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The refined elder lady and kaidan sweeping

2010.08.12 Thursday | by maria@2010
 The other day I narrowly avoided a collision with a beautifully dressed older lady. Clad in a navy kimono, hair and make-up perfectly applied, I couldn't help but stare at this 70 year old vision in blue. Maybe unnerved by a frazzled looking foreigner heading in her direction, she stared back at me, our eyes met and very nearly our heads. With a bow to rectify the situation, she was off down the street, and I was left to marvel at how being a 'lady' in Japan can look so effortless. 

One of my favourite tasks at Morinoki is sweeping the stairs which lead down from the hostel to the street below. It's usually my first job of the day if the rain. Sweeping away I am greeted by a succession of ladies walking down the road to place their rubbish in the communal bin. For all of two seconds, with a friendly 'ohayou gozaimasu' I am part of the street community. The simplest things bring a smile to my face, and this small gesture of friendliness does exactly that. Small gestures and simple pleasures, taking it slow and taking notice of your neighbours. All too easy to forget when rushing around from A to B. So thank you Otaru for reminding me to open my eyes and ears to whats around me, and thank you ladies for your early morning wake up call to living.