Karaoke in Japanese is a clipped compound word combining empty (kara) and oukesutora (orchestra). It's wildly popular throughout the world, but it was developed in Japan where it has long been common to have musical entertainment at dinner or a party. What seems to be popular here now is renting a private room with a group of friends, which Blake and I have enjoyed once and look forward to doing again!
It's no secret that I love to sing and perform and karaoke is, for me, a really chill way to get to do this. When I was in college, I spent many a Friday night at a theater in Pleasant Grove, Utah, singing karaoke with several of my theater friends. In Virginia, I went to Rock It Grill in Alexandria and other karaoke nights. But somehow, Blake and I had never been together until we moved to Japan.
We have now more than made up for this, since I have found a new job and it couldn't be more perfect for my new life in Japan - karaoke host by the name of Amanda Darling!
Contracted through the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation office on our base, I alternate hosting duties on Saturday nights at one of the bars on our base. It's my job to announce singers, program the karaoke machine, and sing in the downtime. I was "discovered" by answering a survey sent out by the MWR looking for local entertainment. I'm still figuring it all out, but I'm two months into this job now and I like it!
I'm getting to know some people in my neighborhood, practice singing, and working on my hosting/MC skills. I certainly didn't anticipate this opportunity, but I really do enjoy it. One of my favorite moments so far was being profiled by Aspiring Mormon Women on Facebook for embracing my "and" - all the things I am in addition to a wife, (one day future hopefully) mother, and LDS woman. I'm looking forward to seeing to where this goes and you can follow my adventures on Amanda Darling's Facebook page!