Here’s a chance to fulfill your dreams of becoming a Japanese train driver.
Japan is always breaking new ground with karaoke, from one-person booths to a karaoke Ferris wheel. Just when you think they can’t possibly surprise us anymore, one company proves to us that they aren’t finished yet.
Joysound, one of Japan’s largest karaoke companies, has started a service in collaboration with Tokyu Corporation that lets customers pretend to be train drivers in specialized rooms. Dubbed “Railroad Karaoke Rooms”, the cubicles come equipped with train seats, moving images of scenery, and cockpit controls. And the mic? Of course it’s a push-to-talk announcement microphone.
▼ Even the doors to the rooms are specially designed.
Aspiring train drivers can fulfill their childhood dreams of announcing, “The doors are closing, beep beep beep beep beep,” without being the subject of ridicule from friends. A wealth of content is available for customers to broadcast, which includes train lines in all 26 wards of Tokyo. These are all in Japanese, making it a great opportunity for language learners to put their words into practical use.
The rooms come in two flavors: operator/conductor room and Keikyu passenger car room.
For the operator/conductor-themed room, moving images of landscapes are projected onto the walls, giving customers a sense of sitting in a moving train. Long seats line the sides with cockpit controls, conductor microphones, and speakers.
▼ The operator room accommodates 12 people.
The Keikyu karaoke room also comes with microphones and speakers but has a first class feel to it. It’s equipped with cross seats and straps dangling from a luggage rack.
▼ The Keikyu room fits four people.
With train conductor cosplay attires available for rent, this is no doubt a train otaku’s heaven. The rooms are so detailed that they also come with a communication buzzer and an emergency switch. As responsible adults we have to resist the urge to push that button on real trains, but here we can live out our wildest fantasy without any repercussions.
The fun doesn’t stop there though, as Joysound is handing out their very own original train tickets to customers as souvenirs. Parched train drivers can indulge in some Keikyu Train drinks too, which come in three different flavors (680 yen, US$6).
▼ Red train, blue train, and yellow train drinks.
▼ The drinks come with original coasters too.
Whether you’re looking to have a change of pace in your karaoke routine or embrace your inner train otaku, these rooms will have you fully covered. Follow our six tips for Japanese karaoke and you’ll be the Pavarotti of train drivers.