Friday, October 21, 2011

Osaka trip: Magic Bars

One of the goals with my Osaka trip was to visit some famous magic bars. Previously me and my friend from Sapporo toured magic bars in Tokyo and now it was time for Osaka.

Me and the famous Ponta the Smith, who works in the French Drop magic shop
Before going to the magic bars, we first visited a magic shop. The bars do not open until seven at the earliest, so we had time to kill. There is a more detailed blog post about our visit to Magic Shop French Drop on my magic blog.

We visited three different magic bars: French Drop (same place as the magic shop above), Vernon's Bar, and Ah-omoro.

Me and the French Drop magicians
In French Drop we got to see four different magicians, which was a kind of special service. Normally there are only three magicians there, they said. All of them were very good, and we got to see "Johnny, the tallest magician in French Drop", who chewed on a coin and pulled out extreme amounts of Oreo cookies from his mouth; "Loki", who almost set fire to the curtains and who did a lot of stage magic style things; "David Chinsuko", who did everything with an Okinawan theme and most things with an obscene twist; "Takemiya", who squirt fire from his nose and did some contact juggling. After their performances all of them also stayed with us and chatted with us for a long time. We ended up staying much longer than planned, leaving little time to get to the other places before all communications shut down.

Me and the kind of French magician Monsieru Pierre
Next we went to Vernon's Bar, which is run by Monsieur Pierre. He is Japanese but his magician character is kind of French. I have always liked him when he was on TV, so I was looking forward to seeing him live. First we got to see Sammy, who runs a big magic shop in Osaka. He did some inspiring rope magic and used a pet raccoon in a funny way. Next up was Yoko, a female magician who was actually a student in the magic course they have at Vernon's Bar. As a kind of graduation test, she had to perform for customers in the bar. She did very well. The third magician we met was Randy, who did the best linking cigarette performance I have seen so far. Finally, Monsieur Pierre also performed for us. We got to see all his famous TV tricks and some other things. The final handkerchief trick caught me very much off guard (which as a magician is the best thing that can happen to you :-) and there was also a very notable coin trick. Pierre also turns out to speak English very well (and French very funnily). After the magic shows were over, everyone was kind and chatted to us for quite some time.

Ah-omoro has a very nice entrance too!
Finally, we went to Ah-omoro ("Ah, Funny!"). The owner of Ah-omoro is friends with the owner of the magic bar where I work, so we had high expectations here too. In true Osaka spirit, all the interaction with the staff turned into stand-up comedy performances. The staff were very good at this. It took probably more than half an hour before they got around to doing magic. All the introductions, explanations of who would perform next, etc. turned into comedy routines. The magic was also very good. The first magician, Daiichi, pretended to be bad at magic in a funny way, but still did very impressive magic. The next magician said that he was sorry to inform us that he would actually be doing magic in a more serious (normal) way (not very Osaka like, apparently). He did so, and he did a lot of routines that I have never seen anyone else perform (though I have performed some of them myself).

My friend (far left), me, and the Ah-omoro magicians
The very nice interior of Ah-omoro

They even gave us a deck of their own brand of playing cards.
The owner also came and talked to us (and did more stand-up comedy) and we had a great time. They also under-charged us something fierce I think... When they told us how much they expected us to pay, we thought they were telling us the price per person but it turned out to be for both of us... Too cheap by far!

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