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The tenth of my images of Japan collection October 15, 2006

Posted by urbanblue in Images of Japan.

About 80% of people love karaoke, and the other 20% are liars. I think people in the UK are put off by having to get up on stage and sing in front of a room of strangers. My friend Kate and I experienced that in Glasgow back in 1993, when I forgot just how high “Careless Whisper” gets and waved goodbye to my dignity. But in Japan there’s none of that. It’s all about your own private booth, just you and your friends. The whole system has been getting increasingly more fancy since my arrival in the country. When I first got here, you got your booth, two microphones on leads, a book of songs and a remote control. Now the mikes are cordless, and the remote control is now used for everything from searching for the songs to ordering your drinks. It’s all got a bit unnecessarily complicated to be truthful, but the fun factor has not diminished one iota.

Some karaoke booths have a special function remote control that can put even the most tone deaf in tune. Others have a fake applause button to boost your ego if no one was really listening. The one nearest me even rents out costumes to add to the whole experience. Personally I don’t see the appeal of knocking out a Radiohead number dressed as a gorilla, but I suppose it takes all sorts.

If you’re feeling brave you can also have a stab at a Japanese pop song. You’ve got a wealth of choice of bands with fabulous names, such as The Michelle Gun Elephant, Kinki Kids, Bump of Chicken, or The Pigeon’s Milk. That last one even prompted a discussion between me and a friend about whether or not birds lactate. We decided they didn’t.

Karaoke in action



1. Sheila - October 22, 2006

I can’t believe we never made it to karaoke together before I left Japan. Your prowess is legendary, but I do say, I’m no slouch myself.

2. urbanblue - October 23, 2006

I know! Ah, but someday it’ll happen, you mark my words. We’ll be like Ike and Tina. Sonny and Cher. Donny and Marie. Renee and Renata.

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