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, November 28, 2011

A show I want to see ・ 見たいショー

When I was at Magic Bar Stockholm last week, they had fliers for this show. I linked to some clips with Brynolf & Ljung in a couple of previous blog posts, and I would love to see them live. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be touring Japan in the near future, and even when I am in Sweden I rarely have any free time...

先週スウェーデンに行っていた時に、マジックバーに行ったらこういうチラシが置いてあった。Brynolf & Ljungの動画が前にブログに載せた。生で見たいなぁ。残念ながら、日本に来なさそうだよね、笑。僕がスウェーデンに行く時にも暇な時間がほとんどないし。

Friday, November 18, 2011

Magic bar review: Magic Bar Joker ・ マジックバージョーカー

My friend U-san, the master, me, and the young magician.
In April 2011 I went to the magic bar "Joker" with a magician friend from Sapporo. We entered right at the opening time, and we were the only customers at that early hour. The bar is quite small, with mainly a small counter that we sat at. Joker is the most expensive magic bar I have been to so far, with 7000 yen for one hour (Half Moon, that I wrote about before (and coincidentally lies 23 seconds walk away from Joker), costs 8000 yen but for a longer show). It includes unlimited drinks, and more or less unlimited snacks like peanuts, chocolate, etc. The snacks included strawberries, and were quite impressive.


Snacks included in the price (free refills!) and a fork that ended up looking weird.
First, a young magician did a fairly long performance for us. He was very good and also very funny. My friends 1000 yen bill ended up inside a green pepper fruit for instance. He also produced lots of strange things like rubber corn out of our armpits. The funniest thing was when he produced lots of things out of a coin purse that was just the metal frame (so it would seem to contain nothing), and a small very fancy looking bottle appeared. We marveled at this beautiful bottle, probably containing Champagne. He said: "Actually, it is a bottle of body soap which just looks like an expensive bottle of Champagne". Which was true. While we marveled at the genius of designing a bottle of shower gel to look like expensive Champagne, another bottle also appeared out of the purse frame without us noticing it. That first bottle was quite possibly the funniest thing I have seen produced by magic. 


Not only was the magician quite skilled (though he flashed from time to time during the coin magic), he was also very funny to talk to. He did lots of coin and card magic and bent a fork. I also liked a trick where a cut open card box (very 2D) turned into a 3D card box actually containing a full deck of cards. Probably very angle sensitive, but still funny. 


Other things we received: an unopened PET-bottle with my signature, a card signed by my friend cut out from a lemon, the owners business card, a photo taken when we did not notice.
Then the master/owner of the bar also did a fairly long performance for us. He did an unbelievable number of tricks that could all be closing tricks in any magic bar. My friends 50 yen coin ended up in a glass bottle after being signed (switching a signed coin was impressive) despite being too large to insert; a crushed and empty can of Coca Cola was returned to unopened and full status by magic; a signed card ended up in an unopened PET-bottle, another signed card ended up inside a lemon; and more. He was good, though sometimes you could see for instance his break when doing the ambitious card with an omni-deck. The trick I liked most was when he showed a photo of a bunch of fruits, put the photo into a book/album, and when he reopened the book, lots of fruits fell out. Including a grapefruit that would be impossible to fit inside a closed book, to say the least, haha.


We also received a photo taken of us when we were watching magic, that we did not notice when they took. All in all, we got to see a lot of high level magic, and a lot of it was not only high level but also very entertaining. While it was expensive, it was probably worth the money.


My friends 1000 yen bill ended up inside a green pepper and thus smelling strange so he got a new one, which was folded like a shirt (also a word play joke in Japanese, were bill is "satsu" and shirt is "shatsu").
Location: good, near Shinbashi and Ginza stations, where there are many magic bars (only a 23 second walk from the magic bar Half Moon, according to Google maps)
Type of magic: close up
Quality of magic: generally very high, lots of very high level magic done in a short time
Cost: 7000 yen (for 60 minutes)
Interior: small, but clean and nice
Staff: nice. Apart from the two magicians there was also a female bartender. Especially the young magician was nice and funny.
Overall impression: the most expensive magic bar so far, but a lot of high level magic. Maybe too many closing level strength effects done right after each other, which lessens the impact of the individual effects.

