Joe Michael Sasanuma Obituary

Joe Michael Sasanuma, who earlier today died at the eternal age of 18, never had a moment in which he didn’t enjoy life.

He lived by the words “What’s the point of living if you can’t feel alive?”, a line fittingly taken from the James Bond movie “The World is Not Enough”.  Of the many things Joe loved about life, watching and critiquing movies, with the James Bond series closest to his heart, was on his list of top ten.

Joe’s unique talent was having opinions and verbally expressing them, often with very little thought.  One-liner insults were his specialty.  Joe referred to actress Denise Richards, who co-starred in the aforementioned James Bond film, as “The bitch who ruined a perfectly fine James Bond film.”  Of Picasso, he said “I know shit when I see one.”  But Joe always kept the best lines for liberals, about whom he memorably declared “Everyone has the right to be wrong.”

 

To Tristan, My Newly-Married Friend: Thanks for the Friendship Defined by Differences

(English Only) Tristan, As I attended the ceremony celebrating your matrimony with Becca, I thought about our friendship–about how it all began, how it deepened over the years and how it’s thrived on our many differences. I remember your joking once that I’m the first Republican you’d ever met, and

 

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.

 

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.”

 

To Underclassmen Eagles: Make Not Just Friends, But Friends Who Are Different

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Letter to an Eagle

Why a friendship was formed may often be amorphous, but there is one certainty about the how: you can only become friends with people you know. And that means that now, and for only the next few years while you are in college, you have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become friends with the most unexpected people.

It’s just a fact of life that after graduation, the people you’ll become friends with are those with whom you share something significant. If you become a doctor, most of your friends will probably be doctors, nurses and others who are in the healthcare profession. If you proceed to graduate school in philosophy, you’ll probably become close with other philosophers who’ll understand your Satre-like pontification on the meaning of grass. If you end up as a wine connoisseur, you’ll likely find that you’re spending much of your free time with other wine snobs.

The friends you make in college needn’t be so obvious and predictable, for in college, you are surrounded with people who are different from who you are and who you will become. This, of course, is the by-product of an academic institution’s conscious effort to make the student body as diverse as possible. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find anything remotely similar at places you’ll be after graduation, when you’ll be in an environment that is likely to be, either unconsciously or deliberately, homogenous in skill, personality or thinking.

 
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