Pika Pika in Japantown; Peace Signs Required ^_^ *kekeke*

19May09
Being that my ethnicity is that of somewhere in or around Asia and the Pacific Rim (I still don’t know if I’m Asian, Pacific Islander, or just Filipino, but that’s never on any forms), I like to think that I’m quite familiar with the social behavior of peers in my generation. One such defining behavior of said peers is the absolute law of the universe that says, “Asians love to take pictures.”
Pretty obvious, right?  Anyone can take a picture, but the Japanese in particular have taken picture taking to a whole new level with purikura, otherwise known as the mythical Japanese photo booth. Once thought to only exist in overpopulated urban hubs in Asia like Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong, San Francisco can now be added to the list of places outside of Asia to get your purikura on.
Settled on the second floor of the Kinokuniya Mall in the heart of Japantown, Pika Pika offers everyone, Asian or not, the chance to live the life of teenage Japanese school girls, if for only moments at a time. Sometimes, a moment is all you need.
Pika Pika is all photobooths, all the time. They have seven sticker booth imported straight from Japan, which all feature different backgrounds and customization options. These are like photo booths on crack from the Tenderloin, but enjoying them to their fullest potential requires some foreknowledge, unless you want to look as clueless as my friends and I did trying to figure it out.
Enter Pika Pika and have your mind blown by all the bright neon colors, Asian techno pop, and pictures of teeny boppers adorning the walls. Once you have settled down, move on to step 2.
Choose your photobooth. There’s plenty to choose from, and each one has different themes, clip art, colors, etc. Put in your money and step into the booth.
EVERYTHING IS IN JAPANESE. Do not panic, once the timer starts going and you realize the random lines on the screen are actually instructions, it’s too late. Take a deep breath, try to interpret the on-screen instructions, and take photos in a bunch of poses. Once that is over with, step outside and head to the touch screen editor.
Again, all the instructions are in Japanese but it’s pretty easy to figure out. Just scroll through all the different pictures, cartoons, brushes, and letters, and have fun decorating your photos! When you’re done, the finished pictures will be printed on a 4×6 card that you can cut up and stick on anything you like.
Pika Pika does offer additional photo services as well. You can choose to have your sticker sheet blown up to an 8×11 print or have them scanned and emailed to you so you can show all your Facebook friends. 
The photo booths range in prices from $5.00-10.00 each, and additional prints and scanning are a few bucks more. Seems fairly steep for taking pictures, but the result is always worth it since you can keep looking at them and laugh at all the penises drawn all over your friend’s faces.
Pika Pika is definitely a fun place to go with your friends, and it’s especially a must-stop if you are already in Japantown. If you’re with a bunch of Asian people, the decision is a no-brainer because it involves taking pictures. They’ll probably even take pictures of you taking pictures, which is exactly why I have pictures of the interior of Pika Pika on this blog post. 
If you’re not Asian, don’t worry. White people in particular LOVE anyhing Japanese, like Anime, sushi, and Tokyo:

Being that my ethnicity is that of somewhere in or around Asia and the Pacific Rim (I still don’t know if I’m Asian, Pacific Islander, or just Filipino, but that’s never on any forms), I like to think that I’m quite familiar with the social behavior of peers in my generation. One such defining behavior of said peers is the absolute law of the universe that says, “Asians love to take pictures.”

Pretty obvious, right?  Anyone can take a picture, but the Japanese in particular have taken picture taking to a whole new level with purikura, otherwise known as the mythical Japanese photo booth. Once thought to only exist in overpopulated urban hubs in Asia like Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong, San Francisco can now be added to the list of places outside of Asia to get your purikura on.

Settled on the second floor of the Kinokuniya Mall in the heart of Japantown, Pika Pika offers everyone the chance to live the life of teenage Japanese school girls, if for only moments at a time. Sometimes, a moment is all you need.

Pika Pika is all photobooths, all the time. They have seven sticker booths imported straight from Japan, which all feature different backgrounds and customization options. These are like photo booths on crack from the Tenderloin, but enjoying them to their fullest potential requires some foreknowledge, unless you want to look as clueless as my friends and I did trying to figure them out. 


How to act Japanese:

  1. Enter Pika Pika and have your mind blown by all the bright neon colors, Asian techno pop, and pictures of teeny boppers adorning the walls. Once you have settled down, move on to step 2.
  2. Choose your photobooth. There’s plenty to choose from, and each one has different themes, clip art, colors, etc. Put in your money and step into the booth.
  3. EVERYTHING IS IN JAPANESE. Do not panic, once the timer starts going and you realize the random lines on the screen are actually instructions, it’s too late. Take a deep breath, try to interpret the on-screen instructions, and take photos in a bunch of poses. Once that is over with, step outside and head to the touch screen editor.
  4. Again, all the instructions are in Japanese but it’s pretty easy to figure out. Just scroll through all the different pictures, cartoons, brushes, and letters, and have fun decorating your photos! When you’re done, the finished pictures will be printed on a 4×6 card that you can cut up and stick on anything you like.

Pika Pika does offer additional photo services as well. You can choose to have your sticker sheet blown up to an 8×11 print or have them scanned and emailed to you so you can show all your Facebook friends how fun you are.

The photo booths range in prices from $5.00-10.00 each, and additional prints and scanning are a few bucks more. Seems fairly steep for taking pictures, but the result is always worth it since you can keep looking at them and laugh at all the penises drawn all over your friend’s faces.

If you’re not Asian, don’t worry. White people in particular LOVE anything Japanese, like Anime and sushi, according to StuffWhitePeopleLike.com:

If you find yourself in an awkward silence with white people, just mention how you want to go to Japan.  They will immediately begin talking about their trip to Japan, or their favorite stuff from Japan, but it will be entirely about them.

If you’re with a bunch of Asian people, the decision is a no-brainer because it involves taking pictures. They’ll probably even take pictures of you taking pictures, which is exactly why I have pictures of the interior of Pika Pika on this blog post. 

Pika Pika
1581 Webster Street, Suite 185
Kinokuniya Mall
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 673-7898
http://www.pikapikasf.com  

Thanks for being Asian and taking photos, Rey!

Also check out:
Playground Restaurant, Bar, and Karaoke in Japantown

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6 Responses to “Pika Pika in Japantown; Peace Signs Required ^_^ *kekeke*”

  1. Haha I bookmarked that place a while ago on Yelp. Oh and being an Ethnic Studies minor Filipinos are technically considered Asian. Pacific Islanders are like Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Guamanian, Marianas Islands, Marshall Islands, etc. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Islander

  2. 2 genejo

    LOL thanks for the clarification! That makes sense, since I am not 5’11” and 230 lbs.

  3. 3 Jacob-san

    Nani?! domo arigatou gaziamasu.

  4. 4 Alyssa

    I love the pikaboth i saw it in the mall and tried it! It’s amazing! Now I’m addicted to it!!!

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