I was a bit nervous before I even left, so I had a beer and a glass of wine to calm me down. I didn't have any dinner, which was a big mistake!
My housemates came home at about 18.30 and we left for the Big Echo karaoke place in Ningyocho, about ten or fifteen minutes walk away.
One of my housemates, Dong, had come with me the previous night to see what it was like. His Japanese is excellent so he did the talking. He bought a Members Card (for Y500), which reduced the price by about Y100 per person per 30 minutes.
There were only a few of us going, so we didn't rent a Party Room or anything, but decided to reserve a room and then pay per person, which worked very well.
When we got there, we were shown to our room, and we asked how to use the equipment, which was all in Japanese, but it was very simple.
There were five of us at the beginning, but Kyoko, who helped me buy my Softbank phone in February, arrived later.
Once we were settled, and food and drink had been ordered, Dong produced a cake which he had had specially made at a expensive store called Mitsukoshi with my name on it!! He had also asked for candles and matches, and everyone sang Happy Birthday to me.
I was so incredibly touched by everyone's kindness, especially Dong's, who made such an effort, and went completely out of his way to make that day special for me. And it really was. I thanked him over and over, but somehow the words 'Thank you' don't express all the gratitude I actually feel. They wouldn't even let me pay my share, so I had three hours of free karaoke, food, drink and fun!
I, annoyingly, forgot my camera, so I don't have any photos or videos. But that's probably a blessing in disguise as you probably wouldn't want to see, or hear for that matter, me singing!
The range of songs to choose from was crazy! They had Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese songs there, and a really good selection too, not just Madonna and The Beatles.
If you're interested, these are the songs I sang:
Beyonce - Beautiful Liar, Deja Vu, Crazy in Love, Irreplaceable (okay, I admit it, I do like Beyonce)
Linkin Park - Numb
Madonna - Sorry
Evanescence - Bring Me To Life
Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On (Titanic) - that was really hard on my throat but everyone cheered afterwards!
Shakira - Hips Don't Lie and some song with lots of Spanish rapping I'd never ever heard before but I gave it a go
Some Japanese songs - again, had no clue that they existed but read the characters on the screen and guessed the tune
With the songs I'd never heard before, I was surprised at how undisastrous they were. Especially the Japanese ones with no English subtitles. When I said that I'd never heard the song before, everyone was really shocked, which I was pleased about!
I asked what my singing was like, because I had no idea as I was singing. People said that I had a nice, powerful voice, but they had to be nice to me as it was my birthday!
The evening was really really amazing. I loved it. It was so fun! Who would have thought that making a fool of yourself could be so great!
I have done karaoke twice in my entire life, both times in the last 10 days in Japan, but I am very keen to go again. I have become a karaoke fan!
Once again, I just want to thank everyone who made that day special, and everyone who supports me here, whether it's from the room next to mine, or from the other side of the world, I want you all to know that I am so grateful, and English doesn't have the words to describe it! Maybe Japanese does...