Who knew that some of the best lessons in life can be learned in a karaoke room?
As year abroad students with little to lose and and not experienced enough yet to be afraid of hangovers, we were amazed by the prospect of all-you-can-drink (nomihoudai) for the equivilant of about $15.
So we used to go out to various Japanese bars (izakaya) to order as many drinks as we could stomach within two hours (which, it turns out, when you have a bunch of foreigners including Americans and Europeans competing with each other, is a ridiculous amount).
Despite being a bustling city, the last train would be at the ridiculously early time of midnight, so we would usually find ourselves checking into karaoke to pass the time before the first train the next day. We discovered that a karaoke room is the cheapest (and probably most fun) place to spend the night without having to sleep in the streets, or take an overpriced taxi all the way home.
Just as revenge is a dish best served cold, karaoke is best served with copious amounts of alcohol. By the time we got inside, we would be pretty wasted, but this made for the best
Suddenly everyone could sing like Mariah Carey, or at least we thought we could, as we screeched power ballads, and danced to Lady Gaga on the tables. In reality, we probaly sounded more annoying than continuous police sirens, but we didn’t care. If somebody was actually good at singing, we wouldn’t bring them with us anyway.
Not to be put off by the dozen trips per hour to the restroom that we had to take from all that we had already drunk, we would also help ourselves to the free soft drinks that came with our entry price. We would sip coffee to keep us going, and mix syrup with oolong tea, or drink too much of the mysterious green stuff pictured above.
Our disappointing moments of not being able to find a song we loved on the playlist would immediately be replaced with the joy of finding a popular chart song, a teen classic, or an anthem from the 90′s to belt at the top of our voices. (Side note: I must have sung AKB48′s ‘Heavy Rotation’ about 500 million times. To this day, it is remains a staple part of any karaoke trip).
Looking back, we may seem a little overindulgent, but at the time, we were having the most fun in our lives. It was those nights, which started out so optimistically at an izakaya, escalated to epic proportions at karaoke, and ended with a walk of shame to McDonald’s on the way to the station for the first train home, that were worth remembering.