2015, a Busy Year with Moments of Reflection and Fun


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。

With the holiday season fast approaching, I hope you are in good spirits.

As I look back on the past year, which flew by even faster than usual, the biggest news for me was the retirement of The Honorable Peter E. Doyne, the Assignment Judge of the Bergen Vicinage of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

Judge Doyne was my first boss and mentor.  I became his law clerk right out of law school, when I had little knowledge about the law and knew even less about working to earn a living. I learned how a model lawyer ought to look and behave in the year I was with him simply by observing.  I owe much of who I am today to the judge.

Judge Doyne became a judge in 1993 following a successful career in private practice. No doubt a major reason he served in the judiciary for so long despite coming from private practice was the unquantifiable satisfaction that came with being in the service of the public.

This element of contributing to society is something that is expected of everyone in the legal profession, both in the U.S. and Japan, and it’s a notion that was instilled in me during my four years at Boston College.  Yet it’s easy to lose sight of this in the busy day-to-day life.  Judge Doyne’s retirement served as an important reminder of what the late Tim Russert noted at my college commencement: “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

On the professional front, this year turned out to be quite busy, but the upshot of all of the work was the sense of fulfillment that came with it, culminating in the opportunity to become involved in a field of law I rarely have the chance to come across.

Unfortunately, “fulfillment” is not the word I would use to describe my progress in Japanese chess this year because I fell far short of the goal of advancing to the next skill level.  The challenge that remains, and one I am determined to conquer in 2016, is recording consecutive victories against elementary school kids who show no mercy towards adults.

With work being so busy, I had little time to deepen the interest in existing hobbies so I dedicated this year to branching out.  The result of this is I gained a deeper, but hardly deep, understanding of the world of airplanes and watches, thereby becoming a Jack of Even More Trades, Master of Even Less.  With regard to watches, I feel knowledgeable and experienced enough to offer the following advice to fellow watch-lovers: if you happened to be in Las Vegas, wonder around The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.  You can save a lot of money by avoiding the tables simply by admiring the remarkable collection of luxury watches at the shops—so long as you don’t buy anything you see.

Speaking of hobbies, I had an electioneering-free year in 2015 for the first time in a while, mostly because there were no major elections in the U.S. or Japan.  Next year, though, is slated to be electorally eventful.  Japan will have upper house elections in the summer with rumors swirling of simultaneous lower house elections, and the U.S. will hold a presidential election that kicks off with the Iowa caucus in February and ends with the general election in November.

As a person with an unwavering faith in democracy, I urge you to cast a vote, if not actively participate by volunteering or running. I also feel the urge to note how there is the “right” way to vote in November, but I shall refrain from doing so in the spirit of the holidays.

I wish you a Merry Christmas, and may your 2016 be full of life.

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1 Response to “2015, a Busy Year with Moments of Reflection and Fun”



  1. 1 2015年を振り返って | The World According to Joe Trackback on December 28, 2015 at 10:14 am

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