When you are visiting Japan you may notice many photo boxes which are decorated a lot more than the ones you may usual see in your own country, this is certainly true back in the UK. In England photo booths are a rather boring affair solely used to take passport and driving license pictures, and you aren’t even allowed to smile or wear glasses! However in Japan there are a lot of different photo booths to use, in Japan these are called “purikura”.
The booths may seem quite overwhelming if you don’t have good kanji or Japanese reading skills, however they are usually quite easy to use.
They start off much like the booth you might use in your own country, insert your money and enter behind the plastic screen into the photo booth itself. This is where it gets a little bit different to what you might be used to.
Most purikura machine have a screen inside where you can select different effects before you even take the picture, this can be things like a certain colour behind you (which in some machines actually descends!). You can also select things like how big you want your eyes to look in the photos and how smooth your skin. In these booths select the settings and then start taking pictures!
Most booths give you a lot of pictures to take so you can choose them later. Once you have taken the pictures you can use the screen again. Pick your favourites from the ones taken to edit.
You can add all sorts of effects, pictures and text to your photos now. Even if you cannot write Japanese many machines have common Japanese phrases and words you can add to it to get that “kawaii” effect.
You can add extra images, sticks and writing to your photo and even further edit your face and body until you are happy.
When printing there are even more options! You can choose to print a few large copies or many smaller copies of a larger amount of pictures, even as stickers in some machines!
For a unique souvenir go and try purikura next time you are in Japan.