It’s there if you just stop and look.
The yellow sign reminds us that the Japanese are gifted with a free-thinking approach to English grammar, as openminded about technical correctness as it is unburdened by common sense. “Let’s enjoy! the GAME”
But the top billboard, behind, I find particularly interesting, if you’ll forgive me a diversion from videogame talk. It advertises karaoke, and the proclaimed features of this karaoke box tell us a great deal about karaoke in Tokyo. I’ll translate:
Well, that’s cheap!!
“Best 10” Karaoke – 24 hours
◎ Bring-your-own drinks very welcome!! (No charge)
◎ No “one drink minimum” system!!
★ Solo karaoke very welcome!!
★ No “Time’s up” call while you’re singing!!
★ Special offer “Free Time” system!!
★ One fixed price 365 days a year (includes tax)!!
6am – 7pm ¥100 for 20 minutes ★ Just ¥300 per hour!!
7pm – 6am ¥100 for 10 minutes ★ Just ¥600 per hour!!
4th floor of this building
Connected to the station – 0 minutes’ walk
It’s not uncommon for the last train to run before the party’s over. When you need somewhere to chill until the first train in the morning, a karaoke box is not a bad option. Home on the 5am train; quick shower; back to work on the 7:30.
But that’s just a one-off, for revellers. There’s an underground class of homeless people in Japan. They wear suits to work and put in their overtime, but they live and eat in 24-hour fast food outlets and sleep and shower in manga cafes or public baths. It works out better than renting. We live in the age of the “McRefugee”.
Let’s all have a sing-song.
This world, honestly.
Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people