Karaoke is derived from the Japanese words kara (missing or empty) and oke (short for okesutora or orchestra). It is the long-held belief that karaoke originated in a small bar in Kobe, Japan when an enterprising house band recorded their music onto a tape for the vocalist to sing along with when the band couldn't make the gig. Before you could say "sake bomb," a phenomenon was born. The advent of MTV and the subsequent popularity of music videos helped to create global hits and this, combined with the ease of use and general popularity of CDs, helped spur karaoke into a world-wide craze. These days, just about every bar has karaoke night, where inebriated patrons get onstage and sing the words to their favorite songs over a bed a prerecorded music. In fact, karaoke has become so popular many electronics stores now sell small, reasonably-priced karaoke machines for use in homes and private parties. Ear plugs not included.