About Me

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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Zombie doing magic ・ ゾンビの格好でマジック

Me in slightly out of the ordinary clothes.

On Sunday October 30, we had the Sapporo Zombie Walk here in Sapporo. I participated and dressed up as a zombie. After that, I was invited to a Halloween party at a friends house, and of course went there in my zombie outfit. I had some time to kill, so on the way to the party I also stopped by the Magic Shop Mebius here in Sapporo. It is a magic shop and I know the owner. He was very surprised by my looks, and had me posing with lots of weird props for 10 minutes or so.

Shopping for new props.

日曜日(10月30日)に札幌で札幌ゾンビ・ウォーク というイベントがあった。僕もゾンビの格好して、参加した。その後、友達の家であったハロウィーンパーティーにも誘われた。勿論、ゾンビのまんまで行った。ちょっと時間があったので、途中にマジックショップメビウスにも入った。マジックショップで、僕とオーナーさんが仲良い。オーナーが僕の姿を見て、かなりびっくりした。10分くらい色々な道具とポーズとったりして、写真撮られた。

I only knew one person at the party, though I had met one more once at a fireworks festival. The other 10 or so participants were all new to me, but they had apparently heard a lot of stories about me from my friend. Among other things, they knew I was a magician, so they asked me to show them something.


I tried using cards, but with my fingers covered in paint and fake blood, this was quite difficult. I did two of my usual card tricks from the magic bar that do not require that much in difficult moves (since cards were sticking to me at times, and refusing to move when I tried to move them at other times, that too was a bit of a challenge :-) that go over well. I also did a few rubber band tricks, and a coin and pen routine that I like. Sticking the pen behind my ear that is usually so easy turned out to almost fail catastrophically since my ears/hair/face were caked in hardened syrup/fake blood/paint.


All in all, everyone seemed happy with my performance, and they said it was the first time they ever saw a zombie do magic. It was fun and interesting for me to, trying to adopt to the circumstances of almost not being able to use your hands. Or anything else. Next time, I should do the "Zombie ball" trick, I guess.


Tenyo 2012, The third eye ・ テンヨー2012年、ザ・サードアイ

This weekend I tried using the Tenyo "The third eye" props in the magic bar. Someone selects (while looking at the faces) a card from a set of five (with things like "love", "money", "fame", written on them) and no one except this person knows what card is selected. The card is returned, the cards are shuffled a little, and I place the cards on a stand.


There is also a plastic eye, that when turned on blinks with a red light. I explain that this is a "magicians eye", and anyone putting this eye on their forehead can see what a magician would see. So anyone doing that can see which card is the selected card, only by watching the backs of the cards. Of course, no one else can see that, though anyone can see it if the receive the eye (and then the person who originally had the eye will no longer see it).


People found this fairly fascinating, and it works well as a fun way to kill some time. It is not a very exciting magic trick and no one is surprised by finding one selected card among five, though everyone is amazed at the properties of the magician's eye.


So my impression after using it two nights (though I did not use it with very many of our customers) is that is is a quite fun prop to use, and people like it. There is very little "wow"-factor but it is a nice piece. Possibly there are more interesting presentations you can use it for too.


The properties of this (the physics behind it) are quite fascinating to me as a magician too.



Saturday (October 29) was my birthday. It was also a very very busy day in the magic bar. The day started with a group of 20, which is tiring in itself. At the same time there were people coming in small number too. There were other large groups coming later too, and our magic bar was pretty much full from opening until 1 A.M. or so. We even had to put people who did not know each other at the same table since we ran out of seats. And we had to turn away 10 people or so (on a normal "good" day, we get between 10 and 20 guests, so turning away 10 is quite a lot; though we get slightly more people on weekends).

土曜日(10月29日)は僕の誕生日だった。 マジックバーで非常に忙しい日だった。オープンから20人の団体も少人数の人も来た。団体だけで疲れる。その後も10人とかの団体も来たし、カップルとかも沢山来たし、午前1時までずっと忙しかった。ほぼ満席だったから、初めてお客さんが知らない人と相席になったり…入らないお客さん10人もいた(普通なら、1日に10~20人しか来ないから、多い。週末はもうちょっと来るけど)。

Happy Birthday ヨーナス (Jonas)

At around 1 A.M. when things were calming down, one of my colleagues produced a cake and said "Today is Jonas's birthday! Happy Birthday!" Right when I finished blowing out the candles, more customers appeared and we had to put the cake back in the refrigerator right away, though...


