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Loving the Karaoke The World Over

Date Published: Entertainment

Who has not heard about karaoke? No matter where you are, how old you are, what country you are from, I am sure you have heard of this and most likely have taken part in this social gathering of sort. Karaoke is truly one of the best invention Japan has given the world. Back in my country just about every street corner has these machine and has become a popular past time among the masses. But now that I am here in Japan, I wonder what the authentic or Japanese way of enjoying karaoke.

No one really knows where in Japan karaoke originated from but the word Karaoke is derived form kara which means empty and oke which is a short cut for the word okesutora – Japanese way of saying orchestra. Which when combined would literally mean songs with only the melody but no singing. A typical karaoke machine consists of a microphone, music player, monitor and of course a controller where you select songs.

Here in Japan, just like in my country, karaoke is very popular that you can find them anywhere. Karaoke box as they are called here, is a private room that you rent for an hour or so with your friends. You can also order food and some even offer bottomless drinks – nomihodai (paid by the hour). Some of this Karaoke boxes even have themes mostly from popular anime. Even in some 24 hour internet cafe’s here they have Karaoke rooms for their patrons to enjoy. In recent years, HitoKara has also been gaining popularity here in Japan. HitoKara is technically one person karaoke. With the fast evolving technology Karaoke machine’s now is not only limited to just singing, some karaoke machine have additional features added to it. Like some karaoke machines allows you to perform using instruments and even allow you to follow dance routines (furikara – short for furitsuke, which is choreography, and karaoke) while singing. They have even have technology for you to sing a duet with a complete stranger. Karaoke’s popularity has even reached smart phones. A lot of mobile applications are available for free to download for both iOS and Android.

karaoke

A typical Karaoke room. (Photo by Karl Baron on Flickr)

Karaoke is surely one export Japan has made that has been enjoyed the world over. As a means to distress and to have a good time with friends. But to enjoy Karaoke with your friends one must follow this basic rules of etiquette. These rules are listed in no particular order.

1. Make sure to queue your song choices at a certain interval so that you and your friends can take turns in singing.

2. Well we all know we come to karaoke shops to sing but certainly learn to SHARE the MICROPHONE.

3. Not all of us could sing – that is a FACT! But please do try to be nice to the one singing. NO BAD COMMENTS PLEASE.

4. Try to listen to your friends while singing or maybe sing along with them.

With so many karaoke boxes out there to choose from when ever you find yourself her in Japan – even if your no expert singer – like me, karaoke would surely be a great time to spend with friends and sing your hearts out! I know I did.

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