About Me

My photo

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, March 28, 2012

The Frisk that disappeared and the magician that changed


On Monday, my magic maniac friends e-mailed me and said they were meeting at one of our magic bars in the evening again. I went to our other magic bar first, to hand over some souvenirs from Poland, and then went to the magic bar they said they would come to. They were not there, but three girls that said they know one of my friends were.

月曜日にマジックマニアの友達からメールが来て、うちのマジックバーの2号店で夜にマニア会やるって。僕が最初に1号店にポーランドからのお土産を渡しに行った。そして、2号店に行った。2号店に友達がいなかったが女の子お客さんはそのマニア友達知っているって言ってた。

I e-mailed my friend and said "you are not here, but someone who knows you is". He replied that they were instead in the other magic bar (the one I had just left) and would come in a little bit... It took them about 2.5 hours before they got to the magic bar where I was (walking fast, you can go between these places in 5 minutes, and walking slowly it might take 10 minutes).

友達に「知り合いが2号店にいるみたいよ」とメールしたら、「今マニア皆1号店にいる」って返信が来た…もうちょっとで2号店に行くって。もうちょっとって、結局2時間半くらい経った(速く歩けば、5分で着く、遅く歩けば、10分掛かるかもしれない)。

Anyway, we still had fun without them. Two of the girls had met my friend, and they had also met our boss of the magic bar. They said they had met someone from our magic bar and that he had showed them a magic trick. Our boss said it was probably him, but they said no. They described the magic trick, and everyone kept thinking "Yes, sounds like our boss". After a few minutes of them adding more information and everyone still saying "Yes, this guy here in front of you!" and them not believing it, they finally said "And his name was something like 'Uchi ... ...'". Yes, our boss, Uchiyama-san. Apparently, he has gained so much weight in these two years that they refused to believe it was him, haha. We (the rest of the staff) laughed a lot at this, though it is not the first time this has happened. People come with a pamphlet with a picture of him doing magic and say to his face: "We want to see this guy!", "Yes, that is me", "Nono, THIS guy" (again pointing at a picture of him), haha.

まぁ、マニア友達がいなくても結構楽しかった。お客さん2人が僕のマニア友達に会ったことがあったそうだ。うちの店長も会ったことがあった。「このマジックバーの人も会ったことある」って。店長が「うん、多分私だ」って。「ううん、違う人だった」。どんなマジックを見せて貰ったとか、色々教えて貰ったら、スタッフ全員「うん、店長だよね」と思った。毎回そう言っても「違う」と言われたけど(笑)。「名前はうち○○、だったかな?」って。「内山だよね」(店長の名前)。それで、やっと認めた。2年間で結構太ったみたいで、同じ人だと気付かれていなかった(笑)。他の時にもそういうことがあった。雑誌を持ってきたお客さんが店長の写真を指差して
「この人に会いたい」って。
「私ですけど」
「違う!この人!」(また店長の写真を指差す、笑)

When my friend showed up from the other magic bar, he also had to do some magic for the girls. It turned out that the person who he gave his "huge Frisk breathmint" magic prop to was one of these girls. He complained a lot about giving that away, since it is a great and funny prop, and since it is no longer sold except in one very expensive shop... for about twice the price he originally paid. I finally got to meet the person who received (and apparently only used a few times) his Frisk. She was interested in learning some magic tricks, though, and even showed us a trick where she made a coin disappear and a card trick. I taught her how to make a business card levitate, kind of, which is what she is doing in the picture above.

友達が来たら、彼も女の子たちにマジックを見せることになった。彼が前に誰かの女の人にデカいフリスクのマジック道具をあげたってずっと言ってた。後悔してたみたい。新しいフリスクはどこでも売っていなかったし、やっととこかで売っている店を見つけたら、自分で買った時より倍高くなっていたし。僕がやっとそのフリスクを貰った女の人に会えた、笑。フリスクほとんど使ったことないと言ったし。マジックに興味があるけど。コインを消すマジックも、まあまあレベル高いトランプのマジックも見せてくれた。僕が名刺を浮かすマジックを教えてあげた。

After the regular guests left, we had a very entertaining mania meeting too. To decide who had to perform for the others, instead of drawing cards like we often do, everyone had to vanish a coin. Then the people watching had to guess where it went, and the person who fooled the least number of people had to perform magic for everyone. In a similar vein, everyone had to do the three card monte, and the person with the most people correctly guessing where the ace went had to do magic, and the person who fooled the least number of people with where the two sponges went had to perform etc. This was a great way to decide!

