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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, January 8, 2014

Magic Bar Review: Hey Pola ・ マジックバーレビュー:ヘイ・ポーラ


On 2014-01-06 I went to the magic bar "Hey Pola" in Sapporo together with an American magician who was visiting Sapporo over the New Year and had found my blog. Hey Pola is the bar of Tsugutomo Nihei, and he has been running this bar for 17 years. When we were told this, my American friend said: "What, he started running this place when he was 15?!" It turns out that Nihei is 43 years old, but he looks a LOT younger, haha.

2014年1月6日にヘイ・ポーラというマジックバーに行ってみた。札幌(すすきの)にある。アメリカ人のマジシャンが僕のブログを見つけて、札幌にお正月の遊びの旅行のために札幌に来た時に連絡とってくれたから、2人でヘイ・ポーラに行った。二瓶二大さんが今17年間営業している店なんだ。17年間って聞いて「え?15歳からやっているってこと?」とアメリカ人の友達が言い出した。43歳の二瓶さんがもっともっと若く見える(笑)。

When we came in, there was a group of three Japanese men there already. We all sat at the counter and watched Nihei's performance together. We got to see a handkerchief fly around the bar and then come back, some mentalism/lie detector things with a large wooden cube with different colors, magic with coins moving around and disappearing from the spectator's hand (ending up inside a glass), magic with bills (1000 yen became 10,000 yen), card magic to the soundtrack of Top Gun, and signed cards ending up inside an unopened PET-bottle of water, and more.

入った時にサラリーマン3人がカウンターに座っていた。隣にお邪魔して、5人で二瓶さんのマジックを観た。店の奥に飛んで、戻ってきたハンカチ・サイコロを使ったメンタリズム(嘘発見器)・コインマジック(お客さんの手の中からグラスに瞬間移動)・お札(1000円が10000円になった)・トップ・ガンの音楽に合わせたカードマジック・新品のペットボトルにサインカードが入る、いろいろなマジックを見せて貰った。

Lots of funny gags were sprinkled throughout the show, and one that I liked in particular was that he claimed his stage name was "Mr. Nande", written with the Chinese characters for "south" and "hand". This happens to sound exactly like the expression for "Why?" which is used in Japanese when you see something unexplainable. He also explained that like the hostess bars (there are lots of hostess bars in the same district) nearby, they had a "request fee" system. If you request a specific hostess (instead of getting one randomly assigned) there is often a "request fee". So if you requested a specific magician (though there was only one there, so you would get him no matter what), they would charge you 5000 yen. So any time anyone said "nande!?" in surprise, they counted up one more on the request fee charge, which was quite funny. One guy had a bill for 25,000 yen when he was leaving (which, as it turns out, he did not actually have to pay since it was just a joke).

ギャグネタも多かった。僕の一番好きなギャグは、「私の芸名は『南手』なんだ」と説明されて、「ナンデ?!」と言ったら、指名料金5000円取られるって。隣のサラリーマンが何回も「何で?」って言ってしまったから、帰る時に2万5000円のチャージもついていた(笑)。結局「冗談だよ」と言われて、払わなくて大丈夫だったけど。

Hey Pola also uses music and sound in a fun and interesting way. When the first card trick was about to start, Nihei put on RayBan sunglasses and started blasting the soundtrack of Top Gun. The spectator was asked to pick a card and look hard and remember it. He also had to touch it with his index finger to "lock on". The card was returned, the deck was shuffled, and then the "locked on" finger was used to find the card over and over again. There were many other magic routines done to music. I also loved the fake applause track that he would play after each routine was finished, haha.

ヘイ・ポーラで音楽とかの使い方もうまい。カードのマジックが始まる時に、パイロットのサングラスを掛けて、トップ・ガンの音楽を流し始めた。観客1人にカード一枚選んで貰って、指で「ロックオンして下さい」と指定した。その後、そのロックオンした指で、観客が何回も自分のカードを当てた。カード切ってからも。他の音楽に合わせたマジックもあった。僕の一番笑ったのが毎回マジック1つが終わったら、音声システムで拍手の音を流していた、w。


The price we paid was 3500 yen for 90 minutes of "nomihoudai" (unlimited drinking), which is the standard price in Sapporo (prices in Sapporo are cheaper than Tokyo or Osaka in general). The bar is quite small but feels much roomier than it is. There are seats at the counter and some tables with sofas. There were lots of posters and paintings of Houdini on the walls. The selection of drinks was pretty standard, though there were some things that are not that common too, like a yogurt based cocktail.

90分の飲み放題で3500円だった。札幌にしたら、普通だ(札幌が基本的に東京や大阪より安い)。バーが割りと狭いが意外に広く感じる。カウンター席もボックス席もある。ハリー・フーディーニのポスターとかが飾ってあった。飲み物のメニューが普通だったかな?ヨーグルトのリキュールとか、ちょっと珍しいのもあった。

After the performance was over and the other customers left, we sat and talked to "Mr. Nande" for quite some time. He has been to America and talked to my American friend about the Magic Castle and various conventions etc.

終わってから、南手さんとマジックの話とかもした。アメリカ人の友達も二瓶さんもアメリカのマジック・キャッスルに行ったことがあるからそういう話とか、マジックのコンベンションの話とかをしていた。

All in all, it was a very nice performance. We were told they aimed at "fun" more than "amazing", especially since they (being a bar) get a lot of people who are very drunk. I also like funny magic more than I like amazing magic (though I like both), and there were many jokes I found very funny.

まとめようとしたら、楽しかった!面白いギャグとかの大好きな僕にとってすごく良かった。バーなので、やっぱり酔っ払いのお客さんとかも来るから「すごい!」というより「面白い!」のを目指しているそうだ。僕の好みにいいね。

Summary:
Location: A short walk from the subway (Sapporo, Japan)
Type of magic: Close up
Quality of magic: Good
Cost: 3500 yen
Interior: Nice
Staff: Very nice
Food & drinks: Drinks, the usual selection.
Overall impression: Very funny. Good use of music and sounds.

まとめ:
場所:地下鉄からちょっと歩く(札幌、すすきの)
マジックの種類:クルーズアップ
マジック:良い
値段:3500円
インテリア:きれい
スタッフ:面白い。優しい。
食べ物・飲み物:飲み物が普通な種類くらい
全体的な印象:面白かった!音楽とかの使い方が良かった。

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