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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.


Sept. 12, 2020 - THE FAMILY TREE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH:

The dizzy aunt -- Verti Gogh
The brother who ate prunes -- Gotta Gogh
The brother who worked at a convenience store -- Stop N Gogh
The ballroom dancing aunt -- Tang Gogh
The bird lover uncle -- Flamin Gogh
The fruit-loving cousin -- Man Gogh
An aunt who taught positive thinking -- Way-to-Gogh
A sister who loves disco -- Go Gogh
His niece who travels in an RV -- Winny Bay Gogh
The grandfather from Yugoslavia -- U Gogh
His magician uncle -- Where-diddy Gogh
His Mexican cousin -- A Mee Gogh
The Mexican cousin's American half-brother -- Gring Gogh
The nephew who drove a stage coach -- Wells-far Gogh
The constipated uncle -- Can't Gogh
The little bouncy nephew -- Poe Gogh
The great-niece who worked at an organic dyeing factory -- Indi Gogh
The safari-cousin -- Con Gogh
The half-brother who exported cars from Japan -- Car Gogh

And I saw you smiling, so...there ya Gogh! laughing icon

Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh's self-portrait
(public domain, courtesy of Wikipedia)




Aug. 28, 2020 - The final TGIF sunrise of August 2020! :-)


Edogawa sunrise - 20.8.28
Edo River (江戸川), Tokyo, Japan
Fri. Aug. 28, 2020, 5:11 am




Aug. 18, 2020 - Funny Japanese store names

One of the pleasures of living in Japan are the delightful little surprises one routinely encounters in a typical day. For example, strolling thru Tokyo shopping malls might raise a few eyebrows while trying to decipher the creative use of English in some of the shop names! Never a dull moment in the Land of the Rising Sun... smiley laughing icon

American Holic store in Tokyo, Japan
American Holic store in Tokyo, Japan


Awesome Store in Tokyo, Japan
Awesome Store in Tokyo, Japan


Love Toxic store in Tokyo, Japan
Love Toxic store in Tokyo, Japan


3 Coins store in Tokyo, Japan
3 Coins store in Tokyo, Japan




Aug. 6, 2020 - YOU KNOW YOU ARE IN TEXAS IN AUGUST WHEN…

- Trees are whistling for dogs.
- The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.
- Hot water now comes out of both taps.
- You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.
- You discover that it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.
- You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 am.
- The temperature drops below 95 (35 C) and you feel a little chilly.
- You discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.
- You actually burn your hand opening the car door.
- Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, 'What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?'
- You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.
- The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter, salt, and pepper.
- Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.
- The cows are producing only evaporated milk.
Ah, what a great place to call home.
God Bless the Great State of Texas. laughing icon

waving texas flag




July 26, 2020 - Social distancing failure

Oops! Looks like someone's brain wasn't firing on all cylinders when laying out these waiting lines on a Tokyo subway station platform. But definitely worth a hearty laugh, ha ha! smiley laughing icon

social distancing failure
Social distancing failure
(photo credit: David Couvreur)




July 20, 2020 - I have ARRIVED!! :-)

I'm finally moving up in the world. At long last, after a remarkable six decades, I've finally been granted my own personal parking space... smiley laughing icon

Gary's bicycle parking space
Gary's new personal bicycle parking space




July 13, 2020 - Lettuce face mask! :-)


lettuce face mask

Lettuce come together.
Romaine calm.
This may just be the tip of the iceberg. laughing icon




July 4, 2020 - Happy Birthday, America! (お誕生日おめでとう、アメリカ!)

Today, on the occasion of America's 244th birthday, I just want to share a song that has truly touched my soul. It's America's national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner," sung by a precious little 8-year-old girl named Malea Emma. WOW, what a BIG, beautiful voice from such a tiny little person! smiley



"The Star Spangled Banner," sung by Malea Emma
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




June 28, 2020 - Feeling the Wind (風を感じて)

One of my greatest pleasures while residing in the planet's most populous metropolis is cycling up and down the nearby Edogawa riverside on sunny days.

Yep, I'm the crazy guy who several years ago started the fad in Japan of wearing ankle weights on my wrists while cycling along the riverside. Since cycling exercises primarily the lower body, I felt I needed to spend that time working my biceps and triceps as well.