At around 3 A.M. it finally calmed down again, and I could have some cake. Two of our regular guests also brought tai-yaki (fish shaped waffles with sweet fillings) for us that day (unrelated to my birthday, though).

3時頃にまたやっと落ち着いたから、ケーキ食べれた。 常連さん2人もタイ焼きを持って来てくれた(僕の誕生日と全く関係なかったけど)。

Tai-yaki, a colleague eating tai-yaki, and two customers who brought tai-yaki!
On the cake, "Happy birthday" was written in Latin letters and my name in Japanese... In our magic bar, if people ask for my name I usually reply "Jonas, as in the 'you' from Hokuyou-ginkou and the 'nasu' from nasubi". Japanese people often explain what Chinese characters they write their names with, since there are many possibilities for writing what is pronounced as the same name. I deliberately chose two words that people would not normally use to exemplify (the name of a bank and the word for eggplant), which sounds funny to Japanese people. So my colleague wanted the cake to say my name like that (洋茄子) but decided it would probably not be possible to get the cake shop people understand that over the phone, so we ended up with the usual ヨーナス. "Jonas" would have worked for me too, though :-)

ケーキに「Happy birthday」ローマ字で書いてあったが僕の名前がカタカナだった。マジックバーで「お名前は何ですか?」と聞かれると、だいたい「ヨーナス。北洋銀行のヨウになすびのナス、ヨーナス」と言う(北海道で茄子のことはなすびと言うんだ。方言かな?)。ヨーナスだけ言ったら、名前に聞こえないから日本人に伝わらないことが多い。ヨーナ?とか…北洋銀行やなすびで例えるのがうけるみたい。

同僚がその例え方が凄く好きみたいで、ケーキに「Happy birthday 洋茄子」と書いて欲しかったそうだが電話で伝わらないと思っていたからカタカナにしたそうだ。ローマ字の「Jonas」でもいいんだけどね、笑。

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Magic Snack Ropossa ・ マジックのスナック「ロポッサ」

Me with something stuck to my face
Yesterday I went to the magic "snack bar" Ropossa (Sapporo read in reverse, in Japanese, sa-double consonant-po-ro --> ro-po-double consonant-sa). A snack bar is basically a bar with a high entry fee or high prices that also includes the "mama" and the other staff talking to you and entertaining you. So it could be for instance a bar with flirty waitresses. Ropossa is a bar where the mama does magic for you. She does not call herself a magician, and says that the place is not a magic bar, though.

昨日、ロポッサ(札幌の逆読み)というマジックスナックに行った。 ママがマジックをやってくれるスナックだ。マジシャンではないと言っている。マジックバーではないって、言っている。だが、結構レベル高いマジック見れる。

More food (dried fish heated in the oven)

It costs 3000 yen to visit Ropossa, and this also gets you some food, and free drinks for your whole visit. If you are a magician, mama will generally not do magic for you (she thinks she is not good enough, which is not true), but they will pepper you with strange toys, puzzle boxes that just wont open no matter what you try, intellectual puzzles, novelty items, and lots more. Very exhausting! And very entertaining. You can also watch as mama performs magic to other customers, including lots of sponge rabbits, sponge penises, balloon swallowing, and spoon bending.


They have lots of strange games and interesting novelty items to play with too. Yesterday they showed me some toys made from old used milk cartons. You fold the carton and put it on a table and after awhile it will jump into the air. They also had a box full of these toys, that when opened spewed out a fountain of milk carton pieces jumping wildly into the air.


A jumping milk carton

Lots of jumping milk cartons
Mama (and the others) are also very fun to talk to. Yesterday we had interesting conversations regarding the new Tenyo 2012 items among other things.


Suspicious looking pants ・ 怪しいズボン

Yesterday we had the "full routine" rehearsal of our magic performances for the Christmas show of the university magic club. My rehearsal went OK I think, and there is still more than a month left to practice.


One other magician had some really suspicious looking pants, so I took a picture.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Funny Magic Clips: Helt Magiskt episode 3

Since I was away in Osaka and then got super busy at work when coming back, I just watched the third episode of "Helt Magiskt" now (the fourth episode already aired, I think). The third episode was also very nice. The sketch book magic performance that I talked about before was apparently from this third episode.

