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Transcribed by Joseph Geni
Reviewed by Morton Bast

0:20 When I was 14 years old, I had low self-esteem. I felt I was not talented at anything.

0:30 One day, I bought a yo-yo. When I tried my first trick, it looked like this:

0:39 (Laughter)

0:44 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.

1:26 And then, four years later, when I was 18 years old, I was standing onstage at the World YoYo 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.

1:44 (Laughter)

1:46 But after coming back to Japan, totally nothing changed in my life.

1:52 (Laughter)

1:54 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.

2:15 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.

2:32 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.

2:46 As a result of these efforts, and the help of many others, it happened. I won the World YoYo 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.

3:06 (Applause)

3:10 What I learned from the yo-yo is, if I make enough effort with huge passion, there is no impossible.

3:21 Could you let me share my passion with you through my performance?

3:25 (Applause)

3:56 (Water sound)

4:03 (Music)

7:45 (Music ends)

7:48 (Applause)

7:55 (Music)

9:14 (Music ends)

9:19 (Applause)

9:41 (Applause ends)

9:44 (Music)

10:14 (Applause)