The word "sayonara" has been mentioned in this blog a lot recently.
(I guess you'll have that when you're saying goodbye to people for three weeks and attending numerous sayonara parties.)
What I've failed to mention before, is that more often than not, a party here actually consists of two parties...or even three. After the first party, there's usually a second one. And in my experience, the second one is usually at a karaoke place.
So I've been singing a whole lot of karaoke lately. But am I sick of it? Nope. :)
Each time I go, it's a different mix of people and different songs.
When I go with other ALTs/foreigners, we sing mainly English songs that everyone knows. When I go with Japanese friends, I listen as they sing Japanese songs, and it's a good way for me to practice reading hiragana, and hear/learn some new songs. I especially love going with my co-workers because it's fun to see them let loose and have fun out of the office.
On Monday night, after the formal dinner where I gave a speech and received a yukatta, a small group of us went to the second party to sing.
Here's what I mean about having folks having fun out of the office...
Yep, this is my boss, Yamadate. He's kind of a special case though because he's goofy a lot of the time. :)
Karaoke is a good place to go for drinks. At the local karaoke place, you get all you can drink (alcohol included) for an hour for about $7.
As I've explained to Japanese friends here, karaoke in the states just isn't the same. Instead of a single person on stage performing for an audience, it's a lot more fun as a group activity. But still, sometimes people here choose to sing solo, and that's cool too; it's fun to cheer them on, and it's sometimes good for a laugh. :) That reminds me of a karaoke story from a few months ago...
In between songs, I was talking to a Japanese guy I'd just met who was trying to name all of the Great Lakes. He named them all but Lake Erie. The lake he was missing finally dawned on him, and he proclaimed, "LAKE ELLIE!" (hehe). And that reminded him of the Ray Charles song "Ellie, My Love," which he then *attempted to sing.
*key word in this sentence :)
It was quite entertaining.
Tonight, Nate and I have a sayonara party with the other local ALTs and friends from Kuji. There is sure to be karaoke afterwards. This will make the third time this week that I've sung karaoke! I guess that before I leave Japan (a week from tomorrow! eek!), I'm getting my karaoke fix.
I will definitely miss it.