The Amazing Free Back-Office/Productivity Suite/Mail Server Giveaway (Part 1)

What is GoogleApps?

If you happen to be a pastor or volunteer at a small church which is trying to embrace the flood of technology available in the 21st century then perhaps the title of this article caught your eye. Did you know that if you own a domain name and have the technical expertise to set your own CNAME records (or at least have the patience to follow Google’s detailed online help), Google will give you a free, hosted, productivity suite along with some seriously significant amounts of disk space located in the cloud.

That’s right. The standard version of the GoogleApps in-the-cloud, Web 2.0+, Microsoft-busting, service suite is available for free for personal use. If you have a personal website or blog, I recommend that you try it out right away. I did this a couple years back when this was still bleeding-edge and Google marketing was calling it “Google Apps For Your Domain.” Since that time, Google has not only shortened the name, they have added feature after feature, they have had (almost) flawless uptime, and they have continually increased the disk space allowance to users. If you are a GMail user then you are probably already familiar with many of the apps – mail, calendar, contacts, chat… Adding it to your domain allows you to brand these apps with your organization’s logo and get an amazing combination of great apps, great hosting, and great collaboration tools.

My personal journey with GoogleApps went something like this:

  • “Wow, that was easy to set up.”
  • “I wonder why I am still using Outlook.”
  • “Wow, that’s a great new feature, I can use that!”
  • “Wow, I can’t believe its been over a year since I used Outlook. It sure is nice to have all my contacts, calendars, email, important docs, etc. available from any computer/OS/browser that is hooked up to the internet.”
  • Sure is nice that all that stuff is backed up to the cloud too.
  • “Wow, I am glad they added offline funtionality too. It’s time to uninstall Outlook permanently.”
  • It is cool that I can easily add anyone I want as a user on my domains productivity apps from any computer and collaborate, share, chat, etc. etc. etc.
  • Anybody want an old Windows Server box to use as a doorstop? I am tired of trying to keep up with patches and admin. Let Google do it for me!

The features keep coming

 I recently checked out the Official Google Apps blog and noticed that two of the last big hurdles to using GoogleApps as my main productivity suite have been cleared by the G. Team as we head into 2010. Just recently they (finally) released a stand-alone contacts page that can apparently be shared across everyone in your domain. The other new feature for this month is that now users can upload *any file type* to their domain accounts. This is big because it gives you an immediate “G-Drive” type of backup location. You can upload important stuff as a zip archive or whatever format you prefer and have it in case of a local computer disaster. With GoogleApps folder sharing feature you can even create a dedicated shared folder and share anything you want across your organization just like many of us do on our local area networks. Only this is hosted on the cloud… sweet! At this initial release the limit is 1 gig per user on “unconverted” files (which means files that can’t be converted to online docs, spreadsheets or presentations). Hopefully that number will also go up soon.

Now For An Even Bigger Freebie

In part one of this article I talked about the standard edition. In part two I will tell you how I was able to use my church’s non-profit organization status to get a pro version of GoogleApps (normally $50 per user per year) for free! If you just can’t wait and want to go get this for your own church you can start here:

GoogleApps for Charities

Do you have experience with GoogleApps? Love it? Hate it? Join the forum via the link below and leave a comment or question.

How to Browse Japanese Websites (relatively) Painlessly



Japanese is hard! 

Anyone from the Western Hemisphere who has seriously tried to master the Japanese language knows that it is not a trivial task. After studying at two American universities and under two Japanese private tutors, I did what many before me have done – I focused on speaking and listening and let my puny Japanese reading and writing skills atrophy.  It would certainly be cool if there were a universal translator (ala Star Trek) – I’d even settle for a Babblefish to stick in my ear (ala Douglas Adams). In the meantime there is Google Translate

Translation is Hard to Automate 

However, the practical usefulness of translation software is still ridiculously limited as anyone who has actually tried to use it will quickly find out. Just try picking a phrase in English at random, translate that phrase into Japanese and then translate it back into English using the same software. Should at least be close, right?  OK, since I love the Bible  I will choose a simple passage that source. How about an excerpt from Luke 2 (as famously quoted by Linus on “A Charlie Brown Christmas“). 

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. 

The results after a round trip through Google Translate (English–>Japanese–>English): 

Because he is a line of David, Joseph, and therefore belongs to the house, the Jewish town of Nazareth in Galilee, the Bethlehem, went to the city of David. He and Mary went to register the child and was hoping that was promised to marry him. While were there, the time is coming to birth a baby, her firstborn child, gave birth to a son. 

