The Launch Party Review

A woman talking on a stage to a crowd of people in a bar – Off to A Blazing Start!

A massive THANK YOU to all who attended the launch party. It was a teeth-chatteringly cold evening to venture out, but the excellent venue of Karaoke Box Smithfield was cosy and welcoming…

Guests who hadn’t been before were surprised to find such a surprisingly spacious bar area – it has recently been given a deeply hip décor update. Photos of the event – kindly taken by the highly professional Nina Bosanac – show just how fabulous and funky the coloured lights make everything look!

2 men playing guitars on a stage

UK-Japan Duo Get Things Warmed Up in Karaoke Box

To kick things off with a chilled-out, ambient vibe were UK-Japan duo O-Arc. Perfect music for forgetting about the stresses of the day, the paired-down lyrics and guitar work of Masa Iida and Neil Mason subtly unveil a deep vein of talent. If you missed your chance to grab one of their CDs, you can support O-Arc by picking it up from iTunes instead.

A man drinking CHOYA Umeshu from a glass

Everyone Loves CHOYA Umeshu

Original Asahi beer from Japan is always a firm favourite and went fantastically with Karaoke Box’s excellent pizza – I quote: ‘This pizza is so good that I would come here just for it – never mind the karaoke…’  Thanks to Dan the manager for making sure the crowd could try this perfect Asahi/pizza partnership!

Choya’s Umeshu – every glass complete with its very ume ‘plum’ – won many converts. Having loved Umeshu for many years I was thrilled to contribute to their new found ume appreciation.

Guests could also try a range of premium sakes kindly gifted by the honourable Sake Samurai – absolutely spoilt for choice.

A woman dancing Fusion dance in front of a small crowd

Hannah-Mi Presents Fantastic Fusion Dance

Suitably fed and lubricated, the crowd was ready for more entertainment. This came in the delightful and enigmatic form of Hannah-Mi; the Tokyo-trained top London belly dancer. Her elegant interpretations of taiko drum beats and traditional Japanese rhythms were infused with an inspiring international flavour.

Next came the UK-Japan Quiz; the theme being ‘Japanese things in London’. Although this was a tricky topical quiz the winning teams scored an impressive 17, 14 and 13 out of 20 respectively.  The winners choose between super prizes including a £40 gift certificate from Tsuru Restaurant, a bottle of premium sake from Sake Samurai, and a gorgeous Platinum Silver Nanocolloid Set from DHC.

Four people singing karaoke

Room 11 Sing Their Hearts Out and Miss the Last Tube

There was more yet to come… after the quiz prizes had been happily claimed the guests were treated to 2 hours of free karaoke. Everyone enjoyed singing in English and Japanese – some so much so that they missed the last tube (ahem).

Last, but not least, was the party ‘goodie’ bag for all guests. Clearspring very kindly sent along samples of their delicious organic tofu and rice crackers. This London-based organic Japanese and European food supplier goes to great lengths to source top quality goods and is well worth supporting. DHC contributed a generous 200ml bottle of their top-selling olive oil based ‘Deep Cleansing Oil’ for every guest (this stuff is amazing!). Vermont Curry – a name familiar to those who have enjoyed kare risu in Japan – included cute mobile phone charms.

Some party bag treats

Wonderful Party Bag Treats from Clearspring and DHC

Other good stuff in the party bags: info on Studio Path – a great Japanese hair salon on trendy Brick Lane, a voucher for 5% off a Cook Japan rice cooker (what a fab Christmas present this would be!  Hint hint!), a free miso soup voucher from Tsuru restaurant, and more information on the award-winning Genki Haramaki – a tummy hugging tube from Japan that is perfect for winter days in London.

Domo arigatou gozaimasu to all guests, helpers, sponsors, performers, and the staff at Karaoke Box for coming together to make a night to remember.

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