Last night marked my first foray into the world of the norebang, or music room. These ubiquitous entertainment centers are a brilliant way to spend a Saturday night with friends, colleagues, family - really anyone willing to have a bit of fun. So when a group of us decided to give the norebang a go last night, we stopped at the closest Family Mart before heading down to do some serious singing.
See, at a norebang, you bring your own liquor! Unlike the karaoke bars in the United States, norebangs are private rooms, instead of a crowded bar sloppily equipped with a small stage, some dude claiming to be the "DJ", so many country songs you want to run away, and a lot of inappropriately drunk people. In Korea, karaoke is performed in the safe company of your friends (not the ENTIRE bar) and you can enjoy your drink of choice (on the cheap!). So we grabbed a couple bottles of soju and a few Hites and mozied on down to the music room.
You descend stairs into a lobby room where payment is tendered by a guy at a desk. He then escorts you to your private room. We were met with a large, U-shaped, fairly comfy couch (along with 2 pillows, one with a scene of a cat and pumpkin - still trying to flesh that one out), a large glass table, a fan, 2 song books, 2 remotes to enter the song selections, 2 microphones (complete with 2 hairnet-like covers, for hygiene), and 3 TV screens. Bottle caps were popped off and the soju began to flow.
The night witnessed renditions of old standards like "Baby Got Back" and "Birthday Sex," as well as new hits like "Baby" (yes, we sang Justin Bieber, it happened) and "Bad Romance." Fortunately for us, our karaoke prowess was idolized by the scoring mechanism built into the song software. You get points just like Rock Band! The first 100 of the night was the Toto hit "Africa." There were more, of course, but I am hard-pressed to think of which ones. Such glory.
After the first hour in the norebang dwindled to seconds, we were faced with the decision: do we suck it up and toss another 2000\ each into the pot for another hour or relocate. Needless to say, the decision was a swift one and we scrounged up enough change to book the room for another hour of sheer brilliance.
As the second hour came to a close, my eyes did, too. No, seriously, I pretty much fell asleep in the norebang room. After the 2 hour marathon of singing and dancing and rallying, I decided the best idea for me was to seek out a cab and head back to my studio apartment. Awaking on Sunday morning to sun rays peeking through my window (I can't close the tinted one all the way because of where the A/C pipe is - not complaining), I groggily got up, made some coffee, and flipped on the Discovery channel. Then I considered Skyping my mom and a friend at home. This plan was immediately scratched when I realized this feat would be entirely impossible: the norebang was a great decision, but my voice would beg to differ.