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
- Yamanashi (university student tsudoi program)
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