I was immediately sent to the hospital, and very anxious. It was first time I had ever blacked out and been in an emergency, and it occurred overseas. “I finally came here as the result of my best efforts. But will I die before my dream to perform with Cirque du Soleil comes true?”
After various tests, doctors found the cause of blackout was a gastric ulcer. I had stomach bleeding and was anemic. “Even though I was in reach of my dream to perform on the Cirque stage, it seems the pressure of creating a suitable act opened a hole on my stomach in just a few days.”
I had surgery to close the hole immediately and after 3 days in hospital returned to the Cirque residence. But I wasn’t allowed to do intense exercise because the hemoglobin in my blood had decreased to the point of not getting enough oxygen to my brain. Even light exercise could cause a blackout.
I continued rehabilitation in Canada for about 6 weeks, but I didn’t recover as expected. Cirque decided “You should go back to Japan and rest for a while because you may be feeling too much pressure in this environment close to the show. This doesn’t mean you’re fired. Your position is open, and we will wait for you to return.”
I really appreciated their concern. But I felt heartbroken. Though they expected me to be an immediate resource, I hadn’t performed in a show even once, just used their welfare program. However, from past experiences I knew things don’t improve through regret. So I returned to Japan, contracted with the practice studio and sports gym I had canceled just two months previously, and consulted a sports doctor to focus on my rehabilitation. With the support of many people, I recovered a month ahead of schedule.
In July 2014 I flew back to Canada. After confirmation tests at headquarters, I was finally able to make my Cirque debut in a show in August. The first Yo-Yo artist in Cirque du Soleil’s history had arrived.