Almost from the time that I began singing karaoke regularly, taking the H-Bomb show to Japan had been a prized objective for me. The Land of the Rising Sun was, of course, the place where karaoke originated. How could I not want to experience karaoke in the land of its birth?
I finally made it happen in April 2008. After singing in 13 other countries, I prepared to make my long-sought pilgrimage. That journey to Japan — my first foray into Asia, and my first time crossing the International Date Line — proved to be an outstanding vacation in many respects. Surprisingly, however, as you’ll see, I found the Japanese karaoke scene a letdown in comparison to my soaring expectations.
Like most visitors from overseas, my point of entry to Japan was Narita International Airport. That airport is located in the city of Narita, about 35 miles east of Tokyo’s city center.
Disaster almost struck before I even made it out of the airport. Right after I cleared customs, my passport fell out of my backpack without my noticing. But just a few minutes later, a young American man ran up to me in the ground transportation area and asked if I’d lost my passport. “That’s impossible,” I confidently replied, adding that I had just placed it in my bag. But then I noticed that the zipper was partially open on my backpack, and the passport was missing from the compartment in which I’d inserted it. The young man then ran back to where he’d come from; and shortly thereafter, he returned with my passport. Disaster averted.
This wasn’t the first time that I lost my passport while on the road. But this blog isn’t about my irresponsibility; it’s about my love of karaoke and travel. So, onward!
Anyway, once I recovered my passport, I didn’t immediately board a train to Tokyo. Instead I headed to a nearby hotel in Narita. Why did I do that? you may wonder. Continue reading