05 February 2007

Sotsuji Karaoke

OK, WARNING. Another non-food post about karaoke. I risk alienating my readership of ten, but whatever. I have something to say and it's important:

I note that the Wikipedia entry for karaoke has a pre-existing meaning for "kamikase karaoke".

A popular game using karaoke is to randomly type in a number and call up a song, which participants take a turn to try to sing as much as they can. In some machines, this game is pre-programmed and may be limited to a genre so that they cannot call up an obscure national anthem that none of them can sing. This game has come to be called "Kamikaze Karaoke" in some parts of the United States and Canada.

I've done this before. Last time, I got "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake and, I think, held my own. Really, though, the metaphor doesn't extend. Still, it was a fair bet that someone was going to come up with a meaning for this phrase.

The other variant I've heard is sometimes called "dare-oke." In this variant, no one selects their own song. They rather select songs for each other, and sing to the best of their ability the song selected for them by their so-called friends. This is kind of "omakase karaoke". I refer to the practice in sushi restaurants of putting yourself in the chef's hands. But the word "omakase" comes from the Japanese for "entrust" or "protect," and with "dare-oke," you are definitely putting yourself in the hands of people who are not going to protect your honor. They will likely do anything they can to humiliate you.

Anyway, I never liked the self-destructive aspect of calling it "kamikaze" or the violent "blitzkrieg" or any of those martial idioms we've come up with before. I've been looking up words like "refreshing" or "plunge" or "quick" to try to come closer to what we're doing here. Any Japanese speakers who would like to help name this thing we've started doing are invited to help.


Anonymous said...

Might I suggest "Ojoku" Karaoke...

A faithful reader

Rich said...

A faithful reader has suggested "ojoku karaoke". Ojoku translates roughly to humiliating or disgraceful. While my performances are often both, I'm going to choose to believe that this was meant to apply to "dare-oke", and not to the sweet, beautiful invention of (provisionally named) sotsuji karaoke.