|Vol. 8: gKaraoke Boxesh in Taipei|
Karaoke is one cultural manifestation originating in Japan that is in the process of spreading worldwide. The inroads it has made into Taipei, in particular, are quite extraordinary. Wherever one goes in Taipei, one comes across signs bearing the word gkaraokeh in Japanese.
Especially popular in Taipei are the sound-proofed cubicles fitted out with karaoke equipment known in Japan as gkaraoke boxes.h They are identified in Taipei by means of the letters KTV, short for gkaraokeh and gtelevision.h In Japan, karaoke boxes are popular particularly among students and young people wanting to let off steam at a low cost, but in Taiwan they are used by people from a wide range of social groups. Many karaoke boxes look from the outside like discotheques or pool bars. The first floor is likely to consist of a stylishly decorated lounge-style lobby where customers await their turn while drinking liquor. The individual cubicles are lavishly arranged, and drinks are provided on the house. The songs available for singing are virtually the same as those available in Japan. Karaoke has become Taiwanfs most advanced form of amusement, and the atmosphere that it conjures up is evident in the handling of highly sophisticated neon signs.