00:19 When I was 14 years old, I had low self-esteem. I felt I was not talented at anything.
00:30 One day, I bought a yo-yo. When I tried my first trick, it looked like this. I couldn't even do the simplest trick, but it was very natural for me, because I was not dextrous, and hated all sports. But after one week of practicing, my throws became more like this. A bit better. I thought, the yo-yo is something for me to be good at, for the first time in my life. I found my passion. I was spending all my time practicing. It took me hours and hours a day to build my skills up to the next level.
01:25 And then, four years later, when I was 18 years old, I was standing onstage at the World Yo-Yo Contest. And I won. I was so excited. "Yes, I did it! I became a hero. I may get many sponsors, a lot of money, tons of interviews, and be on TV!" I thought. (Laughter) But after coming back to Japan, totally nothing changed in my life. I realized society didn't value my passion. So I went back to my college and became a typical Japanese worker as a systems engineer. I felt my passion, heart and soul, had left my body. I felt I was not alive anymore.
02:15 So I started to consider what I should do, and I thought, I wanted to make my performance better, and to show onstage how spectacular the yo-yo could be to change the public's image of the yo-yo.
02:32 So I quit my company and started a career as a professional performer. I started to learn classic ballet, jazz dance, acrobatics and other things to make my performance better.
02:46 As a result of these efforts, and the help of many others, it happened. I won the World Yo-Yo Contest again in the artistic performance division. I passed an audition for Cirque du Soleil. Today, I am standing on the TED stage with the yo-yo in front of you.
03:10 What I learned from the yo-yo is, if I make enough effort with huge passion, there is no impossible.
03:20 Could you let me share my passion with you through my performance?
03:56 (Water Sounds)
09:12 (Music) (Applause)
09:28 (Music) (Applause)
09:36 (Applause) (Music)