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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.

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


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