Last night I had the pleasure of having a few drinks and karaoke with some of my students and friends. We had a wonderful time as usual. As the night grew on I found myself thinking about how karaoke has evolved over the years. My first experience with it was in 1982. There were no “karaoke boxes” here at that time. There were karaoke bars only, and anyone that sang had to get up on a stage. Japanese songs were pretty-much limited to “Enka,” and the English songs were limited to a few Elvis, Sinatra, Simon and Garfunkle, and Beatles tunes. These days you can find karaoke just about anywhere, with hundreds and hundreds of choices, not to mention how it has grown in other countries as well. It all started here. “Kara” (empty), “oke” (orchestra), a very rich and fun part of Japanese culture!