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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.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Strange coincidences again

Yesterday my phone showed me an icon I have only seen once before, which signifies someone is chatting or sending messages to you using Google+. The message was in Swedish and roughly read: "I know [person I also know, from university, but have not met since 2006]. I too am in Sapporo, until the end of August. Do you want to meet?" I was from some Swedish guy who knows a guy I know.

I am busy in August, so the first available night seemed to be August 12, which is pretty far off. I also asked where in Sapporo he was staying, which turned out to be right where I live! So I said that then we could meet up immediately, to which he agreed.

So we met up went to a bar where one of my Japanese friends works, and my Japanese friend remembered enough Swedish to say: "Nice to meet you. My name is [name]. How do you do?" and to say: "Here you go" every time he served something. He secretly learned Swedish to surprise me and my parents when we visited 4 years ago.

So we sat there and talked for awhile about various things, like why are you in Sapporo (and not Tokyo or Kyoto), and things like that. My Japanese friend now has one more Swedish person in his list of foreigners he has talked to. That list contains almost only Swedes, and it contains almost around 10 Swedes.

My friend once again proved to be good at "giving other people leftovers of things he has started to eat but did not want to finish". He gave me and my brother some leftover convenience store sushi when my brother visited Sapporo, he gave me half of a piece of cake that the customer sitting next to me had given him to try, etc. Yesterday he gave my new Swedish acquaintance one third of an umaibo. He also served us some red wine that another customer had brought with him since he had to buy a whole bottle at the restaurant where he was eating, but could not finish it by himself.

A girl who also goes to this bar a lot also showed up and she gave us some very sour candy to try. She also asked us about Sweden, and my friend the bartender told her that all Swedish people are either crazy or at least lack taste buds. He believes this after meeting several people from Sweden who all like the taste of licorice. To Japanese people, this is pretty much the most disgusting taste they can imagine, it seems.

When we walked home, we were of course going more or less the same direction. I asked where more specifically he is staying, and it turns out he is staying in the same house as one of my magician colleagues! This was quite surprising. Last year he had stayed in the same house, on the 24th floor, he said. This year, they had put him on the 3rd floor, though. Which is the same floor my magician colleague lives on!

I messaged my magician colleague that if he sees a foreigner in the elevator, he should say hello and give him my best regards. He said he would use the only Swedish he knows: "Jag älskar dig". Which means "I love you", and is not really used as a greeting when you run into people you do not know... So I am hoping they will meet in the elevator in the near future.


  1. Jag har ju besök nu av den 20-åriga sonen till mina vänner i Tokyo.. Jag lät honom läsa stycket om lakrits.. och sen gav jag honom en "Salta Katten".. Ha-ha-ha!! Förväntat resultat! :-) Spottade ut ..och höll på att få spel eftersom den fastnat i tänderna och han inte blev av med den fort nog!! :-) Han hävdar att det smakar gummi.. Dumt av honom att äta gummi kan jag tycka.. :-D Nu äter han ostbågar och är så nöjd!! :-)

    1. Ja, det är ju märkligt att alla japaner hatar lakrits så mycket :-)
      Jag brukar också bjuda på någon sort som fastnar i tänderna, det blir roligare då.