Twenty years ago, Akira Omori packed his backpack and went on the road. The young man couldn’t have then imagined that he would leave Tokyo behind for good.
After roaming the world for a while, he settled down almost 8,000 kilometers away from Japan. He had found a new home in Finnish Lapland.
Akira and the Finns are linked by a common, strong bond with nature.
“It was one of the most important reasons why I stayed here. It is a wonderful moment when you catch a fish from the lake or brew some coffee in the woods. In that moment you feel one with nature and you become free from all stress.”
The biggest impact on Akira has been Lapland’s winter.
“The period of darkness is quite special. When the sun doesn’t come up, your life doesn’t have the same kind of recurrent rhythm as in the city. Nature doesn’t hurry anywhere. The world then is as if it’s sleeping.
During Akira’s childhood, safe and clean playgrounds were few and far between.
“In Tokyo I used to play on a wasteland by the banks of a dirty river. My children can just open the front door and adventure awaits them. It is a tremendous luxury. “
Akira has yet another, rather interesting reason to stay in Lapland.
“As a youngster I played 11 years as a football goalie. Up here in the north I feel the same as being a goaltender. I feel like I’m in the best spot in terms of the game; I see everything. ”