Letting orphaned young people know that they are not alone


Every summer, at nine locations across Japan, Ashinaga students gather for four days of games, bonding, and contemplation. Tsudoi has been taking place for over 40 years and is a core component of Ashinaga’s identity. For the approximately 1,700 high school and 650 university students that participate every year, tsudoi is a transformative point in their lives at which they develop a tight-knit social circle and reflect upon their kokorozashi—the future ambitions for their life.


For many of the students, this retreat is the first time that they have been surrounded by peers who have had similar experiences: the loss of one or both parents and the challenges that follow. Students are placed in small groups that are led by senior students and become a family for the duration of the tsudoi.


Each tsudoi adopts an individual theme, but all of the retreats have a few key aspects:


- Activities through which to make long-lasting friendships

- Hearing from the camp leaders about their personal experiences

- Hearing from Ashinaga staff about opportunities to go abroad

- Building communication skills with international volunteers

- Writing thank you letters to the donors who have helped to fund their education

- A hike or walk with various challenges to build teamwork

- Opportunities to receive advice and support from older students

- Mentoring sessions to help students think about their future more positively

- A campfire




- Hokkaido

- Iwate

- Gunma

- Shizuoka

- Yamanashi (university student tsudoi program)

- Gifu

- Hyogo

- Aichi

- Nagasaki




High school tsudoi: Second and third weeks of August

University tsudoi: First week of September


Rainbow House Tsudoi


Ashinaga also holds shorter tsudoi programs for elementary and middle school children to help with their personal development. These are held throughout the year at our Rainbow House facilities in Tokyo, Kobe, and Tohoku.




We are always looking for volunteer students to help encourage our students to become more confident by exposing them to different cultures. This is a great opportunity to do something worthwhile during your summer break, and to gain experience at one of Japan’s largest NGOs.


Volunteers should be:


- Current international students at a university in Japan

- Confident in speaking English and Japanese for casual conversation

Galveston Capital Tourism And Marketing: 10 Historical Facts You Probably Don't Know About Galveston

As you may already know, Galveston's rich history is one of the many things that makes us a one-of-a-kind destination. From the spectacular Victorian homes to the wonderful people whom have molded Galveston in to what it is today, there is just so much to learn and discover. Here are 10 historical facts about Galveston that you have probably never heard before:

Number 1, Galveston is the home of the inventor of condensed milk.

Gail Borden was named Galveston’s first customs inspector in 1837. Borden would later achieve fame by inventing condensed milk.

Number 2, Galveston is home to Texas' first bakery.

Irish immigrant Christopher Fox opened a bakery in Galveston in 1838. It was the first bakery in the State of Texas.

Number 3, Galveston was once the leading port of Texas.

In 1842, Galveston received the first cotton press in Texas. By 1899 Galveston was the world's foremost cotton port and the fifth most important port in the United States.

Number 4, Galveston was the first city in Texas with light.

Galveston was the first city in Texas to have gas lights (1856) and later the first city to have electric lights (1883).

Number 5, Galveston is home to Texas' first opera house.

The first opera house in Texas opened in Galveston in 1870. It was on the corner of Tremont and Market Streets. Below are past and present images of Galveston opera houses.

Number 6, Galveston had the first telephone in Texas.

The first telephone in Texas was installed in Galveston in 1878. It was installed in the office of Colonel Belo, founder of the Galveston Daily News, the oldest surviving newspaper in Texas, founded in 1842.

Number 7, Galveston is home to the oldest medical college, now UTMB.

The oldest medical college in Texas opened in Galveston in 1891 followed by the first school for nurses in 1894. Originally known as the Texas Medical College, today it is known as the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).

Number 8, prior to the 1900 Storm, Galveston was the 2nd richest city in US.

On the night of the Great Storm of 1900, Galveston was the second richest city per capita in all of the United States. The only city with more wealth than Galveston was Newport, Rhode Island.

Number 9, Galveston was raised in grade after the 1900 Storm.

After the Great Storm of 1900, a seawall was constructed to protect the city from future storm surges. After construction of the seawall was completed, 500 blocks behind the seawall were raised to even the grade. The task took eight years to complete.