A few years ago while I was out on my mountain bike, I took a breather at the "Kaze o Kanjite" (風を感じて, "Feel the Wind") statue in Junsai-ike Park (じゅんさい池公園) in Matsudo, Chiba (千葉県松戸市). In the pic below, I'm in my usual attire, sporting 4 kg (~9 lbs) wrist weights on each arm.

And for some reason, this spring so far I've encountered an above average number of days with fairly strong headwinds. So I'm hearing the naked statue lady's message loud and clear, as I'm definitely "feeling the wind"! smiley


"Kaze o Kanjite" (風を感じて, "Feel the Wind") statue
"Kaze o Kanjite" (風を感じて, "Feel the Wind") statue
Junsai-ike Park (じゅんさい池公園), Matsudo, Chiba (千葉県松戸市)




June 14, 2020 - Texas Longhorns rock!!

Not only is the Texas Longhorn the mascot for my alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin, but it is also the name of my university's sports teams and is the official "large animal" of the State of Texas.

These huge, beautiful animals, as their name implies, are well-known for their characteristic "long horns" which can measure up to 100 inches (2.54 m) tip to tip for steers.

A hearty thanks goes out to my good buddy Rick in Texas for sharing this wonderful pic on his Facebook page.

Cheers from the great Lone Star State of Texas!


Texas Longhorn
Texas Longhorn




May 30, 2020 - Wear your mask!! smiley

We can never be too careful! smiley As a former traffic engineer, I wonder if we apply social distancing guidelines to cars, whether we'll ever have to worry about traffic jams again, ha ha... laughing icon


car mask
car mask




May 12, 2020 - Words of wisdom from the amazing poet, Tarzana Joe

Choices...

I’m sure you’re sick and tired of
Those caterwauling voices
Lamenting each election that
We really have no choices

Or even of some pundit
Acting like a kind confessor
Advising, of two evils
You must always choose the lesser

I, for one, have always known
We’ll never find perfection
I bear that fact in mind
Each time I’m making my selection

But now I start to understand
This broad dis-satisfaction
For with this crisis growing
I see no clear course of action

No one with the power
Making Liberty their mission
No one in my government
Espousing my position

No one has the answer
There’s no course that they can teach
To say it’s safe to jog
But not to sit down on the beach

Or why if I buy barbells
At a Target I’ll survive
But not if I buy golf balls
Cross the street at the Big Five

Why science says that kids
Don’t transmit COVID as a rule
But government in panic
Says that kids can’t go to school

I am old and weak
And though I like to run and ride
I’ll do my civic duty and
Agree to stay inside

To the young among you
Take this challenge that I give
Tell the folks in power
They must let the country live




April 29, 2020 - GW rocks in Japan!

Today, Showa Day (昭和の日, Shōwa no Hi), is a national holiday in Japan and kicks off the week-long holiday period known as Golden Week, often abbreviated simply as GW.

Well, GW has another meaning in my life.... not only my initials but also my nickname, courtesy of my most beloved family and friends since my childhood days.

Needless to say, GW is one of my favorite times of the year in Japan because everywhere you look, my nickname is plastered on countless advertising signs all over the city. It's nice to be so famous, ha ha.

The sign below I spotted just a few days ago at the local KFC. Yee hah! laughing icon


KFC GW sign in Tokyo
KFC GW sign in Tokyo




April 18, 2020 - Gary's Spring 2020 self-intro for his Japanese university students



Gary's Spring 2020 self-intro for his Japanese university students
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




April 12, 2020 - Mariah Carey pays tribute to the many coronavirus heroes

On the occasion of Holy Week, blessings to multiplatinum diva and 5-time Grammy Award winner Mariah Carey for her heartfelt "stay at home" tribute to all the first responders, frontline health workers, and other selfless warriors who are keeping us safe in these troubling times.

In her message of hope, Mariah Carey performed from her home and reminded us in her 1993 hit "Hero" that...

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

I just LOVE this...



Mariah Carey - Hero (Live at Home Tribute)
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)





April 7, 2020 - Self-quarantine chip shot

An amazingly accurate chip shot with a roll of toilet paper during this guy's period of self-quarantine. LOVE IT! laughing icon



Self-quarantine chip shot
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)





April 6, 2020 - CORONAVIRUS: Is the Cure Worse than the Disease?