大阪旅行もあったし、帰ってから仕事が非常に忙しくなったし、スウェーデンのテレビの「Helt Magiskt」のエピソード3がただいま観た。エピソード4がもう放送されたと思う。今回も良かった。例えば、前にブログで書いたスケッチブックのマジックが今週の番組のパフォーマンスだった。

Joe Labero and the tennis star Jonas Björkman did a nice illusion where a huge number of people came out of a small box, they did some "street magic" in a tennis hall where the non-magician too got to do some nice things (bouncing a smoke filled soap bubble using a tennis racket with no strings), and they did a cut and restored necktie finishing with the non-magician pulling the shirt off of the audience member (while he still had his jacket on). I liked the street magic performance best, but all three performances were nice.

Joe Laberoさんがテニス選手のJonas Björkmanさんとペアになって、小さな箱から有り得ないほど沢山の人を出した。テニスホールでストリートマジックとして、面白いパフォーマンスもした。特にマジシャンではない方もちゃんとしたマジックをしたから結構好きだった(煙が入ったシャボン玉を網の分がないテニスのラケットで浮かしていた)。最後に切ったネクタイの復活とお客さんがまだジャケットを着ていた時にテニス選手がお客さんのワイシャツを取った。

Michael Halvarson and Sara Sommerfeldt did an excellent street magic performance, where first the non-magician made a coin disappear from the hand of a spectator without touching, and then the magician did some pick-pocketing. They also did a funny rope trick/spirit cabinet performance that I liked very much. The final illusion was a woman in a small box that then is punched through with things so there would seem to be no more space for her. I liked the fact that the non-magician had to do so much magic throughout all their performances, and that they were very funny!

Michael Halvarsonさんと女優のSara Sommerfeldtさんが面白いストリートマジックを見せてくれた。女優さんがお客さんの手に置いてあったコインを触らずにきれいに消した。 マジシャンがピックポケットもした。ロープマジックの有名な演目の凄く面白いバーションもした。大好きだった、笑。最後に小さな箱に女優さんが入って、マジシャンが箱に色々刺して、もう居るところがないって感じのイリュージョンもした。喋りがまた面白かった。マジシャンではない人も結構本格的なマジックを沢山やっているのが好きなので、良かった。喋りというかストーリも凄く良かった。

The final couple was Charlie Caper and Ylva Hällen. As I mentioned in a previous post about their street magic performance, that was really really great. They also did an escape under dangerous conditions thing, which I am not very interested in personally (but the "training session" footage they had in the show was very funny :-) Their third performance was great. They fished live gold fish out of the audience members' bags, the magician lost his bow tie (Charlie Caper almost always does) and the non-magician lost her shoe at some unknown point in time and suddenly these things appeared out of a suitcase. Which also sucked the clothes of the magician when he got too close. A very well thought out story line! Again, I like the performances where the non-magician ends up doing a lot of magic, which these were.

最後のペアはCharlie CaperさんとYlva Hällenさんだった。前に感動したスケッチブックのストリートマジックが凄く良かったね。脱出のマジックもしたが僕は個人的に脱出にはあまり興味がない。そのパフォーマンスの「練習」からの動画が非常に面白かったけど、笑。最後に凄くいいパフォーマンスもあった。お客さんのカバンから本物の金魚を釣った。何かのタイミングで、マジシャンの蝶ネクタイとマジシャンではない人の靴が消えた。ステージにあったスーツケースから出て来たがマジシャンがスーツケースの近すぎたところに行ったら、スーツ全部スーツケースに取られた。ストーリが凄く良かった。マジシャンではない方も本格的なマジックをしたし。良かった良かった。

Friday, October 21, 2011

Osaka trip: Tenyo in the subway! ・ 大阪の地下鉄でテンヨー

When moving from one magic bar to another in Osaka, I spotted some kids playing with the butterfly in a jar item from the Tenyo magic dealer! So I figured I would have to take a picture.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Magic Auction again ・2回目のマジック道具のオークション

While I was busy with things related to my Osaka trip, the magic club at the university had an auction selling off the rest of the stuff left over from the first auction. I wanted some stuff but could not attend... But I had stuck notes to some things before saying things like "Jonas will pay 1000 yen for this", so yesterday our accountant came up to me and said I owed her 6800 yen. After paying, she gave me a bag of stuff from the auction! As usual, the students have no money so no one had outbid me on anything that I had tagged. There was one thing I wanted that I had forgotten to tag though, so someone else got it cheaply I believe.


