An Efficient Japanese Way to Deal With Stress

I’m not gonna lie; it’s been a rough couple of weeks.

I like to think I’m not one to complain, but things have been piling up. Sad stuff, busy stuff, annoying stuff. A high workload. Snapping at everyone (my poor husband especially). Then today when my student was an hour late for her lesson, I was almost pushed over the edge.

Returning home and thinking of the several thousand words I still had to write to meet today’s quota, I stopped. I just couldn’t face it, not yet.

So I went to karaoke.

Work could wait. I needed to sing. To let out all my anger and frustrations and just scream and yell to some awesome music.

Thing is, in the west, singing karaoke often involves getting together with friends or waiting for karaoke night at the local pub. Over here, there are small rooms where you can go alone or with friends. Food and drink is available and you can stay for as long as you like.

It’s quite normal to see people going alone, often in the daytime. It’s a good way to pass the time… or get over a bad mood.

Going alone is great because you don’t have to worry about hogging it or choosing songs others won’t like. You can sing as loudly and badly as you want. I went there and belted my heart out for an hour.

And I felt loads better.

If you’re ever stressed in Japan, karaoke is a fantastic way to let out your frustrations! And if you visit in the daytime on a weekday, it’s super cheap, too.

Be sure to give it a try, whether it’s therapeutic or just for fun!

Amuse Bar in Musashi Kosugi: Beer, Karaoke, and Retro Games

Japan is a country that loves to drink and isn’t short of bars and izakayas. Though there are many interesting themed bars in the big cities as well as the traditional hole-in-the-wall establishments offering beer and sake, there are also some rather unique places only known to locals.

Amuse Bar in Musashi Kosugi is run by a man named Takeshi Hasegawa, who loves beer almost as much as his customers. His bar is underground and lit with fairy lights and half a dozen televisions! It’s no surprise that he’s a huge fan of TV shows and anime.

Where most izakayas and bars have these paper menus displaying dishes and prices, Takeshi has written the names of faithful patrons. The number written below their name is the number of times they visited in one year!

He had the bar filled with cool vintage stuff like this fruit machine and a Super Famicon (SNES).

I played Kirby for the first time!

After some beer and some ginger highballs (where he let us draw the whisky ourselves!) it was time for karaoke.

Some ladies joined us and sang their fair share as well.

This bar was a lot of fun and I plan on visiting again very soon! Maybe I’ll have my name on the wall one day.

Another thing that makes Amuse Bar so unique is that Takeshi is OK with you taking food and drink along with you, as long as you don’t mind paying. A customer will usually pay around 3,000 yen, which is pretty reasonable considering the free snacks and flow of drinks on offer, as well as karaoke and games.

How to Get There/Opening Hours

Amuse Bar┬áis just a few minutes’ walk from Musashi-Kosugi Station, which is on the Nambu line, Toyoko line, Meguro line, and Shonan Shinjuku line and just 15 minutes from Shibuya and 20 minutes from Shinjuku.

It’s open from 18:00-5:00 Monday to Saturday. It’s closed on Sundays, though this may differ when it comes to national holidays (as a rule, if a Monday is a national holiday, establishments in Japan instead take their days off on the Monday instead). If you’re not sure, you can call Amuse Bar at 044-422-7627.

Come sing, drink, and play games at Amuse Bar!