Semi-humorous Internet History Break… 

For those of use who have studied Japanese since the dark ages of the Internet, when Al Gore was laboring to create Arpa-Net and Darpa-Net (insert sarcmark here), the greatest free gift to Japanese scholars was Jim Breen’s EDICT database. Pooling the resources of Australia’s university students who were majoring in the Japanese language, Professor Breen did something incredibly farsighted. He created a free English-Japanese dictionary for foreign students of Japanese and freely made it available to all on the Monash University website


Building on this great basic research, Todd Rudick built which can be easily used from any webbrowser for either translating Japanese text or (by entering a URL directly) browsing entire Japanese websites. The genius of (rikai means “understanding” in English) is that it is NOT a translator but something akin an automatic popup dictionary. If you know how to speak Japanese but your kanji skills are weak, this is better than a translator. Try it and you will see what I mean. I recommend using some kind of ad-blocker to remove the annoying dating ads that inhabit the sidebars, but the functionality is worth the effort. 

RIKAICHAN BROWSING PLUGIN is cool, but I have saved the best for last. Building on this idea and expanding on Todd’s initial attempt at a browser plugin version of, Jon Zarate has built an excellent plugin for Firefox called Rikaichan. As I write this the current stable revision is 1.07 and 1.08 is in the late beta stages. This is, hands down, the very best tool I have found for browsing Japanese websites. It is fast, slick and elegant. It also has the full power of the original EDICT database plus alpha and makes it all available as tooltip rollovers and hotkeys from your Firefox browser. There is also a work-in-progress Chrome version here called rikaikun

Do you know any other good tools for web-browsing in Japanese?  

OK, just to round out the list here is one more option for those who have decent Japanese skills but need a little help with the kanji. The furigana injector add-on is available for Firefox and Chrome and does just what you would expect from the name.

If you have any other tips for reading Japanese websites, let me know via the forum link below. Share your tips and be blessed!

Top 30 Unreached People Groups By Population

Shaikh Bangladesh 131,167,000 < 0.1% Islam
Japanese Japan 121,405,000 0.4% Buddhism
Shaikh India 76,130,000 unknown Islam
Brahman India 57,108,000 unknown Hinduism
Yadava India 56,367,000 unknown Hinduism
Turk Turkey 52,120,000 < 0.1% Islam
Chamar India 49,814,000 unknown Hinduism
Rajput India 40,963,000 unknown Hinduism
Han Chinese, Xiang China 35,793,000 0.3% Non-Religious
Sunda Indonesia 34,720,000 unknown Islam
Hakka China 33,238,000 0.6% Non-Religious
Jat, Muslim Pakistan 32,330,000 < 0.1% Islam
Burmese Myanmar (Burma) 27,875,000 0.1% Buddhism
Persian Iran 27,500,000 0.3% Islam
Mahratta India 27,460,000 unknown Hinduism
Bania India 26,519,000 unknown Hinduism
Hausa Nigeria 24,181,000 < 0.1% Islam
Algerian, Arabic-speaking Algeria 24,161,000 0.2% Islam
Pashtun, Northern Pakistan 24,041,000 < 0.1% Islam
Korean Korea, North 23,712,000 1.5% Non-Religious
Uzbek, Northern Uzbekistan 21,626,000 < 0.1% Islam
Jawa Pesisir Lor Indonesia 20,020,000 < 0.1% Islam
Thai, Central Thailand 19,649,000 unknown Buddhism
Arab, Iraqi Iraq 19,300,000 0.1% Islam
Jawa Mancanegari Indonesia 18,000,000 1.1% Islam
Thai, Northeastern, Lao Isan Thailand 17,958,000 unknown Buddhism
Kurmi India 17,067,000 unknown Hinduism
Teli India 17,024,000 unknown Hinduism
Rajput, Muslim Pakistan 16,561,000 < 0.1% Islam
Kunbi India 15,810,000 unknown Hinduism

Joshua Project welcomes corrections / updates to this data. Please send feedback to:

Joshua Project

Office: 719.886.4000
PO Box 62614

Fax: 719.266.9250
Colorado Springs, CO 80962

United States


Download this Table as a PDF file

Four Trends Among Japanese Youth


School life is full of pressures in Japan. From an early age children learn that the university they get into will determine their success in life. Many universities have feeder high schools, which also have feeder jr. high schools, etc down to the preschool level. Parents who are forward thinkers concerning their children’s education work hard to get their children into the proper kindergarten (often starting at age 3 or 4) so their child will have the best chance to get into the “right” university. Because of this system, children may have already been labeled failures by the time they reach puberty.

