Thursday, April 05, 2007

Japanese Pop Culture ~Fads

Print Club, nicknamed "Puri-Kura" in Japanese, is a small photo booth found at video game arcades in Japan. The Print Club machines produce these small photo stickers (about 2.5 x 2 cm, slightly smaller than a postage stamp) which feature a large variety of superimposed frames which compliment the subject's faces. You just pay 300 yen, stand in front of a video monitor which shows your face, choose the desired frame, pose for the photo, then wait for a sheet of 16 photo stickers which the machine spits out in about a minute. The image quality is not so high (this is probably part of the charm), but the sticker is so small that it really doesn't matter. People affix the stickers on personal articles like notebooks, cell phones, etc. But mainly, school girls collect them to show friends.
As you can see above, the frames are quite amusing and cutesy-tutsy. Many of the frames are seasonal. Some Print Club machines come in different versions to match the current season. The winter version, for example, offers frames for New Year's, ski scenes, etc. The autumn version has a frame with maple leaves. Other machines have frames based on popular cartoon characters (Disney, Pepsi Man, Snoopy, etc.) or celebrities. The machine usually has a sign indicating the version or the type of frames it has.

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