Discovering a Smile in Coastal Japan
Last year, I was bicycling through a picturesque fishing village in Southern Japan when I spotted an elderly lady tending her garden near the road. She looked up at me and smiled, and in that moment I saw what was simultaneously one of the most weathered - and most radiant - faces I'd ever seen. I biked over to her, motioning to my camera, and pantomimed us taking a picture together.
She wiped the dirt from her face with the corner of her apron, gamely smiled again...and posed for this photo with me, a complete stranger. She offered some Japanese pleasantries and then went back to her work. I was utterly charmed, and this photo is one of my favorites from that particular trip to Japan.
I love this photo because it reminds me of the simple power of a smile.
Even though I thoroughly enjoy the world of fashion, I understand that physical beauty is an ephemeral thing. We may not all be born with perfect hair or skin or the body type that is en vogue for our cultural moment. We may be old or young...but every single one of us has the ability to smile at a stranger. The simple human act of a smile crosses generations and cultures. For both the giver and receiver, a smile creates a momentary bond, and opens up the possibility of a longer one.
So, like the Japanese lady who made such an impression on me, I encourage you to use the power of your smile today. It costs nothing, it will lift your spirits, and you never know the imprint it will make on someone you meet!