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Sakura in Old Tokyo


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Friday 6th & Saturday 7th April

April is the festival of cherry blossom (sakura) in Japan: acres of fruitless trees are planted just for their beauty at this time, and hanami blossom-viewing parties are popular. In the 1920s this love of nature and tradition mingled with a surge in modernisation and social change—women suddenly had more freedom, the urban young embraced Western fashion, Art Deco, jazz—to create a pulsing hybrid style, visible in the movies made at the time where new and old coexist in clothing, buildings and the problems people face. We'll be projecting some of these flicks at our party.

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The new look was the Japanese flapper modan gaaru ("modern girl") or moga for short

At our party there will be live music from the Waruli Otoko Swing Orchestra, and presiding over the revelry will be cabaret host Champagne Charlie. When the band aren't playing DJ Auntie Maureen will be spinning vintage vinyl into the night.

The Waruli Otoko Swing Orchestra the last time they played at the Candlelight Club

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This haori liner from 1930 has jazz sheet music printed on it

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One aspect of Western culture that the Japanese readily embraced was the cocktail, an enthusiasm that surged after the war, to the point where, according to modern bartending legend Kazuo Uyeda, "you could find a Martini shaker in every house and a Martini glass in every hand".

The Japanese art of bartending developed along its own lines, with the culture's characteristic attention to detail, respect for procedure and appreciation of the subtle stimulation of all the senses. We'll be offering a bespoke cocktail menu for the evening inspired by the Land of the Rising Sun.

A scene from Japanese Girls at the Harbour (1933), crystallising the coexistence of old and new

A scene from Japanese Girls at the Harbour (1933), crystallising the coexistence of old and new

Earlier Event: March 9
The Golden Age of Travel
Later Event: May 12
May Ball