Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Karaoke Korean Style

Saturday Night

 Once we got back to the dorm I immediately took a three hour nap. I was exhausted from all of the climbing, speed boating and eating.  I woke up at 8PM so the night was still young.  All of the students decided that it would be fun to go to a noraebang (노래방) which is Korean Karaoke lounge.  Karaoke in Asia works much differently than it does in America. Rather than going to a bar and getting blackout drunk to muster up the courage to stumble onto the stage and  sing a slurred version of “Take on Me”  to a group of strangers, Korean karaoke is done in small rooms which you rent out with a group of friends. This style of karaoke sounded awesome to me. I always like to sing horribly during weekend nights out. My friends may be less fond of my belting faux-falsetto, but it makes me happy.  

We took two taxis down to downtown to go to karaoke. We met Kim so she acted as our guide taking us to the noraebang and communicating with her roommate Mini to meet up with us. We were greeted by the same scenes of vibrant night life on the streets of Jeju City that we had seen the previous night. We were led by Kim to the noreabang which was in a cool subterranean setting and we were given a room that fit all ten of us. The room looked like an entertainment room on crack. At the head the room was a large LCD TV draped with large speakers.  Facing the TV are three couches, a number of microphones on a table, tambourines, and this crazy look console which was filled with Korean lettering and had about fifty different buttons on it and a catalog that is about a thousand pages long filled with songs. The vast majority of the songs are in Korean or Japanese however there are still about fifty pages dedicate music in English. Everyone immediately starts putting in their song that they want creating a long playlist of songs that had to be sung. I looked around the catalog to fine the most party killing songs I could find. I think The Door’s “The End” takes the cake with Radiohead’s “2 + 2 = 5” coming in a close second.  

Once the playlist had started anyone who wanted to sing just picked up a microphone and sang. There was very little pressure and it was extremely fun just goofing off singing various popular songs. The easiest genre of course was rap, Ethan and I did a wonderful cover of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club”. During the songs the screen would project the lyrics but also show random scenes from what appeared to be short music videos that had no connection to the music playing. My favorite was a harrowing tale of two soldiers as they slogged through the winter battlefield and the eventual tragic demise of one of the soldiers, all of which set to the song “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas. Seeing a soldier scream with horror and singing “my lovely lady lumps” is a very odd juxtaposition. Holly has an extensive knowledge of Korean Pop and Japanese Pop and she did a great version of Japanese song.  I was very impressed at both her ability to sing and her ability to sing in a foreign language. Mini and Kim also did a Korean song, standing up at the front of the room and singing together. It was a really fun experience; the way that the noreabang are set up fosters a comforting feeling and gives people a public space to just to get lose with their friends.  After we were done singing our hearts out we went to a local pub across the street and just hung out in our exhausted state. It was a long and massively fun day.


On the seventh day we rested. 

A note about the chronology of the posts

These posts have been in chronological order but so far have documented the first week from 6/24 to 7/1. I am lagging a bit in posting but I plan to try and get the second week down by the end of this week, although it is looking like it might be a bit hectic with the schedule. Tomorrow the delegation from Sonoma State University is meeting the the mayor of Jeju City and on Thursday we have both an exam, a dinner and a presentation to go to. Friday we go to the beach and we leave Saturday. It is going to be a busy and fast week. 

1 comment:

  1. They have private room karaoke in America too! It's awesome. There is a Korean Karaoke place in Japantown called the Playground. They give you 2-liter soda-style containers of beer. It is epic. You should go there when you turn 21. How did the End turn out?