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Home: Gary J. Wolff's Blog

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 18, 2021 - The Moment Kids In Israel Are Told They Don't Have To Wear Masks Anymore



The Moment Kids In Israel Are Told They Don't Have To Wear Masks Anymore
  (If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




June 10, 2021 - R.I.P., my dear friend!

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....

LJ collage
Lawrence "Larry" Jerome Jones
July 14, 1953 - June 10, 2021
(the rest of the photo album is here)

Larry's obituary




June 4, 2021 - Never a Dull Moment, Vol. 5

In celebration of my old UT college buddy's big 2021 birthday. Have a grrrreat day, JP!

[Be sure to crank up your volume to hear one of our favorite, most memorable songs from our college days, "Won't Get Fooled Again" by the famous British rock band, The Who!]


Never a Dull Moment, Vol. 5
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

The pics are here: Never a Dull Moment, Vol. 5




May 26, 2021 - The 2nd worst ripoff of the century!

Boy, did I get a BIG surprise today after ordering my Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger (ベーコンチーズバーガー) for lunch. The advertising sign made it look so lush and delicious, but what an amazing disappointment it turned out to be. frownie

What I received was completely different from what I expected. Oh, in case you're interested in the #1 ripoff of the century, that was a Spicy Shrimp Whopper at Burger King a couple years ago: Burger King ripoff of the century!

I really know how to pick 'em... smiley

Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger
As advertised on the menu board
Wendy's Jr. Bacon CheeseburgerWendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger
As served frownie




May 21, 2021 - A Day in the Life of a Tokyo Musician (See what you missed "working for a living" all these years!)


As a working musician playing gigs in a city of nearly 12 million and using public transportation to go to and from live shows, my success depends on the art of packing and personal mobility. I usually carry a couple or sometimes three guitars, spare strings, a handful of harmonicas, holders, slides and picks, a small amp, mics, all sorts of wires to plug into do-dads for this and that, CDs for sale, a bag of energy drinks and tonics and a Snickers bar, just in case, all stacked and packed onto my “rolling rig”. (Every musician has their own rig for gigging around. Some roll and some don’t. But we all carry more or less an amazing pile of musical "stuff".)....

...Read the rest of the amazing Rambling Steve Gardner's gripping story here: A Day in the Life of a Tokyo Musician



May 16, 2021 - Japanese Girls' Spring 2021 Softball Tournament (日本の小学生女子春季ソフトボール大会)

Because my own dad, Walter F. Wolff, was a world-famous fastpitch softball pitcher, I was thrilled to see these Japanese elementary school girls yesterday playing such a high-level game at such a ripe young age. In particular, I was VERY impressed with the skill level already attained by these young female pitchers. Amazing!

And who knows? Because women's softball is an official Olympic sport, maybe some of these young girls will become future Olympians! smiley



Japanese Girls' Spring 2021 Softball Tournament
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)



Walter Wolff, softball pitcher, Lake Charles, Louisiana
Walter Wolff strikes out 17 straight hitters and 20 of 21 for the game as Metallic of Houston defeated Yazoo, Mississippi 3-0 in a 1965 tournament in Lake Charles, Louisiana. (American Press staff photo by Sam Guillory)


Here are just a few highlights of Dad's amazing softball career:
  • At age 16, started his LONG pitching career which spanned a remarkable 5 decades
  • Pitched in 6 world softball tournaments
  • Pitched 3 times in Mexico, including in the Mexican National Softball Tournament in Poza Rica
  • Toured New Zealand as a pitcher with the Western U.S. All-Star Team
  • Once struck out 20 of the 21 batters he faced, including 17 straight, in Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Inducted into the Houston, Texas Softball Hall of Fame in 1986
  • Pitched against (& beat) Eddie Feigner and his world-famous 4-man "King & His Court" softball team in the Houston Astrodome
  • Inducted as an Honorary Member of the United Softball Club of Auckland, New Zealand
More details on Dad's softball pitching days, including a photo gallery and the full story are here: WalterWolff.com




May 5, 2021 - Koinobori (鯉幟, carp streamers) along the Edo River (江戸川) in Tokyo

It's that magical time of year in Japan again... GOLDEN WEEK!!

