Born in Hiroshima.
When I was a kid, I was surrounded by many people who came from abroad, because my family was a host family.
I didn’t care at all about the differences in cultures. I was just a spoiled, very friendly boy at that time.
I don’t remember much of these times, but I think that these experiences made me who I am now.
When I was about 10 years old, I started the sport which would influence my life the most.
That is Wrestling.
I was not a good wrestler at all, but I decided to live away from with my parents in order to pursue wrestling in high school.
I was a weak wrestler and I didn’t do my best in this sport until high school. Then it became the only thing I was proud of. Everything else I did, including, playing the guitar, swimming, Karate, and so on was secondary compared to wrestling.
Choosing wrestling was not an easy path. I wanted to run away many times. I lost many matches, but by having support from my family, my coaches and my friends, I was able to continue down the path I chose.
By experiencing the hardship of cutting weight and hard practices I learned how to discipline and defeat my own weakness more than winning against opponents.
After high school, I decided to go to University and continue wrestling. I was so determined to do my best in wrestling. Once I was lost but then I was found.
Although everyday life with wrestling was tough, it was very fulfilling being surrounded by outstanding wrestlers and teammates. When I think back to my University days, it is almost always about wrestling. Wrestling definitely made me who I am now.
This an article from Japanese wrestling federation website about my university’s victory in the Western Japanese wrestling league. Can you find me in the picture?
“What is your dream?”
“What do you want to be?”
I ask my students these questions and they struggle to answer. But honestly, did I have a dream at that time, was I dreaming that I would be a high school teacher then? The answer is NO.
In Japan, most university students look for a job straight away graduation, or some of them take a master degree.
I couldn’t see myself working for a Japanese company. Japanese working cultures, as you might know, is very tiresome. I guess this was part of my excuse why I didn’t want to look for a job. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do.
However, there was one thing that I really wanted to do, which was always in my heart.
I wanted to see the world beyond sea we are surrounded by in Japan.
I wanted to feel and see the world which is so different from the world I grew up in where we have to have the same outlook, same values, same language and same rules. I wanted to see a much bigger world, which I knew was waiting for me.
After all, my childhood memories were always in my mind. I started craving the outside world. To see different people and diverse cultures.
Firstly, I wanted to apply for the Japanese youth volunteer programs but I decided to learn English before I applied for it. Therefore, I chose to go to Calgary, Canada to study English and continue wrestling.
I went to Calgary, Canada in 2011. That was definitely a turning point in my life.
I still remember making a victory pose after I went through the international gate at the airport.
What I always wanted had finally came true at that moment.
Everything in Calgary was new and exciting for me. The town was full of mixed race people and languages. It was like a miniature earth when I got in the bus. I was very happy to be part of such a diverse city.
I met and made many awesome international friends in language school. I even tried to speak Portuguese, Spanish, Korean and so on.
I remember that one night, suddenly a lot of tears came out.
It was just a small moment in a house party at my friend’s house.
I might have been drunk but, when I looked around in the room, there were friends from Mexico, Brazil, Korea, Taiwan, Colombia, Hungary, Chile, Bolivia… we spoke to each other with our poor English or their own language. Everything was just mixed and the background music was ONE LOVE by BOBE MARLEY.
The view in front of me was just as if the world map was laid out in front of me without any boundaries.
After I graduated university, I went to a foreign country because I wanted to see a different world and meet many kinds of people. However, I was feeling quite anxious about my decision, because my friends back home started working. I was the one who used to hate the Japanese social common rules, but I was afraid of being out of place at that time.
The moment at the home party made me realized me that my decision was definitely right and above all, I was happy to be there.
Life is yours. You are the only one who can make a path of life.
Wrestling always helped me, especially in Calgary. I owe all the good times down to wrestling.
I went to the language school during the day, then after school, I went to the University of Calgary for wrestling.
Understanding Canadian wrestling teammates’ English was much more difficult than Language school. At the beginning, I couldn’t understand what they were talking about and join in their conversations. However, my wrestling friends took care of me so much and took me to many places.
As I started to improve in English and understand their English better, we talked more and more. We practiced together, worked out together and went for drinks together. I could feel my soul was connected with theirs through wrestling. I was proud of sticking to wrestling for a long time, even though I wanted to quit sometimes. It doesn’t matter whether you are good or not.
If you keep doing something, you will earn something precious in the future.
I lived in Calgary for one year and Vancouver for six months. My plan was to stay in Canada for 9 months, but it ended up as 1 year 9 months.
Every moment was precious to me. When I close my eyes, I can still remember everything like it happened yesterday. Thank you to everyone I met in Canada.
“I will be back here in the future,” I said and went back to Japan with that determination.
Since I came back to Japan, I started to work as a social studies teacher and coach of wrestling at a high school in Hiroshima. I was so busy, but I learned a lot.
In 2013 Jun, I met Lindsey at a festival in Hiroshima. We both had the same interests, so we began to fall for each other. We started dating since then and after a while, we started to think about our future seriously.
There was a time when I believed that our future would be as bright as we wanted.
There was a time when I never doubted that tomorrow, next month, and next year just would come.
We started living together in Hiroshima and we were planning to move to England or Australia in the future.
Everything was fine and positive.
However, I started to feel something wrong at that time.
In 2015 February, I started coughing. I was feeling ok but the coughing didn’t stop.
Since then gradually, I started to feel heartburn and my legs got swollen. Still, I just thought that I was fine.
I went to the small clinic one day, and the doctor diagnosed me with asthma. So all symptoms I had, I thought it was because of that.
In 2015 at the end of March, I started feeling my heart beating so fast. During the night, I woke up many times because I couldn’t breathe well while I was sleeping.
I think I was just stupid because even then I thought I was fine and everything was caused by asthma.
When I think back to that time, I feel very scared, because I am lucky to be here now.
On April, 3rd I went to an emergency hospital at night.
I will never forget that night in the clinic when I saw the doctor and my mother’s face turn pale as she looked at the X-ray. I was told to go to a bigger hospital immediately.
I would later be Diagnosed with DCM… My BNP went to 1900 and EF 15%.
One night a couple of days later I heard a doctor say;
‘you will need a heart transplantation.’
I have never cried as much as I did that night. I didn’t say anything. Just tears keep pouring out.
I felt that everything I was expecting for my future had just had been destroyed. I despaired and I couldn’t understand what was going on.
That was the day when my life changed completely.