German X Japanese Climber, Free Spirit, Outdoor Lover, Emi

My name is Emi, I am half Japanese half German, a third culture kid, but actually more like a seventh culture kid haha… Grew up moving around a lot between Europe and Japan until I left home when I was 16 and continued to do the same, just from then on by myself. I moved to Tokyo when I was 18 to start a career as a fashion model. I have since then worked in fashion and music in Tokyo, Singapore and Berlin until I moved to CA 3 years ago. I had been a gym boulderer for a couple of years before that but once I moved to the US I got a taste of the outdoors here and climbing outside and I totally fell in love with the mountains here and what they represent for me which is tied to this new evolution of myself :)

Have you always had a passion / connection to nature and the outdoors?  How did that evolve over time?
I was a very athletic kid, loved sports more than anything and even dreamt of being a track and field athlete when I was little and this was lived out in our family outings to the mountains in Europe.  My dad was a paraglider so a lot of time was spent in the outdoors and I was always running around and climbing up trees, boulders, anything really and these are my fondest memories of my childhood. I lost my connection to all of this once I moved to Tokyo and my life soon revolved very much around work and nightlife and this would dictate the places that I would choose to travel and move to for quite some years. I think I always had a dormant dream of living a life that is more healthy/wholesome and connected to nature though. Around 2 years ago, after spending a very bizarre and confusing first year in the US due to covid I started to push myself out of my comfort zone and started exploring places in the often alone to go hiking, camping and would start going climbing in Yosemite even though I was so insecure as I didn’t know anything about the outdoors or this country really…But every one of these trips made me more and more confident and empowered as I would learn so much with every trip and now I basically live in the mountains and my home in LA has become just an overpriced storage unit! 

How has nature inspired and supported you over the years?
Nature is where I found my place of self exploration and expression in the last few years. With all of the moving in my life it has now become my safe space. It is often moments that I find myself in solitude in nature that I find myself the most connected to everything. 

What got you into climbing? Was there one moment where you knew it was something you wanted/needed  to continue for your mental health? 
An ex boyfriend took me to a gym in tokyo for the first time. It took me a couple of years of being a very self conscious, occasional climber before the movements really started to make sense in my body and brain and I became really into it. I was actually struggling with an eating disorder when I started climbing and now after being recovered for 5 years I can safely say that climbing was the one thing that helped me the most in my recovery to love my body again. 

Can you talk about the importance of connecting to nature and give examples of your favorite ways to connect?
I think that it is important to connect with nature as we often get to know versions of ourselves that we don’t know. It is also a beautiful space to connect with others while engaging in our favorite activities. My favorite ways to connect to nature is being in a body of water or climbing rocks. Swimming in a river, swimming hole or taking a dip in an alpine lake after a day of multi pitch climbing is the dream :)

Why do you think it’s important to encourage more individuals to get out into nature?
I hope to encourage and inspire people to get into nature more as we are all part of nature, we have just lost touch with it through our systems. We are so blessed to have so much stunning nature around us but we really have to take care of this home of ours and the more people get outside and appreciate it, change is possible.  I think that getting out lets you realize many things but one very important thing is how caught up we get with small things that we have lost the ability to be present and in the moment. Nature teaches us to appreciate things we have forgotten how to.

What’s one thing that you look for in your skincare? Ingredients, ease of use, travel friendly, clean ingredients, etc.
Definitely ingredients but also how compatible and easy to apply it is to my skin.

What advice would you give to other individuals that may be seeking to connect more with nature, but might not know how?
I know how intimidating it is if it is not part of your lifestyle to get outside. I didn’t even really know how trails work until 3 years ago that’s how removed I was from the outdoor world! Haha My advice is to lean into your curiosity and see where that takes you. Don't just go on a hike because that’s what one does. If you want to go to a waterfall, see the sand dunes, go to a hot spring, do your research and just go. There are so many amazing resources online and apps to help you with all of this. Even the act of encouraging and pushing yourself to go to a trail nearby your house can have such a profound impact on you and then of course the experience itself will be so rewarding.

If you had to pick one, are you team Utu Moisturizing Sunscreen or Sunscreen-Stiq?
I love the convenience of the stick so I don’t get my fingers all greasy when climbing!

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