According to an ancient Chinese legend, a carp once swam upstream against the rapid current in the Yellow River to become a dragon. Because of the carp's strength and determination to overcome all obstacles, in Japan it was chosen as a symbol for Children's Day (こどもの, Kodomo no hi), May 5, one of the 4 national holidays during the week-long Golden Week holiday period.

To celebrate Children's Day, "koinobori (鯉幟)," or carp streamers, are flown around the country in honor of Japanese children in the hope that they will grow up healthy, strong, and happy. These wind socks are made by drawing carp patterns on paper, cloth, or other non-woven fabric. They are then allowed to flutter in the wind. Landscapes across Japan are decorated with koinobori from April to early May.

And here's a video of 35 flying carp along the Edo River (江戸川) I made several years ago, complete with background music, "Going to School" from the awesome "Memoirs of a Geisha" movie soundtrack: smiley


35 Flying Carp along the Edo River in Tokyo
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




April 25, 2021 - How to stay alive during a routine police traffic stop

Unless you've been living in a cave, you're probably already familiar with this controversial news topic which has recently captured the attention of the American public, as well as millions of other folks around the world. In the humorous video below, stand-up comedian and Hollywood actor Chris Rock has some important tips on what to say and do when you're pulled over by a police officer.

This video is arguably more pertinent today than it was 11 years ago when it was first made. Rock has hosted the Academy Awards twice, in 2005 and in 2016. He has won 4 Emmy Awards and 3 Grammy Awards, and was voted the 5th greatest stand-up comedian in a poll conducted by Comedy Central.



Chris Rock - How Not To Get Your *ss Kicked By The Police! smiley
[Click on 'CC' button to stop Poiish subtitiles, or click on Settings (gear) icon to change subtitles to English.] (If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




April 21, 2021 - Spring flowers at Hitachi Seaside Park (ひたち海浜公園)

This amazing 200-hectare park, right on the Pacific coast and only 2 hours from Tokyo by train, is without question one of the most remarkable parks I've ever seen. The park is most famous for its 4.5 million "baby blue eyes" flowers (nemophila, ネモフィラ), whose translucent-blue petals peak every spring in late April, drawing TOO many tourists. The park features blooming flowers in all 4 seasons including a million daffodils, 170 varieties of tulips, narcissuses, poppies, roses, zinnias, sunflowers, kochia (summer cypress), and cosmos flowers. The park also includes cycling trails on an exclusive right-of-way and a small amusement park with a Ferris wheel and roller coaster. Park website: https://hitachikaihin.jp/en

Baby Blue Eyes flowers
Baby Blue Eyes flowers (ネモフィラ)
View my entire Flickr album here:
Hitachi Seaside Park (ひたち海浜公園) 




April 12, 2021 - Yamanote Line Challenge (山手線・チャレンジ)

I did it! (barely), and I’m calling it, "30 Stations for 30 Years." Saturday was my 30th anniversary living and working in Japan, so like thousands of other folks through the years, I decided to challenge walking around to all 30 stations of the circular 34.5 km Yamanote Line, Tokyo‘s busiest and most important train route.

The all-day trek took 14.5 hours, and the last couple hours after dark, with the blisters on the soles of my feet and the excruciating knee pain, I felt kinda like a zombie walking among the living dead. smiley

The only main difference between this and the pain I had to endure back in my mountain climbing days is that Saturday I didn’t have a 20 kg (44 lb) backpack to lug around as well.

So at the end of the day, it was no surprise that I had logged over 60,000 steps and nearly 44 km (a full marathon is 42.2 km (26.2 miles))! And although I could barely walk yesterday, the good news is no one had to summon an ambulance for me and I was able to check off another item on my bucket list.

So just in case there was still any question in the minds of my family or friends, the Tokyo Wolffman has indeed lost his ever living mind… laughing icon

Yamanote Line route map
Yamanote Line route map
(image credit: Wikipedia)


Yamanote Line walking distance
Yamanote Line walking distance
Yamanote Line walking steps
Yamanote Line walking steps


April 15 update:
I finally got around this morning to uploading my pics from last Saturday's sightseeing jaunt. It’s mostly a lot of buildings, 30 train stations, and a lot more of the concrete jungle, but I tried to weave in a bit of nature and Japanese culture as well along the way, ha ha... smiley
Yamanote Line Challenge - April 10, 2021 photos




April 5, 2021 - Tokyo Mega Illumi, April 2021 (東京メガイルミ)

