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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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