場所:いい、新橋や銀座の近く。他のマジックバーが回りに沢山あるところ(ハーフムーンが歩いて23秒だそうだ(Google Mapsによれば、細かいなぁ))

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Magic museum review: Musée de la Magie

Another very old magic prop, which inspired me to make my own modern one.
I went to Germany on a two week business trip in 2009. Since the people at the research institute I was visiting did not want to work during the weekend, I had two days off during my stay. I took the train to Paris and visited the famous sites (the Louvre, where more than half the visitors spoke Japanese; the Eiffel tower; the L'Arc de triomphe; Notre Dame; etc.). Fairly close to Notre Dame, there is a museum of magic called Musée de la Magie, Paris.

2009年の秋にドイツに出張で行った。2週間くらいだったが相手の研究所の人たちが週末に働かなかったので、週末に暇になった。電車に乗って、パリに行った。有名なとこり色々回った(ルーブル美術館・エッフェル塔・ノートルダムとか)。ノートルダムのまあまあ近くにマジック博物館もある:「Musée de la Magie, Paris

Old magic props.
The items in the museum collection is the private collection of a famous French magician, Robert Houdin. There are big props used for large illusion, small items used for close up, old posters for magic shows, a magic shop selling lots of magic props, a small stage where they do magic shows for you, and lots of optical illusions.

マジック博物館にあるものが全部フランスの有名なマジシャンの「Robert Houdin」のプライベートのコレクションだった。イリュージョンの大型のものもあるし、クローズアップ用の小さなものもあるし、昔のマジックショーのチラシもあるし、昔のプロマジシャンのものを見る機会になる。マジックショップも、ステージもある。ステージで短いマジックショーを見ることも入場券に含まれている。

A very old painting showing street magic.

The museum was much smaller than I had expected. It was basically two pretty small rooms with old magic props on display. Seeing the very old props used by professional magicians of years long gone was quite interesting though. There is also a magic show included in the entrance fee. A young French magician did a short salon magic show for me and about 20 other visitors. Most people were French, but since enough were not he spoke both French and English during the show. He did some nice rope magic, some card tricks, and a chop cup routine (if I remember correctly). He was pretty good.


The stage used for the magic show.

There was also a magic shop selling books and magic props (modern ones). They had some interesting things, like gimmick coins looking like Euro coins.


Optical trickery.

The museum also has a large collection of optical illusions and similar things, which I really enjoyed. There is also a large collection of old mechanical (wind-up) toys, that was pretty nice.


The interior of the building is very nice. The walls and doors etc. are beautiful, and the display cases housing all the props are also nice. The stage for the magic show was small but nice. There were three levels of seats so everyone could see what was going on clearly without being blocked by people in front.


Place: kind of out of your way, so in a little inconvenient place. Nothing else of interest nearby, though I had an excellent lunch in a restaurant around the corner.
Price: very cheap
Size: very small
Magic show: a short salon magic show is included, and it was good
Overall impression: if you are in Paris and have time over, do visit. The famous things like the Eiffel tower or Louvre are better, though, so if you do not have time to see all, the magic museum should not be a high priority.


Magic bar review: Te to Te to Te

Te to Te to Te 
The first time I ever went to a magic bar was in 2008. I spent one week in Asahikawa because of a conference I was presenting some research at. The last day of the conference everyone else left Asahikawa but I was staying to meet a friend who lives in Asahikawa the next day. I was all alone in the evening and just randomly walked around the entertainment district. I came upon a sign saying they showed magic inside, and decided to check it out.


The interior of Te to Te to Te

So on June 13 I had my first magic bar experience (though I had seen magic live once before at a lecture by the pro magician Tom Stone back at my university in Sweden), at the magic bar "Te to te to te" in Asahikawa.

6月13日にマジックバー初体験になった(スウェーデンで一回マジックを生で観たことがったけど。大学でプロマジシャンのTom Stoneが発表をした時に短いマジックショーもしてくれた)。「てとテと手」という店に入った。

The business card (used in magic) of the owner.

There was an older magician (the owner) doing magic and a younger magician in training who did not perform for me but talked to me and made drinks. There were no other customers at the time I was there but when I was leaving a group of people entered the bar.


Some light food I tried.

