Saturday, August 20, 2016

Manekineko Karaoke - Kbox in a Japanese Name with the Use of Mobile Technology & Unlimited Slushies, Soft / Hot Drinks & Tidbits! @ Bugis Plus [Singapore]

Disguised with a Japanese name, i was deceived into thinking that KBox, Teo Heng and Party World would have to work harder in the future with a new competitor that's said to be one of Japan's largest karaoke chains! 

Called Manekineko, which was Japanese name for the fortune-calling cat that even Singaporeans are aware of, this is actually KBox that was bought over by Manekineko; appeal was more family oriented and the theme was cute and cartoony with a focus on felines. 

Before making payment, do also keep in mind that there's no remote control in the karaoke rooms and access to the song list is purely dependent on the smart phone you have as you are required to download the MyKARA app! 

Room numbers were placed on cat-head signs and there were numerous cat paw-prints adorning the walls and doors; my friend Kelly would be happy in such environment! 

We were allocated a green-theme room that had a sofa-bed spacious enough for us to take a nap. Not that we wanted to as our objective was to sing to our hearts' content; if we want to sleep, there's always the bed at home. 

Space between the sofa and the television screens were narrow and i guess the second flat screen television at the bottom was essential in case we prefer to lie down to sing.

Orange room with a humongous fortune cat welcoming us! We moved to this room as the previous one had speakers emitting a buzzing sound. 

Two wireless microphones on the table - now, i hate wired microphones as i have a tendency to tangle them with a 30% chance that it would result in someone tripping over the wires! 

Now's the time to install the MyKara app on your smart phone! Follow the simple instructions as indicated above and you would just need this same one app to access the controls at all Singapore's manekineko branches. 

Before you activate the app, remember to look at the television screen in the room, look out for the WiFi ID (unique for each room), search for it in your phone's WiFi and key in the password. 

Launch the app, tap "more", click "update DB" and you are good to go! Amazing right?! Honestly, a good use of technology with the prevalence of mobile devices yet with limitations.

For example, searching for songs have never been easier as i can use the keyboard function on my phone to easily type out Chinese characters. However, given that my phone was the "registered user", i would have to pass my phone to my friends as well so that they can search for their preferred songs. For those fiercely protective of their phone privacy, this will not work for them.

Searching for songs is just one of numerous things your phone has now been bestowed with; i can also increase the volume of the music / mics, change the key for your microphones, play the recorded applause when you hit an exceptionally high note with little difficulty etc. All with just one phone! 

Navigation wasn't a big issue; you just need to play around a bit and you shall get the hang out of it. 

Another disadvantage with using your personal phone as the designated "remote" - battery drained like nobody's business! Fret not though as there's a USB charging point in each room! Two problems; one, the charging cable wasn't provided and two, the point was located near the screens and you would need a sufficiently length charging cable! 

A key selling point for manekineko karaoke was their free flow slushies, hot / cold drinks and tidbits! The range was pretty extensive although i was disappointed with the lack of root beer...

Anyway, it's likely to be cold in the karaoke rooms and hot drinks are preferred; there were sachets of Twinings tea and there's white coffee, teh tarik and even milo! 

The tidbits counter - nothing out of the blue with traditional karaoke favourites. For us, it's a walk down memory lane as it's been a while since i last had the "wheels" biscuits. 

Need something substantial for your tummy? Do check out the menu where there were many other selections. My sister ordered from the menu in our first visit and let's put this in a tactful manner; for future visits, she will be eating a full meal before stepping into the facility. 

For two / three persons, you would be given an empty mug for each person and a empty tidbit bowl. You can change the mug in case you want to alternate between hot and cold drinks.

Snacks were ready, drink was prepared. So what's next?

Singing of course! With Alex, i can freely tackle the Hokkien songs that my younger sister has no tolerance towards. There were options for two and three hours and trust me, two hours are never enough! p.s. depending on whether you like to sing or not.

Once your time is up, the system will automatically shut down. No more service personnel coming in to inform you while you are exerting your voice to hit that high note. That's, in my opinion, a good thing. 

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Location
201 Victoria Street #03-18,
Bugis +, Singapore 188067

Map

As above

Floor Plan
As above

Website

Pricing
As above - prices are nett and based on per person! 

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