Bullying or ijime is a common problem, making some students fear attending school. Often this behavior is overt and sometimes the teacher is involved as well. The scapegoat student, picked as different for whatever reason, has no recourse and no way of escaping daily verbal, mental, emotional, and sometimes even physical abuse. Exam Hell or juken in Jr. High and High School is well-known even outside of Japan because of television and investigative journalism.

The pressures caused by the educational system in Japan have not only led to a high suicide rate among Japan’s youth it has also led more and more young people to rebel against traditional society. Some forms of disobedience have been well-known for years, such as the bosozuku motorcycle gangs that roam city and country streets after midnight. But in recent years there have been at least four new trends among the youth in Japan that might be even more troubling than the open defiance of the bosozoku.

Parasite Singles – furita and hikikomori

A new class of young adult called “parasite single” has emerged in Japan, especially in the major cities, most notably Tokyo where 25% of the nation’s 127 million population resides. These teens and young adults have grown up in an affluent society and have not lacked training or opportunity. Yet more and more are electing to drop out of society altogether. They typically live with their parents and grandparents and do not go to school or pursue any kind of career. Some of these may be simply rebelling against the structured and high-pressure lifestyle of their fathers. But others seem to have deeper problems, difficult to fathom and rooted in a kind of spiritual bondage.

In the 1980’s a new word was coined in Japan; the furita, which means essentially “free part-time worker.” Many youth, especially those who do not pass the rigorous college entrance exams required by popular universities, decide that they do not care about advancing in their career. They find that they prefer to work low paying part-time jobs and have free time to do what they want. This type of attitude is revolutionary in a society where image and social status are obtained largely by what school you graduate from and from which company hires you. According to Imidas, an annual Japanese-language publication that chronicles current trends and statistics in Japan, the number of furita in Japan ages 15 to 34 more than doubled from 1991 to 2001. In 1991, 10.1% of the Japanese work force fit into the category of furita. By 2001 this figure had risen to 21.2%.

There is another type of parasite single which is even more troubling than the furita. There is a growing trend among young people today to simply lock themselves in their bedrooms and refuse to talk to anyone or go anywhere. Significant numbers of youth are refusing to go to school or to their job and are not only dropping out of society but of any contact with reality. This behavior has also prompted a new Japanese term; hikikomori. Tim Larimer of TIME magazine did an article on this phenomenon in the August, 2001 edition titled “Staying In And Tuning Out.” An excerpt from this article shows the seriousness of the problem:

They are called hikikomori, or people who withdraw, like a turtle into its shell, and one psychologist estimates there are as many as 1 million in Japan. Like other behavioral disorders, their condition has not been discussed openly. They don’t want anyone to know either, and if the parents do try to get help, the kids threaten to assault them or even commit suicide. So the parents keep quiet…
Some hikikomori live in isolation for years. Sadatsuga Kudo, director of a nonprofit center for hikikomori in the Tokyo suburb of Fussa, treated a young man who shut himself away for 19 years before he got help. Teenagers across the world go through angst, depression and withdrawl, to be sure. But in no other country does that condition appear so widespread – or so enduring. “You can’t pinpoint the reasons,” says Kudo. “But you can pinpoint the context: it’s Japan. Here, you have to be like other people, and if you aren’t, you have a sense of loss, of shame. So you withdraw.”
When you are different, Kudo contends, you take the logical step for self-preservation. You disappear.

Fantasy and Escapism

Many youth in the world of the hikikomori spend all of their waking hours lost in a fantasy world of video games, animated movies called anime, or on the internet, interacting with others only through virtual personas. Even the older generation in Japan, especially in larger cities, has an obvious addiction to fantasy and escapism. A favorite pastime of the Japanese salaryman (company employee), for example, is reading manga. These thick comic books are almost an art-form in Japan but unfortunately many are filled with violence, sensuality and perversion. There are different types of manga written to target every age group in Japan. It is a common site to see people on crowded trains intensely reading and lost in the plot of their favorite manga, while the reality of being crushed into crowded commuter trains daily for hours at a time is blissfully ignored.