My cut from the auction
I ended up going home with a Svengali style deck that becomes completely white, a handkerchief looking like a 10000 yen bill, a rose on a reel, an English penny triple shell kind of thing, a few sponge eggs, 10 jumbo cards with half naked women, and a "milk becomes a die" illusion thingy. Who decided that "milk becomes a die" was a good idea? Why on earth would it become a die, instead of say icecream, a stuffed cow, or tomato juice? I mean, what does dice and milk have to do with each other? Maybe I am missing some Japanese word play thing, or cultural thing? Who knows...


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Osaka trip: Magic Shop French Drop ・ 大阪旅行、マジックショップフレンチドロップ

Magic Shop French Drop, in daylight
On Sunday I left for Osaka early in the morning (having left our magic bar earlier than normal since my train for the airport left at 6 A.M.). The first day I spent with a friend I first met in Sweden, doing things unrelated to magic. On Monday I met up with another magic maniac from Sapporo and we had a magic tour of Osaka.

French Drop at night


Charicatures of famous magician, from a poster on the wall
The first stop was the magic shop French Drop. French Drop is not only a magic shop but also a magic bar. The bar is on the first floor and the shop is on the second. The place was easy to find, but when we entered no one seemed to be there. We shouted "hello" a few times, and the door had bells on it that were noisy etc. but no one showed up. We looked around at the stuff in the shop and later rang a bell again and then had some response. A young and very nice guy showed up and talked to us for awhile.


Me and the famous magician Ponta the Smith
My friend is very fond of the magic of Japanese magician Ponta the Smith, who works at French Drop. Ponta is fairly well known not only in Japan, after his DVD with coin magic ("Sick") became a best seller all over the world. So my friend asked if Ponta was there today, and we were told that he was downstairs in the bar recording things (presentation of new items for the web shop).


After he was done downstairs, Ponta came up and spent a long time talking to us. My friend had lots of questions for him. He was very nice and talked about all kinds of things with us. I enjoyed the stories of problems with English when being invited to strange countries all over the world (in the end, London turned out to be the place where it was most difficult to understand what people were saying; go figure (because the natives speak fast)).


Sapporo UniFes 2011

On Saturday 2011-10-15 I got up a little bit earlier than normal after coming home late from doing magic in Magic Bar Twister. On Saturday the Magic Circle of my university (which I am a member of) was scheduled to do magic at the Sapporo UniFes 2011 event in the Odori-koen park in the middle of Sapporo.


We had our own little tent and any passerby that wanted to see magic could see up to 7 different magicians do their best to entertain them. I mainly targeted small children and produced 19 rabbits out of thin air, and pulled lots of playing cards out of my mouth to get people to notice us. We were there from 10.00 to 16.00 (I was there from 13.15 or so...) and it was a lot of fun.


There were also other things going on at Sapporo UniFes 2011, such as dancing. Here are some cheer girls from Otaru.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Tenyo 2012, first impression ・ テンヨー2012年新作

Today I went to Tokyu Hands to buy some of the magic prop maker Tenyo's new items for 2012. There are five new items for 2012 that I know of, and all were available. I bought the three that interested me most.


I bought the flying carpet, the third eye, and the dice tower (by the way, I am just guessing what the names might be in English, since I have the Japanese version with all instructions/box texts/etc. only in Japanese). I also bought some Pikachu shaped sponges, which are also made by Tenyo. I already had a bunch of those, but the Pikachu are really cute and very popular with children here. You can never have too many, I guess.


On the way out of the store I ran into a couple where the man said "Ah, the magician!" and pointed at me. The woman said "A magician?", so I guess he has been to our magic bar (he looked familiar) but she has not. He also said, "From Sweden!". I said yes, and that I had just bought a huge bag of magic props so his timing was great. They evidently found that amusing and laughed a lot.


The Flying Carpet・魔法のじゅうたん

The flying carpet is very nice. It consists of a black cloth to put on the floor, a black "landing pad" thingy to put on the black cloth, a bunch of blue stickers that you have to stick to the landing pad, a flying carpet (actually a plastic sheet), two pairs of 3D glasses, and a paper thingy that you will use for comparison so people can see how high you are "flying". This is an optical illusion and everyone will probably realize that that is what it is. It is a great optical illusion though! You stand on the flying carpet, which is placed on the landing pad (which in turn is on the black cloth) and one or two spectators stand about two meters away wearing the glasses. You will seem to be flying, higher than the 10 cm high paper thingy beside the landing pad. The can move around (left-right, move forward and backward) and what they see will be consistent with you and the carpet floating in the air. You can also move the landing pad you have under you which makes it look even more as if you are not standing on the ground. A very very nice optical illusion.


