A product called “Hyper Yo-Yo”(yo-yo was sold widely with this name back then) was released in 1997 and became a boom. As a skill-toy for kids, yo-yo has something in common with juggling, and kids who were passionately engaged at the time would later become active in the world of juggling. I am one of those who followed that route. When I was a junior high school student, I felt my destiny the moment I saw it in a boy’s magazine, and I immediately bought it at a toy store.
I practiced hard every day, but I couldn’t do difficult tricks. After a while, I realized that my yo-yo didn’t have a built-in bearing, so it didn’t keep spinning much and advanced tricks were impossible in the first place. I then bought a bearing model, but after a lot of practice I found out that a thin spacer holding a bearing would be much easier for performing particular type of tricks. Yo-yo is very delicate and profound, and the model and the setting method are deeply related to the ease of the technique.
Therefore, it is as important as practice to know what gears are appropriate to use. At the time, I was far from that information because I didn’t have connection to the Internet and no friends to practice with. Because I had no knowledge of gears, I went a long way round without being able to do anything.
Ever since I started juggling, when I have difficulty in getting hard tricks, I’ve always suspected that it’s because I chose a bad gear. Of course, I know that’s not everything. But I can’t help worrying about the gears. When looking at other people’s juggling, I got into the habit of paying attention first to what kind of props they are using rather than techniques or performances. My habits haven’t changed at all, even though I am interested in other aspects of props than ease of the use. I think the experience of yo-yo when I was a child was the original experience that led to the current way of looking at things.
Translated by Naoya Aoki
This post was written for the PONTE’s e-zine.