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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.

June 28, 2022 - WHY ARE YOU STILL IN JAPAN?

​​Having recently celebrated 31 years in Japan, I can definitely relate to a number of these responses by other foreigners in Japan to that very important question.

- 55% of people stated that they loved their life in Japan.

- 35% of people said that safety was a big factor in why they are still living in Japan.

- 35% of people said that they stayed in Japan due to COVID-19 restricting their options to move back home or abroad.

- 20% of people interviewed said that they had more job opportunities in Japan than in their home country or another country.

- 11% of people felt that Japan was their home now.

(Source: Metropolis Japan magazine, Summer 2022 issue)

Why are you still in Japan?
Why are you still in Japan?
Click here to read individual responses from foreigners in Japan.
(image credit: Metropolis Japan magazine)




June 17, 2022 - Success is built by what you do, not by what limits you.

Did you know that:

— Albert Einstein was 4 years old before he could speak.

— Issac Newton did poorly in grade school.

— Beethoven’s music teacher once said of him, “as a composer he is
hopeless.”

— When Thomas Edison was a boy, his teacher told him he was too stupid
to learn anything.

— F.W. Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21, but his employer would not let him wait on customers because he “didn’t have enough sense.”

— Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

— A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he had “no good ideas.”

— Winston Churchill failed the 6th grade.

— Steven Spielberg dropped out of high school in his sophomore year. He was persuaded to come back and placed in a learning disabled class. He lasted a month and dropped out of school forever.

I don't think we'd consider any of these people a failure. So what allowed them to be successful even amidst struggles?

The answer to that question may be less in what they did do and more in what they didn't do.

(courtesy of Dan Miller, Career Coach & Author of 48 Days to the Work You Love)

Success is built by what you do
Success is built by what you do, not by what limits you.
(photo credit: 48days.com)




June 2, 2022 - Top Gun: Maverick

Without question one of the best movies I’ve seen in years, especially since the onset of the covid plandemic began a couple years ago, was last weekend when I watched Top Gun: Maverick, which opened in Japan last Friday 5/27.

I don’t know what Tom Cruise's secret is, but he’s obviously found the Fountain of Youth as he doesn’t seem to have really aged that much since the original Top Gun movie back in 1986… that’s right… a remarkable THIRTY-SIX YEARS AGO!!

If you’re a Tom Cruise fan, an airplane fan (especially F-14 fighter jets), a U.S. Navy fan, or a fan of action/suspense flicks, you will love this movie. I was on the edge of my seat most of the movie, and I just can’t stop thinking about it.

If you'd like a real adrenaline rush, you owe it to yourself to go see it! 



​​Top Gun: Maverick trailer
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)
[click on CC button for English subtitles (英語字幕)]




May 22, 2022 - Keisei Rose Garden (京成バラ園)

The 30,000 m2 (7.4 acre), award-winning Keisei Rose Garden in Yachiyo, Chiba, Japan accommodates 10,000 roses of 1,600 varieties. The full blossom seasons are mid-May through early June and mid-October through early November. The most magnificent display of roses I've ever seen in my entire lifetime.

Keisei Rose Garden (京成バラ園)
Keisei Rose Garden (京成バラ園)
(click link above to view full Flickr album)




May 9, 2022 - Burger King Japan's new Salsa & Avocado Smoky Whopper

On the occasion of the May 5th Children’s Day national holiday, I’d like to tip my hat to Burger King founders Jim McLamore and Dave Edgerton, who I feel deserve at least partial credit for the amazing Salsa & Avocado Smoky Whopper I had for lunch, helping make my holiday a smashing success! smiley 美味しかったです (it was delicious)!!

salsa and avocado smoky whopper
Burger King Japan's new Salsa & Avocado Smoky Whopper


Burger King founders
Burger King founders Jim McLamore and Dave Edgerton




April 30, 2022 - World's oldest person dies at age 119

Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman who was the world’s oldest person, died on Tues. 4/19 at age 119.

She was born on Jan. 2, 1903, the same year of the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight, and was recognized by Guinness World Records in 2019 as the world's oldest living person.