A non-alcohol cocktail on a playing card coaster.
Since it was quite a long time ago I went there, I have fairly foggy memories of what magic I was shown. There were of course quite a lot of card tricks, but there were also tricks with rubber bands, paper clips, business cards, and lots of joke props. They also had a lot of napkins folded into animal shapes etc. Including one made to look like Godzilla. The magic was good, but nothing that stands out compared to the top level magic bars in Tokyo or Osaka (or Sapporo, though I may be partial here :-) I had a very nice evening, and if I have nothing to do in Asahikawa some other time I may go again.


Napkins folded like birds, rabbits, and Godzilla.

A napkin Godzilla!

Location: Good, close to Asahikawa station.
Type of magic: close up
Quality of magic: OK
Cost: 4000 yen
Interior: nice, with a door that will not open in the normal way etc.
Staff: nice
Food & drinks: some light food available (drinks, the normal bar fare)
Overall impression: it was my first time in a magic bar, and I had a lot of fun. I have since been to places are much better, though. Nice if you are in Asahikawa, where there are not so many other places to go.


Magic bar review: Magic bar 12ji ・ マジックバー十二時

Me, Kiyono, and my friend U-san.
I have been to the magic bar 12ji ("12 o'clock") twice. It is located in Ginza, close to many other magic bars (Toto's bar, Half Moon, Joker, comes to mind) and stays open very late (5 A.M.) so you can go there after the other places have closed. They also have a very nice stage where they do stage magic. Even if you show up at 4 A.M. and no one else is there, they will do stage magic just for you.

十二時という店に2回行ったことがある銀座にあるので、回りに他のマジックバー沢山ある(例えば、ハーフムーン・都々’s Bar・ジョーカー)。5時までもやっているので、他の店に行ってからもまだ行ける。綺麗なステージもあって、何の時間でも本格的にステージマジックを見せてくれるんだ。午前4時に2人だけで入っても。

Me and the magician Mac
The first time I went there with a friend, we entered at around 3:30 or so, and no other customers were there at such a late hour on a Monday. Two magicians performed for us. Sasuga Ryu (a word play name in Japanese, it is a palindrome in writing) did mentalism on stage and Mac-san did close up magic for us at our table. They also hung around chatting with us, as did a girl who did not do any magic but was very funny when talking.


A card with my signature ended up inside an unopened PET-bottle.
The second time, I went there with the same friend, and at about the same late hour on a Monday. Sasuga Ryu and Mac were both there again, and Sasuga Ryu performed more mentalism for us close-up, and a female magician Kiyono did a stage magic show for us. The funny girl who does not do magic was also there, and was still very funny.


Sasuga Ryu, my friend U-san, and me

The interior of the place is quite interesting, with several small rooms in more or less a maze (finding your way back from the toilet can be challenging). They have a large and very nice stage with a curtain and all, and lots of tables with sofas in front of the stage.


A fork bent into a "peace sign" (what in other parts of the world would be a V for victory, but in Japan it is V for peace)
The magic was OK but compared to the top level places in Tokyo it was not really on the same level. It was nice to see stage magic; including some jumbo card mentalism, water changing color when adding sand (and the sand becoming dry again when scooped out), fork bending etc. from Sasuga Ryu; and card manipulation, a three ring routine, and multiplying bottles from Kiyono. The close up magic included signed card to PET-bottle, packet tricks, finger manipulation, and all kinds of card magic.


Another PET-bottle and peace sign fork from our second visit.
12ji is part of a chain of magic bars, including 8ji, 10ji, and soon to open 11ji, all at various places in Tokyo. A magician I met in Sapporo had worked at 12ji and said he had been going around all the other places too, performing in all of them.


Me and a funny girl who never does magic but does a lot of funny/weird things.
Location: good (near Sinbashi station, and fairly close to Ginza station)
Type of magic: stage (salon) and close up
Quality of magic: OK.
Cost: 6000 yen
Interior: interesting, dark, European old magician's house style
Staff: very funny and nice
Bonus points: open until 5, when most other places have closed.
Overall impression: nice with a real stage, and impressive that they do stage magic shows for you at any time, even if you are the only two guests in the place.


Magic bar "Pochi no mahou" ・ マジックバー「ポチの魔法」

A fork ended up very bent in a mysterious way.
On February 22 2011 I went to a magic bar in Roppongi (Tokyo) called "Pochi no mahou". It was a great magic bar, but sadly the have since closed the place. Here is their old web page: Pochi no mahou.


