Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pasta in Toyohira and in Susukino

Recently I end up having a lot of pasta. I went to my friends place "Garbanzo" and had pasta carbonara there a few days ago. Garbanzo is always nice, with a great view in the new location they moved to this year.

I also went to a pasta place in the Toyohira ward where I lived the first six months I stayed in Sapporo. After I learned about that place, I went there once or twice per week while I still lived close, and the master there was always willing to speak to me in Japanese so it was great practice for me at the time. I even brought my parents to this very small place when they were in Japan, and my mom and the wife of the master had a long discussion about patch work and embroidery (with me as interpreter). Anyway, you get pasta served in big bowls, and it is cheap and good. The place is called "Yude age spaghetti".

Italian at Ozonico

The entrees at this place are always great

I booked a table for two at an Italian restaurant I used to frequent a few years ago. This was the first time in about two years to go there again. First I was going with a girl I recently got to know, but two days after all the "when do you have time to go?" (Japanese people work too much so finding time when you both are free is often difficult) etc. had finished and I had made reservations she decided she wanted to go visit her family in a different part of Hokkaido instead (this type of thing happens to me all the time in Japan, but rarely in Sweden; and it never happens to anyone else I know).

Sanma, a fish that comes here during the autumn

Since I did not want to disappoint the restaurant (in our magic bar we get bookings where people never show up or where they cancel at the last moment and that is annoying; you get extra sad when someone booked on a really slow business day like I had done) by cancelling, I asked another friend to tag along instead. We had some very nice Italian food.

The place is called Ozonico, and the interior decorations etc. are also nice. In the summer they have tables outside too, on a balcony on the third floor.

Pumpkin mousse 

Bread, which was good. Free refills, which was perhaps too much... and I am trying to lose weight too...

This quiche was excellent!

A nice soup

Pasta with spicy tomato sauce

A small salad to "reset" your mouth so you can enjoy the taste of the main dish.

Roasted lamb with beans and wine sauce

Some fish, which was great.

We had a choice of about ten different desserts, and I picked the orange tart.

My friend picked strawberry mousse.

And we also got catalana

Harb fry potato and Makreel tomato

At the German-ish stand at the Sapporo Autumn Fest they sell "harb fry potato" and "makreel tomato", which are apparently German specialties.

Melonkuma (The Melon Bear)

Yubari, a small place an hour or so from Sapporo, is famous for melons. Every little place in Japan also has to have a mascot. The mascot for Yubari is Melonkuma (literally "melon bear"). Most mascots in Japan are cute, but Melonkuma is not cute.

There was a life sized Melonkuma at the Sapporo Autumn Fest and people were taking pictures. Lots of small kids started crying when the bear "bit" them.

Sapporo Autumn Fest

We keep having over 30 degrees Celsius here, which is rare for September, but they still call it "autumn" now. In Odori Koen park there is now the Sapporo Autumn Fest, a festival which means food and beer (like all festivals in Japan).

There are lots of small shops from small villages all over Hokkaido, selling food typical for their region. There are also shops from major Sapporo companies.

I went there to see a friend of mine who sells hamburgers. I also tried some Belgian waffles (the ones I had in Belgium were great, the ones I had at the Autumn fest were different, but OK), a mackerel sandwich (a kebab with mackerel instead of kebab meat), some "German" sausages, and some other things.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Magic, fish, alcohol and guns; recipe for a good evening

Last night my colleague finally had time to take me to a bar he had randomly wandered into and had been shown magic in. We first ate some soup curry, and then went to the bar "Cafe & Saloon Hearty"

The interior decoration was very nice. Most things were wood, and they had a chandelier type thing made from deer antlers. There were also antique guns from someones gun collection on the walls, and a big aquarium with very expensive looking fish.

They also had a very large selection of drinks, and the master likes magic. He handed me a deck of cards and asked me to do some magic. I ended up doing magic for him and his friend, then a table of girls that happened to be there at the same time as us (the master wanted to film me with his cell phone so he asked them if they wanted to see some magic), then again for the master and his staff, and finally for another group of women who seemed to be regulars in the bar.

I kept hammering nails into my nose, mainly. But they seemed happy enough with that. One woman had been to one of our magic bars, though not when I was there.

We got some drinks for free for having entertained the other guests so well.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Unlucky guests from Hakodate

White "Black Sanda"

Two months ago when I was in France on a business trip (or possibly when I was in Sweden because of my brother getting married), a girl who lives in Hakodate had flown to Sapporo to see me do magic. She and a friend had come to our magic bar, asking to see me. Since I was not even in the country, they were out of luck but still got to see three other magicians. But the girl coming by airplane to Sapporo was a bit sad anyway, I was told.

