The 10 Things I’ll Miss About Japan–No.03: Purikura 3

purikura booths

Purikura booths, found in arcades and malls around Japan, are photo booths taken to the extreme. The word is made from mashing together the first two syllables of purinto kurabu (print club), and the activity is a favorite pasttime among middle and high school students–especially girls.

Things I’ll Miss #3: Purikura

#4: Cherry Picking

#5: National Health Care

#6: Kaitenzushi

#7: The Ghibli Effect

#8: Onsen

#9: Conbini

#10: Matsuri

Usually for ¥400 (~US$4) you can get six shots in the booth under faux-professional lighting circumstances.

inside purikura booth

After you feed in your coins to the booth, you go through the options and pick what kind of lighting and effects you want before the rapid-fire photo shoot starts. You don’t get much time to pose–about three seconds warning–so you have to be quick on your feet.

decorating screen for purikura

Once you’ve finished taking the photos, you leave the main part of the booth to another designated curtained area (normally just around the corner) where you get to scribble on and decorate the images. You only have a certain amount of time, so again, speediness is essential. When your editing time is up, the finished prints will spit out on the side of the booth after a minute or two.

finished purikura photo sheet

The back of the photo paper peels off, so a lot of our students have them stuck on the insides of their metal pencil cases or on their class files. Some of my students are especially clever and buy a magnet sheet from the local Daiso (¥100/$1 store) and make their purikura into magnets–an idea I love and immediately adopted once I learned about it.

friends posing for purikura

Since purikura is targeted towards girls who want to look like the models they see in the magazines, it’s lit to produce pale skin and large, doe-like eyes.
friends posing for purikura

Purikura is one of my favorite things in Japan because it’s a cheap, silly way of making memories with the friends I’ve made here that takes up hardly any space in my suitcase.

What’s your favorite purikura pose?

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