Do you love to sing out loud at the top of your lungs to your favorite song? Who doesn't, right? Music can move the soul, so it's no WONDER that people love to sing out when their favorite tune comes on.

But do you sing out loud at the top of your lungs to your favorite song in front of your friends? Or do you confine your performances to the shower or your room when you're alone? Do you think you're brave enough to sing in front of your friends or an audience of strangers?

Believe it or not, singing along to your favorite songs in front of friends and strangers has become a very popular pastime. What are we talking about? Karaoke, of course!

Popular legend has it that karaoke got its start over two decades ago in Kobe, Japan. No one knows its origins for certain, but many people believe karaoke began when a snack bar owner had trouble with a local musician who regularly failed to show up to play music for guests.

The snack bar owner supposedly created tapes of popular music without the vocals and would play them any time the musician failed to show up. Customers began to sing the vocals to their favorite music tracks and a new form of entertainment was born.

Karaoke is a Japanese word that comes from the combination of the words for “empty" and “orchestra." “Empty orchestra" accurately describes karaoke, which consists of music-only tracks played while people sing the vocals to the music while following the lyrics displayed on a screen.

Karaoke quickly became popular throughout Japan. It didn't stay a Japanese phenomenon for long, though. Today, karaoke is popular all over the world. Karaoke machines allow people to be pretend pop stars at home, at parties, or even in public restaurants!

While karaoke can be very entertaining to participate in and especially to watch, it can also be educational. Japanese karaoke enthusiasts sing not only Japanese songs, but also popular western songs. By doing so, they have fun while also practicing their English skills!

If you've never tried karaoke, you should! It can be so much fun. And it doesn't matter whether you can sing well or not. The fun comes from enjoying the company of friends while doing something outside your comfort zone. In a normal karaoke atmosphere, no one worries about how well you sing. Most people just appreciate that you give it a try!

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