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April 25, 2008 5:21 AM   Subscribe

no more Sukiyaki: after-work in-japanese karaoke battle song needed! what's your suggestion?

looking for a japanese song for karaoke, and i really don't know any. what are your favorites? in general, i'm especially a fan of songs with themes along the lines of "what are we waiting for" "we should hook up" and "i really really want you" and "i really really want you (and have no idea how to tell you)," but am open-minded.

*must be pretty easily found: available on youtube or something for practice, available on a typical (japanese) karaoke place box, lyrics online
*middling speed: too fast and i can't read, too slow and it's boring
*middling range: mariah carey i'm not
*dirty is ok, even recommended for fun-value.
*i can read japanese. i'm just musically unawares.
posted by n y my to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How about an enka like Yukiguni? They're usually a good speed and you'll impress the hell out of older Japanese folks.
posted by Alison at 5:29 AM on April 25, 2008

and entertain the hell out of the younger ones. maybe i can find one by the guy who grew up in philly... (i shoulda added that we're all early-to-mid-twenties)
posted by n y my at 6:00 AM on April 25, 2008

I'm partial to Tokyo Jihen's Osca, but it gets a little fast toward the end, and I have no idea if it would actually be on a karaoke machine.
posted by saladin at 6:06 AM on April 25, 2008

SMAP - Sekai Ni Hitotsu Dake No Hana ?
Otherwise you could quickly scan through the Kouhaku performances on YouTube and see if there is anything you like.
posted by cwhitfcd at 6:22 AM on April 25, 2008

SMAP - Celery or Shake Shake. Karaoke classics.
posted by gomichild at 6:25 AM on April 25, 2008

Something by Pizzicatto Five? They had a pretty big single here awhile back.
posted by electroboy at 6:27 AM on April 25, 2008

センチメンタルカンガルー(video, lyrics)
バンバンバン ("video", lyrics) -- I was actually looking for a completely different song, also called バンバンバン, but ran across this and thought it was too wacky not to include.

Oh wait, look, I found it!

バンバンバン (video, lyrics).
posted by adamrice at 7:26 AM on April 25, 2008

The ultimate kick-ass karaoke song would have to be 島唄 (Shima Uta) by the Boom. Master 島唄, and you'll never have to buy another beer again; you will make your Japanese hosts weep with pleasure, nostalgia and melancholy.

Other great karaoke songs:

Love is Over

与作 (Yosaku)
posted by KokuRyu at 7:44 AM on April 25, 2008

Mr Children - くるみ

It has some tricky parts but usually people joins you when you sing it.
posted by SageLeVoid at 7:50 AM on April 25, 2008

The only Japanese song I ever sang at karaoke is Kaze wo Atsumete by Happy End (はっぴいえんど). A really good song by a really good band. Nice and slow.
posted by robofunk at 8:04 AM on April 25, 2008

Linda, Linda!
posted by Bookhouse at 9:03 AM on April 25, 2008

Matsuken Samba II will make you the talk of the town. It kicks in at 1 min in. Lots of katakana and the cheese factor is great. Everyone will love it.
posted by quaisi at 9:06 AM on April 25, 2008

Jero, the guy from PA (from Pittsburgh apparently, not Philly) has only one single out so far - Umiyuki (海雪), but it's a bit difficult to sing I think. (He's a really impressive enka singer.) You could give it a go though! Here's a version with lyrics.

I would (and do) go with a good old '70s-80s folk song or kayoukyoku. This standard called Anata is very simple and easy to sing along to - sung by a girl but sort of unisex, very sentimental in a Japanese sort of way. 

Or go totally classic and sing and dance the Tokyo Ondo! You don't even have to be in tune much.
posted by thread_makimaki at 9:12 AM on April 25, 2008

Warning: The below are more my taste and what I'd sing, so YMMV, but tried to stick with the mid-tempo stuff you said you wanted.

*crosses arms* Blue Light Yokohama. I like it (then again I'm a sucker for Japanese enka and Korean trot style songs), and it's a classic. Hey, if my mom in the 70s could impress a bunch of coworkers and Japanese businessmen by belting this out, so can you. Enka/trot is always great for karaoke. It entertains old and young alike.

Then again, do you want more contemporary songs?

Have you thought about B'z? Range wise maybe a little harder, but you can pick and choose some of the easier ones and just mask lack of skill with gusto. A classic power duo, but more hard rock with lots of mid tempo stuff. Some, suggestions: Lady Navigation, Calling (get past the guitar noodly part to the slow part) and Time

Also as mentioned above, Mr. Children is also great for "Hey, I know this group" (depending on the crowd, though, I suppose) recognition factor and slow to mid-tempo songs, AND a lot of songs that fit the themes you like. The above mentioned Kurumi is good, but I also really like Hana - memento mori and Dakishimetai and Kuruma no naka de.

Wait, are you a dude or a girl? Thought about singing any Love Psychedelico (looooooooove, love, love)? The vocal range isn't super hard I think and the female vocalist sings in a low voice, but it might be hard getting her exact retro droning intone-y singing style down, but if you're willing to ignore that you won't sound exactly like her stylistically it shouldn't be a problem I think. There's Last Smile, or Your Song for example.
posted by kkokkodalk at 9:13 AM on April 25, 2008

I'm a huuuuge Love Psychedelico fan, but the songs are super hard for Karaoke unless you already know them well. Kumi, the lead singer, drops words and syllables all over the place so you'll often end up with a five syllable word that doesn't quite fit into three syllables. It's not worth the headache unless you really like their music.
posted by Alison at 1:52 PM on April 25, 2008

some of these are awweeesome! if anyone's still reading, i'm a girl, but not a high-voiced one. i'll follow up once i've investigated everything.
posted by n y my at 4:34 PM on April 25, 2008

Just got here! I was thinking how fun it would be if everyone in this thread went to sing karaoke together...

Sen no kaaazeeee niiii... has to be THE karaoke song of last year here in Japan. In case you're not familiar with it, it's the Japanese translation of the famous poem "Do not stand at my grave and weep." It's a serious song and not the lyrics you're looking for, but it's gotten so well-known here now that kids my son's age go around singing parodies of it.

Songs by Mr. Children, as much as I love the band, are very very hard to sing. Well, they are for me, anyway. Kazutoshi Sakurai has a really broad range.

I personally like Isezakicho Blues when I need an ice-breaking song to sing. It's just really fun (Ahh, ahh...), and pretty easy to learn.
posted by misozaki at 12:15 AM on April 26, 2008

anything hiki
she is great
posted by edtut at 7:56 PM on April 26, 2008

so my goals for next week are shima uta (i know we've done that before, so i expect it to come up again), linda linda, and kuruma no naka de (misozaki, i think you're right this would be a hard one but mostly because it is so. damn. slow. however, it is so appropriate i cannot ignore it.)

for anyone else looking for resolution, the pizzicato five and love psychedelico, among others, will be going into the ipod, but maybe not immediately into the karaoke rotation.
posted by n y my at 5:51 AM on April 27, 2008

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