普通なお客さんが帰ってから、楽しいマニア会もあった。普段、カードを引いて負けた人がマジック見せないと行けないシステムでやっているが今回はコインをバニッシュして、他の人に一番ばれた人がマジックを見せないと行けないことだった。カードのモンテをやって、エースがどこにあるか、一番当てられた人がマジックを見せる。スポンジはどこに行ったか、一番ばれた人がマジックを見せる。このやり方で結構盛り上がった。

Birthday magic


On Sunday, one of our regulars in the magic bar celebrated his birthday, so we had a party at a restaurant with all the Twister staff and some other regular customers. There was a lot of good food, and this time there was also some party magic (normally, no one wants to do magic outside of work, so at our parties there is usually no magic). There was a bingo game were everyone except the birthday guy got bingo at the same time, there was a balloon swallowing contest (it was fun to see the non-magician actually managing to get around 40 cm of balloon into his mouth before gagging), and whatnot. I also did a magic trick where I divined which card the birthday guy had picked by hammering a nail into my nose (to connect this "antenna" to my brain, for telepathy reasons) and having him touch the nail. I also turned a 10,000 yen bill into a memorial bill with his face on it.

日曜日に常連さんの誕生日会があった。ツイスタースタッフ全員と常連さん何人か集まっていた。相変わらず美味しい食べ物が沢山あった。今回、珍しくてマジックも沢山あった。基本的にマジシャンが仕事以外にマジックしたくないからうちらのパーティーではマジックがだいたいない。今回、誕生日の人以外、皆同時にビンゴになるビンゴゲームもあったし、風船の早く飲むコンテストもあったし、僕もマジックした。僕がエスパみたいに選んだカードを当てた。脳で読み取るのが難しいので、アンテナが必要になった。釘をアンテナの用に使って、鼻に入れた。釘を触って貰ったら、選んだカード読み取れた。1万円札を誕生日の人の顔が載っている記念札に変えたし。

Wedding party

A small part of the cake that the groom's friends had secretly made.

On Saturday, one of our regulars in the magic bar got married. They had the "after party" in our magic bar, which meant lots of people and huge amounts of cake.

土曜日に常連さんが結婚した。2次会はうちのマジックバーでやった。人が沢山来て、ケーキも沢山あった。

Our boss, dressed for the occasion in a suit. The suit looks a little bit tight... but I am sure that is because he is hiding so many  magic toys in there too.
They had planned quite a lot of party games for the after party but did not have time to do all of them. This meant that they had a bag full of panty hoses left, which they gave to my colleagues. Two of my colleagues then put these on their heads, and had a kind of tug of war. The first one to have his panty hose pulled off his head loses. Weird game...

2次会で色々なゲームを用意してあったが全部やる時間がなかった。パーティーの担当者がうちのスタッフに残っていたストッキングをくれた。同僚2人がストッキングをかぶって、綱引きみたいなゲームをやりだした。不思議なゲームだなぁ。






Strangely enough, the bride stayed in our bar the whole night, at least until 7 A.M. when I left. The groom also showed up at around 4 A.M., so they at least spent their wedding night together... but why spend it in a magic bar!?

花嫁さんがずっとうちのマジックバーに残っていた。旦那さんが3次会にとこかに行った。午前4時頃帰ってきた。その後、2人でずっとマジックバーでウェディングナイトを過ごした…僕が7時過ぎに帰った時にまだいた。何でウェディングナイトをマジックバーで過ごしたか全く分からない(笑)。勿体ないね。

Birthday magic

Me wearing a t-shirt from Taiwan that says 単身 ("I am single" in Chinese) on the back and "I am single" in English on the front.
On Saturday I ended up sitting next to a girl who told me it was her birthday when I was eating. I have met her before, and she then told me that she and her friend (who has almost the same name) love magic, and even used to buy magic props, train a bit, and show random strangers in bars magic tricks! She wanted to see some "birthday magic", which I was not exactly prepared for, but I improvised some birthday magic tricks and she seemed very happy.

