Saturday, 29 January 2011

Karaoke Kids!

If you begin to spend a reasonable length of time in Japan it is inevitable that you will at some stage find yourself dragged into a karaoke bar. Believe me, there are many of them and they come in a wide variety of forms. At night the city streets are full of touts eager to usher you into their particular establishment, where a range of soundproof private rooms called ‘karaoke boxes’ await you. Here, for an hourly fee, you and your friends can vocally murder a range of popular songs, many of which were favourites before going in there, but possibly not after. I must confess that in the wee small hours of the night after a feast and a few ales, Jules and I have been coerced into such places. After crossing that threshold there is no turning back, it’s either sink or sing!! Of course when eventually the microphone is slipped into your hand, you are encouraged by three key factors…
1. Most songs are sung in pairs, which ensures shared humiliation.
2. The microphones they give you have the most incredible reverb that can make even the worst of singers sound good!
3. Those in the karaoke box are primed with a steady supply of alcohol throughout the evening.
The last factor is most important as it has the dual effect of making the singer think that they actually sound good, while also making the listener totally unable to differentiate the numerous bum notes. Having now experienced the wonderful world of karaoke, we both agree that it can actually be a fun few hours and certainly a great way to bond with newfound friends. We certainly won’t be taking our singing talents any further, but if you’re tempted to indulge in such musical mayhem there is probably not a better country in the world to give it a try. After all, the Japanese invented it and karaoke still remains one of their most popular national pastimes.

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