While there are certain challenges to living in Japan, there are rewards as well. Little things, like the fact that when you hit the walk button to cross the street, the traffic light changes within seconds, rather than minutes. Hit the button, the cars stop for you. Its great, just a little ego boost I suppose.
But then there are the big things. The things that really make living in Japan great. GREAT I tell you. One of those things is my kotatsu. Another one is Karaoke. Now before I came to Japan, I had only ever done karaoke once or twice. This is partially because it was relegated to seedy bars on the second tuesday of November but only on years that end in 2 or 8. I mean really, who wants to get drunk and sing with a bunch of strangers, when instead you can get drunk and sing with a bunch of friends?
Japan really has raised Karaoke to an art form. The Karaoke boxes are everywhere. What is a Karoke Box you ask? Well take a building and fill it with small soundproof rooms. In each room stick a TV and a soundsystem. Charge lots of money for watered down drinks and crummy food. Watch the money roll in! Ok, that may be a bit cynical, as it really is a ton of fun. I mean where else can you really pretend your a rock star, and have an adoring (or not so adoring) audience?
Everbody has their favorite songs to sing, so if you go out with same people you may find yourself hearing the same songs over again. Kind of like radio, only more off key. If it wasn't for Jared, I never would have learned the lyrics to TLC's "Waterfalls." Other boundries of good taste I have encountered in Karaoke were two grown men singing Tatu. Or even the same two grown men sining "Barbie Girl." Me, I stick with The Beatles, Weezer, Coldplay and The Cars with occasional forays into Greenday. I tried to do Metallica's "Enter Sandman" once, but it was waaaay too long and I just don't have a deep and growly voice. I pretty much blew my voice for the rest of the night! I also have a history of doing the O-zone tune "Dragostea din tei." Unfortunalty that song has been switched off the English songs list, and I can't keep up to songs with the lyrics in Japanese. Which is sad, cause everybody loved singing along. (Maiya heeee maiya hooo...)
Anyway, on to the photgraphic documentation
Ok, see that big garish 10 story building. Yup thats full of Karaoke rooms. And there is another next to it, and a few dozen more scattered around Sakae.
The inside of that particular building. Notice the cool black light effects. We are rocking now!
Okazaki Karaoke. Our farewell party.
The same. A bit more low rent,( no black light!) but hey, Karaoke is Karaoke!
Kanazawa Karaoke. Notice this video they really went all out and had little kids drawing the lyrics and holding them up on signs. It was cute. And kinda weird.
and now, the moment you've all been waiting for... the picture I swore I would never post..
Folks I give you.. Paul McCartney!
I think I'm singing my specialty tune, "I've Just Seen a Face"