Kanji Cheat Sheets: Going to Karaoke in Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot

Karaoke is one of those quintessential cultural experiences you have to do if you come to Japan. You’ve seen it in movies, anime, and even video games, now it’s time to experience it for yourself.

There are two types of foreigners who go to karaoke—those who use the English language setting and the rest of us […] if you want to sing anime songs you’re definitely going to need to use Japanese.

If you’re only visiting Japan for a few days, switching the karaoke machine to English is enough to get you going on a rowdy night of singing. For those who stick around longer, however, it’s time to unlock the full potential of doing karaoke in Japan.

Use this kanji cheat sheet and unleash your inner rockstar next time you head out to karaoke like a boss.

Choosing your karaoke box

Like many things in Japan, the karaoke experience caters to pretty much any niche you can think of.

Do you want to sing your heart out in a Neon Genesis Evangelion cockpit? Or maybe you prefer a Monster Hunter or Final Fantasy inspired tavern. You’ll find everything you need in Akihabara or Ikebukuro, the most famous spots for otaku in Japan.

One of the biggest karaoke chains, Big Echo, even offers a cosplay service where you can rent costumes and accessories for your singing session.

Be careful not to go over your time limit or you’ll have to pay extra!

If you’re traveling solo or on a budget you can use a ヒトカラ (hitokara), a contraction of 一(ひと)人(り) (hitori) meaning “one person” and カラオケ (karaoke). Yes, it’s a karaoke box for only one person.

The staff might ask you to choose between a Joysound karaoke room or a …continue reading