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 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.


The Amazingly Different Remarkableness of Japanese and Americans

The Japanese excel in order and discipline.

My favorite example to illustrate this is the shugaku ryokou, which is like a field trip for an entire grade over a couple nights at some exotic location like the historical city of Kyoto or Tokyo Disneyland. There, the students are divided up into small groups of four to five who are told to explore the locale without adult supervision and return to their lodging by a certain hour.

If you`re an American, there are so many things that are remarkable about the shugaku ryokou. For starters, it’s hard to imagine four American high school teenagers collectively having enough maturity to study the travel guide and coming up with a two-day plan to explore the city.

But what is really mind-blowing is that the shugaku ryoko occurs every year in middle and high schools across Japan without a single incident that makes newspaper headlines. This means that unsupervised teenagers roaming the streets for an entire day manage to avoid having a brush with the police and return in time for dinner.

This is unthinkable in the United States, where the thinking would go “of course teenagers are going to be reckless and irresponsible and expecting them to act any other way would defy common sense.” Any American school that lets something like a shugaku ryoko happen will be rightfully sued for negligence.


To Entitled Eagles: You’re Not Special

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

Dear Entitled Eagles,

Despite attending a prestigious university called Boston College, there are certain things that you are not entitled to.

First, you’re not entitled to any particular grade. Certainly not an A or a B, or even a C+.

Grades measure your knowledge and abilities, however imperfectly. If you exhibit superior capabilities, you get high marks. If you exhibit deficiencies, you get low marks.


No, I’m Not Changing the Title of This Blog

This post is in response to his suggestion that I should change the title (and the tagline(s)) if I want more readers.

Here’s my non-lengthy reply: No.

The title of this blog has a deep and rich history that dates back to days well before the blog itself (which, by the way, is closing in on a five year anniversary). In high school, I wrote a column for the school paper whose range of topics was even more random than this blog. If I recall, I was called to the job because the editor needed a columnist and I agreed to do the job so long as I could choose the title of the column. Since I was going to write about “my me my, what I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see,” as Tobey Keith so rythematically put it in his catchy “I Wanna Talk About Me,” the phrase “The World According to Joe” seemed like the perfect fit. The editor didn’t disagree, and he added more color to the column by adding a logo of a man standing on top of the world.


Democracy in Action I: Michael Sessions, the 18 Year Old Mayor

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Democracy in Action

Many people have a calling to politics. What made Michael’s calling unusual was that at the time he decided to run, he was 17 years old, still only a junior enrolled at a local high school.

Michael’s age wasn’t the only challenge his campaign faced. Earlier during the school year, he mounted a losing campaign for vice-president in his school’s council. Now in his run as the face of the city, he was facing Doug Ingles, a 51-year old incumbent and an operator of a roller skating rink. And his campaign chest consisted of only $700, money he saved up from a summer job.


Living Life Without Regrets

I don’t have a lot of regrets in my life. If forced to name them, I have a list of three to choose from, but people laughed at me the one time I talked about how I forever regret choosing to study for my constitutional law exam instead of attending my very first Brad Paisley concert, so I have become less open about sharing my life regrets, as shallow as they may be.

In having so little regrets, it helps that I’m generally content with where I am in my life. But I also take to heart the saying that there’s very little point in dwelling on the past because what’s done is done and time and energy are far better spent thinking about what do in the present for the future. If I were to add a corollary to this cliché, it would be that even if one can take back a moment from the past, the alternative path that would be chosen may very well lead to another regret.

Carpe diem, as the old Latin phrase goes, and I suppose there is some truth in the belief that in order to avoid having regrets in the future, I have to make the most out of the present. Whatever may become my regrets as I continue to live my life, I’m fairly certain that the regret of having wasted time away would feel the most empty of all the regrets.

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