Now, here is a woman living a beautiful life. Yuri Yosumi, trekker, blogger and public figure, is famous in her home country of Japan, but little-known here in the U.S. From everything I have read in English about her (most of her press is in Asian languages), she is credited with the "Yama Girl"--Mountain Girl--subculture of female hikers and backpackers across Asia: Young women wanting to get out into nature, and look good doing it.
Yosumi started trekking in 2003, and soon began sharing her stories online. As the first young Japanese woman to the scene both trekking and blogging about it, she quickly gained an audience. Her vista-filled posts--showing her in a distinct look of mountain skirt and colorful tights--popularized trekking as an activity for urban women that was healthy, spiritually fulfilling, and still allowed for sartorial self expression. Eventually her look gained her collaborations with outdoor clothing companies.
Yosumi writes on her site that skirts are feminine and allow a woman an easier time changing her clothes or relieving herself on the trail. But more than anything, fashion is her motivating catalyst for getting her peers into nature: "I want [young women] to enjoy the wonder of nature and communicate with creatures in nature. With this wish in mind, I have been promoting (outdoor activities for women) and utilizing the skirt as a tool."
Perhaps it exists in the Japanese media, but I haven't put my hand on so much as an interview with Yosumi. Anything attributed to her comes from her own website, in translation. Since I can't say much more about her, I'll say more about the look she inspires.
The "Yama Girl" uniform is primarily a short skirt and colorful tights, and/or legwarmers. The more colorful the outfit, the better. A hat, boots, hiking poles and a matching backpack add to a fashionable woman's trail cred, and she's ready to go.
The popularity of trekking among younger Japanese women since 2006 has also resulted in mainstreaming of hiking and backpacking across other Asian countries such as Korea and Taiwan, produced outdoor magazines targeted at young women, like Randonnee (French for trekking) and even inspired a travel show, Go! Yama Girl in Hong Kong.
Yosumi has my heart for her influence in getting young urban women out in nature, even if at first it's more of an excuse to use the trail as a catwalk. I believe being in the field will eventually lure anyone away from her outfit, to the natural beauty surrounding her.