Purikura – Japanese and European style
Purikura is the Japanese way to get an amazing facelift. It’s a non-intrusive and fun operation. You walk into a spacious Purikura photo booth with your friends. Then you imitate Japanese perfectionist posing habits in front of a big screen. You get your pictures taken repeatedly, so as to allow a satisfactory amount of poses. You pretend to be a Japanese pop-star model. Then you get out of the booth and are faced with amusing Purikura transformations of yourself. Looking at your pictures will give you a bright smile and cause some personalised form of giddiness. You have just become a Japanese beauty ideal!
The main thrill of Purikura is to get BIG EYES. This is not about European eyes. No, this is about getting doll shaped cutesy eyes with huge pupils, the desired and idealised look of Japanese teenagers and Harajuku fashion conscious. Purikura will also give you whiter teeth, perfect skin and make up.
HOW TO DO PURIKURA
First, observe and imitate. Without professional instruction from Japanese pop stars (the booths are plastered with pics), I would’ve been lost. There are soooo many ways to pose!
Got your inspirational pose? Then enter the photo booth. A perfect Purikura studio. The screen will tell you what to do (in Japanese only).
After the photo session, a screen-board panel enables you to give your picture the final touch up. There is a counter in the top right corner, going backwards, so you got to be quick with doodles, stickers, frames, backgrounds and whatever effects please you.
The result of touristy attempts to succeed at Japanese Purikura. This is what Tomek, my cousin Filip and I, look like after we have been Purikura-photoshoped. We are teenagers again. Hilarious!
The booth spits out your Purikura shots on two small printed photo stripes. The stamp-sized pictures are cut out and shared with friends. Japanese teens massively hang around the Purikura places, having a good laugh! It really is a priceless experience, not to be missed in Tokyo.
WHERE TO FIND PURIKURA IN TOKYO
There are many Purikura places, all around Tokyo, but numerous at Shibuya and Harajuku. The place we visited, is located at Harajuku, on Takeshita Dori (‘dori’ means ‘street’), which is the incredibly popular fashion street in Tokyo. If you end up in Harajuku, popping the Purikura cherry is a must do.
Right next to the famous Sweet Box Crepe stand on Takeshita Dori, you take the staircase down to basement floor, of a building with the Noa Cafe sign. This is it.
It will probably be super packed, so be prepared to queue to get your Purikura session. But ‘preparing’ (watching giggly teens and looking at beautified Japanese idols on posters) is part of the fun.
PURIKURA IN EUROPE
Japan has invented Purikura and then went on to conquer the digital media market with impressive beautifying software. Looking at various cameras in Japan (because our camera broke down under Japanese rainy weather conditions), I discovered amazing functions on photo equipment. We are talking the kind of tricks that make stars and models look presentable. Not Sepia/ Black-White conversion.
Europe is about to follow the trend selling beautifying cameras. To my great pleasure, we happen to have friends, with up to date photo gear. They possess a progressive camera model, featuring beauty enhancement functions. I will delightfully show you what it did to my friend Monia and me. I am sorry, I do not know any Purikura places in Europe.
European Purikura on camera will not give you over-dimensional eyes, instead the software will try to transform your face into a cover of a glossy fashion magazine, conforming to European beauty standards. It creates flawless skin, protruding cheekbones, coloured cheeks, enhanced eyelashes, eye-shadow, rouged lips… You can also play around with the image.
Enjoy European Purikura:
Before and after. I got a smooth facial and Botox treatment. Unfortunately the beautifying eye function was off. Could also use a hair job and fancy background.
The fun is, that you can go all arty.
And do gallery type portraits.
The mirror feature is addictive.
Then it got sort of crazy and I turned into a flying head.
There are severe cases, that even most advanced technology can’t cope with. Some faces simply have to be cut out manually, to enhance the picture. The left face is a good example of a more severe case, that caused the software to crash after all functions (skin, lips, cheeks, eyes) had been activated. Please, do not to laugh.
So, when is YOUR Purikura day?