Tanaka had been living in an elderly care facility in Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture in western Japan and died at a local hospital.

Tanaka loved playing the board game Othello and her favorite food items were chocolate and soda drinks. She had reportedly hoped to stay healthy until she was 120, but passed away just a few months short of her goal.

Japan has a dwindling and rapidly aging population. As of Sept. 2021, the country had 86,510 centenarians, and 9 out of every 10 were women.

With Tanaka's death, the world’s oldest human is now Lucile Randon, a French nun known as Sister Andre, aged 118, according to The Gerontology Research Group.

Kane Tanaka
Kane Tanaka, the world's oldest person, dies at age 119
Jan. 2, 1903 - April 19, 2022
(photo credit: Canada.com)




April 3, 2022 - Spring has sprung!!

The springtime flowers in Japan bring a non-stop exhilarating display of brilliant colors and sweet fragrances to titillate the senses. The plum blossoms begin in mid-February, followed by the absolutely breathtaking cherry blossoms, and then a continuous overlapping of blooming periods for azaleas, camellias, wisteria, magnolias, peonies, roses, tulips, pansies, irises, hydrangeas, etc. that last well into mid-summer.

What you see now in the album linked below is just the start, so I'm planning to add more pics to it in the weeks ahead! Stay tuned and check back soon! smiley

2021 spring flowers collage
My 2022 Spring Flowers in Tokyo Flickr album
(click link above to view entire album)




April 1, 2022 - Spring 2022 rape blossoms in Tokyo

​ ​Of all the beautiful, stunning ​spring ​flowers at their peak in Tokyo ​right now, the breathtaking cherry blossoms ​always ​seem to get all the attention, and for good reason, but ​I think ​the brilliant, yellow rape blossom​​s (Nanohana​, ​​​菜の花​)​ are just as beautiful. May the force ​& uplifting spirit ​of spring ​be with you…

Spring 2022 rape blossoms inTokyo
Spring 2022 rape blossoms inTokyo




Mar. 14, 2022 - 2022 Cherry Blossom Forecast

Only 8 more days till the cherry blossoms are forecast to begin blooming in Tokyo on Mar. 22! Yay! This is 7 days later than last year, but 2 days earlier than usual! Full bloom in Tokyo is forecast for Mar. 29. Can't wait! smiley


2022 cherry blossom front in Japan
2022 cherry blossom front in Japan
(Source: Japan Weather Association)




Mar. 11, 2022 - The Beatles: Get Back - The Rooftop Concert

One of the best flicks I've seen in a while, even though the "Get Back" rooftop concert filmed atop Apple Corps' Savile Row headquarters in London on January 30, 1969 was only a 65-minute documentary.

Not to be confused with last year's 3-part, 8-hour TV mini-series, this film was digitally remastered for the HUGE screen and high-quality sound of IMAX theaters and directed by famous New Zealander Peter Jackson of "Lord of the Rings" fame. The cinematography was phenomenal… 10 cameras on the rooftop, 3 on the street interviewing puzzled passersby, and even 1 on top of the building across ​​the street.

The close-ups of the Fab 4 performing live in their surprise, unannounced last ever public appearance made me so nostalgic, it practically brought tears to my eyes. And they were all so young & handsome (all still in their 20s).

Believe it or not, it was my very first time ever to see a flick in an IMAX theater. With the HUGE screen, high-tech sound system, and my sensory perceptions in full overdrive… it almost gave me the impression I was actually there.

Particularly impressive was the professional editing which made good use of the full width of the floor-to-ceiling IMAX screen to present 3 different simultaneous views of the performance – such as close-ups each of John and Paul singing, along with a wider shot of the whole band.

Sadly, as of yesterday it seems the screenings in Japan have now finished, but for any passionate Beatles fans (especially old folks like me who grew up with The Beatles), if this film ever comes to a nearby IMAX screen, you will be remiss and saddened greatly if you miss seeing it. 

