That’s “top” as in a “spinning top” not like “top class,” but then again, he probably is… Ah, just watch the darn video.

The top remains a quintessential childhood toy of the purest form. A conical figure that can spin around many times before falling down is a great way for the little ones to get acquainted with physics.

Japanese tops may differ slightly from those in some other countries in that they are initially powered by a string. The thread is wrapped around a pin on the upper side and then coiled around the bottom. Then the top (koma in Japanese) is tossed, side-handed, while the string unravels and causes it to spin around the floor.

…Unless you’re me and the whole thing just bounces off a wall and falls on its side. So here’s a video of someone good showing how it’s done.

As you can see, it’s rather difficult, which is important to know when watching this guy busking on the streets of Frankfurt, Germany. At first glance you might think he’s using a regular yo-yo but it’s actually a Japanese top that is not completely attached to its string as he’s whizzing it around in front of the crowd.

If possible you should watch the video in full-screen mode to really get a good look at some of the intricate tricks he’s doing. At one point he even accidentally (I think) drops the top but it still keeps spinning and he manages to pick it up and continue the routine like a true pro.

As his sign reads, the young man appears to be traveling the world, showcasing his deft handling of the Japanese toy and picking up change along the way. Meanwhile, viewers back in Japan became enamored by his skill and free spirit.

“He looks like he’s really enjoying himself. Great!”
“That’s a top?! I thought that was a yo-yo at first.”
“Awesome! Good choice of music too.”
“And here I thought I was good with a top… I suck.”
“Wow, traveling around the world by himself at 18.”

Indeed, at the tender age of 18 and with a child’s toy, he is displaying an independence and maturity that many people with full-time jobs don’t possess.

Why, it’s eerily reminiscent of a young Mr. Sato when he first came to Tokyo from the countryside with an empty stomach, suitcase full of blue face paint, and a dream to become the Internet celebrity he is today.

Source: Twitter/@Hiromasa_kondo, Hachima Kiko
Images: Twitter/@Hiromasa_kondo