可愛い (kawaii) is the expression in Japan if you talk about something „cute“. And because really, really a lot in Japan is cute, crazy, colorful, sweet, fluffy or any kind of “girlish”, kawaii is really used often. The difference to western countries is just, that these things are bought in Japan between the age of 0 and 110. And not only girls do like it – also the men in Japan are not averse to it.
The high-point of kawaiiness in my eyes are the photo-booths, spread all over the country. And it’s a must-do if you ever visit Japan. If you now think: “Hey, photo-booth?! We have them too!” Get surprised what these machines can do with you! In Japan so called: “Purikura” these things work better then every Graphic-Designer brush up a picture for high-gloss magazines. But step by step: after entering a purikura-hall you have to find the right machine for your needs. Want to have a pretty face like a doll? Take a love-picture with your boy- or girl-friend? Make a fun-picture with your friends? Take a shot for your CV? Wearing additional kawaii costumes? Be gossip? Every need is satisfied by a different booth. After you decided to go to the most kawaii one, and without being able to read Japanese you will have the next challenge. If you really need help – you will get it from other people around you. I think they help you the most of the time because it is a lot of fun for them to see the result of western faces on the print out. Just take a look on the pictures on this page and you will see why. They open your eyes (maybe good for Asians), soften your skin, make you smile, add different backgrounds and so on…and if it is not enough done by the machine, you have the chance to make the pictures even more kawaii with all the different cute stuff via touchscreen.
Also some kind of kawaii and done quite often is the visit of a casino – if it deserves this name – and playing at the ぱちんこ (Pachinko). What we expected before our visit: fun! What we realized when we entered the disco-like noisy blinking jingling building was a bit different. People were sitting in front of the pachinko – in 99% alone – starring at the display, smoking and filling in new balls. May be it is really fun to sit there the whole day and following the small iron balls falling down and disappearing somewhere. Reason enough to try at least once. But because the goal of the game is to annoying, or maybe because the only interaction with the machine is turning and holding a wheel the boredom started after a few seconds.
More frightening than fun is the fact that after feeding the machines with a lot of money and in case of winning, you get food or cigarettes for your credit. Speaks for itself in my eyes. If you still want to know how to play, check this: Youtube-Film