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, June 25, 2012

Magic show for kids at MACS

A few minutes before the show started, about half the kids had already sat down in front of my table.
Last year I did a 30 minute magic show at the English conversation school MACS, followed by about 30 minutes of teaching the kids two simple card tricks. I was asked to repeat it this year too, so I had to come up with 30 minutes of new material (which was a bit difficult). I have new material since last year, but most of my work is close up magic not suitable for showing to around 30 kids at once. And most of my material is aimed at people coming to our magic bar, which means some of it is not appropriate for kids...


There was even a sign on the toilet with information about my show.
Anyway, I had a lot of fun, and the kids seemed to enjoy it too. The only thing is that after the show, lots of kids (and some parents!) come up and start grabbing all my stuff. Some things can break easily, and are expensive to buy, so even if you did not care about giving the secrets of magic away, that would also be a huge concern. This time, one foldable box was kind of broken by one of the parents, despite having been put into one of my bags... I could fix it later with no problems, but still... Some of the secrets of the tricks were discovered by some kids since there were too many of them, and only one of me trying to stop them from grabbing at everything.


Since the show took place at an English conversation school, they had some English expressions related to magic on the notice board.
This is something that some of my other magician friends also have happen to them. No one seems to know why people find it OK to grab a magician's tools, while the same people would probably not pick up a guitar after a concert and start fiddling with it. I am still not sure exactly how to deal with this when it comes to some performance situations. When putting things on a table, people often grab at them (when standing behind the bar counter, I no longer have problems). When the audience is too close to my table at parlor magic, sometimes they come up and start touching stuff afterwards (when on a stage very separate from the audience area, this is never a problem). Maybe I can start putting up "Do not enter!" plastic tape around a small area around my performance area?


The kids also got popcorn at the event, so there was some cleaning of the floors necessary afterwards. They used a very old Swedish vacuum cleaner.
Anyway, I don't minds so much with kids, as long as they do not break anything (and that rarely happens). From grownups, I would expect more common sense, though. And to be fair, most grownups manage to restrain themselves and do not touch my stuff without asking.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Tokyo magic bar trip


On Monday I went to Tokyo with a friend. The goal was to visit some magic bars and to shop for funny things at the new Tokyo Sky Tree.


First we went to Harajuku to look for some funny t-shirts for me. I wanted a few more of the t-shirt with a salmon eating salmon sushi that I use for magic tricks. It turned out that the whole shop was gone, and no one else sold such t-shirts... which was a big shock and disappointment. I bought a t-shirt with bears eating bear paws, and two t-shirts with funny writings in Japanese instead.



The hard to find Usagi-ya
Then we went looking for the restaurant Usagi-ya in Akasaka. We had a small map, but it did not show anything to use as a landmark when looking except for a small temple (no subway stations or anything like that) and we could not find the temple either so it took as much longer than we thought to find this place... Once we actually managed to home in on the general area (Japanese addresses are not very easy to use, so even my Japanese friend, who has lived one year in this same district (!) could not figure out where to go), it was still a bit tricky to find the restaurant. It turned out you had to go into the temple yard, more or less, and turn around down some small streets with temple affiliated buildings and private homes. Then, around three more corners we found the restaurant.

The bartenders of Usagi-ya


The starters at Usagi-ya
Once inside, everything was great, though. The restaurant served a full course meal, and all the food was great. Every day there are two magicians working in the restaurant too. There are many magicians working different days in the restaurant they told us. Both magicians came to our table and did magic for us, and in total we saw about 35 minutes of magic. The bartenders were also very funny to talk to.

The soup
店に入ってから全部良かったけど。フルコースを食べて、凄く美味しい料理だった。毎日マジシャン2人がいるそうだ。沢山のマジシャンが働いているが 同じ日に2人しかいない。2人ともうちのところに来て、マジック見せてくれた。トータルで35分くらいのマジックを見たかな?バーテンダーたちの話も面白かった。

The fish

The pasta

The desserts
Some strange things that showed up during the magic performances at Usagi-ya
I got a fan from Usagi-ya because it was some anniversary of the restaurant.


