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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。

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