The Beatles: Get Back - The Rooftop Concert
The Beatles: Get Back - The Rooftop Concert
(photo credit: thefatangelsings.com)


Profile at The Internet Movie Database
Trailer
Forbes review




Feb. 18, 2022 - In loving memory of Thomas Arthur Todd

It's a sad day in Tokyo and Steamboat Springs, Colorado, as one of my lifelong good buddies has received his final reward and moved up to the big playground in the sky. I've known Tom since our college days and will always hold him dear to my heart.

Love you, miss you, and rest in eternal peace, my dear friend. C U again someday!

Tom Todd
Thomas Arthur Todd
July 24, 1953 - Feb. 17, 2022
(The above pic was taken at Garden of the Gods, Colorado in Aug. 2016.
More pics of Tom are here.)


Gannett Peak, Wyoming
Tom (left) & I scaled Gannett Peak, elev. 4,210 m (13,810 ft),
the tallest peak in Wyoming, back in Sept. 1979



Feb. 10, 2022 - Comparing sizes of geographical areas

I've often wondered how the size of my home state of Texas would measure up to my adopted home for the past 3 decades. Now finally the mystery has been solved. laughing icon

size of Texas vs. Japan
Japan is 0.54 times the size of Texas. Wow.
https://mapfight.xyz/map/texas/#jp


Actually, it's not such a big surprise for me, since I learned a long time ago that Texas (America's 2nd largest state and 1/2 the size of Alaska) was about twice the size of Japan, but it's pretty cool to now see it on a map.

MapFight is a web-app to help visualize the comparative size of 2 geographic areas... continents, countries, cities, oceans, etc. I was turned on to this amazing app a couple days ago by a fellow university professor, and I'm so intrigued by it, I'm still playing around with it. smiley

size of Tokyo vs. New York City
Tokyo is 2.8 times the size of New York City. Wow.
https://mapfight.xyz/map/nyc/#tokyo




Feb. 6, 2022 - 360-degree panorama from the summit of Mt. Whitney

Flashing back to one of my all-time favorite mountain climbing pics, a panorama from the summit of Mt. Whitney in California (the tallest peak in the continental 48 U.S. states) taken by my fellow climbing partner Matt when we scaled it in August 1989. He made it from his 16 sequential pics spliced together, back when digital cameras were not yet widely available.

summit of Mt. Whitney
Click here to view very WIDE photo: smiley
360-degree panorama from the summit of Mt. Whitney




Jan. 27, 2022 - "How Long Has It Been Since YOU Been Home?"

Blessings to my good buddy, Mississippi bluesman Rambling Steve Gardner, who hits it out of the park with his 12-string National Reso-Phonic guitar by posing a very pertinent question as we kick off a New Year.

This song is Rambling Steve's version of an old Lightnin' Hopkins tune. More details on this amazing Tokyo musician are here: www.ramblingsteve.info

Keep on spreadin' your Big Leg, X-tra LARGE, My-T-Fine magic, my friend…



​​"How Long Has It Been Since YOU Been Home?"
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)
[click on CC button for English subtitles (英語字幕)]




Jan. 20, 2022 - Japanese elevator floor location monitor

Wow, now why didn't I think of this? smiley



​​Japanese elevator floor location monitor
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




Jan. 6, 2021 - 16 Top Hiking & Adventure Blogs from Japan

​I was thrilled recently to be notified that my GaryJWolff.com website has been named one of the 16 top hiking and adventure blogs from Japan by the highly-renowned Ridgeline Images hiking website.

If you have a very vivid imagination, perhaps you can visualize me right now patting myself on the back, ha ha. smiley
​​
No, in all seriousness, in the past 12 years I have spent literally hundreds of hours posting information on the highest mountains in Japan, which I hope will be useful for present and future climbers.

It is extremely rare when I get these kinds of kudos or feedback regarding my website, so this recognition is extremely appreciated. Thank you very much, Mr. David Lowe!

If you're looking for a good hiking trail around Tokyo, since 2013 David has published over 100 hike reports from around the Greater Tokyo Area. And each hike has a detailed description, including photos, how to get to the trailhead by public transport, hiking duration, distance, elevation gain, difficulty, as well as downloadable GPX track and PDF map files.