Magician Ryusei Kamiguchi, at Magic Bar Surprise
Then we walked for two minutes to the Magic Bar Surprise, also located in Akasaka. I had been there once before, 15 months ago, but for my friend it was his first visit. The owner of the bar recognized me immediately, and even remembered where I was from, that my name is impossible to pronounce for Japanese people, and where I do magic. There were three magicians working in the bar on Monday, and all three showed us magic. We saw magic more or less non-stop for two and a half hours, I think. And it is quite cheap too! It was a lot of fun this time too.


I bought a book with simple magic tricks at magic bar Surprise, and Ryusei Kamiguchi signed it form me.

Half Moon

My cup of cranberry juice at magic bar Half Moon
Then we rushed to catch the last show at the magic bar Half Moon, which is possibly the greatest magic bar in Tokyo (I also like Toto's Bar a lot), which is located in Ginza/Sinbashi. We tried to get a taxi (it is not that far even walking, but we were running late) but the first taxi just said: "That is not the direction my car is pointing, go get a cab on the other side of the street". Apparently in Tokyo the taxis are like trains and can only go in one direction? We found another taxi, but he did not know exactly how to get to the address where Half Moon is located, even using his GPS navigation system. We told him to just go to Shinbashi station and we would walk from there.


The interior of Half Moon
Half Moon was great, of course. The presentation style is fantastic. They do a lot of very high level magic during the show, which would be impressive in itself, but the thing that is most impressive is the performance style. Half Moon is a bit expensive by Sapporo standards (almost three times the charge we take in my magic bar, for a shorter drinking plan), but worth every yen. Highly recommended.


The Next Day

The next day we went to the Tokyo Sky Tree. It is a new 634 meters high tower, but you cannot go up unless you book in advance. It is fully booked for 6 months or so! We took some pictures of the tower from below and went on a shopping spree in the department complex in and around the tower.


Then we went to the airport and took the four o'clock flight back to Sapporo. This was right before the latest typhoon hit Tokyo, so we had nice timing. There were lots of canceled flights during the day and during Wednesday.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Magic show at restaurant Chavda

On Sunday, I did a magic show together with a friend at the restaurant Chavda. The current boss of the restaurant is the woman who introduced me to this friend three years ago, so when she asked if we could do some magic at their one year anniversary of the restaurant we said yes. Even though we were scheduled to fly to Tokyo on Monday morning and would really have preferred to have Sunday off.


There were other performances too. One of the waitresses who is an aspiring singer sang a song (and did so very very well), a group of stand up comedians from a nearby stand up comedy bar did a short comedy performance (though at least half their talking time they spoke about where there bar is and their opening hours, that they have now opened a second bar, etc., haha), and there was a group of people paying African music on various types of drums (these people were excellent, and got the biggest audience reactions).


Stand up comedy
Me and my friend did two 15 minutes shows in front of everyone, and also walked around during those times when there were no performances going on and did close up magic. We had a lot of fun, and got good reactions from the guests. For our parlor magic performances, we also did a small illusion, making one of the waiters disappear. Originally, we were planning to do an illusion with the boss of the place, but one day she just said: "Ah, no. This guy will take my place instead".


Magic and other strange things at the Sapporo festival

Thursday to Friday we had the "Hokkaido Shrine Festival" and the "Sapporo Festival" here in Sapporo. At these, you can get lots of interesting food, and you can see some performances of different kinds. I enjoyed a performance with a monkey doing tricks.


Woman standing on a box
There was also a tent that said it sported a mysterious show. It included a woman eating a live snake, and another woman doing a magic trick. A woman with huge boobs floated in the air.