There is also a clip of this illusion being used in a bar in Japan on YouTube:

The Dice Tower・タワーオブダイス

The tower of dice looks like a holder with room for 4 dice and a lid for this. You take off the lid, pour out the dice, and stack them neatly on the table. You then put the lid to one side, and show that the original holder fits exactly over the stack of dice, with (apparently) no room for any more by putting the holder on the stack. When you put the holder over the dice stack a second time, the dice stack grows to 8 dice (a twice as high stack), and the spectators can check that these are real dice. After one clean up move, you can also hand the holder and lid to the spectators. This trick looks great in the Tenyo YouTube video, and the gimmick was not what I had imagined. My first impression is: it felt a little inconvenient holding things the way you are supposed and getting rid of the one secret thing you cannot show to the spectators may be a little tricky in some situations. But with a little practice, this should not be very difficult to perform, I think. Your angles are fairly good.


The Third Eye・ザサードアイ

The third eye seemed like it could be used to have quite a lot of fun together with the spectators in the demo video I had seen. The secret was not exactly what I had guessed, but I was pretty close. You get a plastic eye that blinks with a red light when you turn it on (it is battery powered and you can change the battery once it runs out), three sets of five cards each, and a display stand that you can place the cards in. The basic idea is that you have a spectator select one card out of five and then return this to the stack. These five cards are placed in the display stand and any spectator can immediately see which the chosen card is just by looking at the backs of the cards if they have the third eye placed between their normal eyes. Other spectators will not be able to see it.


You have three sets of cards to use, one which has five cards from a normal deck of cards, one that has "how much do you like me/someone else we are talking about" on a scale from 0 to 100%, and one that has love/money/fame/career/something else that I don't remember. You could use cards that you make yourself by reusing a few secret parts from the cards provided, I guess. Though these cards would still have to look a bit suspicious to work. It seems to be fairly easy to reuse the secret parts you would need.


The dirty work you have to do as the magician is easy. There are several ways you could do what needs to be done, and anyone could learn several of these with minimal practice. The angles are very good, though you probably do not want the spectators to look at the faces of  the cards in the display stand. The spectator with the third eye will have to be more or less right in front of the cards when he is looking at them (the angles where the third eye work are a bit restricted) but has very generous angles from which to watch the cards, and you can just turn the display to face the spectator in extreme cases and the angles are forgiving enough so that it is very easy not difficult to get the spectator to see what needs to be seen.  Other spectators can be fairly close to the one with the third eye and still not see which is the selected card. Placing their eyes very close to the first spectators eyes would make them see it, though.


All in all, this seems like it could be quite a lot of fun to use.


The Other Two Items・買っていないもの

Apart from the three things above that I bought, Tenyo also produced two other items. One is an envelope that contains a folded paper that when unfolded turns out to contain a pop-out picture with a pop-out basket. You can the produce a small ball or other small item from this basket, despite the folded card originally being inside the flat envelope. This looks quite nice, but the method seemed completely obvious to me when I saw the demo clip on YouTube, so I think I will build my own instead.


The last item is a pen on which you can make bills of money rotate. It did not seem like a very interesting effect to me, so I will pass on this one I think. Unless a friend who will buy all of them manages to convince me that it is good :-)


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Magician Toto in Sapporo ・ マジシャン都々が札幌に来る

On November 6, magician Toto will do a stage magic show here in Sapporo. I have seen him perform in his magic bar in Ginza (creatively named Toto's bar :-), twice, and he is highly entertaining. One of the most entertaining magicians I have seen. He is also a regular performer at the Magic Castle (famous place in L.A.), that I would like to visit some day.

11月6日に都々というマジシャンが札幌に来て、マジックショーをやるんだ。都々さんの銀座にあるマジックバー(都々’s Bar)で2回観たことがある。最高に面白い。僕が行きたい、アメリカにある有名なところの「Magic Castle」でもレギュラーとして出ているし。

I bought a ticket for Toto's Sapporo show today. It was expensive (at least by Sapporo standards, you could visit our magic bar 4 times for the same price), but it includes food and drinks too. Since I expect the show to be great, just the show would probably also be worth the ticket price to me.


