A Tale of Three Karaokes ... with bonus karaoke

Rather than bore you to tears with a lengthy travel report, I'm going to sum up my trip using the regional karaoke of the three cities I visited (yeah, I also went to to Okayama and Shizuoka but I didn't do karaoke there so can't comment).
 

Osaka:  


OMG... over the top.  I've seen live bands perform in rooms smaller than this karaoke booth!  The decor seemed to be faux hunting lodge and quite fancy and my room had IT'S OWN STAGE.   Seriously, there was the normal karaoke screen set up and the couches around it then, walk past that, and you have the stage with lighting and another karaoke monitor.  Too special.

I thought maybe, because the place was quiet, they'd given me a party room, but on my way out I saw even bigger, fancier rooms that were for party groups

Very fancy, very showy, a bit overwhelming.




Hiroshima:



I'd seen signs for Billy the Kid karaoke everywhere in Hiroshima.  I assume it's a Hiroshima thing because I've never seen it anywhere else.  And since it was a miserable, drizzly day, I figured what better than some karaoke to warm up.

There was a big Billy the Kid sign near the station but that wasn't the karaoke place... it had an arrow and said "100 metres".  I've obviously been in Japan too long because I'm like "100 metres... what the hell does that mean?  How far is it by walk?"

I found it (across the railway tracks and, I'm pretty sure, much more than 100 metres away).  The guy at the front desk handed me my karaoke basket and that was it.  I had to wander around to find my room (it was upstairs) and he only told me about the serve yourself drinks bar after I asked. 

The room was big and pretty standard.  But, OMG, they had some kind of automated drink ordering system where you key your drink number into a keypad and they bring it to your room - in theory.   Awesome, I thought, so I tried it .... and ended up getting MTV on the telly and wiping out all my karaoke songs!  I decided to use the phone and order the old fashioned way instead.

Also, I loved this.  You pay upfront and, instead of getting a rude call when your time is nearly up, right in the middle of your favourite song, you got a message flash on the screen saying you have 10 minutes to go.

Like many things in Hiroshima, difficult to understand but I'm sure if I stuck around long enough to learn how things worked, it would be a helluva lot of fun.

Fukuoka

I was wandering around in Fukuoka, my feet hurt and I was tired and sick of sightseeing.  I thought I'd really just like to go to a karaoke place and relax, maybe have a drink.  I looked up, thinking where is a karaoke joint around here and - bam, I was standing right out front of one.

I was a pretty standard karaoke place - I can't remember the name of it but not one of the big chains (or it wouldn't be regional speciality karaoke, would it).  Very simple system to use, very fast and friendly service.   Totally user friendly.



Yep, you can really tell a lot about a city from their karaoke.


Now, for the bonus karaoke story:  a while back, way way before the earthquake, I put an ad in the paper looking for some friends who are into Arashi and karaoke figuring I might make a couple of Japanese or Western girls as friends.

Well, all the responses I got were from Japanese guys.  That got me thinking - are they really just wanting to do Arashi karaoke with me or is there some ulterior motive here?

Last night I met up with one of the guys.  We went to a place in Shinjuku.  It was kind of like Smorgys without the rapping seal and with karaoke rooms - all you can eat and drink with weirdass decor.  Te buffet table was built around a giant fibreglass pig, bending over with her skirt up over her huge rump.  I am not making this up and I really wish I'd taken a photo.

We were in the karaoke room and I'm wondering what the hell is going on but there is a window  looking out to the main buffet area - with tables of young girls etc so felt pretty safe... until he shut the curtain!

He did start getting a bit touchy-feely and moving closer and closer.   Then I snapped at him  and he got back in his corner. 

I didn't actually snap at him for the touchy-feely stuff but because he asked me if I understood the lyrics to the song I was singing.  FFS!  That really pissed me off.  YES, I know what the words mean!

It was a pretty crap karaoke place to be honest.  The microphones didn't work properly and the touchscreen kept losing power if you had it out of the holder thing for more than 2 minutes.  Also, because it was self service, you couldn't phone for one of the staff to come and fix things. 

So anyway, lots of singing, lots of eating, a bit of drinking.  He actually did know quite a few Arashi songs but this is my theory - he's married with young and/or teenage kids.  I think this because he only knew the songs from their recent dramas.

Anyway at the end of the night, he gave me a magazine with an Arashi liftout section and poster in it.  That made me really happy.  I really, really hate it when people give me expensive presents.  It's just awkward and weird but, if someone gives me something cheap that has a lot of thought put in it, I'm totally happy.



ps  I'm not going to post up all my holiday photos here but if you are interested, you can see them on facebook (I'm not going to go through the pain of uploading twice).

Osaka and Kyoto

Hiroshima

Fukuoka

Okayama, Shizuoka and other places (including Mt Fuji)
Travelling soon? Make sure you check out my recommendations, all places I've personally stayed and would book again.
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