Woman floating in the air

Woman biting into a live snake
The woman who ate parts of a snake also threw something into the audience after she was finished. It looked like she threw the leftovers from the snake, but was in fact a rubber toy snake. Very nice reaction from the people standing next to me that got hit by the "snake".

Woman eating parts of a snake that was no longer alive

Friday, June 8, 2012

Karakurid dooru ・ からくりどーる

Today I was called up by a friend when I was about to go to sleep (up early for a meeting at work, stayed until 23:30 at the university, need to get up early tomorrow too and work until morning (and on Saturday)). There was some stuff related to an event during the weekend that he wanted me to take care of today.


By chance, I also ran into the famous magician Karakuri dooru in our magic bar. He had apparently done a show for some company party at the Sheraton Hotel, and he and his lovely assistants were in our magic bar as an after party. They were all very nice customers.


In the end, I ended up doing a short magic show for them too. Since I had not planned to show any magic to anyone, I ended up doing magic with random props. One trick I ended up doing with the practice version of my prop (the nice version being left at home), so it did not go as well as it usually does. The card magic went fine though. The 105 yen cards from Daiso are great, haha.


School festival rehearsals

Today was the first day of the school festival at our university. Every year, the magician club of our university has a "magic cafe" at the school festival. There you can see stage magic and table magic. I used to perform there, but now I have been retired (you can only be in the club for 3 years). I did go to see the rehearsals of the new people, though. Some of them seemed fine, some still needed more work.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Food and magic ・ 食べ物とマジック

Recently, there has been a lot of food in relation to me doing magic. On Sunday, I went to an "all you can eat" sweets buffet restaurant with two of the students in our lab. One of them asked me to show some magic to his girlfriend, who was also with us. Since doing magic during our limited 80 minutes of gluttony would be a waste of our precious time, I did some magic later in the Odori park, where we also found a group of other cute girls that my French student knew.


Two days later, I was invited to a barbecue party with more or less unlimited food. There there were two other magicians present too, so we all had to do magic tricks in turn, in front of the other 6 guests. The food was good, and the magic was fun.


Yesterday in our magic bar, a magician who is back in Sapporo from Tokyo had brought "hato sabure" omiyage. Since my name, "Jonas", means "dove" originally, and "hato" is "dove" in Japanese, this is a good combination. In our magic bar, there were two groups of people who had come to see me, three friends and a group of five people who I have met because they study English together with my old boss at the university.


Since I almost always wear a t-shirt with animals eating the same type of animal (a chicken eating eggs, cows eating beef, etc.), and since my friends know my name means dove, they thought it was hysterically funny that I was eating hato sabure while wearing a pigs eating fried pork t-shirt. "Cannibalism!", they said.


Is that an inflatable penis in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

On Monday it was the 24 year anniversary of the "snack pub" Ropossa here in Sapporo. The mama of the Ropossa magic snack pub does magic but says she is not a magician. She is very good at spoon bending, balloon swallowing, and producing sponge rabbits, and would probably be called a magician by most people.


She also does a lot of magic tricks with penis shaped sponges and balloons (she also loves poo-shaped toys, sponges, and balloons). My boss in our magic bar also loves tricks with penis shaped objects, so the Ropossa mama had bought a penis shaped balloon that she wanted to give to him.


Since I went to Ropossa to congratulate them on the 24 year anniversary but my boss did not have time to go (both our magic bar and Ropossa are open more or less the same hours, so he had to work), the Ropossa mama asked me to take this huge penis shaped balloon and give it to my boss when I met him next.


In Sapporo, I often get stopped by the police and they want to see my alien registration card (my Japanese ID) and they ask me what I am doing etc. Sometimes they ask me to empty my pockets and show them everything I have on me. I am not sure why this happens to me all the time (my foreigner friends tell me it never happens to them), but my Japanese friends tell me it is because I look suspicious.


Anyway, walking around with a huge penis in my pocket would not be the best time to be stopped by the police, so I walked straight to our magic bar and handed over the balloon that same night, haha. My boss was very happy.