When I arrived it was already quite late (I got there more or less with the last subway train). There were lots of people in the bar when I got there but all but three customers left right after I entered. When things calmed down I was asked to watch a magic performance together with the other three customers at the counter. 


Katsuya Mizusawa, very good magician.
The magician performing for us was Katsuya Mizusawa, or Katchan as he asked us to call him. He was great. He did the best fork bending I have seen so far (and every place in Tokyo included fork bending so I have seen many magicians do it), and managed to bend a spectator's signed coin without me noticing. He is also excellent at cigarette magic. He managed to hide a burning cigarette in his mouth and have us check if we could see it (we could not) when inspecting his mouth up close, and he also drank some tea before producing the cigarette, still burning, from his mouth again. It was also the first time I saw someone swallow lots of needles and a string and then reproducing everything again live.


Since everyone figured out I was a magician fairly quickly (anyone coming alone to a magic bar has a very very high chance of being a magician, especially so if they are a foreigner), I was asked to show something to the other customers after Katchan finished. I did an original trick of mine using hiragana (Japanese alphabet) practice cards, which went over very well. After they left I was told the woman in the company was actually a celebrity (so I should have taken a picture together with them!) which I as usual had no idea before being told. 


After all the "normal" people had left, Katchan talked to me for over an hour about all kinds of things and also showed some card magic (which he is very very good at but does not normally perform in the bar since every other bar has lots of card magic too). He was very kind, and very nice to talk to.


A 1000 yen bill very realistically painted on the floor.
The interior of the bar was fairly small, but nice enough. Especially the counter was very nice. The toilet was very interesting too. There was a 1000 yen bill painted on the floor in a very realistic way, so it looked like someone had dropped some money there. Trying to pick it up, you found out it was just a painting.


Location: good (close to Roppongi station in Tokyo)
Type of magic: close up
Quality of magic: extremely good
Cost: 6000 yen
Interior: nice
Staff: very nice
Overall impression: possibly the most technically skilled magician I have seen so far, doing lots of magic I have not seen in other places. Would go again if the bar had not been closed...


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Magic bar review: Magic Bar Surprise ・ マジックバーサプライズ

Ryuusei Kamiguchi and me
On the February 22, 2011, I went to Akasaka in Tokyo to visit Magic Bar Surprise. I got there pretty much at the time they opened, and there were not many customers there yet. It increased as the time grew later, though.


Alice and me
I was lucky and got to see many more magicians than normal. I had gone to Surprise for two reasons, they open early so no other magic bars are open, and they have many female magicians working there. This is not so common, so one of my Sapporo magician friends said that I had to go there and see if they are any good. They day I went there, two girls were scheduled as the normal performers, Sachi and Alice. Apart from them, the owner of the bar, Ryuusei Kamiguchi, was also there and when he heard that I was a magician coming all the way from Sapporo (and being non-Japanese, and able to speak Japanese) he also performed quite a lot of magic for me despite not actually being supposed to be there that day. Finally, there were two guest magicians in the bar that night, Taji -magic (appearing on TV in Japan quite a lot lately) and a woman slightly older than me with the stage name Wakaba. Everyone performed for me.


Me and Sachi holding magic props.
The bar itself is very nice. They have a small counter, and very nice looking white sofas with low tables. At first I was sitting at a sofa table with some older Japanese man watching magic there, and was moved to the counter with some other customers later when the bar became full.


The magic was pretty nice. First Sachi showed me some magic, which was mostly fairly simple standard tricks but performed well. Alice also performed things that looked fairly simple, but quite a few tricks had original presentations that I had not seen before. Ryuusei showed some very impressive coin magic, produced lots of hamburgers, and in general performed mainly magic that I have never seen anyone else perform. Entertaining, too. Ms. Wakaba showed me a few tricks at the counter, and they were entertaining (though not very advanced). Finally, Taji-magic did a lot of mental magic like card tricks that were probably impossible or uninteresting for "normal" people to try to keep up with, just because he knew I was a magician. Some of it was quite impressive, but some was so complex in the setup that at the end you did not know if it was surprising that whatever happened or if that was what could be expected (you no longer had any idea what was going on). For normal people he does completely different magic I was told. All of his magic was highly original.


