Thursday, December 27, 2012

Playing card present

Yesterday I stopped by our magic bar on my way home from work. I ran into a friend of mine who I have not seen in months, and he gave me a birthday present. This was somewhat surprising, since my birthday is in October.


I received two decks of cards. Both are Bicycle playing cards, which is a brand of cards very popular with magicians. I do not normally use Bicycle cards (I use super cheap playing cards made for kids, since they have very cute pictures on them), but they are very high quality.


The two decks I got yesterday were special designs that were extra cute. I liked them. One even came with an extra card that can be used for certain card tricks.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Headless and stolen rabbits

A beheaded rabbit

On Friday night we had lots of nice customers in our magic bar. We also had some customers that I would not describe as nice. After performing for a group of around 20 or so, no less than three sponge rabbits that I had used ended up missing. Sometimes they get dropped on the floor and I find them after the guests have left, sometimes people hide them but most people return them when I say "Some rabbits seem to have gone missing... please return them to me before you leave if you see them." On Friday, three rabbits never came back. One more rabbit also lost its head.


People being fascinated enough by some magic trick that they take some of your stuff with them when they leave is quite rare (unless stuff that you explicitly give away of course) but it sometimes happens. Losing three rabbits in one performance (four if you count the one that lost its head) is a new record for me.


Luckily enough, on Saturday one guy gave me a 1000 yen tip (we have a magic charge in our bar, so people are not expected to tip, though sometimes people who are especially impressed or who want to impress the people they came with by showing that they spend lots of money do) which is almost exactly what it will cost to replace the four lost rabbits. So it all evens out in the end.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Magic bar review: Hearts

In Yokohama there are two magic bars (that I know of). Since I spent two days in Yokohama for work (my computer job), I managed to visit both. When I first arrived at the magic bar Hearts, they said that they were in the middle of a show just then, and asked if I could come back later. I went and had dinner nearby and came back at the time they had suggested. They were in the middle of the next show then, so I was placed at a table and told that I would be moved to the counter (where the magic happens) when the show was finished (so I could see the next show). I waited for 15 minutes or so, and then I was moved to the counter.


At the counter, I spoke to the bartender for awhile, and some of the other customers also asked me where I was from and how come I can speak Japanese etc. After some waiting, the next show started. By then it was just me and three other customers left. They had seen the previous show too, so the magician did a completely different show using only material that they had not seen.


In Sapporo, many bars and restaurants write "ram base" on the menu when they mean "rum base". This is apparently popular in Yokohama too.
The show was divided into two halves, with a short break to order drinks or go to the toilet. The magician Nakamura had the bartender control the music, sounds, and the lighting for him, and had picked different types of music to go with different magic effects. He seemed to have put a lot of thought into the presentation of the effects, and he got very good reactions from common tricks like the ash in spectators hand.


Magic at the counter
He did a quite a lot of magic, about 40 minutes in total. He did magic with many different types of objects. We saw some card tricks (card under glass, card into PET-bottle), some coin tricks, the gypsy thread trick, a floating rose that when set on fire turned into a real flower, an empty and crushed coca cola can came back to shape and cola came out of it again, a copper silver transposition in the spectators hand using keys instead of coins, a signed packet of sugar was torn up and the sugar poured out and then the sugar and packet magically became an unopened (signed) packet again, some mental effects, and a thing were a cacao bean and sugar was put in a tube and then lots of chocolate came out of the tube, and more.


A lot of the effects were quite original, and I liked his way of showing them. I like it when the magic "makes sense" in the sense that if you mix cacao beans and sugar, that makes chocolate. He also did some nice story setups with a photo frame with a picture of a snow covered tree onto which he kept dropping colorful light that he plucked from the air, and then the photo turned into a photo of a tree with colorful Christmas decorations. Finally, a small plastic tree (Christmas decoration) turned up out of a handkerchief. He also had a very nice presentation for the new Tenyo magic prop where a coin pops into existence inside a glass. Well thought out presentations over all.


Location: Close to the Yokohama Kannai JR station.
Type of magic: close up.
Quality of magic: Good.
Cost: 4000 yen for magic and nomihoudai (unlimited drinking).
Interior: nice.
Staff: nice
Overall impression: Well worth a visit if you are in Yokohama.


There was an alien in a jar in the toilet.

The toilet also had photos that were a bit spooky.

Magic bar review: Kanperce

I was in Yokohama for two days for (computer) work and decided to check out the local magic bars when I had a chance. One of the magic bars I went to was Kanperce, which is close to the Yokohama Kannai station which coincidentally was were our work meeting the next morning was to start.


I got there quite late, so there were no other customers when I arrived. There were two magicians, though, and one more showed up later. First, "the new guy" Yuuki did some magic for me. He did an "any card at any number" trick, a trick where his thumb and index finger are taped together but still that finger link linked with my cell phone strap, and he did a card trick with kings and fours changing places or turning upside down for strange reasons. Later during the evening he also did a short Chinese ring routine and some other tricks. He seemed a bit nervous, and sometimes you could see things that you were not supposed to see (like a thumbtip), but he was very nice.


The magicians
Next, the magician Makoto did a fairly long show. He said he is friends with and received training from the magician Nihei, who runs the magic bar "Hey Pola" here in Sapporo. I have met Nihei a few times.


Anyway, Makoto did all kinds of magic, and used a foot pedal for a sound system to get good use out of sound effects and music. He did magic with rubber bands, sponge balls, various penis shaped objects, a chop cup, coins, cards (ambitious, triumph, card into PET-bottle), some ESP card tricks, and a lot of other things. There were also many joke props, like a marker pen that could not write because if you opened it you could see that the battery had run out (why it was battery powered in the first place was unclear, haha).


Me and the magicians of Kanperce
After Makoto's show was over, we talked about various things for awhile, and another magician, Mocchi, arrived. I have seen him twice before, once at Toto's Bar, and once in the restaurant Usagi-ya. He did a mental type card trick with a pretty impressive force, showed some fork bending,  did a Lennart Green style key card trick, and used a pretty cool tossed out deck. This time, he also remembered that we had met before, haha.

Makotoさんのマジックの後、色々な話をしていた。その後、もっちーというマジシャンも来た。前に2回も会っている。都々's Barで一回見たし、ウサギやというマジックレストランでも見たし。面白いフォースを使ったメンタルのカードマジック・フォーク曲げ・Lennart Green風なキーカードのカード当て・Tossed out deckのマジック、色々見せてくれた。今回、前に会ったことがあるのを覚えてくれたし、笑。

All in all, it was a lot of fun. The staff were very nice and spoke to me about all kinds of things. The magic they did was interesting, and they used techniques I have not seen other people use (like sleeving a coin to make it disappear after being put into a handkerchief, from which my class of tea appeared instead).



Location: Close to the Yokohama Kannai JR station, and even closer to the Kannai subway station. Lots of bars and similar things nearby.
Type of magic: Parlor type magic if there are more than one spectator, and close up.
Quality of magic: Good.
Cost: 4400 yen for magic and nomihoudai (unlimited drinking).
Interior: nice, though somewhat messy when I showed up.
Staff: nice and funny
Overall impression: Well worth a visit if you are in Yokohama.