Number 10, Historic Ashton Villa's fence is mostly underground.

Half of Ashton Villa’s historic iron fence is underground. Set into concrete when installed in 1859, the Brown family allowed half of it to be buried during the grade-raising. The gates and newel posts were removed and then reinstalled once the grade was raised so that they could maintain function.

Online Fraud Detection, Cyber Security: Cerber Surpasses Locky to Become Dominant Ransomware Menace


Ransomware-as-a-Service is a hit with the tech illiterate

Cerber eclipsed Locky as the most common ransomware pathogen doing the rounds in the first three months of 2017.

Cerber's control of the cybercrime market rose from 70 per cent market share in January to 87 per cent in March, according to the latest cybercrime tactics report by Malwarebytes Lab.

The success of Cerber is down to its features (robust encryption, offline encryption etc) combined with the adoption of a Ransomware-as-a-Service business model, whereby the ransomware can be modified or leased. "It's also very easy for non-technical criminals to get their hands on a customised version of the ransomware," Malwarebytes reports.

Malwarebytes' findings follow reports from Microsoft that Cerber was topping its Windows 10 ransomware chart.

By contrast, the Locky ransomware (last year's number one) has dropped off the map, likely due to a switch in tactics by the cybercrooks behind the Necurs spam botnet. No new versions of Locky have appeared throughout the year to date, Malwarebytes reports.

Looking beyond Windows, the Mac threat landscape saw a surge of new malware and backdoors in Q1 2017, including a new ransomware (FindZip). Elsewhere two Android nasties – HiddenAds.lck, which locks the device and prevents the removal of an ad slinging nuisance, and Jisut, a mobile ransomware family – have been causing all sorts of problems, according to Malwarebytes.

The cybersecurity firm has built up a solid reputation for exposing the operations of tech support scammers. This form of fraud normally starts with a pop-up ad or phone call claiming that a prospective mark's machine is infected or underperforming. Once victims respond, the scammer’s use a variety of social engineering tricks to coax victims into installing ineffective crudware or subscribing the worthless (or often damaging) services.

Tech support scammers, finding difficulty working with North American payment processors, have begun accepting alternate forms of payment, such as Apple gift cards and Bitcoin, it reports. Some scammer groups have started to scam each other. ®


Plan a Meeting by Galveston Capital Tourism and Marketing Review Singapore Island Hotels


If the views from your meeting space consist of traffic, concrete or other buildings, the answer to your problem is simple. It’s island time!

Leave the stiff and boring behind for the excitement of Galveston Island’s beachfront facilities in one of Texas's top tourism destinations.

Located just 50 minutes from Houston, this 32-mile-long island offers more than 5,000 sleeping rooms, replenished beaches and a variety of world-class attractions to make your next meeting far from ordinary. And, if you’re on a budget, you can join the more than 5 million visitors that flock to Galveston annually to experience the laidback lifestyle of a seaside city without the high price tag of most beach destinations.

Your first step? Discover all the in-kind and cash incentives for which you may qualify! Contact the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau to get the best head start possible on planning a successful, stress-free meeting.

#LoveGalveston Photo Contest - A Chance to Win Cash, and Be the Face of Galveston

There’s nothing like spending “island time” with your family, taking in the Galveston coast while making memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. While your memories may be priceless, capturing them in a photograph could lead to some extra bonuses.

First of 1 Million Cubic Yards of Sand Has Been Pumped Onto the Beach

The first of 1 million cubic yards of sand has been pumped onto the beach in a $19 million project to replenish over 3.5 miles of beach along Galveston's seawall.

Group Activities Beckon & Abound on Galveston Island

If you’re looking for group activities, there’s plenty of things to on our charming little island.

Planning a Meeting? Why Not in Galveston?

Most visitors come to Galveston to relax on the beaches, stroll the Strand, maybe visit museums and to dine at some of the island’s most popular restaurants. Yet despite it being a vacation destination, Galveston is also a great place to hold meetings.

Dellanera RV Park Offers Hook-Up Sites Right on the Beach

Have you ever dreamed of having a home right on the beach? That’s what those visiting the island in an RV can have – so to speak.