Happy birthday ・ お誕生日おめでとうございます

Yesterday was the birthday of a magician I know. Happy birthday Shogo Kimura :-) Shogo does difficult magic with cards and coins, and is very nice to talk to. He works at Trick Bar Twister in Sapporo.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making the Sapporo TV Tower disappear ・ 札幌のテレビ塔を消す

I was bored during the weekend and decided to try to make the Sapporo TV tower disappear. Not even one of my friends had time to help me take pictures so I had to use the timer on the camera and take all the pictures myself. So the camera angles etc. are not great.


This is the Sapporo TV tower.

Now the TV tower is covered by a handkerchief.

And now it is gone!
This is a silly trick. I cover the TV tower with a handkerchief and it disappears! There were some people staring and wondering what on Earth the crazy foreigner was doing in the park...


Monday, October 10, 2011

Funny Magic Clips: Helt Magiskt episode 2

In the second episode of the Swedish TV show "Helt Magiskt" there were many performances that I liked. I liked all of Charlie Caper and Claes Malmberg's tricks. They did a very nice street magic performance with time going backwards: a glass was filled with soda from a can that was the crushed, another glass fell and broke, a paper was unfolded; the paper folded itself back up again, the glass restored and jumped up on the table, the other glass emptied itself of soda, the soda can restored itself and filled with soda again. Napkins that were used and put down came floating back up etc. Very nice combination of these tricks in an interesting story.

スウェーデンのテレビの「Helt Magiskt」という番組の2回目の番組に面白いマジックいっぱいあった。Charlie CaperさんとClaes Malmbergさんのパフォーマンスが全部好きだった。ストリートマジックでタイムマシーンのテーマのマジックが凄く良いストーリだった:缶からソーダをグラスに入れて、別のグラスを落として(割れちゃった)、ティッシュでちょっと拭いた。折りたたんだ紙を広げて、タイムマシーンだって。時間を戻す。紙が自動で折りたたんだ。割れたグラスが治って下からテーブルの上に飛んで来た。グラスからソーダが自動になくなった。つぶされた缶が復活してソーダが又入っていた。使っていたティッシュとかも、浮いてきた。色々な知っているマジックを使っていいストーリにしたんだね。

They also did an effect where they had a spectator hold her ring inside a handkerchief and tried to distract here with a chop cup routine (walnut and cup). The walnut kept going where it should not be able to go, an egg appeared, a chicken appeared, inside the egg the walnut reappered and inside the walnut was the spectators ring that had disappeared sometime.


Their final performance was also very nice. They baked a cake by making ingredients appear by magic (salt from a hand, a bottle of syrup from the mouth, a raisin (my favorite, haha!), an egg) and putting them in a hat. When setting the hat on fire, a cake appeared and the sticky stuff was gone.


Very nice story telling with magic. Also impressive that the non-magician did so much sleight of hand (and did it quite well).


Joe Labero and Hannah Graf impressed me by passing through a "hypnotized" woman. This looked very nice. The last team also had a fun trick with a balloon.

Joe Laberoさん(マジシャン)とHannah Grafさんの女の人の体を通るイリュージョンも良かった。最後のチームも風船を使って面白いマジックした。

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A chance meeting ・ 偶然の出会い

Today I was shopping for a paper box (which I have been looking for everywhere for two weeks and still not found anyone who sells...) but passed by the magic goods corner of Tokyu Hands and decided to see if they had something new. They did, but not really anything that looked interesting. While there, a magician from Kushiro (I think it was, some place on Hokkaido) also came by and said hello to me. He has come to our magic bar once when I was working, and he remembered me. I remembered him very well, because unlike most Japanese people I meet, he speaks English very well.


We chatted for awhile, among other things we had a long and interesting discussion on rubber band magic, which we both do quite a lot of. He also showed me a magic trick he has created himself with a big diamond, which I did not see coming at all. He was kind enough to give me one extra large rubber band, that may come in handy.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Funny Magic Clips: Barry and Stuart

I love the British duo of magicians Barry and Stuart. They have a DVD (TV special?) called "Tricks from the Bible" that is very funny. They also have a YouTube channel.

イギリスのマジシャン組「Barry and Stuart」が好きだ。「Tricks from the Bible」というDVDかテレビスペシャルが超面白い。YouTubeのチャンネルもある。

From the YouTube channel, I can recommend for instance the trick with one guy being the inner voice of the other, while he is interacting with a woman from the audience:

I also like the "let's go into a store with a hidden camera and do something forbidden" setup of doing weird magic tricks.

