March 9, 2011
By Eben Reckord via OR’s Verticulture
It’s hard to think that my journey to the top of the world started on a train in Tokyo. I was fourteen and I knew I wanted to climb, but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. The closest climbing gym was three hours away and every Sunday my friends and I would set out for it. It was an all-day event and we made sure our homework from the American School in Japan was done before leaving so that the adventure could run late. Not really knowing what we were doing we bouldered our brains out, too afraid to try roped climbing. Though only pulling on plastic every Sunday, the experience would evolve into a serious passion for big mountain climbing. And, like any good climb, by no means was it a straight line from those Sunday outings to Pump 2 in Tokyo to the summit of Mt. Everest.
The flag I’m holding up in this picture means so much to me. In the middle is the rising sun; Japan’s essence. I consider it a commitment to a new day, a commitment that anything is possible. The Kanji means number one. And though I am an American, my time in Japan helped to shape the man I am today.