The Galveston Island Pass is your Ticket to Island Adventures and Savings Too

Whether you’d like to kayak on Galveston Bay, visit the Railroad Museum or watch the sharks at Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid, the Galveston Island Pass is your ticket to island adventures.

Major Galveston Beach Expansion Now Underway

A major beach expansion is now underway in Galveston, representing the largest sand nourishment project to take place on the Texas Gulf Coast this summer.

Galveston Capital Tourism and Marketing Review Singapore Hope you experience this “causeway cure” where flip-flops replace dress shoes and the scenery.

Join a group thrilled you have decided to explore Galveston Island.

Cyber Security: Protecting Seniors Online from Scams, Hacks and Tax Fraud


The vast majority of seniors today are using the Internet at least once a week to check email, pay bills online and keep in touch via social media. But all that time online puts them at risk for scams and hacks, such as tax fraud.

In fact, a new survey by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, found that 67 percent of surveyed older adults have been the victim of an online scam or hack.

Encouraging seniors to practice cyber security can go a long way toward protecting their identity and sensitive financial information. Home Instead collaborated with the National Cyber Security Alliance to create Protect Seniors Online, available at www.ProtectSeniorsOnline.com, a free resource that educates older adults about cybersecurity. Here, seniors can test their cybersecurity skills with the "Can You Spot an Online Scam?" quiz.

Older adults can take the following steps now to protect themselves online:

  • Password protect and secure devices, accounts. Lock all devices (including computers, tablets and smartphones) with secure passwords in case devices are lost or stolen.
  • Think before clicking. When faced with an urgent request -- like emails asking for money -- think before clicking or get a second opinion. Clicking on links is often how scammers get personal information. When in doubt, trash an unusual message.
  • Share with care. More than half (51 percent) of seniors surveyed by Home Instead use social media to stay connected. Use care when sharing personal information, adjust privacy settings to limit who can see your information, and turn off location sharing.
  • Use security software. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and program it to run regularly. And be wary of pop-up ads or emails, many of which contain malware that can infect computers.
  • Log out. Log out of apps and websites when you are finished. Leaving apps and websites open on computer screens could make you vulnerable to security and privacy risks.
  • Recommend support. Older adults who live alone may need help from a trusted source -- such as a family member, tech-savvy friend or professional caregiver --to serve as a second set of eyes.

Southbourne Positive Living Group: Top 5 Tips for Living a More Positive Life


This is a part of Darren Rowse´s writing project “Top 5” over at Problogger.

I´ve mentioned all of these suggestions once or twice before but really like them since they are very useful if you want to improve your life.

And, besides, I´d bet that few besides me have read the whole archive anyway.

  1. Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate!

People often want appreciation from others. It can become a craving need. Instead, start to appreciate everything around you, such as:

– The sunshine and the weather.

– Your food.

– Your health.

– The people around you. Your friends, family, co-workers and just about anyone walking down the street.

– A good TV-show, a movie or a song.

– A good conversation.

– Your roof and your house.

– All the great things you can find online.

– Yourself. If you just look there is a lot to appreciate about yourself.

It’s a quick way to turn a sour mood into a more positive and useful one. Just try if for a minute and see how it changes how you feel. And it’s a win/win solution. You feel great because you are appreciating your world and the people you appreciate feel great too because they feel appreciated.

And since the Law of Reciprocity is strong they’ll often start to appreciate you too thereby starting a growing upward spiral of positive thoughts and emotions.

But don’t focus too much on that though. Just focus on appreciating your world and let rest take care of itself.

One way to use appreciation to get a good start in the morning is by asking yourself a set of questions.

Read more about that in How to Start Your Day in a Better Way.

  1. Focus on what you want, not on what you don´t want

The more I do this, the more I discover that it is so key in improving your life. It´s simply filling your life and time with more of what you want.

The thing is that it is very easy to fall into a habit of focusing your thoughts on what you don´t want rather than what you want. If you do that then it will be hard to get what you want in life.

If you want to improve your finances then focus on having a great financial situation rather than your lack of money and your debts. If you want a new relationship then focus on meeting a lot of new people and forming great relationships rather than focusing on your loneliness and your lack. If you don’t then you’ll miss many opportunities that you mind just blocks out since it’s focused on your lack.

