Karaoke is one of Japanese people’s favourite pastimes. They often go to a karaoke box with friends, family or company colleagues (often after a party or gatherings). There are small rooms for several people and large rooms for groups of over ten people. Each room is equipped with tables, sofas, a TV and microphones. You can order food and drinks using the telephone in the room. You can enjoy singing a variety of songs. You choose a song from the catalogue and put the number in the リモコン (remote control). The music starts and pictures appear on the screen and words scroll along the bottom. You hold the microphone and enjoy singing your favourite songs to your satisfaction.
You can also enjoy karaoke at a beer parlour, a (dining) hall or a coffee lounge at Japanese inns or hot spring resorts. All the people in the bar or the hall can join in the song. If you wish, you may put in a request. When your request comes up, you have to go up on stage and sing.
The work karaoke literally means ’empty orchestra’. It is an unusual word in that it is sometimes written half in hiragana and half in katakana. から(empty) and オケ(orchestra), からオケ. However, it is usually written in カタカナ as カラオケ. Karaoke is now also a popular activity in Australia.
Golf is the most expensive sport in Japan. Only wealthy people can afford it. They usually belong to a club by paying an enormous amount of money. They may be because Japan has so little space available for sport and golf requires a large space. They have golf ranges on top of large buildings or department stores, all covered by nets so that balls cannot be lost.