土曜日に食べに行ったら、隣に女の子が座っていた。誕生日だったそうだ。前にも会ったことがあって、友達と2人でマジック大好きで、マジック道具を買って、練習して、居酒屋とかで知らない人にマジックを見せたことがあるそうだ。誕生日なので、誕生日マジック見せて欲しいって言われた。誕生日マジックは用意していなかったが適当に誕生日マジックっぽいのを考えてやってみたら、感動してくれたみたい。

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hard to use cards

Last week, a customer came to our magic bar with a deck of cards of his own. He asked me to do some magic with these cards, and they turned out to be really really difficult to use. It is difficult even to tell the suits of the cards! The suit is written in the outer ring of the card, but the same suit can have a ring in different colors, and the same color can be used for different suits... In the end, I did some magic with those cards and he was happy enough.

マジックバーに来てくれたお客さんがマイ・トランプを持ってきて、これで何かやってと言い出した。大変使いにくいトランプだった、笑。何とか大丈夫だったけど。マーク分かりにくかったけど。回りに書いてあるが同じハートでピンク色も緑色もある…わけ分からない。

Monday, March 19, 2012

Magic show



Sunday two weeks ago, I went to Futomi, a place close to Sweden Hills outside Sapporo. Some people I know were organizing an even for kids, and they wanted me to do a magic show at the event. It was around 15 kids, very young, and slightly more grown ups (parents, people organizing other things at the event).

2週間前の日曜日に太美というところにマジックショーをしに行った。札幌の近くにあるスウェーデンヒルズの丘の下なんだ。知り合いがそこで子供のイベントをしていたので、イベントでマジックショーもして欲しかった。子供15人くらいが来た。大人はもうちょっと多かった(親・他のイベント的なことの担当者)。

I did around 25 minutes of magic. Producing lots of weird big boxes from and empty paper bag is always popular, as is multiplying Pikachu-sponges. I also did a bingo game magic trick on request. They were supposed to give all the kids a bag of snacks after the event, so they told me to do it in a bingo game. Everyone had a different bingo tray, and despite this all kids got bingo at the same time. Next time I will bring bingo trays for the parents too, and have only the kids get bingo.

25分くらいのマジックショーをした。空の紙袋から変なものを出すのが毎回人気のマジックだ。ピカチュのスポンジを馬鹿ほど増やすマジックも。今回、イベントの後、子供におやつの袋をあげる予定があったので、ビンゴゲームのマジックも頼まれた。子供が皆ばらばらなビンゴカードがあったのに、皆同時にビンゴになった(縦・横・斜め、色々)。次回、両親にもカードを渡して、子供だけビンゴになるようにしようと思っている。


After the magic show, I went with my friends to their house since they were scheduled to have a guest from Sweden later during that day. While waiting around, I found a deck of Tally Ho cards (popular with people doing card magic), but in mini size. Why would normal people have that lying around?

マジックショーの後、知り合いの家にも行った。その日の夕方に別のスウェーデン人も来る予定があった。待っていた時に、Tally Hoというメーカーのトランプ(マジシャンの人気ブランド)を見つけた。ミニのサイズだったけど。一般人が持っていると、何で?って思う(笑)

Magic and crabs


A few weeks ago a woman who I have met in several places came to our magic bar. She has come many times before, and we have met in other magic bars etc. too. She had three other guests with her, but all of them had been to for instance the magic snack "Ropossa" several times, so there were quite a lot of tricks I like to do that they had seen so many times that it was not really an option to do them...

