- PHOTOGRAPHY: YUKO HIGO
Yamagata Mitsuro Ohba: Alone at the North PolePapersky, 2010/06/11
I wrote my will at the North Pole. I figured that it wouldn’t be too strange if I died there. Ice can flow 30 kilometers in one night, and bears can sneak up on you. At times I felt as powerless as a small bird with its legs pulled off. I could hardly move under my own power. All I could do was pray. Out there, I realize how weak I was. Three times I was defeated by nature trying to reach the Pole. I went feeling too sure of myself, and going to the North Pole with the attitude that “I can take on anything” is dangerous. I was lucky to only lose some fingers and toes. Others have died. When you fail three times , no matter how stupid you are, you realize that feat, humility and gratitude are important. After finally figuring that out, I was able to successfully complete my solo trek on the fourth attempt.
If I were to express in a few words what adventure has given me, it would be the simple realization of how wonderful it is just to be alive. I have learned how precious life is, and how fleeting. On my treks I felt like I was living in the ice age, having arrived from the present. If I had to decide which time is better I would choose this one. There are hot springs, all sorts of delicious foods, my girlfriend, friends, and a warm house. Living with others in harmony and friendship, and at the end, during at home surrounded by the ones you love- I think that’s a good way to live.
From now on I want to live within the reality of the present, and make that my adventure. I feel like I’ve spent the last twenty years in the ice age, completely absorbed with trying to cross the North and South Poles, and now I have returned to the real worl. I want to get married and have children like everyone else. I just want to enjoy life, teaching others about my adventures at the school that I have built in Yamagata. That’s my dream. And I’d also like to travel around the world. As always my desires run pretty deep.