Recently, there are an increasing number of people who prefer to go to karaoke by themselves instead of with a group. A new chain of ‘karaoke booths’ launched in Japan earlier this month that seem to cater to exactly that kind of customer.
Called Choi KARA, the booths allow users to sing 1 song for 100 yen (US $1.30) and are spacious enough to accommodate 3 people at once (though there are only two microphones).
Identical to standard karaoke rooms, there is a small, touch-screen panel device that is used to select songs. While 100 yen per song may seem expensive at first, if you take into account the absence of a room fee and mandatory drink order, this private booth may be perfect for those who are looking to just sing and go.
The karaoke booths can currently be found at Taito Game Station arcades across the country.
When we visited the Taito Game Station in Akihabara to try it out ourselves, we were told that the booth is so popular during weekends that it’s common to see a line of people outside waiting their turn. Because of this, customers are asked to limit themselves to 1 song, after which many walk to the end of the line to have another go.
Our impression after using it was that the booth is exactly what it sells itself to be: a personal karaoke room with the exact same features as a standard karaoke room—no more, no less.
If Choi KARA’s popularity continues to grow, it may not be long before we see personal karaoke booths appearing outside of game centers as well: at the airport or train station to kill time until your departure, the convenience store for when it’s past noise curfew but you just need to sing at the top of your lungs—the possibilities are endless!
▼ Spacious enough for a trio!
▼ Speakers in the front overhead
▼ Choose the song and put in 100 yen
▼ Exactly the same as your local karaoke parlor!
[ Read in Japanese ]