Without question, Tokyo‘s best kept secret. Opened in October 2018 and located at the famous Oi horse race track, this illumination event claims to be a place "for healing by illumination." So it’s time to cast aside those blues and cheer up with the most magnificent illumination spectacle I’ve EVER seen. Don’t miss the rainbow-colored fountain light show and the crystal cherry blossom tunnel. Open till April 11. Best part is it only costs ¥1000 ($9). Yee Hah! smiley

More details in English here: https://www.tokyomegaillumi.jp/pdf/guide_english.pdf
(pdf also available in Japanese (日本語), Chinese, and Korean languages)



Tokyo Mega Illumi, April 2021 (東京メガイルミ)
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

0:00​ Front entrance
0:31​ Twinkle Tunnel
1:26​ Twin Kuru Kuru Fantasy
1:54​ Wonder Media Trees
2:42​ Animated colored light collage
4:26​ Tokyo Twinkle Map
6:13​ Tokyo City Keiba light tower
7:34​ Rainbow-colored fountain light show
10:30​ Aurora Forest light show
12:22​ Tokyo Time Tunnel
17:11​ Colored terrace rice fields
21:12​ Crystal Cherry Blossom Tunnel
22:53​ Meiji Surprise Maze
24:07​ Taisho Romantic Garden of Lights
25:55​ Rose Garden
27:08​ Blue & white twinkling light pathway




April 4, 2021 - Spring 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: Spring 2021 Edutainment Lesson Plans




Mar. 31, 2021 - Tony the Tiger (トニー・ザ・タイガー)

When I was a young kid growing up in Houston, Texas (trust me, that was a very LONG time ago, ha ha), smiley like a lot of other American kiddos, I really looked forward to Saturday mornings.

Why? Well, for one thing there was NO SCHOOL! Yay! Also, as a result, Saturday morning TV programming was almost exclusively for children… cartoons, kids shows, Disney programs, game shows, etc.

So naturally, all of the TV commercials were directed towards us youngsters… toys, games, candy, breakfast cereals, you name it.

Through the years I came to admire my favorite cartoon character by the name of Tony the Tiger (トニー・ザ・タイガー). Born in 1952, Tony is the mascot for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes breakfast cereal, known in Japan as Corn Frosty (コーンフロスティ)...

Read more and watch a video of Tony the Tiger TV commercials here: Tony the Tiger

Tony the Tiger & Frosted Flakes
Tony the Tiger (トニー・ザ・タイガー) & Frosted Flakes




Mar. 26, 2021 - In view of the global pandemic, is it possible to climb Mt. Fuji virtually?

YES!! The Mount Fuji Virtual Challenge will take you on an exciting 46-mile (74-km) adventure around the Fuji Five Lakes and then on to the summit of Mount Fuji.... the tallest mountain in Japan.

Using their mobile iOS and Android apps, each time you complete a distance-based exercise such as running, walking, cycling, swimming, etc., you can enter the distance in miles (or kms) into the app either manually or by syncing your activities from your favorite fitness tracker or smartwatch.

After you reach Mt. Fuji's summit, you can celebrate your achievement with a stunning, limited edition Mount Fuji Virtual Challenge finisher's medal, which you can see being proudly displayed below recently by a couple friends of mine in Wisconsin!

Mount Fuji Virtual Challenge finishers
Mt. Fuji Virtual Challenge finishers with their gorgeous medals




Mar. 20, 2021 - 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'll be adding more pics to it in the weeks ahead! Stay tuned and check back soon! smiley





Mar. 14, 2021 - Ikspiari's Rainforest Cafe in Tokyo, Japan

For the 1st time in AGES, yesterday I had a chance to dine again at the jungle-themed Rainforest Café, this time at Japan's FIRST Rainforest Cafe in the amazing 140-store Ikspiari shopping mall at the gateway to Tokyo Disney Resort.

Part adventure, part restaurant, and wholly entertaining for the whole family, this cafe recreates a tropical rainforest with waterfalls, lush vegetation, bird songs, elephants, gorillas, roaring thunder, and colorful fish in a huge 5-meter-tall cylindrical aquarium.