Apparently, the two of them came to our magic bar again during the O-Bon holidays (holidays mean even some Japanese people do not have to work, so they have time to fly to Sapporo to visit magic bars) but of course the magic bar where I perform was closed during the O-Bon holidays...

They did a third try this weekend. They came to our magic bar on Saturday, and of course we are open on Saturdays. I am in the magic bar on Fridays and Saturdays unless I am out of the country or something exceptional like that happens, so I was there too. Unfortunately for these two girls, so were a LOT of other guests, so the bar was full when they showed up and they could not be let in...

They did however come back later. Our bar becomes fairly empty after midnight (after the last subway), so when they came back at around 2 a.m. the bar was empty of guests. So she could finally meet me and see me do magic.

The girl from Hakodate even brought omiyage (souvenirs) from Hakodate for us! So we got something called "White 'Black Sanda'" ("Black Sanda" is a type of chocolate, and this was Black Sanda except made with white chocolate instead of the normal type of chocolate), which is a strange name. She also brought Guarana drinks from the Lucky Clown hamburger chain (a famous hamburger chain in Hakodate).

At around the time they came to our magic bar, it was time for the second wave of customers so 4 other groups of customers also dropped in and I had to go do magic for other guests too. So in the end, I forgot to ask why she wanted to see my magic or how she even knew about me before coming to our magic bar. This remains an interesting mystery, but maybe they will come back to our magic bar again :-)

They were funny to talk to and nice guests. One of the funnier stories of the evening was when they talked about how after last time the girl had gone through airport security with a PET-bottle of tea that also had a signed playing card stuck inside it. That also makes the tea turn black (the glue in the card is dissolved by the water in the tea, and the glue is black). And instead of putting it in her check-in luggage, she had it in her carry on bag. In Japan you can travel with liquids but you have to let the security personnel check your bottles. She got some very strange looks when handing over an unopened (sealed) PET-bottle of black liquid with a playing card floating around in it...

Man eaten alive by bird in Sapporo?!

When walking around in the fairly hot (33℃) autumn weather we had during Saturday, I saw a man with 4 pigeons climbing around on his arms and back. He also carried another 3 pigeons in his hands... I wonder why.

Not so Turkish food on a birthday

Last week it was one of my friend's birthday. I asked her what she wanted to eat for her birthday and she said she wanted to eat Turkish food. There is a nice Turkish restaurant right outside our university, and the Turkish guy who owns and runs the place is very nice to talk to too. So I recommended this place and we decided to meet outside the restaurant.

It turns out that this restaurant is closed on Wednesdays, which was not so great for us since it was on a Wednesday we met up outside that restaurant...

In the end we ended up eating Korean food instead, a few kilometers to the south of the Turkish place. We also had cake at a place nearby. The Korean food was very nice. Neither of us had been to this restaurant before, though we have had Korean food together several times.

The cake place was also kind of funny. They have a "Two pieces of cake and one drink" set that you can order. Probably this is for people who really like cake (there is also a set with one cake and one drink), but it is perfect for the two of us since I do not drink coffee or anything like that, so we want one drink and two pieces of cake. We ordered a set like that. When the waitress came with the things to our table, she brought only one fork, though. We asked for one more fork and she looked very surprised. I wonder what she thought we would use the extra fork for, and what she imagined I was doing in the place at all :-)

Monday, September 3, 2012

DaiDonDen: Balance artist Lotto

 I also saw a guy called "Lotto" who did some juggling, a few magic tricks, lots of comedy mime stuff, and some balance acrobatics. He was very funny!
Juggling with a broom

Producing a dove from an empty hat

Making the cap of a PET-bottle enter into the bottle by passing through the bottom


Balancing on some wobbly chairs

DaiDonDen: Akkey

A voodoo doll
A magician I know, Akkey (アッキー) was performing at the DaiDonDen, so I went to see him. Twice. The first day he was outside and he did a lot of magic but also some juggling. He juggled with clubs and threw a spinning diabolo very high into the air. The second day he was in the underground area, and could not do so much juggling.

Akkey was very funny. He did things like "the worlds fastest balloon art", where he made a dove from a long balloon in under 3 seconds. He did the linking ring tricks using "the worlds coolest performance style for linking rings". He also used me as the person to make fun of with his juggling clubs the first day, and asked me to come up and help him the second day since I had a funny t-shirt on.

The worlds coolest way to link two rings.
A drawing that became animated and then became a normal  drawing  again.

A spectator was asked to throw cards into the air, and Akkey would then hit them with a PET-bottle wrapped in tape (sticky side out) to catch only the one card signed by the spectator.