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Sakura in Old Tokyo

  • The Candlelight Club Somewhere in central London United Kingdom (map)
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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 genuine Japanese gangster 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 we'll have our own cherry blossom and themed food and drink (see below), plus live jazz from the Waruli Otoko Swing Orchestra. Presiding over the revelry will be cabaret host Champagne Charlie on Friday and Madame Ware on Saturday. When the band aren't playing vintage vinyl will be spun by DJ Holly from the Bee's Knees on Friday and Auntie Maureen on Saturday.

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

Madame Ware will welcome you into her den of Western decadence

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Takabatake Kashō, whose illustrations appeared in countless adverts and fashion magazines, regularly shows women in modern flapper dresses alongside women of the same age in traditional garb—clearly being careful to show Western culture as alluring but unthreatening

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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 to the point where, according to 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.

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Set Dinner Menu (preordered)

Starter

Sushi selection: Vegetarian or Fish

Main (All served with Asian vegetables, pickles and jasmine rice)

Miso and ginger salmon or

Smoked tofu with tempe glaze or

Teriyaki Chicken

Dessert

Mandarin and lemongrass cheese cake or

Melon dressed with jasmine, lime and fragrant mint

DRESS CODE: Like all Candlelight Club parties, smart 1920s costume is appreciated. On this occasion if you feel like wearing something with a Japanese twist go for it, but standard Candlelight Club attire will be spot on too.

  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