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Friday, December 16, 2011

Karaoke Practice Shops For One

It's about freaking time!

While I sing far better than my wife - according to my six-year-old son who has never clamped a hand on my mouth or told me to stop singing - I'm still not a very good singer.

Strange considering I used to sing first soprano in school. But then voice changed a couple of times. You would think that a guy who can do a hundred voices (in your head) (shut-up!) would have one voice that could sing well... but no.

During my time in Japan, I had to sing karaoke on more than a few drunken enkai (party) occasions. When in AET (assistant English teacher) groupings, I would sing with large herds of other males. But... when I was with the Japanese, it was solo time.

I can only hope the Japanese couldn't tell if the English words they heard were strange and not my singing.

Now... perhaps made for people like myself, Japan has created a solution. No.. not a talent transplant, but rather something called the '1Kara'.

I Kara-mba!

The 1Kara (as in 'one kara-oke') is a sound-proof room built for single-person karaoke adventures. Yes... you and your friends... okay just you... can now practice your chops without further embarrassment. Except that anyone who sees you go into one now knows you can't sing, but that's really a moot point. At least you are trying to get better while saving the ear drums of everyone else.

Still... every time I've done karaoke, booze has been quite freely flowing. In fact, I firmly believe (tongue in your cheek, or something like that) that karaoke translates into English as 'drunken singing amongst friends'.

Owned by a nationwide chain, each booth comes equipped with a single chair, a single microphone, a single set of headphones, and a single tiny karaoke screen to read the words you are going to mangle in the song.

1Kara opened on November 25, 2011, with rooms going for ¥600 and hour between 10AM and 6PM. Should you go after 6PM thru 6AM (who the hell wants to do karaoke at 4AM? You should be sleeping off the booze or getting laid by that time. At least that's what I would be doing... hopefully not sleeping of the booze.), the prices double to ¥1,200 per hour. 

Apparently there are special packages available between 12AM and 5PM for ¥2,600 - but I have not been able to determine what the hell that might mean. Maybe a T-Shirt that says "My eardrums survived 1Kara and all I got was this lousy T-shirt". Maybe... again, I have no idea what's with the upcharge.

By the way... I'm told that with each rental of a room, the drinks are free—beer, whiskey, juices and cola. Food... that you have to pay for.

Hmmm... a lot of free liquid courage to sing? Sounds like a fun night out with my friends... no, never mind... it sounds like a fun night out for people with no friends. Sigh.

Yes... one is the lonliest number.

Somewhere singing Country Roads,
Andrew Joseph

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