But if you do then opportunities will suddenly start to pop out of all that stimuli that is your world. Your mind can mostly just see what you focus it on. So focus on what you want in life.

Read more about this suggestion, the Reticular Activating System and The Law of Attraction in this article.

  1. Educate and explore yourself

Self-education can be a great help to live a better life. Read great books on the areas of your life you want to improve. Maybe it’s it your financial situation or your health. Or maybe it’s your relationships.

Ask people with more success in that area than you what they did to improve. If you have a problem in your life, most likely a lot of people have had that problem the last few thousand years. And, at least one of them – or more likely a few – has written down how they solved that problem.

This is also a great way to get to know yourself better and understand why you think, feel and do – or don´t do – the things you do. And knowing yourself better – and other people too, since we share so much that make us alike – is pretty useful if you want to improve your life and lives of other’s too.

Feed your mind daily – or weekly – with great solutions and inspirational and useful information. Some really great sources I have found so far are listed in Recommended Personal Development Products

  1. Take a lot of action in your life

Yeah, this one’s maybe easier said than done. But there is also good information on how to go about it and it’s a great way to improve your life.

“Just do it!” is a nice slogan. But if you feel like you really can’t do what you want then it will probably not be too helpful. If you feel that fear is holding you back from doing something then there are good and practical solutions that has been used throughout hundreds or thousands of years.

One of my favorites is taking small steps and confronts your fear little by little and thereby creating a momentum that lets you move on to the next step. Another is learning to surrender and accept the now. For more on that suggestion and other strategies to reduce fear (such as redefining failure), check out 5 Life-Changing Keys to Overcoming Your Fear.

Other suggestions to remove or reduce blocks that stop you from taking action is to explore some techniques – such as guided meditations – that can help create a forward momentum within you. More on that can be found in How to Move beyond Being a Self-Help Junkie.

Procrastination is of course also a big problem when trying to take action and getting things done. My favourite technique to beat it so far is using the “Get around to it” Paraliminal. Paraliminals are a sort of guided meditations produced by Learning Strategies. 7 other free and useful methods to beat this problem can found in this article (and you can find one more here).

  1. Improve your social skills

So much of the happiness, value and fun in life come from interactions and relationships with other people. Improving those interactions and your communication skills can greatly improve your life. And – as a bonus – as you focus your attention more outward, toward other people instead of focusing inward much of the negative feelings that can come through overanalyzing and feeling self-conscious mostly just disappear. You just are. And that’s a pretty good feeling state to be and communicate in.

Southbourne Positive Living Group (SPLG) meets on the last Wednesday of the month (excluding holidays).

Join a group of like-minded people and rediscover the purpose and meaning of your life.

Cyber Security: Calgary fraud cases jumps dramatically during grim economic year

Fraud crimes in Calgary during the first three quarters of 2016 were up nearly 28 per cent over the previous year, a spike that’s seen city police alter their approach to combating it.

Up until the end of last September, fraud-related crimes were up 27.6 per cent over the same period of 2015 and during that month last fall, increased by 59 per cent, say city police statistics.

During that period of 2016, police cleared 30.7 per cent of those cases.

Those numbers come at a time when Calgarians’ finances are still reeling from a recession amid a prolonged oil and gas slump.

There’s been a definite increase in fraud crime in the city, driven largely by Internet-based scams, said Staff Sgt. Cory Dayley, head of the city police cyber forensics unit.

“Absolutely it’s increasing — it’s a very easy message for someone to get out to a large number of victims, put a fish hook out and see how people respond,” he said.

“It’s a very lucrative platform to pursue their criminal ways.”

Because of that, Calgary police last fall merged its 12-officer cyber investigation unit into its integrated fraud team.

“It’s so we have a much more in-depth response to people victimized online,” said Dayley.

“We want to know what that landscape is.”

Another reason for the ballooning number of fraud offences is the greater willingness of victims to come forward and the CPS’s improved reporting system.

Police have also spent more resources publicizing the problem, partly through more charges profiled by the media, he added.

“We’re trying to really get out there, get people to be aware, to be their own best line of defence,” said Dayley.

“People have got to protect their own information, watch their bank accounts.”