Happy puppy is not a pet shop. It’s a karaoke bar—the most beloved in Yogyakarta—where sentimental folks sing late into the night. Here, Yogyakarta’s diverse populace commiserates over songs of love and heartbreak. People enjoy celebrity status on a micro-level, eat fried food, and watch music videos featuring Indonesian women trailing their fingers along glasses of fresh orange juice.
The lobby of Happy Puppy resembles a four-star hotel. At the welcome desk, should you choose to indulge in a night of crooning, simply request a room and the number of hours you’d like it reserved. An attendant will guide you through a hallway wallpapered in neon glow-in-the-dark fish and lead you into a room with black couches on which you’d expect to find pimps snorting cocaine.
Once seated, your attendant will ask if you’d like anything to eat or drink. The sign on his hat, “Puppy Club,” along with the larger-than-life image of Posh Spice glaring at you from the nearest wall, will convince you that you need a beer.
Fifteen minutes later your beverage will arrive while you are singing the Beatles with a middle-aged Australian man and his Indonesian wife, neither of whom you met before and neither of whom can hold a tune. Happy puppy is a happy place indeed; although you won’t truly appreciate this until an hour or two passes and you find yourself moaning the lyrics to Adele, arm-in-arm with strangers and without a trace of shame.