As I sang songs by Savage Garden and the Backstreet Boys, memories of middle school dances came flooding back. I’m not a music buff, and definitely not an amazing singer, but when it comes to karaoke, I know how to have a great time (and the lyrics to an astonishing number of 90’s pop hits).
For a friend’s birthday a few weeks ago, we had a big karaoke (KTV) outing. Let me start by saying that KTV is huge in China. There are KTV establishments everywhere. Many have lobbies that look like hotels, and winding hallways filled with rooms of various sizes that can be rented by the hour. Inside the swanky rooms with pleather couches, there are huge flatscreen TVs and disco lights. It’s amazingly tacky. But for trendy young Chinese, KTV is a popular pastime. Some Chinese friends admit to going multiple times a week, because for them it is a chance to unwind and have fun.
The rooms are priced based on size and the time of day, so you can get a real bargain if you go at an off-peak time. You buy snacks and drinks from a mini-mart in the lobby ( or bring in your own goodies) and then sing until you can’t sing anymore. The selection of English songs is pretty amazing, but we usually try and bust a few Chinese ones too. After an hour or two, the combo of noise and flashing lights tends to drive me a little crazy, but a good KTV session every month or so is a fun release.
I’ll be back soon with an update about my recent trip to Shanghai.