As a systems engineer I had become a typical Japanese worker, and almost immediately “a useless employee.” Because I chose a company not out of empathy with their corporate philosophy or a strong interest in their work, but simply because it was the first offer I received, I didn’t have any personal work goals to achieve at work.
I didn’t have enthusiasm for my day-to-day work and my boss soon told me “Champ, you’re useless.” Spending my precious time on work I didn’t like was also undermining my body and spirit. My physical condition was chronic, and sometimes I couldn’t even hold a bowl of miso soup without spilling it. Every day was distressing. “I have no role in this company and I don’t feel good about myself.” “I'm a human yet I don’t have anything to live for.” “I don't want to live like the dead, I want to be alive.”
I started to think about changing jobs so I could escape this environment. The process of “finding a suitable job” changed my destiny. I call it “The Inventory of Life.”
I wrote my experiences down on a piece of paper. Not everything – rather, I focused on moments of strong emotion, times when I felt really happy and when I felt very sad. By finding common themes in them, I could clearly see what I wanted to do, and what I didn’t want to do. Flowing on from that led me to the type of jobs and workplaces that suited me.
Through this process I realized “I wanted to be a hero.” When I was bullied as a child, I loved the hero drama “Masked Rider,” in which a person in trouble is helped by a hero. But in the real world, there weren’t any heroes to save me from bullying. In my heart I was crying: “Why are there no heroes to help me? This world is wrong!”
Through “The Inventory of Life” I felt the idea growing of “I want to be a hero and change this wrong world!” But who could I help? The first thing that came to mind was the Yo-Yo. Not only for myself, but also the junior champions who weren’t getting recognition from society as well.
“Can I improve this situation by being a hero?” “If I could perform with the Yo-Yo in a high-profile environment like Cirque du Soleil, is it possible to change the image of the Yo-Yo?” was the bewildering idea that stuck in my mind.
Of course I knew it wouldn’t be easy. “Perhaps it is impossible... but maybe...” was my honest opinion. But I finally decided that tackling my dream would let me return to living a real life. Not by changing jobs to a different company, but as an independent performer, with the aim of performing with Cirque du Soleil.
In April 2007, I quit my company and became an independent professional performer.