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How I did it: First of all, let's get one very important fact straight. Contrary to most Americans' gross mispronunciation of the word (with the exception of Hawaii), it is not pronounced "karyoky". When I hear that, it makes me cringe. The correct pronunciation is "karaoke" (the e at the end is like the e in bet). The first half of the word, "kara" is an abbreviation of the word "karapo", meaning "empty". You find the same "kara" in the word "karate", meaning "empty hand" (You don't pronounce that "karyty" do you? Although, some people in the states say "karaty", which is wrong. E is always pronounced as the e in bet.) The second half of the word, the "oke", is an abbreviation of the Japanese word for orchestra (They have trouble with Rs, so leave out the first one, thus, "okestra". Karaoke means "empty orchestra". Karyoky means nothing. If in Japan and you ask where you can sing karyoky, no one would understand you. So get it right.
Anyway, there are places all over Japan where you can sing karaoke. You see signs everywhere. Often, it is in bars where you sing in front of all the customers. You may need to fill out a paper on your table with your name and song request, give it to the waitress and wait your turn. You make your selection from a song menu on your table or ask for the menu. There is usually a list of non-Japanese songs to choose from. Some of the places are very high tech, with a monitor and bouncing ball or such. Others are less so, and you hold the lyrics in your hand. Whether good or bad, the Japanese are very polite and will always give you a hand. Many of them try to sing American songs, often murdering the lyrics, but you applaud them anyway. It's all good fun, and the more you drink, the more fun it gets, and you can't wait to get on stage again. The other style of karaoke is private rooms with your friends only. These are like lounges with sofas and a table and a big screen. They have a very large selection of songs. Here, you have more freedom and are devoid of the nervousness of singing in front of a lot of strangers. There is also a food and drink menu. You buzz for an order through a mic/speaker system and a waitress brings it in. Frankly, I prefer the bar style. Sitting in a room with a small group of just friends gets a bit boring for me. I like to see and hear strangers. Even though there is a charge for each song you sing in a bar, the private room can end up costing more. In this picture, I'm singing in a funky low tech karaoke bar called Cowboy with the big sister of my homestay family from when I was an exchange student many years before. Read how I did it… 23 months ago