When I was 14 years old,
I had low self-esteem.
I felt I was not talented at anything.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As a result of these efforts,
and the help of many others,
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.
What I learned from the yo-yo is,
if I make enough effort with huge passion,
there is no impossible.
Could you let me share my passion with you
through my performance?