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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.

2011年2月22日に東京の赤坂にあるマジックバーサプライズという店に行った。早い時間に着いたので、入った時にお客さんがほとんどいなかった。遅くなったら、沢山入ったけど。

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.

普通の日よりマジシャンが沢山いたので、タイミングでラッキーだった。サプライズに行く理由が2つあった。第1早い時間からやっているので、他のマジックバーがまだやっていない時にも行けるし。第2女性マジシャンが多い。女性マジシャンが割りと少ないので、札幌のマジシャンにサプライズに行って、女の子たちがちゃんとマジック出来るか、観て来てって言われた。当日、スケジュール通りのマジシャンは女性マジシャン2人、「さち」と「アリス」、だった。オーナーの上口龍生さんもたまたまバーに来ていて、札幌からのマジシャン(外国人だし、日本語も通じるし)が来たと聞いたら、マジックも結構長いパフォーマンスやってくれた。そして、ゲストマジシャン2人もいた。最近テレビでも見られているタジマジックと「若葉」という女性マジシャンもいた。5人、皆マジック見せてくれた。

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.

店が結構きれいだ。割と小さなカウンターがあって、きれいなソファー席も沢山あった。最初はソファーで座っていたが店が込んできた時にカウンターに移動された。

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.

マジックが結構良かった。トップバッターのさちさんがスタンダード的なマジックを見せてくれたが見せ方がきれいだった。アリスちゃんも簡単そうなマジックを見せてくれたがストーリーがオリジナルで僕が聞いたことなかったのが多かった。上口さんが凄いコインマジックを見せてくれたし、ハンバーガーを沢山出したし、色々なマジックを見せてくれた。全部オリジナルな感じで、見たことないマジックだった。面白かったし。若葉さんもカウンターでちょっとマジックを見せてくれた。シンプルなネタだったが面白かった。最後にタジマジックさんが色々見せてくれた。メンタルネタが多かった。凄いのもあったがセッティングが複雑過ぎて、オチまで来たらそのオチが不思議か普通もそうなるか、もう分からないのも色々あった。僕もマジシャンだと知っていたからマジシャン相手の難しいマジックをやったそうだ。一般人には全然違うマジックをやるらしい。タジマジックさんのマジックも全部オリジナルだった。

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.

いいお客さんにしようとしたがある時にカードを見て一枚覚えて下さいと言われた時に、カードのファンが目のすぐ近くになっていたから本当は同じ8枚が何回も繰り返してることがばれないようになっていたが近すぎて、ハートとダイヤの区別もつかなかったので、僕が観たカードが結局デックに入っていなかった(ダイヤの7とハートの7の見間違え)。申し訳ないことで、そのマジックがうまくいかなかったね…自分で「あ、見間違えたんだろ!」って気付いたら、恥ずかしかった。まぁ、僕のせいではなかったと思うがそれでも、デックに入っていないカードを選ぶって申し訳なかった。

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.

店のインテリアーがきれいだった。値段が普通だった(飲み放題6000円、チャージ3000円に1000~2000円で何杯か飲むのも出来る)。マジシャンが皆優しかった。マジックも面白かったし、上手だったし。面白い夜だった。場所は他に行くことがないところだが地下鉄で行きやすい。レストラン・バー・服屋、周りに色々ある。

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.

行く理由第2、女性マジシャン、結局どうだった?僕が観たトップレベルのマジシャンと比べたら、完全に女性マジシャンたちが負けるが、結構良かった。

Summary:
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

まとめ:
場所:行きやすいが他の時に行かないところだ
マジックの種類:クローズアップ(上口龍生さんやアリスちゃんがステージも結構やっているみたい)
マジック;良かった(特に上口さん)
値段:5000~6000円
スタッフ:優しい
インテリア:きれい
特別なポイント:女性マジシャンが多い
全体的な印象:良かった

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