While using magic to teach English, Niall Garry has learned that the greatest magic trick you can ever perform is to simply be yourself
Niall Garry is a magician from Ireland. When he says his name in Japanese most Japanese people tend to think of the river Nile, which is spelled differently but has the same pronunciation. So now he goes by the “alphaniphonic” combination Nia川 , incorporating the kanji for river in his name.
Nia川 has been in Japan for almost 10 years learning and using magic to teach and entertain. He is a pretty down to earth person who has learned that the greatest magic trick you can ever perform is to simply be yourself.
You do Magic in Japan? How did you get into this?
When I first started teaching English in Japan. Kids always came early to class and I didn’t know what to do with them. So to make up for language limitations and just a general need to do “something”, I found magic.
Kids were perfect practice as they tell you exactly what they see. When I moved to Nagoya I met a 65 year old professional magician and he took me under his wing for stage training.
That lasted for 4 years until I found my own style of magic. In the meantime I discovered magic bars, which are popular in Japan. I’ve been performing at Momentos, a magic bar in Sakae, for the past 6 years.
What kinds of shows do you do?
Mostly I do close-up shows, and shows for kids. I hold a monthly event in Sakae called Maglish (English by Magic). People join to speak English, make friends, watch and learn magic.
Is there a particular style of magic you practice?
My style is more comedic which suits my personality. I have taken some of the basic routines I’ve learned and made them my own.
What is the hardest thing about being a magician?
After learning magic you have to find the path back to just being yourself, to find a way to be simple in your words and movements.
In the beginning I thought my initial lack of Japanese ability would be a hindrance. Interestingly however, in the end I discovered it was a plus, I learned to make everything simple to understand for anyone regardless of what language they speak. That’s why I don’t use any unnecessary words or movements that might distract or confuse.
Who are the magicians that you particularly admire and which of their tricks is the best?
Paul Daniels is one of my favorites. He was an early influence and I watched him a lot on the BBC. I also like David Copperfield’s “Portal” routine and Jay Sankey’s “Paperclipped” trick.
I’ve got to say however that the people who have influenced me the most are my students. They give me the best practice. Not many magicians or even teachers take the time to practice what they do.
Ironically by practicing a lot I find that you can reinvent or refine yourself without tricks. That’s why I am so thankful for my students, they are my daily audience. They are my true mirror. To kids everything is magic. Which is what makes them magical to teach.
You will be performing at ”The Haunted” on Halloween. What kind of shows are you planning?
I will be doing a kids magic show before 6 and later in the evening I will be doing a closeup performance for adults.
If people want to book you for shows how can they get in touch?
If you want to join Maglish please go to facebook and join my group “Maglish Japan”
For kids shows, weddings and events:
Nia川 also performs regularly at Momentos Magic Bar: www.momentos.me
Nia川 will be performing at “The Haunted FOR KIDS!” (16:00-22:00) and also at “The Haunted Halloween” which starts at 20:00. Both events take place at MAGO on Halloween, Friday Oct. 31st