My first encounters with karaoke were in Japan in the early 1980s, at a time when it was virtually unknown in the western world. Now, of course, karaoke plays out in bars across the world and was transported to a whole different level in "Lost in Translation." There are lots of karaoke bars in Tokyo, but Smash Hits claims to be the "world's largest English karaoke stage bar," whatever that means, and is certainly one of the oldest, open for almost 25 years. What sets it apart is that it has theater-style seating plus a stage and offers more than 53,000 songs, mostly in English but also Spanish, Swedish, Italian, Dutch, French, German, and other languages. Songs cover almost all genres, including pop, rock, jazz, rap, hip-hop, disco, rhythm and blues, gospel, and even children's songs and songs from musicals and TV shows, so there's really no excuse not to get up and show what you have. Audiences are very appreciative in Japan, so they'll applaud no matter how awful you sound.
5-2-26 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku
Our Rating Neighborhood Shibuya-ku Hours Tues–Sat 8pm–3am Transportation Station: Hiro-o (exit B2, 2 min.) Phone 03/3444-0432 Prices ¥3,500 cover charge includes 2 drinks and limitless karaoke Web site Smash Hits