Jan. 1, 2022 - Hatsuhinode (初日の出), First Japan Sunrise of 2022

Hatsuhinode (初日の出) is the Japanese Shinto tradition of viewing the 1st sunrise of the New Year to greet Toshigami-sama (年神), the god of the New Year, with hopes of receiving good luck, well-being, and health. Before sunrise on January 1, many people will drive to the coast, climb a mountain, or go to the top of a tall building or structure, like the Tokyo Sky Tree or Tokyo Tower, to view it. Here's the one which occurred in Tokyo this morning at 6:51 am with a crisp -1°C (30°F) temp. Happy New Year!! May we all be blessed this year with "good luck, well-being, and health." smiley



​​Hatsuhinode (初日の出), First Japan Sunrise of 2022
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)
(BGM: "Morning Has Broken" by Cat Stevens)







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Website Updates

Jun 27, 2022

WHY ARE YOU STILL IN JAPAN?

​​Having recently celebrated 31 years in Japan, I can definitely relate to a number of these responses by other foreigners in Japan to that very important question.

- 55% of people stated that they loved their life in Japan.

- 35% of people said that safety was a big factor in why they are still living in Japan.

- 35% of people said that they stayed in Japan due to COVID-19 restricting their options to move back home or abroad.

- 20% of people interviewed said that they had more job opportunities in Japan than in their home country or another country.

- 11% of people felt that Japan was their home now.

Source: Metropolis Japan magazine, Summer 2022 issue

(click link to read individual responses from foreigners in Japan)

Continue reading "WHY ARE YOU STILL IN JAPAN?"

Jun 27, 2022

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"

Jun 27, 2022

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)"

Jun 26, 2022

List of Mt. Fuji Mountain Huts (富士山の山小屋)

Listing of Mt. Fuji Yoshida Trail mountain huts, including website URLs, phone numbers, elevations, and sleeping capacities, as well as links to the Fujinomiya trail hut sites.

Continue reading "List of Mt. Fuji Mountain Huts (富士山の山小屋)"

Jun 23, 2022

How long is the historic Mt. Fuji Yoshidaguchi Trail?

I know that starting at the 5th station makes it an 11.6 mile loop, but if you were to start and end at the Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine following

Continue reading "How long is the historic Mt. Fuji Yoshidaguchi Trail? "

Jun 17, 2022

Success is built by what you do, not by what limits you.

Did you know that:

— Albert Einstein was 4 years old before he could speak.

— Issac Newton did poorly in grade school.

— Beethoven’s music teacher once said of him, “as a composer he ishopeless.”

— When Thomas Edison was a boy, his teacher told him he was too stupidto learn anything.

— F.W. Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21, but his employer would not let him wait on customers because he “didn’t have enough sense.”

— Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

— A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he had “no good ideas.”

— Winston Churchill failed the 6th grade.

— Steven Spielberg dropped out of high school in his sophomore year. He was persuaded to come back and placed in a learning disabled class. He lasted a month and dropped out of school forever.

I don't think we'd consider any of these people a failure. So what allowed them to be successful even amidst struggles?

The answer to that question may be less in what they did do and more in what they didn't do.

(courtesy of Dan Miller, Career Coach & Author of 48 Days to the Work You Love)

Continue reading "Success is built by what you do, not by what limits you."

Jun 12, 2022

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"

Jun 04, 2022

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"

Jun 04, 2022

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2015

Posts include winter hiking tips by Wes Lang, Danish archer Lars Andersen, Super Bowl XLIX from the New Sanno Hotel, and an awesome Diamond Fuji seen from Tokyo.

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, January-March, 2015"

Jun 04, 2022

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"

Jun 04, 2022

Mt. Kita-dake (北岳), elev. 3193m, Japan's 2nd Highest Mountain

Pics, maps, and trail description of my Oct. 1993 hike to the top of the easily accessible Mt. Kita-dake, elev. 3193m, Japan's 2nd highest mountain.

