grown adults in a parents vs. children softball game. Having grown up watching my Hall of Famer softball pitcher dad, Walter F. Wolff, I must say I was totally impressed. And this precious, tiny little boy was SO cute!​​

(click to view short video)

Continue reading "Young Japanese boy softball pitcher (日本の少年ソフトボールのピッチャー)"

Oct 19, 2021

Chichibu Hiking (秩父ハイキング), Oct. 3, 2021

​One of the beauties of living in the world's most populous metropolis is how easy it is to get back to nature. Just one example was a couple days ago when I joined the Jambo International hiking group for a 4-hour mountain hike in Chichibu, Saitama.

Within just a 2-hour train ride from th​​e city, we were enjoying a beautiful, sunny fall day and enveloped by thick forests, a gurgling mountain stream, beautiful cosmos flowers, chirping birds, a beautiful scenic overlook of Hanno City, and new friendships with fellow hikers from around the world.

Countless easy and accessible hiking courses near Tokyo is just one of many reasons I have chosen to live in this beautiful country for over 3 decades now.

(click link to view my photos)

Continue reading "Chichibu Hiking (秩父ハイキング), Oct. 3, 2021"

Oct 13, 2021

How can I avoid the crowds when climbing Mt. Fuji?

In short, to avoid the crowds when climbing Mt. Fuji, don't climb on the weekends or holidays (especially Saturdays), late in the afternoon or around midnight, during the 3-day Marine Day (海の日, Umi no Hi, 3rd Mon. in July) weekend or the Obon holidays in mid-August (usually around Aug. 10-15). Below are some interesting charts compiled courtesy, with permission, of the National Parks of Japan, showing statistics for Mt. Fuji climbers by route over the past several years, based on data recorded by infrared counters near the 8th station on all 4 mountain trails.

(click link to view updated end-of-season 2021 Mt. Fuji climbing statistics)

Continue reading "How can I avoid the crowds when climbing Mt. Fuji?"

Oct 13, 2021

Diamond Fuji Viewing Spots, Dates, and Times in Tokyo

A listing of the best high-rise spots in Tokyo to view Diamond Fuji with recommended dates, sunset times, admission fees, and links to Google maps.

Continue reading "Diamond Fuji Viewing Spots, Dates, and Times in Tokyo"

Oct 13, 2021

Mt. Senjo-ga-take (仙丈ヶ岳) and Mt. Kai-koma-ga-dake (甲斐駒ヶ岳), Japan's 18th & 24th highest peaks

Pics, maps, and trail description of my Aug. 1997 climb of Mt. Senjo-ga-take and Mt. Kai-koma-ga-dake in the Southern Japan Alps.

Continue reading "Mt. Senjo-ga-take (仙丈ヶ岳) and Mt. Kai-koma-ga-dake (甲斐駒ヶ岳), Japan's 18th & 24th highest peaks"

Oct 13, 2021

Preparing and Presenting Scientific Posters

Online resources for preparing and presenting scientific posters, including design layout, sample posters, poster templates, and sample student posters.

Continue reading "Preparing and Presenting Scientific Posters"

Oct 13, 2021

Japan Links

A short list of links to some of the more noteworthy Japanese websites I've bookmarked thru my many years of residing in this phenomenal country.

Continue reading "Japan Links"

Oct 12, 2021

Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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

Continue reading "Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)"

Oct 05, 2021

HAA3, with the Shepherd Pickers

Cheers to one of my all-time favorite musicians (音楽家), a remarkable fella I had the pleasure of rooming with in our college days and hearing his wonderful tunes and lovely voice almost every day. My favorites in those days were songs by John Denver and Neil Young. And now, decades later, he still has his stuff! :-)

And a big TEXAS-size hug to his videographer for her excellent camera work. :-) Thanks for sharing, my dear friends...

(click link to view video)

Continue reading "HAA3, with the Shepherd Pickers"

Oct 05, 2021

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, April-June, 2020

Posts include coronavirus statistics, Mariah Carey’s Holy Week tribute, a Texas longhorn, KFC’s Golden Week GW sign, and the Feel the Wind statue.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, April-June, 2020"

Oct 05, 2021

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, April-June, 2021

Posts include Tokyo Mega Illumi, Yamanote Line Challenge, baby blue eyes flowers, Japanese girls softball tournament, and Larry Jones' memorial photo album.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, April-June, 2021"

Sep 28, 2021

Korakuen (幸楽苑) ramen shop robot

Watch this cute little robot deliver orders to tables in this Tokyo ramen chain restaurant. The future is HERE! Restaurant servers, your job is in jeopardy... :-)

(click link to view video)

Continue reading "Korakuen (幸楽苑) ramen shop robot"

Sep 28, 2021

Number of 2021 Mt. Fuji (富士山) Climbers Lowest in 40 years

NHK World reported today that Mt. Fuji (富士山) recorded the smallest number of hikers during the summer climbing season in 40 years.

Between July 1 and September 10 this year, only 65,519 people climbed the main Yoshida Trail, the only trail which originates in Yamanashi Prefecture.

The number is the lowest since the earliest available records from 1981, and 120,288 less than the figure from 2 years ago.

Factors for the drop are being attributed to the smaller Covid-related capacity of mountain huts and the Fuji Subaru Line toll road only being open between 3 am to 6 pm, compared to being open 24/7 during the 2019 climbing season (before the pandemic).

Continue reading "Number of 2021 Mt. Fuji (富士山) Climbers Lowest in 40 years"

Sep 28, 2021

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2016

Posts include Tokyo Metro's Mega Solar project, a paraglider flight thru Norway’s Northern Lights, and a video interview with ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2016"

Sep 28, 2021

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, July-September, 2016

Posts include pics and video of GW's 2016 Wild West Road Trip, What's New? Line Game, target bird golf, and a Japanese post office drop box with a thatched roof.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, July-September, 2016"

Sep 28, 2021

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, April-June, 2016

Posts include Japan's longest mountain name, Tokyo's famous train riding cat, a Japanese windmill house, a Geisha girl bento, and a mini-steam locomotive.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, April-June, 2016"

Sep 28, 2021

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, October-December, 2016

Posts include the 2016, The Year in Pictures movie, McDonald's McDelivery service, Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, and the iOS 10 Photos app

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, October-December, 2016"

Sep 27, 2021

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2017

Posts include GW's Wild West Road Trip eBook, my Summer 1974 hitchhiking trip eBook, and pics & video for my Feb. 2017 Ao Nang, Thailand travel adventure.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2017"





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. Houston Astros headed to the World Series…

    Oct 25, 21 10:27 AM

    ...for the 3rd time in the last 5 years! After clinching the American League pennant against the Boston Red Sox last Friday, the Astros will be hosting the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, October 26 at Min…

    Read more

  2. Gary J. Wolff's Blog

    Oct 25, 21 10:23 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

  3. Young Japanese boy softball pitcher (日本の少年ソフトボールのピッチャー)

    Oct 19, 21 12:39 AM

    ​I almost fell off my bicycle the other day when I noticed this young boy, I’m guessing no more than 7 or 8 years old, pitching like a real pro against grown adults in a parents vs. children softball…

    Read more










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Gary J. Wolff
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GW's road trip ebook cover
Only 99¢ at Amazon
(¥114 at アマゾン日本)




new Climbing Mt. Fuji book
Only $2.99 at Amazon
(¥343 at アマゾン日本)




Only $2.99 at Amazon
(¥343 at アマゾン日本)