A Conversation for Karaoke
Karaoke in Japan
FromWithin Started conversation Jul 13, 2000
Karaoke in Japan is very different from what we, in the UK, are used to. It is natural to assume that in the place of its origin, it is the same as we know it but with more people. However, this couldn't really be further from the truth.
In the UK, Karaoke is a spectacle held in pubs and bars where somebody will choose a song and get up and sing it front of a group of people consisting of mostly strangers.
In Japan, however, it is a far more low-key affair. While it is indeed hugely popular over there, it is not at all like what we know in England, except maybe in a few cities like Tokyo.
Rather than being held in bars and pubs (in general, there is not really anything in Japan to equate to a bar or a pub), karaoke is enjoyed at specific karaoke venues. These venues (and they are everywhere) contain many independant booths, each containing its own karaoke machine and huge collection of songs. There are a surprising number of English songs in there, of course with a huge Beatles selection, but also surprises like Alice In Chains. Groups of friends will pay to hire these rooms, usually on a half-hourly basis, and proceed to sing to each other. You'll usually find a phone in the room which you can use to order food or drinks.
It's actually very enjoyable, much more so than the usual awful English Karaoke which can never go ahead without appalling drunken renditions of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", The Righteous Brothers "Unchained Melody", and Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York", all performed by voices which can at best be described as "existing".
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