Me and Taji-Magic
I was trying to be a "good" spectator but when I was asked to select a card from apparently 52 cards fanned in front of me for a mental effect, the cards where shoved up so close to my face that I could not see that the same 8 cards where repeated over and over again, but then again I could not distinguish hearts from diamonds in the fan (only a small part of the index was showing) and apparently "saw" a card that was not actually in the deck and spoiled the trick... Even though it was not on purpose and I don't think it was my fault I still felt a bit bad when I realized that I was thinking of a card that had not been in the deck.


I also got a promo DVD of Ryuusei Kamiguchi doing stage magic, and a cute looking business card with Alice on it
Anyway, the interior design was very nice, the price was fairly standard for Tokyo (6000 yen for free drinks, or 3000 yen table charge and buying a few drinks for one or two thousand yens total if you do not drink that much), the magicians were all very nice, and the magic was good. It was a nice experience. The place is a little out of the way compared to other magic bars in Tokyo (Shinjuku and Roppongi has a lot of other things to do, Ginza has a lot of magic bars), it is easy enough to get there by subway and there are shops/restaurants/bars nearby too.


The three female magicians Alice, Wakaba, and Sachi
And how about the reason I was sent there, all the female magicians? Compared to the best magicians I have seen, they were not at all on the same level, but they were pretty good.


Location: fairly easy access, but not an area you would go otherwise
Type of magic: close up (though Ryuusei Kamiguchi and Alice also do a lot of stage magic, only not in the bar)
Quality of magic: ranging from OK to very good (especially Ryuusei Kamiguchi was good)
Cost: 5000~6000 yen
Interior: nice
Staff: nice
Special point: many female magicians
Overall impression: a nice experience


Monday, November 14, 2011

Tenyo 2012, the third eye ・ テンヨー2012年、ザ・ザードアイ

Yet another update on the Tenyo 2012 item "The third eye". I have been using this a lot in our magic bar lately, and it is great. Sadly, people often drop the eye when you hand it to them to put between their eyes (or when they hand it to someone else). This has led my third eye to be very glitchy. I though it was broken first, but it started working again later.


Anyway, apart from it having to be handed out to drunk people and the risk of them dropping it (breaking your expensive toy), it is highly recommended. It does not work that well with only one or two spectators, but the larger the group the greater the impact. You explain that anyone with this eye between their eyes can see where the selected card is, and when the first person to use the eye slightly suprisedly says "Yes, I can see it!" the other people get curious. They still cannot see anything out of the ordinary. You have one more person try it, and go "Ah, I see it!". People get even more excited, since they still cannot see anything. This keeps building, so the more people the better!


I think I will go and buy myself one more of these wonderful toys, since the first one seems quite unreliable by now.


Magic birthday

Yesterday there was a birthday dinner for all the people in our magic bar (staff, regulars, etc.) that had their birthday in October or November. We had lots of nice food, a cake, and presents!


Five magicians (and at least two more that do magic from time to time) celebrating birthdays.
I got an umbrella that looks like a katana (samurai sword), and 103 decks of cards of the design I like best! Apparently my friends have scoured the whole city, calling every Daiso shop in Sapporo (and other cities like Obihiro) and reserved every deck of this type available. I also got a (long) list of all the Daiso they had checked. A great present, but a little heavy to lug home.


A samurai sword style umbrella.

103 decks of cards for me!

Magic show in Capo ・ キャポでマジックショー

The stage
Last year I went with some stand-up comedy performers to Otaru, our neighboring city, and did a magic show for kids there. The organizer of that event was impressed enough to ask me to do a show this year too, so on Saturday I did two magic shows in the Capo shopping mall in Sapporo.

I went there with a friend, since doing a 30 minute show for kids is very tiring if you are alone. At least for young kids, I have to keep being in a very excited state the whole time or they lose focus. Me and my friend did two 30 minute stage magic shows, and since there were two of us it was not that tiring. He was planning to show up in a suit, but forgot the shirt and jacket so he looked quite funny in his suit trousers and a very worn t-shirt.


People waiting for the first show.
For the first show there were about 30 people when we started, and some more joined in during the show. Many kids. Some of the stuff we thought was hysterically funny ourselves did not seem to be understood by the kids, or at least not thought to be funny. Most things were fine, though.


