Hacking a karaoke club for a New Year’s Jam

Who doesn’t love karaoke? During my latest visit to a karaoke club in Tokyo the TV was off, the microphones were left in their holders, and the disco ball did not spin.

Instead, a group of friends who all play American 0ld-time music met up for a New Year’s jam. The karaoke club was a solution to a common Tokyo challenge: finding space where your noise won’t bother neighbors.

I had previously heard about karaoke rooms being used for business meetings (WSJ story here), but I hadn’t heard about karaoke rooms essentially serving as practice rooms or clubs. That said, while we were there, I also heard a jazz combo with trumpet in another room. And the daytime rates are quite reasonable (my share for a six-hour jam was equivalent to US$10).

The irony and delight in filling a karaoke room with old-time acoustic music was too much not to share here. After six hours of fiddle tunes it was dark out and I had just enough time to catch the bullet train home.

That said, we probably should have turned on the disco ball…

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About Matthew

Music education: media, technology, and participatory music.
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