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In Japan, your photo on a stamp

Japan’s postal service is featuring new machines that allow its camera-crazed residents to put their faces or their favorite pictures on stamps.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Snap-happy Japan’s love affair with the camera has reached new heights — people can now put their face or favorite pic on a stamp.

JAPAN IS THE birthplace of the wildly popular “Print Club” booths, where customers have their photo taken and turned into tiny stickers used to decorate everything from mobile phones to school notebooks, and this takes that technology a step further.

The customer’s photo is taken by a special machine and then printed on stamp sheets, a process that lasts only a few minutes.

Available in sheets of four stamps for 500 yen ($4.50), or 10 for 1,000 yen, each stamp also features a design of roses, cherry blossoms, a heart or cats, according to the customer’s choice.

The stamps debuted in April but are currently available only at eight places around Japan, including the main Tokyo post office, that have the machines needed to produce them.

Those wishing to show off their own photographic skills can take a favorite snapshot down to the local post office and order stamps made from it, a service that began in June.

These take about three weeks to process and cost 1,000 yen per sheet of 10 stamps, said an official at the Communications Museum in Tokyo run by Japan Post.

“These can feature anything — pets, grandchildren, someone’s own painting or something,” the official said.

A Japan Post official said both services were proving popular, selling a total of 100,000 sheets of stamps since they began.

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