色々なマジックバーに行ったことがある女の人が前にうちのマジックバーに来てくれた。何回か来ているし、僕も他のところでも会っているし、マジックが結構好きな人なんだ。今回他のお客さん3人も一緒に来た。皆、何回もマジックを見ているって。例えば、マジックスナック「ロポッサ」に何回も行っている。僕がよくやるマジックの中で、何回もみているマジックが結構あったので、何を見せればいいか、ちょっと困っていた(笑)。僕のリパートリーの中で見ていないマジックも結構あったけど。

They were eating some type of small crabs as snacks. They had too many and gave me a bunch of crabs too. They were quite good, though it felt a bit weird to eat the shells and everything.

小さなかにのおつまみを食べていた。かにがありすぎて、僕にもくれた。美味しかった。

Games and tequila



Sometimes our magic bar is open on Sundays. I stopped by a Sunday recently, and while some Sundays are pretty busy, this one was not. The owner and his girlfriend were there playing a card game. I joined the game, and later an actual customer also showed up and he also joined.

たまにうちのマジックバーも日曜日にもやっている。ある日曜日に僕もちょっと行った。たまに日曜日も忙しいが今回は暇だった。オーナーが自分の彼女とカードゲームをやっていた。僕も参加した。後で、本当のお客さん1人も来て、彼もゲームに参加した。

In Japan, most games in a bar lead to you drinking alcohol, i.e. if you lose at darts you have to take a shot of tequila. This card game was no exception. The game itself was quite nice. It is a German game, where you have a set of cards with the numbers 1 to 15. All players have one set like that each. There are also scoring cards, numbered from -5 to 10. These are shuffled randomly and one at a time are put on the table. You then select a card from your set of cards to try to get that scoring card with. The basic rule is that the person who uses the highest card will get the card on the table. You can only use each of your own cards once.

日本で、ゲームをやるといつもお酒の罰ゲームになる。ダーツで負けたら、テキーラ一杯。そのゲームもその感じだった。ゲーム、良いゲームだった。ドイツ製のゲームだった。1から15と書いてあるカードを持って、-5から10と書いてあるポイントカードもあった。ポイントカードを混ぜて、一枚ずつをテーブルに置くゲームだ。自分の1~15のカードを1枚出して、一番高いカードを出した人がそのポイントカードをゲット!自分のカードは同じカードを一回しか使えない。

So using high cards to get high scoring cards would seem rational, but you have to factor in all other players and some special rules. If the scoring card has a negative value, the player with the lowest card will have to take the scoring card. If there is a draw, all players with the same number are ignored.

基本的に高いポイントのカードに自分の高いカードを出せば良いってことだが他の人が何を出すかも考えないと行けないし、スペシャルルールもあるし…マイナス点のカードは一番低いカードを出した人が貰う。2人以上、同じ数字を出す時にその2枚が無視される。

This was quite a psychological game, and I did not have to drink tequila more than one time despite over ten rounds.

心理的なゲームだった。他の人の考え方を読んで合わせる。何回もやったのに、テキーラは1杯しか飲まなかった。

Then we changed to a more luck based game, and I ended up having 7 shots of tequila in just a few rounds...

その後、普通の運の影響が強いカードゲームになった。すぐテキーラ7杯に飲むことになった。

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Akira Fujiii cards ・ 藤井あきらトランプ

Apparently some of the chains of convenience stores here in Japan used to sell playing cards in collaboration with the magician Akira Fujii. He is frighteningly good with cards, but in Japan he is mostly famous for producing cards from his mouth (popularized by Bill Malone). The cards came with some explanations of magic tricks too, it says on the package. The jokers, and all the court cards, have Fujii-san's face. The quality of the cards is not great, though. One of our regular customers brought these cards to our magic bar.

前に、コンビニで藤井あきらのトランプ売っていたみたい。藤井さんはトランプでめちゃくちゃうまいが日本で一般人は口からトランプを出す変なおじさんくらいのイメージがあるらしい。トランプに簡単なマジックの説明も付いていたって書いてある。ジョーカーや絵札全部藤井さんの顔になっている。店の常連さんがこのトランプを持ってきた。

Twister ・ ツイスター

Our magic bar is called Twister, as is this chocolate snack.

うちのマジックバーは「ツイスター」という。このチョコもそうだ。