I also liked many of their tricks on the BBC TV show "The Magicians", for example the trick with the transportation boxes.
彼らがBBCテレビの「The Magicians」という番組をレギュラーとして出て、色々な面白いことしたし。ここの瞬間移動の箱のマジックも好きだ:

Though my favorites (appearing "snake" magic, balancing a spoon on your nose, etc.) do not seem to be available online.

Almost meeting a Canadian magician

Yesterday at around midnight, one of my magic bar colleagues suddenly called me and asked where I was. I said I was drinking with my colleagues, why? He said that a famous Canadian magician was coming to the magic bar in half an hour or so, so maybe I should also come.

It was about time to leave the bar we were drinking at anyway, so I said sure. It turned out to be raining almost unbelieable amounts outside, so I had run very quickly home but still goat completely soaked. I changed into dry clothes, found an umbrella and headed off to the magic bar. When I got there, it turned out that "since it was raining almost unbelieably hard", the Canadian magician and his party had given up on going to the magic bar... So I almost, but not quite, met a famous Canadian. I wonder who it was? No one seemed to have been told his name. The number of pro-magicians from abroad that come to Sapporo cannot be high, I think.



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Funny Magic Clips: Balloons

I keep watching things from the "Helt Magiskt" TV show (mentioned in the previous blog post). I really like the "make things disappear, make them appear inside balloons" trick :-) Especially the tennis ball.

前のブログ記事にも書いてた「Helt Magiskt」というスウェーデンの番組のマジックを観続いている。物を消して、同じ物を風船の中から出すマジック好き!特にテニスボール。

Funny Magic Clips: Sketch Book

Last year at our university magic club Christmas show, I did a performance with a sketch book. You draw a pair of sunglasses and then you can take out a real pair of sunglasses and the picture in the sketchbook disappears. I like this magic theme. If you could do magic for real, this would be something that would actually be useful (unlike say making a card come to the top of a deck of cards over and over again).


In Sweden, a new TV show has just started. It is called "Helt Magiskt" ("Completely Magical") and is a Swedish version of the BBC show "The Magicians". Every week some non-magician celebrities are paired up with a magician and they do magic together. The Swedish government run TV is very nice, and they make most of their content available for free on the Internet (the page for the show is here: http://svt.se/heltmagiskt and things with SVT-play means things on the Internet).

スウェーデンで最近「Helt Magiskt」(「完全にマジック」)というテレビ番組のシリーズが始まった。イギリスのBBCでやっていた「The Magicians」という番組のスウェーデン版なんだ。毎週、マジシャンではない有名人がマジシャンとペア分けになって、一緒にマジックをする。スウェーデンの国立テレビ局が優しいので、自分で作成した番組がほぼ全部インターネットでも、誰でも観れる。「Helt Magiskt」のページがhttp://svt.se/heltmagisktにあって、「SVT-play」と書いてあればインターネットで観れるものだ。

I have met and spoken to one of the magicians in this show, Charlie Caper. He surprised me with how good his spoken Japanese is. I have seen him do a street magic show in Stockholm, and I have seen one of the other magicians, Michael Halvarson, in Tokyo when he did pick-pocketing for Cirque du Soleil (which I can also recommend, by the way).

この番組に出ているマジシャン1人、Charlie Caperさんに会って話したことがある。ビックリする程日本語が話せるんだ。ストックホルムで大道芸祭りで彼のショーも観たことがある。番組のMichael Halvarsonというマジシャンも東京のシルクドゥソレイで観た。

Anyway, one of the clips made available on YouTube shows Charlie Caper and a non-magician celebrity doing magic with a sketch book. I liked the things they decided to draw and produce.

「Helt Magiskt」でCharlie Caperさんとマジシャンではない女の人が2人でスケッチブックのマジックをやっている動画がYouTubeにある。描いて出すものがよくて、センスあるなぁと思った。

P.S. My performance with the magic sketchbook is also on YouTube, here:

Magic Auction ・マジック道具のオークション

4 big bags of stuff up for auction!
Since Friday last week, the university magic club has returned to evening sessions. During the summer the meetings are in the afternoon, when I have to work, so I cannot attend. Fridays are impossible for me even when the meetings are in the evening, but today I went to the club for the first time in months. And today there was an auction of old magic stuff!


