Monday, March 2, 2009
japanese pop culture
Walking into a Japanese arcade, you become lost in a maze of flashing coin machines, spinning colored lights, and claw machines groping for everything from stuffed animals to ice cream. Navigating farther past the horse racing simulator and monster spider war games, you will most likely come upon a collection of photo booths radiating an ambiance of pure white light to which there is no comparison. Groups of girls buzz around from booth to booth while giggles and bells tinkle from every corner. You have entered the world of Purikura, the Japanese version of the picture booth that is a must-do for friends of all ages. For about 400 yen you and your friends can enter a booth, such as the one in the first photo, and take 4 to 6 photos with the backgrounds of your choice. When you have taken all of your photos, you can personalize them on the screen just outside the booth. With the pens provided you can write anything you want and add the ever-so-cute hearts, stars, strawberries, and flowers etc. such as those in the second photo. Purikura was introduced in Japanese arcades in 1995 and continues to inundate Japanese pop culture. One of these booths was one of the first places my Japanese friends and I visited, and I have found it hard to come by a cellular phone not covered in Purikura stickers and backgrounds. The capabilities of Purikura machines varies from simple amateur editing tools to high fashion camera angles and wind machines. More information of the creation and evolution of the Purikura machine can be found here, including this video. Happy editing!