People waiting for the second show.
For the second show, we threw out half of the material (things no one laughed at etc.) and put in lots of other things instead. Going out to the stage the second time, there were slightly more people but almost no kids... So all our funny gags that we removed would probably have worked with this audience... Oh well, people were happy enough with the stuff we did, haha.


Me friend in his suit trousers and non-suit jacket.
The magic show was apparently more of a big thing than I had thought, and we saw a poster with a picture of me in the elevator etc. An acquaintance of mine showed up in the audience, and had apparently just come to do shopping with his wife but seen the promo material for our show and swung by to watch. Sadly, the weather was great on Saturday, so most families with kids were playing outside, not coming to the mall.


A poster in the elevator from the parking garage.
We did lots of magic, but things that went over really well with both audiences included: a jumbo size home made Macomical deck that I made with cute animal characters instead of playing cards; using a "Dream bag" to try to produce a dove but only producing lots of boxes of flowers instead (and my friend finally produced a dove from his mouth); the disappearing bottle gag/magic trick; producing cards from your mouth; producing lots of Pikachu-shaped sponges.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cocktail bar Harada ・ カクテルバー原田

Yesterday I went to a place called Cocktail Bar Harada with a friend. We had heard that the son of the owner does magic there. The bar turned out to be very nice. The interior design was very pretty, the selection of drinks was extraordinary, and the staff were very nice and fun to talk to. Harada Sr. used to work in the bar in Grand Hotel before, he told us. Harada Jr. has lived in Canada and travelled to many countries (and speaks excellent English).


We sat down at the counter and ordered apple-mango-juice and ginger ale. Having two people come to a bar and order only soft drinks is probably not that common, so we were asked what we were doing there. We said we had heard that one could see magic there... "OK, let's do some magic!"


Harada Jr. showed us quite a lot of magic. He performed close up magic at the counter for us for about 30 minutes. There was a bar bet with coins and a cocktail glass, a ring and chain thing, burning flash paper, rubber band magic, a huge contact lens coming out of his eye, and lots of card tricks. He was very good. He does Lennart Green's topshop very beautifully. It was also the first time I saw anyone in Japan use Tamariz's (probably Tamariz's, since I do not use it I am not 100% sure it was that one) stack. His version of the three card monte was also very clean.

若いほうの原田さんが色々なマジックを見せてくれた。カウンターで30分くらいクローズアップマジックした。コインとカクテルグラスのバーベット・チェーンとリング・輪ゴム・フラッシュペーパー・デカいコンタクトレンズ・沢山のカードマジック、色々あった。上手だった。Lennart Greenのトップショットが凄くきれいだった。Tamarizのシステム(僕が使っていないから、そこまで自信ないんだが多分Tamarizのだった)を使っている日本人も初めてみた。スリーカードモンテの見せ方も良かった。

After the magic we stayed around and the Haradas talked to us (the other customers left during the magic) and we ended up staying almost until midnight. The conversation was entertaining and we talked about Sweden, living abroad (Canada), and "mysterious things". The younger Harada said he has always liked mysteries, so we talked about crop circles, UFOs, Nessie, huge bones from giant humans, etc.


Two weeks from now they will do a close up magic show in the bar which I would love to go to. It is cheap too. Unfortunately, I will be in Europe at the time so I cannot go. The flier they had was pretty funny in that "Close up magic show" was written as "Close masic show"too.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Exchanging the heads of a duck and a chicken ・ アヒルと鶏の頭を入れ替えるマジック

I love the BBC show "Fool us" where lots of magicians try to fool Penn & Teller, veteran magicians. Here is a clip from the very first show where the heads of two birds are exchanged. The trick is not that hard to figure out, but the performance is just so great! I love this type of magic.

イギリスのBBCテレビ局の「Fool us」という番組が大好きだ。「Penn & Teller」というマジシャン組を騙そうとするマジシャンがいっぱい出て、面白いマジックを見せる。最初の番組からの動画を今日見つけて、鶏とアヒルの頭を入れ替えるマジックなんだ。ちょっと考えたら、分かるマジックなんだが、パフォーマンスが最高に面白い!こういうマジック大好き!

An unexpected request

A magic fan with a flattened die (flattened by me and my incredible strength :-)
This weekend we had lots of people in our magic bar both Friday and Saturday. On Saturday an older man handed me an unopened package with a magic prop after my magic performance for him and his wife. He asked me to show him how a pro would use this. He had bought it in a magic shop here in Sapporo earlier that same day. He is friends with the owner (as am I).


