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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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sapporo reunion of Versailles friends

Me, people I met in Versailles, and some other people who happened to be in the magic bar.

Two months ago I met two girls in Versailles (France) that were there on vacation (I was there on a business trip). They turned out to be from Sapporo, and in fact to work at the university hospital of the university I work at!

In Versailles

Since they are nurses and nurses in Japan work a lot, the first time that they both had time off after returning from France was Sunday I week ago. We had dinner together and they wanted to see magic in the magic bar where I work. I do not normally work there on Sundays, but I figured that it would be many months before there would be a day where they both do not work and that I do work in our magic bar, so I just volunteered to work this Sunday too in our magic bar.

When we entered the bar, it was quite busy. Also, one of the girls said: "Ah, I have been here before!"... Though she had not been in our bar when I was working.

I had a great time. The food was good, and they told me funny stories from their Paris vacation. The conversation was funny and interesting on other topics too, for instance when we talked about their image of what happens during army training (Sweden used to have compulsory army training for men)...

They were impressed that I was waiting outside the restaurant 5 minutes before the agreed upon time, even though I am a foreigner. They said it was very Japanese. Most people I know in Sweden are very punctual, and I tend to show up 10 to 15 minutes before the appointed time (my mother shows up 30 minutes early, but my brother often shows up slightly late (though perhaps only when meeting me)). My Japanese friends are generally not punctual. I have one friend who is almost always on time, but pretty much all my other friends are more often late than they are on time. I have been told this is very uncommon in Japan, but since I have hundreds of acquaintances that are both Japanese and that are generally not punctual, I must have incredibly bad luck in meeting people or it is not really that rare. Other Japanese friends tell me that it is "because you seem like a person that would not get angry if I was late", so they show up late only when meeting me... which to me sounds like an even worse personality trait than being late in general...

It was also funny that one of the nurses asked me if I know 胡麻豆腐 ("goma tofu") when we talked about Japanese food. I know it, because it is quite common in Japan, but the other nurse said: "What is that?" Which both me and the first nurse thought was strange, since presumably she is Japanese and has lived at least 25 years in Japan, and since even I have ran into goma tofu several times during my much shorter time in Japan.

The nurses seemed to enjoy the magic that I did, and they also saw one of the other magicians doing more magic while I was busy with other groups of customers (the bar was pretty full the whole evening). When leaving they said: "Kato-san also seemed like a very nice person". So I told him that later, and said that they seemed to be easily fooled. He said that that was a rude thing to say to him, but I claimed that I only meant that they enjoyed the magic. He did not believe me and said that he is most likely the nicest person of all people working for our magic bars. I said that that is most likely true, but that it does not say very much to be the nicest in this group. Which he agreed was true. So there are at least some people here in Japan that get some types of irony.

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