Hiroki Morimoto will be celebrating a musical milestone when he hits the stage at Fuji Rock Festival this year: 20 years with his instrument of choice, the didgeridoo. A serious car accident nine years ago, however, nearly brought his musical career to an end.

"I was driving with my daughter and suddenly had a strange feeling in my gut, like what we call mushi no shirase (a premonition) in Japanese," Morimoto, 45, recalls. "I decided to take my daughter home and went back out toward the highway, where the accident happened. I'm hazy about the details — I just remember getting hit from behind and the pressure pushing me forward."

Morimoto, an award-winning artist who goes by the name Goma, spent the next 24 hours in a coma. Partially paralyzed, he suffered from epilepsy and often had seizures. The accident also badly affected his long- and short-term memory. He had no recollection of his didgeridoo career and for several months the instrument felt alien to him.