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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lost in Translation

Smokers Unite
Photo by myself in Koreatown, on 32nd Street and Sixth Avenue.

There is always an assembly of smokers outside this building. Mostly Korean businessmen while away their stress, regardless of the weather.

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After a long week of quiet dinners and drinks relaxing with Mark, last night we went a little nuts (hence the delayed post).

An old coworker friend was leaving her job, and a group of us went out for drinks, followed by a few hours in a karaoke booth. A couple of martinis, beer and sake later, I was giggling uncontrollably, watching Mark belt out 'Hotel California'.

If you're interested in a surreal, 'Lost in Translation'-like experience, karaoke is the solution. Every city with a strong Korean or Japanese population has these places - small karaoke booths where you can sing and celebrate and embarrass yourself.

Each booth is individually climate controlled. There are unlimited drinks and food. People pay a set fee per hour to have free reign over the karaoke machine. Meanwhile, cheesy dated images of couples and sunsets play on the video screen with subtitles.

In New York, there are some random bars that have Karaoke night, but the individual booths in Koreatown are the real deal. Walking down the hall to the ladies room, hearing the various parties around me, I felt like I was in another land.

Even though the experience was tame, the place felt seedy and transient. Everyone was engaged in pure excess - food, drink, enjoyment.

I'm not sure Mark and I would ever do it again. We'll have to recover from last night first.

Here's the trailer of 'Lost in Translation':

11 comments:

Abraham Lincoln said...

One day these people will be suffocating and maybe then will realize that smoking now will kill them tomorrow. It took me 47 years to learn this lesson.

Sonia A. Mascaro said...

Nice picture, Kitty!

Have a good weekend!

Fredrik said...

What a fun night! I'm definitely too shy to sing in public, but after a few sake who knows...

Kitty said...

Mr Lincoln
I'm glad you quit smoking!
It's a terrible, terrible habit. A few of my friends are in the process of quitting and I'm glad for them.

Thanks Sonia!

Kitty said...

Hi Fredrik
I get the feeling your personality is reflected by your photographs.

I didn't sing at all, I just watched and laughed.

Reluctant Blogger said...

haha I have only ever done karaoke when very very very drunk. I cannot sing AT ALL.

I was thinking the other day when the sun was out and I sat with a friend outside at a pub that the smoking ban is not all good news - it is horrible sitting outside now as that is where all the smokers are. I almost went inside to hide from the smoke but I just sat there scowling viciously at them instead!!!

Reformed smokers like me are always the most intolerant!!

Tammy said...

Where's the picture of Mark singing?

Kitty said...

lol, RB. I am a reformed smoker, too. So is Mark.
We're both extremely intolerant of smokers. So I think you're onto something.
I find the diehard smokers are most visible in the mornings. It's terrible walking to work with smoke in my face. Eek.

Hi Tammy!
Any photos I'd take in such a state would be bleary and askew. He did a wonderful job though!

Ming the Merciless said...

I am a huge fan of karaoke but none of my friends are. So am trying to find people to go karaoke-ing with.

Where in Koreatown did you go to, Kitty?

Kitty said...

Hi Ming
I don't recall the name of the place and I'll have to dig it up from a work email. It was somewhere on 27th Street, not on street level.

I'll let you know when I find the information...probably Monday.

I bet you're a good singer! People who like karaoke usually sing well.

G@ttoGiallo said...

What I like most since it's forbidden to smoke in restaurants and bars is these crowds outside in any weather that animate our cities. I can see this in my street where there is a bar every 3 meters...