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.


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