Why can’t America get karaoke right?
You may recall from this post that I had one of the most fantastic nights ever singing karaoke in Japan. When the teachers in Germany decided to go out for karaoke in Berlin, I honestly thought, “Yeah, okay…I guess I’ll go, but it’s going to be absolutely lame compared to Japanese karaoke.” Look at me being all culturally closed-minded when I’ve literally spent the past four weeks working on opening my mind and learning about new cultures. Oh well. Some habits die hard.
The plan was that after visiting Sachsenhausen we would go back to the hotel, then go out for dinner at some Spanish restaurant, then to karaoke later that night. We never ended up having time to go back to the hotel, so we went to dinner and then straight to karaoke. Before I talk about that, let’s please take a moment to appreciate this picture of Rob eating an entire fish. This guy ate the weirdest foods. If we ever got served anything weird, the plan was “give it to Rob.” Where was this guy when I had to eat raw squid in Tokyo?
Because we had to go straight from dinner to karaoke, none of us had time to change beforehand. This was a bit of a problem, as we had all been dressed for a day filled with walking outside in the fifty degree Berlin weather. I was wearing my new rose-pink cashmere sweater, jeans, and tennis shoes. When we arrived at the karaoke place, people were dressed in cute going-out clothes. We looked quite under-dressed and weird in comparison, but oh well. At least we all looked weird together.
Germany’s karaoke is like a mash-up of Japanese and American karaoke. There was a main part of the building that had a bar, a dance floor, and a karaoke stage area where people could have sing-offs and such. There were all kinds of people from different countries hanging out in this section. There were also private rooms, like in Japan, where you could rock out with just your friends. It was nice to have the option, and people in our group kept going back and forth between our room and the larger bar area. The thing about our own room is that it got hot really fast – especially with fifteen of us in there all dancing around. Germany doesn’t do air conditioning, so even though it was cold outside it was ridiculously hot in our room. I asked a couple of my girlfriends, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how skanky would it be if I took off my sweater and just wore my tank top?” They voted low, so I went ahead and did it even though I would usually never wear that as a shirt on its own. Some of the other people in our group did the same thing – it was SO HOT in that room. That means that my karaoke outfit ended up being a white spaghetti-strap tank top, jeans, and tennis-shoes. Sophisticated, aren’t I? *eyeroll* We all were sweating like mad and looked pretty trashy, but we were having fun. My phone died at dinner so I didn’t get any pictures at karaoke, but Lauren took this “trashy Americans” picture. Don’t we look classy?
I was self-conscious about my wardrobe for about a half second, but then I decided that I didn’t care what the foreigners thought about me and that my American friends would like me anyway. We had a great time singing karaoke – one of my favorite moments of the night was my “Summer Nights” from Grease duet with Alan, the musical theater buff on our trip. Another highlight was that I got to see a new side of some of the teachers that really surprised me, but in a good way. Like, “Wow, you’re one way in professional meetings, but give you a microphone and a dance floor and you are COMPLETELY different.” Some of us stared open-mouthed at each other once or twice as if to say, “What is happening right now? Who are these people we thought we knew?” It was fun to let loose and have a good time, especially after the traumatic events of the afternoon. Apparently singing really loud is quite therapeutic.
We missed the last train back to our hotel, so we had to look for other options. We ended up walking around the city for a while (Berlin at night is pretty cool) before finally settling on getting a cab. The cab driver got us home safely, and we were (mostly) rested by morning in order to start our last day in Germany.