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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.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Street magic in Tanuki Koji

In Sapporo we have a shopping arcade called Tanuki Koji ("Little Tanuki Street", tanuki being a Japanese animal similar to a raccoon). After 20:00 when the shops there close, this street is often filled with street entertainers and people practicing dance in front of the shop windows (that become like large mirrors). You can find caricature artists, balloon animal makers, stand up comedians, guitar players, etc. there.

札幌に狸小路というショッピング・アーケードがある。店が20時に閉まるからその後大道芸的な人やダンスの練習する若者がいっぱいいる。似顔絵・バルーン・お笑い・ギター、色々な人がいる。

Yesterday I saw a guy doing magic there, so I went up and asked him to show me some magic. He said he was just an amateur, but that he could show me some things. He showed me a lot of things. He did some cigarette magic, a version of the coin matrix, a trick with Bicycle card jokers falling off their bicycles, the Chicago opener, a color changing deck routine, a card sandwich effect, and more. He showed some things with tissue paper to another guy, and had a plank with three different colored handkerchiefs that moved mysteriously. He also made a match disappear by snorting it up his nose, and he jammed a knife through his finger when the finger was covered by a playing card.

この間通ったら、マジックをやっている人もいた。何か見せて貰おうと思ってちょっと話しかけた。アマチュアですって言われた。色々見せてくれた。タバコのマジック・コインのマトリックス・ジョーカーが2人乗りになるパケット・シカゴオープナー・デックのカラーチェーンジ・カード当て、色々あった。他の人のにティッシュを使ったマジックもやった。板に色の付いたハンカチの不思議な道具もあった。鼻にマッチを入れたし、ナイフで(カードでカバーされた)指を刺した。

He said that he is called Shin, that he is from Asahikawa, and we have a common friend who does magic in an udon noodle shop there. He also knows Johnny Samoa, the New Zealander that did magic at a Halloween party I visited and at my friends wedding a month or so ago.

「シン」と呼ばれるそうだ。旭川来ているから旭川のうどん屋でマジックをやっている共通の友達がいる。この間僕の友達の結婚してでマジックを見せていたジョニーサモアさんも知り合いだそうだ。

When he was showing some magic to a girl that also stopped to watch, he suddenly turned to me and asked: "Weren't you on TV a while back? Doing magic? With Yo Oizumi?" I said that I was. So he kind of forgot about the girl and started talking about all kinds of magic with me, and the girl left, haha.

僕にマジックを見せてから、若いお姉さんもマジックを見にきたからその人にも見せた。見せている途中、僕にむかって「思い出した!この間テレビでやっていなかった?大泉洋の番組で?」って。やっていたね。それで盛り上がって、お姉さんをほぼ無視したからお姉さんが帰った、笑。

He had good sense when it comes to selecting what magic to perform. He seemed a bit nervous, so sometimes he was flashing quite a lot, and compared to professional magicians, his talking/presentation style was not that funny or entertaining. But everyone starts out like that, of course. It also looked a bit suspicious when he took out a deck of cards, did one trick with that, put it away, took out another deck of cards, did the next trick with that, then changed to yet another deck, etc. I would have preferred if he put a deck away, did something else (e.g. cigarette magic), then took out one (possibly the same, from a spectators view) deck again etc.

ネタを選ぶセンスが良かったなぁ。ちょっと緊張していたみたいで、たまに見えちゃ行けないものが見えたりしていた。プロのマジシャンと比べると、喋りや見せ方がそんなに面白くなかった。まぁ、最初は皆そうだよね。他にトランプ出して、シカゴオープナーをやって、トランプ閉まって、別のトランプを出して別のマジックするのも、「このトランプだいぶ怪しいんだね」って見ている人が思っちゃうよね。トランプをやってから、トランプ閉まって、タバコやコインをやって、またトランプを出すとそこまで違和感ないと思うから、僕ならそうすると思うね。

He was very nice, and he seemed to speak English quite well (though we mainly spoke Japanese). I gave him a 1000 yen bill as a tip in the hope that other people would also tip well, but in Tanuki Koji there are mostly kids, and they do not have any money that they want to spend, I am told. Another magician acquaintance used to do magic there too, but people would give him between 10 and 100 yen... If you go to Susukino or some place where grownups drink, you can get 10,000 yen from the drunk people if they are impressed, he said.

