About six months before “Yo-Yo Samurai” was completed, I gave a talk at TEDxTokyo. The TED conference presents “Ideas worth spreading,” with past speakers including Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Bono, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners.
TEDxTokyo was one of the largest domestic TEDx events at the time (independent TED-style events) and seemed to be an event for high rollers with no relationship to me. But a twist of fate saw me giving a talk on the theme “Passion makes the impossible possible,” and I received one of the largest standing ovations on the day from this elite audience.
I thought, “This isn’t like the circus that I was aiming for, but the result is the same – A place where the world pays attention? If I could stand on the original TED stage in the future, won’t it also change the public’s image of the Yo-Yo?”
In 2012, the timing for the audition to select speakers for TED 2013 was perfect. I performed my newly-completed “Yo-Yo Samurai” act at the audition, and was selected as the first ever speaker from Japan at TED.