So one distinctly Japanese thing that I was quickly introduced to was Karaoke boxes. These are private rooms that you rent out, alone or in a group, that have a audio system installed. This includes 2 microphones to sing into, a screen that plays music videos, and a little tablet device with a list of songs to choose from. The general process is to pick one song and then pass it to the next person in line, then wait till it comes back to you. Repeat until you get too tired (though the process does dissolve somewhat as everyone starts to feel their drinks more). You of course get to sing during your song, but people often sing along with others songs as well. Certain hits (lose yourself, dream on, etc.) and nearly guaranteed to turn into a whole room experience, while slower or more niche picks are more likely to be solo or duet performances. The place I have been to is called manekineko, and a big plus it has it that included in the cost is endless soft drinks, coffee, popcorn, and ice-cream. One downside is that you don’t choose your room, an different rooms have different songs, so you can quite often find out that what you wanted to sing is not offered there. I, for example, have not yet found a room that has Rap God by Eminem, much to be regret.

While initially wary of the whole concept, after experiencing I can sincerely say that America should get on board. If you can go with the right group, it can prove very entertaining and refreshing. It’s a great way to get a peak at the personalities of other people, not to mention learn some new songs.

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