優しい人で、英語も結構話せるみたい(2人で主に日本語で話したけど)。チップとして1000円あげた。そうすると他の人もチップあげるかなと期待したがやっぱり狸小路に来る人がほとんどお金あげないって他のマジシャン知り合いに言われた。10円とか、100円とか。若者ばかりで、お金をあまり使いたくないみたい。大人が飲みに行くところなら(すすきのとか)、喜ぶ人が万札もくれるし、ちょっとでも喜んでいれば、だいたい1000円くれるって。

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Magic Bar Review: Osmand

The sign outside Osmand

I went to Tokyo for some university work really really early in the morning of Sunday August 10, 2014. I was going to be busy from early in the morning until around 22:00 or so, but would stay the night in Tokyo. When I am in Tokyo I try to find time to visit magic bars or something similar. I looked around but most such places are closed on Sundays. I did find one magic bar/restaurant open on Sundays, though.

2014年8月10日(日)にめちゃくちゃ早起きして、大学の仕事の出張で東京に行った。朝から22時まで仕事で忙しそうだったが夜は特に予定がなかった。東京に行くとだいたいどこかのマジックバーや似た様な店に行ってみる。色々検索してみたがやっぱり日曜日もやっている店が少ない。1つがあったけど。

View of the stage from the back seats

Magic Bar Osmand in Roppongi, Tokyo, is open from 16:00 to 22:00 on Sundays. They have a stage show at 18:00. As luck would have it, the higher ups decided that we should have a break in the meetings from around 16:30 to 19:00. I navigated the Tokyo subway net as fast as I could and spent the time from 17:00 to 18:30 in magic bar Osmand.

六本木にあるOsmandというマジックバー(レストラン?)が16時~22時、日曜日にも営業している。運が良くて、16時半~19時、仕事の休憩になった。必死に六本木まで地下鉄に乗った。17時~18時半、Osmandで色々なマジックを見せて貰った。

Since there was a typhoon passing near Tokyo, the weather was pretty bad. Very strong winds and from time to time it rained. When it rained, it rained extremely hard. This may have been the reason why the place was empty. In fact, I was the only customer there.

台風がまあまあ近くに通っていたから台風の影響で天気が酷かった。そのせいで、お客さんが僕しかいなかった。

They asked me if I would prefer them to speak to me (and do magic) in English, but I said that Japanese would be fine. They asked if I also wanted to see the stage show, and I said that if they were up for doing a stage show even if I was the only one watching, I would indeed be very happy.

英語でやったほうが良いかって聞かれたが日本語でも大丈夫だと言った。ステージショーも見ますか?って聞かれて、僕しかいないのにやってくれれば、是非観たいと言って、ステージショーも見せて貰った。

Butler's business card, with all the important information

First the butler Kenzie produced his business card from a flaming wallet. He also later plucked lights from the walls and threw them in his mouth. He said he was not really a magician and only did small things like this, though. A girl who introduced herself as Aileen the maid served me drinks and food and talked to me for a while. She is also from the northern parts of Japan, though not as far north as where I live.

最初はバトラーのKenzieさんが燃えている財布から名刺を出してくれて、システムの説明してくれた。後で壁の光っているところから光を取って口に投げたりしたし。でも、マジシャンではないと言っていた。メイドのAileenさんが飲み物や食べ物を持ってきた。色々話してくれたし。東北出身で僕みたいに東北や北海道からお客さんがくると嬉しいって。

Me, a previously very animated drawing, and the magician Al

The magician Al came to my table and did some tale magic for me. There was a series of travelling the world related predictions where he had a card key from a hotel selected from me in an envelope locked with a code lock that happened to unlock only with the room number I had picked etc. He also did a card trick where he drew what he thought was my selected card in a small sketchbook. When this turned out to be wrong, he filled in the drawing to look like a whole deck of cards, and then the drawing became animated and one card (my card) rose out of the deck, and then he gave me the resulting drawing (no longer animated).

