KTV True Life

On June 26, 2012, in China Attractions, Cool Places, Nightlife, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

Back in the States I’ve always been a big fan on karaoke, and this past semester I was graced without Wednesday classes so every Tuesday night my friends and I would go to karaoke at our local haunt.  When I decided to travel to Beijing I was delighted to find that karaoke is extremely popular here.  The first thing I did after I got off my Beijing flights after I unpacked my apartment was to check out some local Karaoke.

A bar with karaoke in The US is usually set up like an open-mic night, with a stage where anyone can sign up to sing in front of the entire bar.  This is a lot of fun, but has two major drawbacks: you have to sing in front of strangers, and strangers have to sing in front of you.  Sometimes this is great and leads to new friends and seeing amazing talent.  More often however, it’s like being forced to watch a string of rejects from American Idol.

Conversely, in China karaoke is a very intimate experience.  With KTV (Karaoke Television) you rent out private rooms for you and your friends that can range for a small room for 6-12 people, to a massive two story hall.  You are given a few microphones, and a computer terminal to the side of the room controls what songs are played.  There is a huge selection of popular Western and Eastern music to choose from.  The songs play in whatever order you choose on the screen.  In my experience everyone who wants to sing crowds around the microphones, and they are passed from person to person.  You’re all singing to each other rather than singing to an audience.

KTV is a great way to spend an evening, and to see a different approach to an international trend.  When I go to KTV I get to sing my heart out with my friends just like I would back home, but with a Chinese twist.  Karaoke is much more mainstream and popular here than it is back home where I usually found myself dragging my friends to the bar and pushing them on stage.  In China, karaoke is a small and intimate experience where everyone gets excited and  everyone participates.  As part of your China travel check out a KTV venue near you, and if you’re staying for a long time like I am invite your Chinese friends!  Nothing brings people together quite like drinks, songs, and laughter.

Jack Li
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