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Dr John Hawkins

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Round Shinjuku with Hide

Posted on 2005/05/17 16:04:11 (May 2005).

[Tuesday 17th May]
Spent most of the day with our friend Hide around the Shinjuku area. As Hide has to get up at a silly time for work (something like 3 o' clock on the morning) we decided to reschedule the evening into the afternoon, seeing this as a perfectly valid excuse to go out and get drunk whilst everyone else was at work.
We started off with lunch at "Shakey's" - beer and pizza, and then went for a walk around Shinjuku Central Park. Don't be fooled by the latter healthy sounding activity - we were just killing time until the Irish pub we wanted to go to opened. The Dubliner's Irish pub provided us with a couple of very respectable pints of Guinness and, fortified by this, we set out on a mission to sing some karaoke. We spent about an hour and a half in the karaoke place - aided by a big pitcher of Asahi - and enjoyed (?!) such classics as I Will Survive, Radiohead's Just, and, for the mandatory Sinatra number New York, New York. After this we stumbled into a nearby Indian restaurant for a splendid curry, with, naturally, more beer.
As poor Hide had his rediculous early start, he headed home after the curry, around 8:30, but Chie and I weren't quite ready to throw in the towel yet, so rounded the evening off in a bar round the corner from where we were staying. All in all a very boozy day, and, with the possible exception of the karaoke, one distinctly lacking in anything particularly Japanese! Still, a lot of fun nonetheless.

Comment 1

I can imagine you doing a very good impression of 'Just'. Shame on you for butchering New York New York. That's an awful cliche. Only very good singers should try that and even then in the privacy of their own homes!

Must have been odd for onlookers to see some Gaijin singing in proper English! :)

Posted by Rob Lang at 2005/05/17 16:43:55.

Comment 2

John, have you considered 'turning professional'? Is it possible to make a career out of Karaoke ?
- Also what does karaoke actually mean, I have always wondered ?

Posted by Kev at 2005/05/17 17:24:54.

Comment 3

Hmmm. That Guinness was looking seriously good, there! Where did I put those cans...?

Posted by Nigel at 2005/05/17 21:15:31.

Comment 4

MMMmmmmm Guinness

Posted by Kev at 2005/05/17 21:58:02.

Comment 5

John, be careful. Karaoke in large doses has been known to lead to generally undesirable public displays of caterwailing. This has led to arrest in the past. We wouldn't want anyone to think you were actually enjoying it now would we?!

Posted by Simon at 2005/05/18 09:31:44.

Comment 6

Thanks for the sage advice Simon. Actually, you may even have been mildly proud of my rendition of Just - although the verses were a little dubious (Mr. Yorke does have a rather high voice doesn't he?) the chorus was, in my humble opinion, somewhat exhilirating.

On the other hand, I had a bash at a Ben Folds Five song - Army from the Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. I really sucked at this. As a result I've began to develop a conspiracy theory that Mr. Folds sole purpose on this planet is to sing in a fashion that makes me somehow me believe I can imitate him, but only serves to cause me great embarassment when in this sort of karaoke situation. Ben Folds songs sound so easy to sing along with but are prohibitively difficuty - be warned.

As a general rule of thumb with karaoke I have discovered that the camper, the better. Probably my greatest performance of this session was I Will Survive, which is right up there with the campest of the camp. I am not exactly sure why this is the case, but it just is really.

Oh, and yes, I have been drinking again.

Posted by John at 2005/05/18 14:20:43.

Comment 7

Rob - I'm not sure butchered is an entirely fair way to describe my take on New York, New York. Sure, it would have had Sinatra heading back to the bar for another Cuba Libre (or whatever his tipple of choice was) to dull the pain, but I don't think it was that bad - I growled in lots of the right places, and sang sufficiently out of time to give it that edge of showmanship that it needs. Anyway, yes I think you get some free bonus points as a gaijin singing karaoke - at least you can pronounce all the words properly! Also there seems to be a weird phenomenon that you can't detect people being out of tune so much when they're singing in a language other than your own...

Kev - with talent, perhaps yes, so for me, no!

Nigel - yes it was very good actually. As you may well know, there is always a bit of concern before supping a pint of British or Irish beer in another country - do they really know how to store/serve it properly etc...? The Japanese though, god bless them, are brilliant at understanding and re-creating any kind of culinary (hopefully I can apply this ter to beer as well) process, with absolute perfection. So actually on the whole Guinness is pretty good in Japan, albeit somewhat pricey (I think those pints were in the region of 4 quid each!).

Posted by John at 2005/05/18 14:31:30.

Comment 8

Oh, and apparently karaoke literally translated is "empty orchestra". Presumably the "empty" relates to no singer being presented, and by orchestra they really mean band, or something.

Posted by John at 2005/05/18 14:35:05.

Comment 9

Empty orchestra - I'm sure that roughly means "soulless", and I'm sure that fits well with the fact that camp songs work better!

Oh, and my band are thinking of trying to cover "song for the dumped", pity our poor singer.

Maybe, with the Japanese being so good at it, you could get them to craft you a mini pangbourne with CrossKeys and Softel-Nippon - you'd be right at home!

Keep up the drinking, errr, good work!

Posted by Simon at 2005/05/19 09:13:04.

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