22 June 2009

My name is Leslie, and I love karaoke.

[Seriously. Love karaoke. ]

A few karaoke stories:

1. I made plans in June to go to karaoke with a Japanese friend of mine. The night before, she had an interesting request: her grandparents had overheard that we were planning to go singing together and asked if they could join us. Would that be OK with me?

Well, how many times can you say you've been to karaoke with the 60+ generation?

In the end, our party was made up of 5 people: my friend, her younger sister, their grandparents, and yours truly. We had a wonderful time. The grandparents sang mostly enka, an older Japanese song style. It was my first time hearing enka sung live and not on TV, so I rather enjoyed it. They were also very complimentary of the songs I sang in Japanese, which is always a plus.

2. The past month, I've been to karaoke every weekend. One weekend, I sang with a group for around 5 hours. Just as an FYI: "Semi-Charmed Life" and "Achey Brakey Heart" are hilarious via karaoke. Also, Weird Al does, in fact, have a song or two in the systems here.

3. The term "karaoke" is made up of two words in Japanese - "kara" means empty (karate = "empty hand," a style of fighting with no weapon), and "oke" is short for "okesutura," or "orchestra." I love the idea of karaoke being, in and of itself, an "empty orchestra," one that must be filled with the addition of our own voices.

4. The most recent round of karaoke I've enjoyed was with a large group of my teachers, which was a rather interesting experience. One was really excited at my knowing Billy Joel songs, and spent three of his turns on Joel songs and demanding my assistance with them. Another teacher assisted me in singing the Sailor Moon theme song, something I never thought I'd find useful after my middle school years. Still, nothing can top the principal of my school demanding, rather drunkenly, that I pay close attention while he belted out "We are the Children." There is only one word for such a thing, and that word is "epic."

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