1. Karaoke is not always singing in front of strangersThis is what the average karaoke box looked like in Japan:
|Karaoke in Japan, with some of my favourite students|
It's a tiny room! There was only just enough room for our fourth karaoke group member to step back into the doorway to take this photo. To the left of the picture, straight in front of me in a sense (if you can recognise the much younger me ... I guess it's easy, I'm the one who doesn't look Japanese) is a TV screen and all the machine bits required for karaoke to work. The photo below is from a different place, but you get the idea.
|Uptown Girl! Popular karaoke the world over.|
You book a room and that's just for you and your friends - nobody else will come in (and nobody else can hear you sing because they're all busy singing in other rooms).
2. Karaoke doesn't mean you have to sing alone
|Karaoke with my dear friend Jules|
3. Karaoke is not just for people with good voicesIn all my karaoke experiences across Japan and Australia, I have never been in a karaoke box where people actually expected their friends to sing well. It is not about beautiful voices. It's about getting together and having fun. Have you ever sung in the shower, or sung along to the radio in the car when you're driving alone? I'm pretty sure virtually everybody has done that, and that's the kind of fun aspect of singing that karaoke taps in to. If you find yourself in a karaoke box with people who actually care about how you sound, then they are totally not getting the spirit of karaoke and I wouldn't go with them again!!
4. Karaoke is not just for the cool kids
When I lived in Japan, one of my most frequent karaoke companions was Nobuko, a grandmother, pictured on the right in the photo below. She had a particular love of ABBA so we got along famously. She always wanted me to sing "Chiquitita" with her. So I did, of course. I think of her immediately whenever I hear it.
|Three generations at karaoke|
You also don't have to head to a karaoke box for a Saturday night with lots of alcohol. I've been to karaoke at all times of day; my friend Yuko and I went together, just the two of us, to celebrate her birthday one year when I lived in Japan - and we started singing at ten o'clock in the morning! (We tried to sing all the Beatles songs on their list, alphabetically by title - unfortunately our voices gave in at "H" for "Hard Day's Night"!).
5. Karaoke extends your lifeI always remember hearing this "fact" on the radio - someone said that singing is so good for you (physically and psychologically) that every hour you sing extends your life by an hour. I have no clue if there's truth to this and I haven't even googled it because I don't want to read any contradiction - I think it's a gorgeous idea and I know that I am so energised by a few hours in a karaoke box that I'm prepared to believe it!
Have I convinced you? Do you have your own karaoke experiences to share? Let me know in the comments.