To My Newly-Married Friend, Tom: May You and Kris-Stella Together Contribute to the Betterment of the World

 

Congratulations, my friend, for finding in Kris-Stella someone who not only shares your values in making a lasting impact in this world, but someone who can also be right there with you in that ever-important journey.

I wish you and Kris-Stella a life full of happiness and achievement, not just for your sake, but for the sake of the rest of us.

The Three Rs I Live By–Respect, Responsibility and Restraint

 

I try to live by the three Rs: Always be Respectful, often be Responsible and sometimes show Restraint.

The first R, the respect, comes from my belief that everyone on earth has the ability to contribute something for the betterment of society.

I suppose it’s my faith in the fundamental goodness of human kind that underlies this belief, but the “always” part in particular doesn’t come easy.

Announcing Major Changes to the Blog

 

The site’s look and feel has gone through a complete remake.

Whereas the goal of the old site was simplicity, the new site seeks to combine more color, accessibility and readability.

The update is accompanied with various new features to encourage engagement, like easier sharing of posts on social media and ratings of posts.

Although it’s late in coming, a Related Posts feature has also been added. This feature should provide a fairly reliable recommendation of posts in light of my clean-up of tags and categories.

A Lenten Reflection–To be More like Christ

 

But having faith and living it are two very different things. If action speak louder than words, as the old cliché goes, then my proclamation of faith is drowned out by my everyday behavior.

Regarding this shortfall, I am very much self-aware. Of all the challenges in my life, the living of faith is probably the one I find most difficult.

There are so many reasons this is so.

For one, I aspire to live a full life, filled with numerous things that occupy my time like friends, work, hobbies and curiosities. I’m constantly stimulated and rarely find a moment of boredom, but I confess, faith is not what mostly occupies my mind, heart and soul. I feel in touch with faith whenever I have moments to reflect, but those moments are few and far between. In the day in and day out, in the every moment of every hour, my faith takes a back seat.

My personality also doesn’t help.

“Silence” (2016) is a Deeply Reflective Journey of Contemplation into Faith

 

“Silence” is filled with moments of contemplation about faith, in scenes big and small.

Take, for example, the scene in which the villagers ask Rodrigues and Garupe whether they may step on the plaque of Jesus if it means saving their lives. “Yes,” Rodrigues exclaims and implores the villagers to do it, yet Garupe has the opposite view and immediately rebukes him. The short scene brilliantly illustrates one of the most fundamental questions about faith: is it enough for the believer to believe in his heart, or must he be willing to do much more?

Or take the underground Christians. When Rodrigues finally meets Ferreira, he discovers that Ferriera has apostatized. Trying to persuade Rodrigues to apostizise as well, Ferreira explains that all of Rodrigues’ efforts are for naught because the Japanese, who idolize the Christian God in the form of a sun, will never come to understand Christianity. This may very well be true, but what of the sufferings the Christian villagers endured for their profession of belief in Jesus Christ? Are they not recognized as Christians because they have misunderstood Christianity?

To James, My Newly-Married Friend: Don’t Change

 

Dear James,

As I attended your wedding celebration last week, so many thoughts came rushing through my head.

I thought about our friendship and how it is a reminder that friendships take many forms. You and I attended high school together, yet it was our geographic proximity during graduate school and the discovery then that we shared a wide range of common interests that really deepened our friendship.

I thought about all the fun we had together doing the small things that added up to a lot, like going out to movies, eating full course meals, attending Boston College football games, agreeing on politics and debating law.

I thought about who you are as a person and values you hold most important, like loyalty, love and kindness. Those are the qualities I treasure most about our friendship and are the reason I consider you one of my closest confidants when I need to talk to someone about life.

I thought about how there is so much you’ve taught me about life. While I tend to live my life by the motto “Que cera, cera,” your methodical and thoughtful approach reminds me that there is something to be said for contemplating about the future, planning for it and succeeding through diligence and perseverance.

2016 Was the Year of Changes

 
This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Christmas Letter

If I were to pick one phrase to describe the past year, it would be “The Year of Changes.”

On the professional front, I left Shearman & Sterling in May after seven and a half years at the firm in order to join Amazon in Japan. The jump from being an experienced lawyer at a mega law firm to a first-time in-house lawyer at an IT company has brought major changes to my life, the most obvious manifestation of which is an improved work-life balance. On the personal front, I lost a family member when my grandmother died at the age of 92 in October, but I will soon have two family members living much closer to me as my mother and sister decided to move back to Japan after all the years living in the U.S.

As I look back on the eventful past year, I’m reminded of the old saying, “All good things must come to an end.”

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