The Yo-Yo boom went off the boil about two years later, but my Yo-Yo fever continued to grow. During the boom my skills weren’t great because of my natural clumsiness. But by the third year with the Yo-Yo, my skills had improved and I competed in the Japan National Yo-Yo Contest.
In 2001, I finally won the Japan National Yo-Yo Contest, and followed that up by winning the World Yo-Yo Contest in Orlando, Florida. I had become World Champion and achieved my dream. “I did it! I became the cool HERO I wanted to be!”
In fact, walking in an Orlando shopping mall the day after the contest, passers-by said: “Oh, you’re the champion who won yesterday, aren’t you!?” I felt ecstatic.
But when I returned to Japan there was no hero treatment. Interviewers didn’t rush to the airport and I didn’t get any prize money. I just returned to being a university student, and nobody special.
“After practicing so hard, won’t anything change now I’m a champion...?” My passion for the Yo-yo gradually faded.