If you have been to Japan then you cannot ignore the innumerable Karaoke stores with bright lighting and fancy hoardings spread all across the cities. Karaoke is a form of interactive entertainment where one would sing to a tune of their choice. The song would not have vocals but only the instruments playing in the background.
The singer has to use a MIC to sing and the voice can be heard from a speaker. Lyrics of the song would be displayed on a TV screen to help the singer. Well, I have tried Karaoke in my country but it is no match to the setup in Japan. Japanese are so passionate about it. During, my social gatherings with local people the most suggested group activity for the evening was going to a Karaoke. Karaoke stores in Japan serve a bigger purpose than just being a place for singing.
Many Karaoke stores can operate 24 hours a day and have many attractive packages for their customers.
Usually, drinks can be ordered (both alcohol and non-alcohol) inside and enjoyed while you are singing away to your favorite songs. Some Karaoke places even let their customers order food. They are common places to hang out for people partying after the bars and pubs close down in the night.
The usual setup inside the store is to have several private rooms (karaoke boxes) with some sound proofing.
The rooms would be equipped with speakers, MICs, TV, a Karaoke player from which one can choose a selection of songs. Karaoke stores offer several packages. One can choose songs from a list of English, Japanese and Korean language. Customers can rent rooms by the hour or go for a more fancy package such booking the room for all night with unlimited drinks. It is typical that the longer you book the room, the better discounts you get.
Some of the big Karaoke establishments in Japan are “Joy Joy”, “Shidax” and “Big Echo”.
Although, there are exclusive places for Karaoke in Japan, there are other establishments such as local bars and restaurants where Karaoke service could be provided. I once went to a small local bar on a weekday which had just three customers inside but that evening was Karaoke night. The customers and the owner of that bar enjoyed the night singing away to some melodious Japanese numbers. It felt lively inside and one of the singers had a great voice.