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This is my - what did I get myself into - face.

The title of this piece should really be “Karaoke…Schooled,” because that’s what happened when our friends in Tokyo so graciously treated us to a private karaoke night. But I am sort of in denial about being such an awful singer.

I guess I have been my whole life. I should have gotten the hint when my older sister Tricia would scream from the basement for me to stop singing the Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World,” while washing the dishes. I would sing really, really softly. I can’t imagine how she could hear me from all the way downstairs. But sure enough, as I worked my way up to the line, “I want moooOORRREE,” I’d hear “STOP SINGING!” reverberating up through the floor boards.

And for the first 11 years that I’ve known Nellu, I had him convinced that he was the tone-deaf one. When we took long car trips, he would start singing along to the music and I’d say, “You know what would make this song better…If you stopped singing.” I know. Most of you reading this always thought I was the nice one. It’s not true.

Noriko & Kengo. Watch out for this duo in a karaoke booth.

To be fair, this time we didn’t go up against beginners: Noriko, Megumi, and even 2-year old Kengo – all pros. We knew we were whipped when Kengo controlled the mic to some of his favorite kids songs,  but we really found out what we were up against when Megumi logged in the code for Mariah Carey’s “Hero“.

Megumi showing us how it's done.

I tried to bring it in my own way with a song I used to make my roommate Brigette sing and appropriately named for our trip, “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” But it was the Peter, Paul and Mary version, which was a lot slower than I was used to and really long. Don’t you love the moment when you realize that the song you’ve picked to sing never ends? Nellu tried to rescue me by joining in for a duet. On his own, he rocked with the Tom Jones he’s been practicing in the car for years and doing a superb rendition of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”

Nellu does his part for Team Cantagallo

And of course, Noriko, the consummate hostess, chose several crowd pleasers, “New York, New York” and “Piano Man” among them.

Now when Nellu and I take long car trips, I encourage him to sing. Mostly because I also want to sing too. I look at is practice for our next karaoke showdown.

Thanks for the lesson, guys! Our trip to Tokyo would have been incomplete without it.

~ Molly


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