I had never seen this thing before, and I would not describe myself as a pro, but why not take a look? Once opened, it turned out to be similar to a "coin purse becomes a tiny coin purse" that I have been playing around with lately. The actual prop is a die that you can squish into a flat die. I did an improvised performance using this prop and he seemed very impressed. I found it funny enough that I am now thinking of buying myself one of those too :-)


Magic dinner show with Toto ・ 都々さんのマジックディナーショー

Yesterday magician Toto from Toto's bar in Ginza (Tokyo) came to Sapporo and did a dinner show at APA Hotel. He is doing a tour of various APA hotels all over Japan. Toto is a great entertainer and he also appears regularly at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

昨日銀座にある都々’s Barからのマジシャン都々が札幌のAPAホテルでマジックのディナーショーをした。色々なAPAホテルのツアーをしているみたい。都々さんが凄く面白いエンターテイナーだ。アメリカのMagic Castleという店でもレギュラーとして毎年出ています。

I have seen Toto twice in his bar in Ginza, and it is was great both times. His dinner show here in Sapporo was also very entertaining.


First there was about an hour of free drinks and buffe style food. The food was pretty good. Then they rolled out all the tables and put in lots of chairs instead. Toto then did about an hour of magic. There were things like scarves flying through the air over the heads of the audience and then back to the stage,  an escape number when a tied up Toto ended up in someone else's dinner jacket, Toto's excellent bill switch (bills of money keep changing into different bills and the number of bills change in mysterious ways), doves appeared and disappeared, a table floated around, and much more.


Toto does magic very well, but more than that he is very good at presenting magic in an entertaining way. His use of music etc. is also very good.


Me and Toto

After the magic show there was also a lottery where you could win strange things like 24 bottles of APA hotel water, software for Nintendo DS (less useful if like me you do not have a DS), or a pack of 40 eggs. One of my friends got a large bag of coffee.


Two of Toto's assistants, the magician Yamato and Toto's brother.

When the event finished, me and some magicians and regulars from our magic bar went to a bar to continue drinking. After a while we got a call from Toto that his group that were eating sashimi somewhere wanted to meet up with our group and we ended up drinking with them in a third place. Toto is also very nice and interesting to talk to when he is not performing.


Funny twisted head illusion

One of my magician friends told me about this very funny twisted head illusion using only a hat as cover! Great idea. Performed by the magician Shinpei Ogawa.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another Sapporo magician ・ もう1人の札幌のマジシャン

Yesterday I stopped by the bar "Hou" in Sapporo with a magician friend, since we first met there and they had a Halloween party (that was pretty much over by the time we got there, but still). The staff told us that there was another magician working in Hou doing magic that night, so we asked to see him. He did some card magic tricks (two aces change into two queens when held by the spectator, a signed card goes to the pocket over and over again) and a coin trick (Chinese coins threaded on a string mysteriously unlink from the string).


We also asked him where he was from (Shiroishi, the same place my friend is from, they even went to the same junior high school), how long he has been doing magic (12 years), where he works (the bar Gundam in Sapporo among other places; and he used to work at the bar "12ji" in Tokyo, which my friend and I have visited twice). We also asked him what tricks he does with rubber bands, since he had a lot of them stuck to his props. He showed some rubber band magic too, and then performed one more card trick (oil-and-water, in the spectator's hands, a very clean version).


He told me his name, but since the party surrounding us was very very noisy I am not entirely sure what he said. I figured my friend would remember but apparently he did not, so I am still unsure what the magician's name was. [Update: his name is (probably) Myousai] Anyway, he was pretty good. Though from my seat you could see when he did the pass, when he palmed cards, and sometimes coins flashing. I was very impressed by the oil-and-water trick, though.

名前も言われたが周りがうるさくて、よく聞き取れなかった。友達が日本人なので、後で聞いてみようと思ったが友達が覚えていないみたい。だから、何という人だったがよく分からない。[名前は(多分)「妙才」だと言われた] 結構上手だった。僕の席からパス・パームが見えたけど。たまにコインのフラッシュもあった。最後のオイル・アンド・ウォーターが感動したけど。