マジシャンのAlさんがテーブルに来て、色々なクローズアップマジックを見せてくれた。旅行のテーマの予言のマジックで、僕が選んだホテルのカードキーが南京錠で閉まっていた封筒に入っていた。南京錠の開く番号が僕が選んだ部屋番号だったし。他にカード当てのマジックも見せられた。僕の選んだカードを小さなスケッチブックで描いて当てるって言ったが絵のカードが違った。絵を描き直して、トランプの束の絵になった。その絵がマジックで動き出して、選んだカードが絵の束から浮き上がった。絵が落ち着いてから、スケッチブックから取り出して、お土産みたいにくれた。勿論、普通の絵になっていた。

He then also did a stage show for me. It started with a lot of fire and some heavy music, and then a torch turned into a magician's stick, a dove came out of a book and was put in a cage that then disappeared (including the dove), etc. There were some interactive moments, he for instance turned my 10,000 yen bill into two 1000 yen bills, which he later turned into lots and lots of 10,000 yen bills (and he gave me one of them back). He had me up on stage to do a floating table thing, and he did some rope tricks too.

その後、Alさんがステージマジックショーもやってくれた。最初は火を沢山使ったりしていた。ステッキが出てきたし、本から鳩が出てきたし。鳩が籠に入れられて、鳩も籠も消えた。お客さん(僕)とのやり取りのマジックもあった。僕の1万円札が1000円札2枚になった。その2枚が大量の1万円札なったから結果良かったけど(笑)。1枚返して貰った。フローティングテーブルも一緒にやった。ロープマジックもあった。

The butler, me, the maid, and the magician

When I was leaving, a guy came out from the kitchen and told me "Tack så mycket!" ("Thank you very much", in Swedish), which was also quite surprising. One guy who was the boss of the place also helped in taking a photo of me together with the performers, and then commented that he owned an older model of the same camera and had been thinking of buying the model I have, so we talked a little bit about the camera too.

僕が帰る時に、キッチンからスタッフ1人が出て来て、スウェーデン語で「有難う御座いました」と言った。スウェーデン語で言われることにもびっくり、w。別の人(店長?)にパフォーマーと一緒の写真を撮って貰った時に、同じカメラの古いモデルを持っているがこの新しいモデル買おうかなって考えていると言われたから、カメラの話もちょっとした。

The place had an interesting decor, and the big menu book also had several pages of "back story" explaining what the place was meant to be. They also have a very extensive menu of drinks, and a large selection of food that you can order. Since I was going to have lots of food with the work related people, I only ordered some snacks, though. They were all very nice and talked a lot to me, and they also gave me an umbrella when I left, since it was raining very heavily. I also got a printed photo of myself that they took between the table magic and the stage show, to keep as a souvenir.

インテリアも結構不思議な感じだった。魔法の国のイメージで作ってあるとか、色々な設定のストーリーがメニューの本に書かれてた。飲み物の種類が沢山あって、食べ物も結構本格的なメニューだった。僕は仕事の付き合いで食べに行かないと行けない予定だったから、おつまみしか頼まなかったが美味しそうだった。スタッフ全員優しくて色々話してくれた。帰る時に大雨になっていたから、傘もくれたし。テーブルマジックとステージショーの間に撮られた写真もお土産として貰った。

Snacks

There was a 2000 yen charge to watch the stage show, and I think there is a 1000 yen charge if you want to see only the table magic. Then drinks were between 500 yen and 1500 yen, and the food was not that much more expensive than normal restaurants in Tokyo. I ended up paying slightly less than 5000 yen, which is cheap for a magic bar in Tokyo.

ステージショーを見ると2000円のチャージがある。テーブルマジックだけなら、1000円のチャージだったと思う。飲み物は500~1500円で、食べ物の値段が東京の普通なレストランと変わらない感じだった。僕が5000円くらい払った。東京のマジックバーにしたら、安い。

Souvenir photo

Summary:
Location: Very close to the Roppongi station
Type of magic: Close up and stage magic (fixed show times for the stage shows)
Quality of magic: Good
Cost: Variable, but fairly cheap
Interior: Nice
Staff: Very nice
Food & drinks: Large variety of drinks, good selection of food.
Overall impression: Nice staff. Did a full stage show despite there only being one guy in the audience (me)!
Of special note: Open on Sundays. Serve meals. Stage show.

まとめ:
場所:六本木駅のすぐ近く
マジックの種類:クローズアップもステージもある(ステージショーは決まった時間のショータイムのみ)
マジックの質:良かった
値段:頼むものによるが割と安い
インテリア:きれい・不思議
スタッフ:優しい
特典:日曜日もやっている。ステージショーあり。フードあり。
全体的な印象:お客さんが僕1人しかなくてもステージショーもやってくれたから優しい!