Bear with us through the initial shaky phase of the video. Though the picture quality isn’t ideal, one thing is clear, this juggling fella has got his trade mastered. In this video, juggling phenom, Akihiro Yanai, tears up the Japanese Juggling Festival. [Ed Note: Yanai has claimed copyright on some videos, we'll try to find new ones if the above is taken down!] This year marked the 14th installment of the "JJF," held in Tokyo, and featured jugglers from all over the world.
Yanai performs contact juggling (also known as dynamic manipulation, orb rolling, and sphereplay). This form of juggling isn’t the standard circus fair where a ton of balls get thrown in the air. Instead, contact jugglers maneuver spheres — acrylic, glass, marble, metal, or even an orange — close to the body. The spheres weave and roll along limbs, in the nooks behind the knees, and everywhere in between. Three minutes in, Yanai tosses a second ball into the mix (as if the first wasn’t stunning enough). It’s a total doozy when he takes on a third. While one commenter suggested Yanai has magnets embedded underneath his skin. That would be some serious commitment to the sport, but whatever he’s doing, he’s got moves and grace.
Let’s also take a minute to talk about the music selection for this piece. Tell us it doesn’t sound a bit like the Super Mario Brother’s Theme but all grown up, and perhaps attending a black tie affair.
Our main man nabbed first place for his performance, and for good reason.
What did you think of Yanai's moves? Ever tried contact juggling? Let us know in the comment section below, or tweet the author @nicmcdermott.
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