This is one of my most favourite inventions ever. It’s like the old passport photo booths you can find all over Berlin, but a million times better.
When I first lived in Japan, I was 18 years old and attending a girl’s high school. My classmates were obsessed with Purikura (comes from shortening the words Print Club which are written as Purinto Kurabu in Japanese). We would spend all our money in these booths taking photos of ourselves smiling. Then we discovered making silly faces was also lots of fun. And as there were basically no other foreigners where I was based, random people constantly came up to me to ask if I would join in their photos too.
At first, I didn’t really get the hype. It’s a tiny photo and at 400 yen a pop (around £3), it’s an expensive hobby. But factor in that they are all stickers and you can change the backgrounds and put makeup on your face and make your eyes bigger… seriously, these things are so much fun! I soon realised that in 5 months I had spent hundreds of pounds on these things and it was time to quit before my habit got out of hand!
Let me explain the process:
Normally rows upon rows of Purikura boxes are found in game centres. There are MANY females running around excitedly with a lot of makeup and cute outfits, on which they have spent hours in preparations just for taking these photos.
Next you choose the background of the photos and take your snaps. Then you wander to the drawing area. This phase can take many minutes, as you stamp the photos with cute phrases, ice creams, silly sunglasses, watermelons (only if they are in season) and all kinds of tacky things. You can make yourself paler (this is popular in Japan) and increase your eye size. If you need lipstick or blusher, just tap the screen. Different colour eyes I hear you ask? Oh yes of course! It’s an artists dream…
On our trip this time, we only did them once and we were asked by random people to take them together. We declined – but if you are in Japan at the same time as us next time, let’s take Purikura together