2014 Was An Uneventfully Fulfilling Year


Below is the letter that I enclosed in this year’s Christmas cards. 今年のクリスマスカードに同封した以下の手紙の和文はここでご覧いただけます。

I hope this letter finds you well.

It is hard to believe, but this past September marked three years since I transferred to Tokyo.  I am entering my seventh year with my current employer, meaning that I have now worked in the Tokyo office longer than I did in New York.

How time flies.

Life is interesting in that you remember important milestones in your life, no matter how long ago. I first moved to the United States when I was eight years old, and I still vividly recall the mixed emotions I felt eight years later when I reached a point when more than half of my life was spent in the United States. Now that I have reached a similar milestone, this time professionally, I feel nostalgic going through similar mixed feelings I felt so many years ago.

Apart from going through a major milestone, my 2014 has been uneventfully fulfilling, both in and outside of work.

Professionally, I finally feel like I have gotten comfortable with the day-to-day rigors of the job. Yet as I gain more seniority, I sense the increasing importance of mentoring and training the newcomers in order to ensure that the firm develops and maintains the highest level of talent. This challenge is becoming an increasingly significant part of my work, and striving to meet that challenge is a major reason why, even after six years, the job remains satisfying.

Outside of work, I continue to spend most of my free moments thinking about Japanese chess. In a rare bit of accomplishment, I finally advanced in skill from the seventh level to the sixth level, achieving my 2014 New Year’s resolution to show some marked improvement in playing the game. After I reported the happy news to the instructor whose class I attend twice a month, he suggested that I set a much higher goal since level six can hardly be considered a distinguished achievement. After dutifully considering his advice, I think I will set my goal for next year as advancing just one level, a feat that I have determined is more than sufficiently challenging in light of my taking two full years to advance from the fifth level to the sixth.

These days, the only thing that keeps my mind from Japanese chess is elections, and on that front, 2014 was quite a busy year.

In April, I took a week off to go to the city of Kagoshima to volunteer at a special election for a candidate that I didn’t know in a region of Japan that I’d never been to.  For the U.S. mid-term elections on the first Tuesday of November, I took another day off to follow election returns on CNN, which broadcast started right around the time that I would normally be expected to go into the office. And finally in December, after the Japanese prime minister unexpectedly called for a general election of the lower house, I took off a few more days to help out a candidate whom I helped in the last election.

My tasks while volunteering at these campaigns consisted primarily of getting an early sign of carpal tunnel syndrome (data entry to compile a database of supporter information), being ignored or brushed off (handing out flyers) or exhibiting awful penmanship (writing out, by hand, addresses on postcards to be sent to voters).  I confess that there were moments I wondered whether doing these menial tasks starting early in the morning and into the evening were good use of my vacation time. Yet, I can’t seem to resist the urge to request vacation time whenever there is an election somewhere, anywhere in Japan.

Because most of my vacation is spent volunteering at electoral campaigns, I am often asked whether I am ever going to run for public office. In response, I unequivocally state, quoting a phrase once used by George McGovern, I “one thousand percent” will not.

May your 2015 be as uneventfully fulfilling as 2014 was for me.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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3 Responses to “2014 Was An Uneventfully Fulfilling Year”


  1. 1 Caitlin December 19, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    I miss you, Joe! I hope 2015 will include a trip to the US to meet little Henry. :)

    • 2 joesas December 19, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      I miss you and Matt (and Henry now), too! Next time I’m in the States non-business stuff, I’m definitely making a trip up to Boston! I love the pics!


  1. 1 2014年は相変わらずの充実した年でした | The World According to Joe Trackback on December 29, 2014 at 8:41 am

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