I found the cafe's American favorites like guacamole, hamburgers, pork chops, pasta, and seafood to be a bit pricey, but I'm sure that includes the cost of the rainforest ambience and the elephant, gorilla, and lightning & thunder shows every 5 minutes or so. smiley



Ikspiari's Rainforest Cafe in Tokyo, Japan
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




Mar. 13, 2021 - My shrimp cocktail yielded a shrimp tail clock

When I was a young kid, Mom always asked me not to play with my food. Now 6 decades later, I’m still not listening.

Tonight I enjoyed my shrimp cocktail so much that I decided to make a shrimp tail clock. And as you can see, that all went down about 7:15 pm.

Well, now you can see why my university students love me so much… I am STILL a child! laughing icon

shrimp tail clock
Gary's shrimp tail clock smiley
 



Mar. 5, 2021 - 2021 Cherry Blossom Forecast

Only 10 more days till the cherry blossoms are forecast to begin blooming in Tokyo on Mar. 15! Yay! This is 11 days earlier than last year and the 2nd earliest ever! Full bloom in Tokyo is forecast for Mar. 23. Can't wait! smiley


2021 cherry blossom front in Japan
2021 cherry blossom front in Japan
(Source: Japan Meteorological Corporation)




Mar. 3, 2021 - Ending Nighttime Urination

Too many trips to the toilet in the middle of the night? Frequent nighttime urination is the #1 problem for many seniors, a number of whom suffer dangerous falls to or from the toilet in a darkened home. This is especially hazardous for elderly who must navigate up and down stairs.

Many people think that frequent nighttime urination is just an inevitable part of getting old, but we now know that most cases have a specific cause: the water you consume during the day is being stored up in a certain part of your body... and it's not where you think!

This 45-min. Japanese TV show with English subtitles reveals some very shocking and surprising facts about how and where our bodies store water and why it always seems to want to exit after we go to sleep. Presented in a jocular, quiz-style game show format, it also includes 3 tips for what you can do about it.

I found the program very enlightening and well worth my time...

[Mar. 5 update: Dang, it looks like the video was made private! Sorry 'bout that.] frownie

In short, because our calves store HUGE amounts of water, here were the 3 tips:
1) Wear medical compression stockings during the day
2) Lay down and elevate your legs 10-15 cm for around 30 minutes in the afternoon
3) Reduce your salt consumption




Feb. 22, 2021 - Today's Humor: "Do you have a dime?"

Now that we all live in a masked society, what we often think we hear is not what was actually said. The funny comic strip below I discovered last night by accident on the back side of a sports news clipping Mom sent me from the Houston Chronicle newspaper. laughing icon

Do you have a dime?
"Do you have a dime?"
(Source: chron.com)




Feb. 19, 2021 - Marriott Marquis Houston's Lazy River pool

The Marriott Marquis' Texas-shaped Lazy River pool is now looking more like frozen Alaskan tundra rather than a tropical sunbathing spot in downtown Houston, Texas.

Marriott Marquis' Lazy River in Houston
Marriott Marquis' Lazy River in Houson
(Photo credit: chron.com)

My heart goes out to the millions of folks in my home Lone Star State without power, and dealing with record snowfalls and the coldest winter storm in decades. And thank God for global warming! Can you imagine how much worse it would be WITHOUT it? laughing icon




Feb. 12, 2021 - Catchy Traffic Safety Slogans

Early in my professional career, I was a registered professional traffic engineer in the states of Texas and Arizona. And part of my duties, while working for state and city transportation agencies as well as in the private sector for traffic engineering consulting firms, was to design traffic signals, traffic signs, and pavement markings to ensure the safety of our streets and highways.

Also, for a few years I was even licensed through the National Safety Council as a Defensive Driving Course instructor. Needless to say, developing a strong traffic safety consciousness was part of that work, and which I have carried with me to this day, even though I haven’t worked as a traffic safety engineer in over 3 decades now.

One of the fun things about working in the traffic safety field was learning and sharing interesting, catchy traffic safety slogans that I became aware of through the years...  (Read more and check out my list of slogans here.)




Feb. 9, 2021 - The Japan ‒ Texas Connection: Best Friends Forever (BFF)

Hot off the press! After years of just dreaming about it, I finally got around to writing about the surprisingly large number of cultural and business connections between the Land of the Rising Sun and my home Lone Star State of Texas. I've been at it fairly consistently for the past couple months now, and finally uploaded my latest ebook yesterday.