According to worldometers.info, as of 12 noon April 6, 2020 Japan time, worldwide so far there have been:
  • 15,548,576 deaths this year, including...
  • 3,431,734 communicable disease deaths this year
  • 2,171,109 deaths caused by cancer this year
  • 1,321,513 deaths caused by smoking this year
  • 661,173 deaths caused by alcohol this year
  • 444,394 deaths caused by HIV/AIDS this year
  • 356,853 road traffic accident deaths this year
  • 283,479 suicide deaths this year
  • 259,299 deaths caused by malaria this year
  • 222,612 deaths caused by water-related diseases this year
  • 128,541 seasonal flu deaths this year
  • 80,370 deaths TODAY so far alone
  • and most importantly, since Jan. 22, only 69,456 coronavirus deaths.
As early as tomorrow, the Japanese prime minister will declare a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak for Tokyo and 6 other prefectures including Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo, and Fukuoka (source: NHK World-Japan).

But unlike in many other countries, lockdowns will not be imposed and public transportation, supermarkets, and other essential businesses in Japan will continue operations. In short, Japan's response to the outbreak will largely remain unchanged from what it's already been the past 6 weeks, namely to ask people to avoid closed and crowded places as well as close contact with others, while maintaining economic and social activities.

The declaration will give the governors of these 6 prefectures (Japan has 47 prefectures) the power to request (not demand) that residents refrain from non-essential outings and to cooperate with measures to prevent the further spread of the virus, but the governors can request or order (if necessary) school closures and restrictions on the operations of department stores, cinemas, and other places where many people gather.

Is there anyone besides myself who believes that shutting down the entire world economy has been a gross overreaction? I hope we can all go back to work soon, before we have a worldwide depression on our hands. So sad... frownie anime




April 1, 2020 - How to make an emergency paper towel face mask

In emergency situations like natural disasters and global pandemics, face masks can protect you in places with debris, in evacuation centers, or even from killer viruses. Watch this 30-second video and learn how to make an instant face mask using only a paper towel, 4 rubber bands, and a stapler.



How to make an emergency paper towel face mask
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)



25 other short, safety tip videos that can save your life, courtesy of NHK World-Japan, can be viewed in their "How To Craft Safety" YouTube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFEzXnIQVwV8JBaiP0Zu1O5P_PItdn9B5








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Website Updates

Sep 11, 2020

THE FAMILY TREE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH:

The dizzy aunt -- Verti Gogh
The brother who ate prunes -- Gotta Gogh
The brother who worked at a convenience store -- Stop N Gogh
The ballroom dancing aunt -- Tang Gogh
The bird lover uncle -- Flamin Gogh
The fruit-loving cousin -- Man Gogh
An aunt who taught positive thinking -- Way-to-Gogh
A sister who loves disco -- Go Gogh
His niece who travels in an RV -- Winny Bay Gogh
The grandfather from Yugoslavia -- U Gogh
His magician uncle -- Where-diddy Gogh
His Mexican cousin -- A Mee Gogh
The Mexican cousin's American half-brother -- Gring Gogh
The nephew who drove a stage coach -- Wells-far Gogh
The constipated uncle -- Can't Gogh
The little bouncy nephew -- Poe Gogh
The great-niece who worked at an organic dyeing factory -- Indi Gogh
The safari-cousin -- Con Gogh
The half-brother who exported cars from Japan -- Car Gogh

And I saw you smiling, so...there ya Gogh! :-)

Continue reading "THE FAMILY TREE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH:"

Sep 11, 2020

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"

Sep 06, 2020

Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Page 2

Page 2 of the most frequently asked questions about climbing Mt. Fuji, including info on routes, maps, videos, transport access, weather, and climber stories.

Continue reading "Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Page 2"

Sep 06, 2020

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 06, 2020

English Pronunciation Mini-Course for Japanese Learners

A quick 4-lesson English pronunciation mini-course focusing on the main problems that Japanese learners have with the TH/S, R/L, B/V, & F/H sounds.

Continue reading "English Pronunciation Mini-Course for Japanese Learners"

Sep 03, 2020

About Me (How I ended up in Japan...)

How I ended up in Japan and a short discussion of my background, interests, hometown, and life in Japan. I hope you’ll have time to read my story!

Continue reading "About Me (How I ended up in Japan...)"