Since the others are all students, they apparently have no money at all. This meant that most things went for really really low prices. I bought lots of interesting stuff! So much so that it was a bit difficult to lug everything home. And still there were lots of things I wanted to buy but we ran out of time so the auction will continue "next time". Which seems to be a Friday, sadly. Maybe I can still go? I hope so.


Today's shopping result
Today I bought: a compressible silk hat (which I already own, but it was super cheap), a vanishing beer bottle, a really weird looking color-changing-necktie (that nobody wanted so I said I would buy it for 100 yen (about 1 dollar), and which was apparently 8300 yen originally), some form of mental trick with for jumbo sized kings, some jumbo card trick with Japanese words, a sponge ball that felt weird to the touch, a huge handkerchief or small table cloth that you can "make a plate vanish" with, a dove book, a yellow box where you put in a dove and then disassemble the whole box and the dove is gone, a purse with a tiny purse to go with it (and with tiny 500 yen coins that are super cute). And all of this for only 10550 yen (105 dollars)! If you buy them new, just the purse set and the silk hat would cost that much.

My favorite buy today: a purse and a tiny purse set, with tiny 500 yen coins inside!

Apart from the things I bought, I also wanted some gimmick coins, jumbo cards with naked women, sponge eggs, and some other stuff.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Magic bar review: Half Moon, Tokyo, Japan

Most of the times I have been to magic bars outside of Sapporo, I have been with a friend from Sapporo who also does magic as a hobby. 2011-04-18 was no exception, and we went to magic bar Half Moon, in Ginza (Tokyo, Japan). We had planned to go there in February but the magician of Half Moon got the flu so the visit was canceled. In return, this time we got to go there for free!


The list of shops in the building, with Half Moon being somewhat anonymous (only the picture of the half moon)
Half Moon is located in Ginza, close to the Sinbashi station. There are many magic bars in this area (one being "23 seconds by walking" away according to Google Maps :-) Half Moon is a little bit hard to find if you do not know what you are looking for, and even the sign indicating all the shops in the building does not have the name written there, only a stylished crescent. Tokyo is expensive, and Ginza is one of the most expensive parts of Tokyo, so the rent there is probably very very high. This means that Half Moon is not cheap, but the 8000 yen normal price includes unlimited drinks for 90 minutes and a superb magic show so in my opinion it is completely worth it.



The interior was pretty dark, but quite nice. Very blue. The main area is the counter and magician Hide did his magic show standing inside the counter and the two of us and seven other guests sat at the counter and watched.


The quite blue interior, with a TV that is also used for magic

The magic was superb. Possibly the best magic show I have seen so far. There were magic tricks that were very impressive in themselves, like signed cards ending up in sealed water bottles, or back in a factory sealed card box, some mental magic effects, and much more. There were also tricks that are fairly standard but were shown in very nice ways, like a sponge ball trick, a levitating tissue paper, card to pocket routine, etc. The TV seen in the photo is also used in some tricks (things shown on the screen disappear from there and appear in the real world, and go back again). The most impressive things are the way the magic is combined with the music used, and the personality/character of Hide-san. It would be hard not to just sit back and enjoy the show (my normal way of watching magic) with a magician that nice, even if you hate magic or normally try really hard to figure out how things are done. The closing prediction effect is also very very nice. A very long paper that has been hanging in view the whole time turns out to contain a very very long story created by one of the spectators. Also, a pair of "shocking pink" panties made a surprise appearance. As a magician, I also thought the force used a few times was very very impressive.

My friend U~san, me, and the Half Moon magician Hide

Location: Good (Ginza, Tokyo, Japan, not far from subway or train)
Type of magic: Close up magic
Quality of magic: extremely high (skilled, but most of all funny/nice presentation, very original)
Comment: The presentation of the magic is original and the strongest selling point, and it is very very good, and hard to describe in words. Best understood by experiencing it yourself.
Cost: 8000 yen
Interior: nice
Staff: super nice
Food and drinks: snacks included, usual selection of drinks
Overall impression: Possibly the best magic bar I have been to. Cannot recommend highly enough!


Magician Hide said he also sells bento ("lunch boxes", lunch meals) during daytime. These also looked good.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Funny Magic Clips: Magic on ChatRoulette

ChatRoulette is a service where you get connected to random strangers and chat with them. Video chat is quite common. Some people are doing magic tricks to the people they get connected to and recording the reactions. It is interesting to see the different reactions of all kinds of people. Here are some clips with a guy called Rahat: