Friendly Friday: SMILES

Today is World Smile Day! The first Friday of every October is celebrated around the globe as World Smile Day. This unofficial holiday encourages random acts of kindness to spread good will and cheer.

This week’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge is to share pictures of SMILES and the stories behind them.

It is human nature for people to respond to your facial expression and behavior. If you frown and look angry, strangers are more likely to look away. If you smile and look friendly, people are more likely to smile back and think you approachable. This lesson is ever so important when taking pictures in street and travel photography.

Tokyo at night is a wonderful place for photography. The crowds, motion and eclectic neighborhoods are great subject matter. On one particular night, I was in Shinjuku visiting Omoide Yokocho or “Piss Alley,” the iconic bar district. The area is not the most tourist friendly place. In fact, one of the bars had an explicit “No Tourists” sign written in English and posted by their door.

However, deep inside the district where yakatori stalls are cheek to jowl with izakaya bars, the hosts are friendlier and the atmosphere more welcoming.

I was waiting on my kushiyaki plate and fiddling with my camera, when I noticed this gentleman across the alley. A quick smile and an encouraging nod was all I needed to take this shot.

Kon'nichiwa (Hello) in Omoide Yokocho, Tokyo, Japan
Kon’nichiwa (Japan)

At another time and in another place, I was traipsing through the country side looking for the next of a thousand temples in Bagan. It was a hot day and I’d unexpectedly crossed paths with a herd of cows en route to a watering pool. What does one do when surrounded by a group of very determined cows? I took guidance from baby Simba in the The Lion King movie and scrambled to higher ground. Afterwards when all the animals had passed, I took this picture of the cow herder. Was she smiling because she saw me running away from her cows? or was she a naturally friendly person? A bit of both, I think.

Smiling lady in cow field in Bagan, Myanmar
Lady in field (Myanmar)

I look forward to seeing your photos of SMILES and the stories behind them.

Remember to include a link to this post and a comment below.

If you’re new to Friendly Friday, full instructions on how to participate can be found here.

This week’s challenge for SMILES goes up to Thursday, after which Amanda at StPA will post a new Friendly Friday challenge.

Toronto, Canada.  October 2020


  1. What a happy and inspiring post, Sandy!!! And both the shots are just perfect…and the stores brought out the moment so wonderfully. I will be digging through my archive to see if I have something to contribute. Hope you have a wonderful week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It seems i will have to skip this week…I looked through my photos but could not find one that I liked. But I sure made a note to take photos of happy faces and that’s one of the reasons why I like FF so very much (along with its fabulous hosts and ideas and of course, the photos)…it always inspires<3<3

        Liked by 1 person

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