One thing about the Culture Shock! Japan book that my company told me to read that is turning out to be true is the fact that just about every party and night of drinking inevitably comes to a karaoke bar. Now, I probably know what you’re thinking. “Mark? Out on a night of drinking?” Well, most of my coworkers are a pretty subdued crowd. “A night of drinking” for us generally just means the Chinese restaurant up the street. If you want to go drinking, you’ve got to find the folks who work for our distinguished competitors. Now they’re a drinking crowd. But that always proves to be a problem for me, as I’m one who likes to go to the karaoke bars and sing as loudly and badly as the next person, but doesn’t need the liberating effects of alcohol to do it. So, karaoke for me is turning into a rare and special occasion, and generally comes after several hours of just saying no to the request, “C’mon! Have just one beer!” But the benefit to this, by the time we get to karaoke, I’m the only sober one, so they’re just too drunk to complain about my bad singing.