Sunday, May 10, 2009


With a little dutch courage down my throat I found myself contemplating unleashing my inner tone def self...and with a whole lotta dutch courage, I found myself deep in the waters of bad, really bad, singing. Karaoke is such a quintessential Japanese experience I couldn't concern myself with the bleeding ears of my fellow karaoke singers.

Karaoke is arguably the most popular social activity in this country. Salarymen visit after work to loosen their ties and drown away their stresses in free flowing biiru and J-Pop. Taken so seriously by some, professional karaoke coaches are employed to help transform the talentless to that of the best of an average American Idol contestant...wait, aren't they all average?

My girlfriends and I visited a karaoke box カラオケボックス, el Notes down on Blue Street. We had our own private room, kitted out with karaoke paraphernalia-microphones, tv video machines and tambourines no less. For ¥2800, the room was ours for an hour and a half and included all-you-can-drink top shelf liquor, though I found the gin and tonic to be more like tonic and tonic. The biiru was surely tasty though and I knocked back my fair share.

Before the singing even started, we were treated to a prelude of what was to come later in the evening??? I don't really know what the heck it was, it was a laughable mixture of the hilarious and the disturbing. That was one drunk panda!

I've got video of my singing prowess, and it is truly spectacular, but now that the alcohol is no longer diluting my blood stream and unless it's 5 o'clock as you read this, it shouldn't be running through yours either, so there is no reason to subject you to the deafening notes that came from my voice. Pictures will have to suffice. I will say that my favorite song to sing was Baby Got Back by Sir Mix Alot and the best showcase of my talent was Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks. And for all my Memphis gals, I closed the night with In the Ghetto by none other than Elvis himself.

Singing it however was a little like guessaoke. I thought I knew the words by heart until it was time to sing it and the words escaped me despite them being on the screen. And there was a little shareaoke, where I tag teamed my way through a song and wandered around the room with the microphone like Wayne Newton and even a song or two of sweariaoke, were some of the lyrics got turned around and we cussed just for the hell of it.

It was a ridiculously fun evening, so much so that I am now a card carrying member of el Notes! To Daisuke Inoue, the man who invented karaoke, thank you for being as tone def and musically inept as me and giving the world over such a good time.