I Want To Be A Coppola

Kellina de Boer

Dara Block

Francesca Berti
Katie Bishop
Renee Hernandez

Coups de cœur de Coppola
Galerie de Coppola
quoi de neuf
Sofia Coppola



Beauty Products


œuvres de Sofia Coppola

Lick the Star (1998)

The Virgin Suicides (1999)

Lost in Translation (2003)

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Somewhere (2010)

The Bling Ring (2013)


IWTBAC Black Tee

IWTBAC White Mug

I Want To Be An Alt

I Want To Be A Battaglia

I Want To Be A Roitfeld


Larry Clark Stuff, Japanese Edition
By Larry Clark


Where'd You Get Those? 10th Anniversary Edition: New York City's Sneaker Culture: 1960-1987
By Bobbito Garcia


Horst: Photographer of Style
By Philippe Garner, Claire Wilcox, Robin Muir


Seven Sisters Style: The All-American Preppy Look
By Rebecca C. Tuite


Back in the Days
By Jamel Shabazz, Fab 5 Freddy, Ernie Paniccioli


Philip-Lorca diCorcia: Eleven
By Dennis Freedman, Philip-Lorca diCorcia


By Diego Uchitel


By Bill Owens


The Wes Anderson Collection
By Matt Zoller Seitz and Michael Chabon

« Sofia Coppola Styles Marni X H&M | Main | Sofia Coppola: Prom Queens »

Lost in Translation's Tokyo: Karaoke

Our talented editor-at-large Vivian Morelli continues her series Lost In Translation's Tokyo by exploring the karaoke culture of the city and its significance in Sofia Coppola's film. Thanks to Vivian's detailed description, it almost feels as if we are sharing her booth, singing along...

Lost In Translation's Tokyo: Karaoke
By Vivian Morelli

This newest installment of my ongoing series is actually not a geographical location, but rather an activity that is an essential part of any night out in Japan: karaoke. One of the most memorable scenes of Lost in Translation takes place in a karaoke room, where the main characters and their Japanese friends share the microphone for a few fun renditions.

Forget what you know about karaoke back home, which is essentially a single person performing in front of an audience of fellow patrons in a bar. In Japan, karaoke usually means a private booth, which you share with a few friends, some microphones, tambourines, a disco ball, and an all-you-can-drink (and eat!!) menu. Karaoke booths are open 24 hours, and you can stay as long as you wish, and order all the food and drinks you can handle (that is, if you can manage a pretty hefty tab at the end of the night).

Japanese karaoke rooms offer a wide selection of Japanese and English songs: they have everything ranging from Lady Gaga to The Smiths. The videos that play along with the songs are quite repetitive, albeit hilarious: usually some couples having a meal or a bubble bath, or rugged men riding motorcycles along the beach. You can even borrow accessories such as wigs and animal costumes (yes, you can be a tiger, a dinosaur, or Pikachu for a few hours).

In Lost in Translation, Bob, Charlotte, and their friends are seen singing along to hits such as "God Save The Queen" by The Sex Pistols, "More Than This" by Roxy Music, and the unforgettable "Brass In Pocket" by The Pretenders as performed by a pink wig-clad Charlotte. This scene is pretty amazing: not only is Scarlett Johansson completely captivating, but the scene is so typically Japanese. Sofia Coppla captured all the small details and emotions that are associated with a karaoke night out with Japanese friends, and how ties are created.

An evening out in Japan usually consists of a few stops: an izakaya (pub style restaurant) for drinks and finger foods, a bar for more drinks, a night club for some dancing, then a few hours at karaoke to end the night... or rather early morning. Karaoke is usually the last step of any night out in Japan, and from personal experience, people most likely emerge from a karaoke booth at sunrise.

In the movie, the characters end their festivities by stopping at karaoke, and singing a variety of English and Japanese songs. Their karaoke booth has a gorgeous view overlooking the neon-lit city, and those particular karaoke rooms are easily found anywhere in Shibuya or Shinjuku — I like to think the scene takes place in Shibuya, at a karaoke chain named Karaoke-kan, as it makes the most sense after their bar-hopping night and similar design.

I love how karaoke plays an important part in Lost in Translation as for bonding amongst characters — not only Charlotte and Bob, but them and their Japanese friends. Despite cultural differences and language barriers, everyone can always have such a fantastic time together at karaoke, singing along to songs everyone knows around the world. I'm also very fond of the sequence where Charlotte and Bob sit silently in the hallway, exhausted, as their friends sing the beautiful "Kaze Wo Atsumete" by Happy End, an old Japanese song I love so much.

And, in true Japanese style, the night ends with a sleepy taxi ride across Tokyo... pure bliss.

Watch Scarlett Johansson as Charlotte singing karaoke to "Brass In Pocket" by The Pretenders.

Read more in the series:
Lost In Translation's Tokyo: Park Hyatt Tokyo
Lost In Translation's Tokyo: Shibuya
Lost in Translation's Tokyo: Sushi in Daikanyama

Lost in Translation film stills © 2003 Lost in Translation Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Reader Comments (3)

I love this series of Lost in Translation! I like the scene when Charlotte and Bob look at each other during "More than this"... simply marvellous! Thanks Vivian!
10 décembre 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca
Ooooh, one of my favourite moments!!!
12 décembre 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrom here to Burma
OH, I love the Japanese karaoke "box" style--private rooms with friends make it so much more fun than those scary open bars we have here in America.
14 décembre 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.