Norebang singing rooms in Seoul, South Korea - 62
Norebangs are a part and parcel of Korean life. Singing rooms and singing in general are popular with every age group in Korea. Norebangs are used sometimes for company meetings (meetings in Konglish meaning social events in this situation), whilst at other times they are used by friends simply out to enjoy themselves. As someone who does not enjoy singing at all, Norebangs can be an annoying distraction from drinking Bek-SeJu.
For the majority of people though, who love to exercise their vocal cords, Norebangs are a great place to hang out. Visiting a Norebang is also a great cultural experience for the visitor to Korea - A place where the cultural differences can also be seen. Having visited a Norebang on about six occasions, because friends (half Korean and half Western) dragged me there even though I am not keen on singing, it was interesting to see the difference in musical taste between cultures. For the most part, my Korean friends almost always chose to sing ballads/love songs, the men singing with as much love and passion as the women. The choice of songs for the Westerners was always more rock orientated, with artists such as U2 and Oasis popular choices.
The love of singing is so great in Korea, that foreigners who dislike singing can find themselves under a lot of pressure to sing, at various times. In my case, this happened both at a private wedding party, which I was lucky enough to be invited to (in Korea, most people attend the ceremony and then simply go home, unless invited by the bride to the after party), and this situation also happened at a house warming party held by one of the Korean teachers I worked with. I always feel that we must do as much as we can to adapt to the culture of the country we are in.
As the expression goes - In Rome, do as the Romans do! I would like though to add a new expression of my own. – Do not force a foreigner to do something that makes him/her feel uncomfortable in front of others. It is unfair to force a Korean friend to have to do a dance in front of many people in an English pub (do not worry – it will not happen) the same as it seems unfair for me to be forced to sing in front of others when I do not like singing.