Deadly Women (with Matt Fullerty)

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Karaoke, the Japanese way


What can I possibly say about Karaoke in Japan? It is awesome! You basically wander into any high-rise in Shibuya, a district in west Tokyo, and get ushered up in an elevator and presented with your own room. Watch out for groups of multiple Japanese relaxing after work in the adjoining room with beers and microphones! For once the equipment is really easy to use, plug-and-play, and the sound is really good. You can order your drinks, but they don't seem to mind you smuggling them in from the local Family Mart or 7-11 (also called 7-and-iHoldings whcih amused us without explanation!) And that's Karaoke baby! 1000 sounds, and no money back on your vocals or vocal chords!

I began to realize that Japan is a small country, and so not unlike England, has some kind of represeive mentality, or at least a respect for space and privacy. Thus Karaoke is a private deal and not a bar-entertaining deal. Small bars in skyscrapers, in Kyoto and not just Tokyo, outnumber larger more public bars. But the winner has to be the private booths at McDonalds. Who wants to eat their double Fish o' Fillet burder (fish is big in Japan naturally) in public when you can get a private booth! The other place we found was a private DVD-viewing store, mostly for Anime, and run by teenagers like a bowling alley - but basically offering you a video and a booth to watch a movie or Anime film in the middle of the day if you feel like it! The idea of "the private area in public" seems to be very "big in Japan"!

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