Sep 03, 2020

Mt. Ai-no-dake (間ノ岳) and Mt. Shiomi-dake (塩見岳), Japan's 4th & 16th Highest Mountains

Pics, maps, and trail description of my Sept. 1996 climb of Mt. Ai-no-dake (3189m) and Mt. Shiomi-dake, 3047m, Japan's 4th & 16th highest mountains.

Continue reading "Mt. Ai-no-dake (間ノ岳) and Mt. Shiomi-dake (塩見岳), Japan's 4th & 16th Highest Mountains"

Sep 03, 2020

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"

Sep 03, 2020

Mt. Notori-dake (農鳥岳) and the Shiranesanzan (白根三山)

Pics, maps, and trail description of my Aug. 2011 climb of Mt. Notori-dake and the Shiranesanzan in the Southern Japan Alps.

Continue reading "Mt. Notori-dake (農鳥岳) and the Shiranesanzan (白根三山)"

Sep 03, 2020

Mt. Yatsu-ga-take (八ヶ岳), Japan's 33rd highest peak

Pics, maps, and trail description of my Aug. 2000 climb of Mt. Yatsu-ga-take, elev. 2899m, Japan's 33rd highest peak.

Continue reading "Mt. Yatsu-ga-take (八ヶ岳), Japan's 33rd highest peak"

Sep 03, 2020

Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, News updates for March 19-25, 2011

March 19-25, 2011 news updates for the strongest ever Japan earthquake and tsunami on Mar. 11, 2011, including maps, photos, and videos.

Continue reading "Strongest Ever Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, News updates for March 19-25, 2011"

Sep 03, 2020

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"

Sep 01, 2020

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, Jan.-Mar. 2011

Posts include the Sendai Pageant of Starlight, Diamond Fuji, Gyotoku Bird Observatory, Space Shuttle Discovery, and videos of burlesque/belly dancer Safi.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, Jan.-Mar. 2011"

Sep 01, 2020

Fall Colors in Yoro Keikoku Valley (養老渓谷)

Pics, maps, & trail description of my Dec. 5, 2010 hike to view the gorgeous fall colors in the Yoro Keikaku Valley on the Boso Peninsula, Chiba.

Continue reading "Fall Colors in Yoro Keikoku Valley (養老渓谷)"

Sep 01, 2020

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, July-Sept. 2010

Posts include my Houston vacation pics and videos, Mt. Jonen-dake pics and video, Katsushika Fireworks Display, and Langkawi pics and videos.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, July-Sept. 2010"

Sep 01, 2020

Climbing Mt. Fuji's Fujinomiya Trail (富士宮登山道)

Pics, video, maps, and trail description of my Aug. 2012 climb of Mt. Fuji's Fujinomiya Trail, the shortest route to the highest point in Japan.

Continue reading "Climbing Mt. Fuji's Fujinomiya Trail (富士宮登山道)"

Sep 01, 2020

Cook Islands Travel

Pics, video, map, & more of my Feb. 2014 Cook Islands travel, including the Rarotonga Punanga Nui Market, Cross-Island Track, & Maire Nui Gardens.

Continue reading "Cook Islands Travel"

Sep 01, 2020

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)"

Sep 01, 2020

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2013

Posts include a sexy New Year’s countdown strip tease dancer, the stunning cherry blossoms @ Chidorigafuchi, and pics/video of my Fiji vacation.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2013"

Sep 01, 2020

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, July-September, 2015

Posts include pics of my Sept. 2-16 Texas vacation, my 14-hr. day trip to the Mt. Fuji 5th & 6th Stations, and a Japanese university English speech contest.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, July-September, 2015"





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. THE FAMILY TREE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH:

    Sep 11, 20 08:58 PM

    The dizzy aunt -- Verti Gogh
    The brother who ate prunes -- Gotta Gogh
    The brother who worked at a convenience store -- Stop N Gogh
    The ballroom dancing aunt -- Tang Gogh
    The bird lover uncle -- Flamin Gog…

    Read more

  2. Gary J. Wolff's Blog

    Sep 11, 20 08:52 PM

    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. Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Page 2

    Sep 06, 20 07:09 AM

    Page 2 of the most frequently asked questions about climbing Mt. Fuji, including info on routes, maps, videos, transport access, weather, and climber stories.

    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)