About our obsession…

Leila
Founder – Leila Marie Ali

Oh dear where to begin… I love all things purikura. I love just saying purikura. It’s a hilarious word! Ask any native Japanese speaker and they’ll tell you that it’s an English word. Imagine my surprise to learn that while living in Japan since I am a native English speaker. But it is! It’s English and it’s beautiful because it represents the synthesis of language, culture, and technology. Purikura is an English hybrid word short for print club. These clubs popped up all over Japan in the early 1990s as a direct response to the growing popularity of gaming in the urban centers. Video games were marketed heavily toward boys and print clubs were marketed to girls. In Japanese, print club sounds like pu-ri-n-to ku-ru-bu which is a mouth full for anyone to say and so they did what is now considered a hallmark of Japanese culture. They made it more efficient by shortening it. Say print club ten times fast with Japanese intonation and you get purikura!

Delve deeper into the rabbit hole of this industry and the beauty of the blending of culture and technology becomes clear. The Japanese didn’t invent the photobooth. They didn’t invent the car or the camera either and yet they have made significant innovations in all of these industries. We’ve all been in a Japanese car and we’ve most likely used a Japanese camera on vacation once or twice but most of us have never used a Japanese-style photobooth and now changing that has become my life’s work. Photobooths themselves are a western construct. Video gaming is something the Japanese excel at. Put the two together and you have a state-of-the-art photobooth that I am utterly smitten with. The energy-efficient studio lighting washes out any blemishes, the large interior means all your friends can join in on the fun. The timed editing station pits you the artist against the clock and hilarity ensues as you’re faced with the tyranny of choice. “Do I keep the bunny ears and lose the fedora?” “Does this emoji make my butt look big?” “Where’s the cupcake stamp? I can’t find the cupcake stamp?!” Sounds like lines from an improv show but these are actual quotes from clients lost in a fit of giggles while editing on one of two touch screen editing stations attached to the booth. Did I mention that it’s completely in Japanese?! Yep, our booth is straight off the boat and completely authentic because language is not a barrier to having a good time, lack of imagination is. Our purikura booth is really good at drawing that out of you. And it’s huge! This puppy weighs in at just over 16oo pounds! It’s pretty much the sumo wrestler of photobooths and yet I love it so much that I figured out a way to get it to your event.

Purikura is important because for me it represents the bridge between myself and the part of Japanese culture that resonated the most with me. I lived on Planet Tokyo for five years and the first year remains the scariest, most thrilling and rewarding one of my life. They had parlors filled with nothing but girls, costumes and purikura and it was in one of these print clubs that I got to be my most fully self-expressed. I got to press all the buttons, make all the faces and create all the memories that now best capture my experience there. I went with new friends and old friends and together we created the most valuable souvenir you can get from any place. A memory. What’s more important than our memories? They are, after all, the only things that we can ever truly take with us on this journey through life.

My mission is to help you make memories with the most innovated and whimsical photobooth on the market. Our photobooth provides you with tons of options and ultimately you decide the outcome, You Pic It.