With over 80 images and 24,000 words of text, I first introduced some interesting facts which highlight in general the many connections between Texas and Japan.

I then covered other topics in more detail including early Japanese settlers to southeast Texas over 100 years ago, sister city relationships, Japanese gardens in Texas, the amazing Samurai Wall in Dallas, the authentic Little Texas honky-tonk in the heart of Tokyo, NASA, sports, education, and many other business, political, and cultural connections which I hope will prove to be both interesting and enlightening for the reader.

The free download is available in 7 different formats from Smashwords, the world's largest publisher of indie ebooks. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it. Enjoy! smiley


Japan - Texas ebook cover
The Japan ‒ Texas Connection: Best Friends Forever (BFF) ebook cover


[For iOS users, for best readability I recommend the epub version which you can open up on your iPhone/iPad in the Apple Books app (the pdf version had a few formatting conversion glitches this time, plus doesn't include the ebook cover image). Instructions for viewing options on other devices (e.g. Android, Kindle, etc.) are explained at the top of Smashword's FAQ page.




Jan. 27, 2021 - Diamond Fuji (ダイヤモンド富士) Viewing Spots, Dates, and Times in Tokyo

It's already that time of year again when we might get a chance in Tokyo to view an amazing phenomenon known as "Diamond Fuji," when the sun sets into the cone of Japan's tallest peak, setting off sunbeams that resemble a glittering diamond, and which is a popular target of both amateur and professional photographers in Japan.

Until mid-February, if you're lucky, you might be able to catch Diamond Fuji from the top of some of Tokyo's tallest buildings and towers.

In December 2014, I decided to put together the webpage linked below, listing the best high-rise spots in Tokyo for viewing Diamond Fuji along with recommended dates, sunset times, admission fees, and links to their Google maps: Diamond Fuji Viewing Spots, Dates, and Times in Tokyo

Best wishes! Let's get LUCKY!! laughing icon

 
Diamond Fuji
Diamond Fuji - July 30, 2012
(photo credit: The Asahi Shimbun, Asia & Japan Watch)




Jan. 16, 2021 - Origami (折り紙) Changes Everything

The ancient art of paper folding known as origami (formed from 'ori (折り)' meaning folding and 'kami (紙)' meaning paper) has been used for centuries, but in recent years research teams have adapted the origami folding technique to many other interesting applications, ranging from microscopic stomach cleaning robots to solar sails and telescopes that can unfold in outer space. One obstacle to its full potential, though, has been achieving mass production.

Professor Ichiro Hagiwara, Ph.D., a professor in Meiji University's Institute for Advanced Study of Mathematical Sciences, and his origami engineering research team have been working to solve this problem and have successfully developed a 3D origami printer. He believes origami-based manufacturing will greatly improve our lives in the near future in fields like automobile safety technology, car parts, space development systems, beverage containers, and more.

Watch the "Origami Changes Everything" video below to learn more. [The video is also available with Japanese subtitles (日本語字幕) here.] It's one of several other videos in Meiji University's "Incredible Senseis" series viewable here in a YouTube playlist.



Origami Changes Everything
[The video is one of several others in Meiji University's "Incredible Senseis" series.]
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)




Jan. 1, 2021 - 1st Sunrise of the New Year in Tokyo - 初日の出 Hatsuhinode

Hatsuhinode (初日の出) is the Japanese Shinto tradition of viewing the 1st sunrise of the New Year to greet Toshigami (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. Happy New Year!! May we all be blessed this year with "good luck, well-being, and health."


1st Sunrise of the New Year in Tokyo - 初日の出 Hatsuhinode
(If player above is not visible, you can view video at YouTube here.)

The video's background music, George Harrison's "Here Comes The Sun," is sung by Brooke White, an American indie pop singer-songwriter from Arizona who was the 5th place finalist in the 7th season of American Idol.






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Website Updates

Jun 21, 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)"

Jun 21, 2021

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 20, 2021

The Highest Mountains in Japan

Listing of the 25 highest mountains in Japan, complete with pics, videos, and descriptions, based on the 2-decade climbing experience of Gary J. Wolff.

Continue reading "The Highest Mountains in Japan"

Jun 18, 2021

The Moment Kids In Israel Are Told They Don't Have To Wear Masks Anymore

Click link to view amazing 1-min. video on the moment kids in Israel are told they don't have to wear masks anymore. WOW!