Continue reading "Mt. Kita-dake (北岳), elev. 3193m, Japan's 2nd Highest Mountain"

Jun 04, 2022

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)"

Jun 04, 2022

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"

Jun 02, 2022

Top Gun: Maverick

Without question one of the best movies I’ve seen in years, especially since the onset of the covid plandemic began a couple years ago, was last weekend when I watched Top Gun: Maverick, which opened in Japan last Friday 5/27.

I don’t know what Tom Cruise's secret is, but he’s obviously found the Fountain of Youth as he doesn’t seem to have really aged that much since the original Top Gun movie back in 1986… that’s right… a remarkable THIRTY-SIX YEARS AGO!!

If you’re a Tom Cruise fan, an airplane fan (especially F-14 fighter jets), a U.S. Navy fan, or a fan of action/suspense flicks, you will love this movie. I was on the edge of my seat most of the movie, and I just can’t stop thinking about it.

If you'd like a real adrenaline rush, you owe it to yourself to go see it!

(click link to view trailer)

Continue reading "Top Gun: Maverick"

May 22, 2022

Keisei Rose Garden (京成バラ園)

The 30,000 m2 (7.4 acre), award-winning Keisei Rose Garden in Yachiyo, Chiba, Japan accommodates 10,000 roses of 1,600 varieties. The full blossom seasons are mid-May through early June and mid-October through early November. Without question the most magnificent display of roses I've ever seen in my entire lifetime.

(click link to view the beautiful roses!)

Continue reading "Keisei Rose Garden (京成バラ園)"

May 08, 2022

Burger King Japan's new Salsa & Avocado Smoky Whopper

On the occasion of the May 5th Children’s Day national holiday, I’d like to tip my hat to Burger King founders Jim McLamore and Dave Edgerton, who I feel deserve at least partial credit for the amazing Salsa & Avocado Smoky Whopper I had for lunch, helping make my holiday a smashing success! :-) 美味しかったです (it was delicious)!!

(click link to view pics)

Continue reading "Burger King Japan's new Salsa & Avocado Smoky Whopper"

May 07, 2022

World's oldest person dies at age 119

Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman who was the world’s oldest person, died on Tues. 4/19 at age 119.

She was born on Jan. 2, 1903, the same year of the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight, and was recognized by Guinness World Records in 2019 as the world's oldest living person.

Tanaka had been living in an elderly care facility in Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture in western Japan and died at a local hospital.

Tanaka loved playing the board game Othello and her favorite food items were chocolate and soda drinks. She had reportedly hoped to stay healthy until she was 120, but passed away just a few months short of her goal.

Japan has a dwindling and rapidly aging population. As of Sept. 2021, the country had 86,510 centenarians, and 9 out of every 10 were women.

With Tanaka's death, the world’s oldest human is now Lucile Randon, a French nun known as Sister Andre, aged 118, according to The Gerontology Research Group.

Continue reading "World's oldest person dies at age 119"

May 04, 2022

Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, October-December, 2021

Posts include Dickey's BBQ Pit, Shohei Ohtani, Tokyo Regional Immigration Services Bureau, and

Continue reading "Gary J. Wolff's Blog Archives, October-December, 2021"

Apr 15, 2022

Tony the Tiger (トニー・ザ・タイガー)

A quick tribute with photos and video to Tony the Tiger, my favorite cartoon character and mascot for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes breakfast cereal.

Continue reading "Tony the Tiger (トニー・ザ・タイガー)"

Apr 10, 2022

"I want to climb Fuji in winter" by Chris White

Mountain climber extraordinaire Chris White shares some very wise advice and identifies the risks & hazards of attempting to climb Fuji in winter.

Continue reading ""I want to climb Fuji in winter" by Chris White"





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What's New?

  1. WHY ARE YOU STILL IN JAPAN?

    Jun 27, 22 11:08 PM

    ​​Having recently celebrated 31 years in Japan, I can definitely relate to a number of these responses by other foreigners in Japan to that very important question. - 55% of people stated that they lo…

    Read more

  2. Gary J. Wolff's Blog

    Jun 27, 22 11:01 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)

    Jun 27, 22 08:19 AM

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

    Read more










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new Climbing Mt. Fuji book
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