Another form of escape from a pressure filled existence is the Role Playing Game or RPG where players can assume the character of any type of creature he prefers, real or imaginary and get away with behavior which would never be tolerated in the strict Japanese society. RPGs are very popular in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan. Most youth have a game console or a personal computer with a broadband internet connection and if the pressures of everyday life get too great, the temptation is to lock oneself away in one’s room and become hikikomori.

Violence and Death Fascination

One of the most frightening trends among Japanese youth today is their fascination with violence and death. The suicide rate in Japan is epidemic. It is one of the highest suicide rates of any modern industrialized nation and is double that of the United States. In 2003 there was a suicide about every 15 minutes in Japan and there is no sign that the rising trend has slowed since that point. Statistically, in Tokyo one is five times more likely to die by his own hand than by a traffic accident. There are new types of suicide reported in the news media every year. Websites have been set up on the internet where those who are considering suicide can meet online and get information on various methods for ending one’s life. Recently a string of internet suicide pact deaths shocked Japan.

The highest rate of suicide is among the older generation and health and economic worries are widely believed to be the main causes. But the number of suicides among the youth is growing at an alarming rate. According to a an Asia Times article titled “Suicide also rises in the land of rising sun” the suicide rate for elementary and middle-school children in Japan rose 57.6% from 2001 to 2002. The high suicide rate is an indication of the growing sense of helplessness and lack of purpose in the youth of Japan. Another grim trend is violence among the very young.

Through the last half of the 20th century, Japan was noted for its lack of violent crime, even in the cities. In 1997 however, a 14-year old boy shocked the nation by cutting off the head of an 11-year old student and leaving it at the entrance gate to his school. Since that time violent incidents among young students and even hikikomori youth have occurred with startling regularity. An article in the Washington Post in August, 2004 states:

Incidents of violence on school grounds have increased fivefold in Japan over the past decade to 29,300 in 2002, leading the national Mainichi newspaper to warn of Japanese schoolyards descending “into battlefields.” Violence by younger children in particular has risen rapidly, with the number of minors under 14 processed for violent crime increasing 47 percent in 2003 from a year earlier. One study by a children’s research institute found that as many as 30 percent of high school and middle school students had experienced sudden acts of rage at least once a month. In response to rising youth crime, Japan lowered the age for criminal prosecution in 2001 from 16 to 14 and might lower it further.


Along with the increasing violence and escapism in the youth, there is a rapidly growing immorality problem. For years, Japan has been the largest sex industry market for Asian women. Japanese men constitute the largest number of sex tourists in Asia. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island website report this about Tokyo:

One ‘sex zone’ in Tokyo, only 0.34 sq. km., has 3,500 sex facilities: strip theaters, peep shows, ‘soaplands,’ ‘lover’s banks,’ porno shops, telephone clubs, karaoke bars, clubs, etc.

The following is from a collection of facts on Japan at a website at called “Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation” under the heading Japan.

  1. In 1998, Japan was the world’s biggest producer of child pornography and Parliament recently refused to pass a law banning the production of child pornography, citing “business reasons.”
  2. Until 1997, Tokyo and Nagano were the only areas in Japan where sex with children was not illegal.
  3. The legal age of consent for sex in Tokyo and Nagano is 13, not 18 like the rest of the country.

Enjokosai, or enko for short, which means “teenage girls’ compensated dating” is a new word coined to describe the large number of teenage girls who are working for dating services, phone clubs or simply on their own, to offer prostitution services to older men. Researcher Fukutomi Mamoru has done detailed research among Jr. High and High School girls and found that reasons for engaging in this form of prostitution include being “too lazy to work”, the “trend to have brand-named goods”, and even that there “may be a certain glamour in being involved in enjokosaiEnjokosai has become fashionable.”


This is a key generation in Japan. The four trends above clearly indicate that there is a generation in Japan right now that has lost its purpose. The secular authorities and experts have no solutions for the gross darkness which has overtaken the youth of Japan. The promise of a rigorously structured life of service to the company and duty to society holds little attraction to the youth of Japan today because they have seen the spiritual emptiness of the previous generations. This has led to an unprecedented “dropping out” of an entire generation into a life of parasite singles, escapism, immorality, violence and even suicide.

The Bible promises that the Church will have answers for the problems in Japanese society today, and that the “nations will come to her light” (Isaiah 60). This is the opportune time for Japan, the moment when there are felt needs that can be met by the Church. In this new generation of crisis, the church must redouble her efforts to reach the youth of Japan.