Continue reading "The Moment Kids In Israel Are Told They Don't Have To Wear Masks Anymore"

Jun 18, 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"

Jun 16, 2021

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 "Mt. Fuji Mountain Huts (富士山の山小屋)"

Jun 10, 2021

R.I.P., my dear friend!

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 my life in a very profound way the past half-century. Will always luv ya like a bro....

Lawrence Jerome Jones, July 14, 1953 - June 10, 2021

(click link to view photo collage and link to full photo album)

Continue reading "R.I.P., my dear friend!"

Jun 10, 2021

Mt. Ontake-san (御嶽山), Japan's 14th Highest Mountain

Pics, maps, and trail description of my Aug. 2001 climb of Mt. Ontake-san (elev. 3067m), Japan's 14th highest mountain.

Continue reading "Mt. Ontake-san (御嶽山), Japan's 14th Highest Mountain"

Jun 09, 2021

How do you go to the toilet on the Mt. Fuji Yoshida Trail before July 10th?

Please note, however, that even though the main Yoshida Trail will be open to the summit as of July 1, all huts, restrooms, and other facilities above

Continue reading "How do you go to the toilet on the Mt. Fuji Yoshida Trail before July 10th?"

Jun 09, 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"

Jun 09, 2021

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 09, 2021

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 09, 2021

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 03, 2021

Can I purchase a Mt. Fuji climbing stick outside of Japan?

Is there any place other than Japan (online?) to purchase a Fuji stick? With or without stamps. I am trying to find a replacement Mt. Fuji stick for my

Continue reading "Can I purchase a Mt. Fuji climbing stick outside of Japan?"

May 26, 2021

The 2nd worst ripoff of the century!

Boy, did I get a BIG surprise today after ordering my Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger (ベーコンチーズバーガー) for lunch. The advertising sign made it look so lush and delicious, but what an amazing disappointment it turned out to be. frownie

What I received was completely different from what I expected. Oh, in case you're interested in the #1 ripoff of the century, that was a Spicy Shrimp Whopper at Burger King a couple years ago: Burger King ripoff of the century!

I really know how to pick 'em... :-)

(click link to view burger pics)

Continue reading "The 2nd worst ripoff of the century!"

May 21, 2021

A Day in the Life of a Tokyo Musician

As a working musician playing gigs in a city of nearly 12 million and using public transportation to go to live shows, my success depends on the art of packing...

Continue reading "A Day in the Life of a Tokyo Musician"

May 17, 2021

Japanese Girls' Spring 2021 Softball Tournament (日本の小学生女子春季ソフトボール大会)

Because my own dad, Walter F. Wolff, was a world-famous fastpitch softball pitcher, I was thrilled to see these Japanese elementary school girls yesterday playing such a high-level game at such a ripe young age. In particular, I was VERY impressed with the skill level already attained by these young female pitchers. Amazing!

And who knows? Because women's softball is an official Olympic sport, maybe some of these young girls will become future Olympians! :-)

(click link to watch short 3-min. video)

Continue reading "Japanese Girls' Spring 2021 Softball Tournament (日本の小学生女子春季ソフトボール大会)"

May 17, 2021

The height of Kita-dake was upgraded a few years back to 3,193 meters

Hi Gary. Just taking a quick peek here before running off to the station. A couple of notes: Kitadake was upgraded a few years back to 3,193 meters and

Continue reading "The height of Kita-dake was upgraded a few years back to 3,193 meters "

May 17, 2021

What is the definition of "highest peak"?

Hi Gary. I am quite similar to you in that I usually make some sort of summer pilgrimage to the Japanese Alps and I was just wondering what the definition

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May 11, 2021

Book Review of CNN Student News, Vol. 2

Professor Gary J. Wolff reviews CNN Student News, Vol. 2, an EFL textbook for young adult Japanese learners of English, published by Asahi Press in 2014.

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What's New?

  1. Climbing Mt. Fuji - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Jun 21, 21 08:35 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

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

    Jun 21, 21 08:35 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

  3. The Highest Mountains in Japan

    Jun 20, 21 02:10 AM

    Listing of the 25 highest mountains in Japan, complete with pics, videos, and descriptions, based on the 2-decade climbing experience of Gary J. Wolff.

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