So I was mulling over that title for so long. How to keep it cheeky, but how to keep it … well, serious … ish.
About two weeks ago I tried my hand at wankara … wait, let’s try that again.
I like karaoke. By no means am I a good singer, but I do feel good belting a tune without worrying about my next door neighbours being able to hear me. I often go to karaoke in Japan, and a lot of the time I go alone. There’s no shame in it, you go, have fun, leave … in hindsight it’s a bit like going to the pub.
When you go to karaoke in Japan, you often get your own booth, which varies in size depending on your group. When you go on your own, you often get a small booth made for 3 to 4 people (once I had a 16 person booth to myself, and that felt weird).
Enter the world of Wankara ワンカラ (a portmanteau of “one” ワン and “karaoke” カラ). Wankara takes the concept of solo karaoke and turns it into a new experience.
Whereas in normal karaoke you’re in a party-room, at Wankara you’re in a small booth resemblent of a recording studio. That is to say what I imagine a recording studio to look like, never been in one myself. As far as the activity itself goes it’s pretty much the same as regular karaoke – you think of a song you want to sing, look for it in the system, find a song you want to sing that is actually bloody in the system, load it into the playlist, sing it. But with the recording studio ambience you really feel something different.
With soundproof walls you don’t feel self-conscious about people hearing you, and as you’re wearing headphones you can hear your voice with the music. If you take your headphones off you notice how quiet your area actually is.
I would recommend Wankara to anyone who enjoys karaoke and wants to try a new way of doing it. Similarly if you have any songs that you want to get good at but don’t want to use a karaoke with friends session as ‘practice’. You can also buy a CD of your performances to take home!
But how does it make you sound? Through the headphones I didn’t sound too bad. But that had the music and whatever sciencey magic technology it used to make your sound nice. I took a recording of me singing “When a Man Loves a Woman” with my phone. This had no music, no fancy audio hype, this was my RAW singing.
I won’t hurt your ears, but trust me it was terrible! Make no mistake if you’re not a talented singer, Wankara will not make you a great singer over-night (night sessions are available). It will fool you into thinking “hey I’m not too bad”, but record yourself and see what you REALLY sound like.
Want to see the full video? You’ll have to ask me in person to show you.