I’d heard of singing rooms, or Nori Bangs, but hadn’t experienced one. So, on our 10 am – 11 am break on Friday, four of us teachers walked out of work and then tried to figure out where to go. No one was particularly hungry. We were happy to be out for a break. My young American coworker suggested a singing room. Sure, I said. The other teachers: Korean and Canadian, said no thanks, and made a beeline the opposite direction.
So, the two of us headed into an arcade and opened the half-solid, half-clear plexiglass door and sat down, each on a bench next to a microphone.These aren’t ‘real singing rooms’, but they’re pretty nice for a couple people and a short time. Real singing rooms might have big red cushions in a large circle and stuffed animals (to hug?!).
It seems easy enough to look through the book, enter the song number and away we go, but that darn not being able to read slows you down. After maneuvering past a trivia game, and a few menus and controllers, we spent a whopping $1.40 to sing three songs. We somehow missed getting the right number in for one, but successfully (well, that’s a generous interpretation) belted out The Look (an 80’s rock ballad) and Fly Me to the Moon (Sinatra). So fun!
Without a crowd looking on, there’s not much to be embarrassed about. The music and your singing comes out in the room all around you, so you sound magically great. I hear that it’s common to see someone in the room just singing all by themself. It wouldn’t be any stranger than saying playing an arcade game alone.
…Which is what I used as my rationale when I stopped in there today when I had a few minutes. After enjoying a 1,000 krw ($0.90) roll of kimbap (think California roll but with ham, Korean noodle, cucumber inside, then rice, then seaweed and sesame seeds outside), I headed into the arcade. I felt a little weird but no one else seemed to notice. Without my seasoned coworker, it took me three tries to push the right buttons to actually get a song going in English. And, though it wasn’t what I meant to choose, it was fun and stress-relieving to sing John Lennon’s LOVE (Love is wanting to be loved. / Love is touch, touch is love, / Love is reaching, reaching love, / Love is asking to be loved.)