I don't know if this should be posted here, but what the heck:
We had Shoot as one of our alternate lecturers at the Minnesota Magic convention last June 2002. It was a last minute change, and many people were disappointed that the originally sceduled performer wasn't able to make it, because none of us had heard of Shoot except that he was supppsed to be one of Japans top young magicians.
Most of us didn't know Shoot from Adam but we were assured that he was a hit in california and we were assured that we would like him. Boy were we pleasantly surprised! You can't find a more pleasant young man than Mr. Ogawa. Yoko and his teacher (who's name I can't prounounce so I won't bother butchering it by mispelling it), plus another calfornian who's name I can't recall were were also part of his entourage, but they weren't quite as approachable, partly because their command of the english language wasn't as perfect at Shoot's (and he was really working overtime, going way behond what was expected of him at a convention, in my opinion). Shoot also has a very disarming character that has no evidence of the 'hotshot syndrome' that some groupies get, (and I'm as guilty of it as anyone else)
Shoot's command of the english language is superior to many American citizens. The cards he uses are very different than the standard bikes that I use and I had a hard time with his colorful but vastly different feeling decks. I couldn't deal a passable second with his expensive but very colorful decks no matter how hard I tried, I only wish I bought some of his decks decks becuase tricks that rely on changing color backs look great with those brightly colored cards. Of course he had no problem with my Bikes or Bee's. Dang it!
By the end of the first, very long Friday night, all the hard core people (perhaps a 8 to 10 out of a total of about 140 registered attendees) realized what luck we got by getting Shoot Saturday afternoon and late into Saturday night kept him in the spotlight amongh the dozen or so harcores. Many people never bothered to spend any tuime at all with him. Too bad for them.
Mr. Ogawa clearly took the lead and that's saying a lot because was among a lot of heavy hitters such as Paul Cummins and Doc Eason, (both great guys who I also spent quite a few enjoyable hours with), Greg Wilson and Thom Peterson, Jerry Andrus and some of the 'big name' locals such as Tyler Erickson and Al Schneider. He had a tough crowd to follow and he did very well indeed!
I hope that someday Genii does a typical artical on Shoot, which would be a longer, more in depth article about Shoot that does him justice, as I have as much respect for him as just about any magician, living or deceased. He spent a lot of time on how he constructs his original routines including the genesis of an old idea and the process of developing it into a new effect, and though at times I saw facets of older items, everything he did had such a freshness that even though I consider myself a relatively well-read magician, I rarely have the opportunity to experience the wonder of magic and simply enjoy it, such as Shoot was able to demonstrate time after time. He would explain and even spend time working with me some things, and there were many others that he would not tip for various reasons, (some of which I simply didn't have the requisite skill for a particular move) and I respect him for that.
If anyone reading this has an opportunity to meet Shoot, even if it means a long trip or drive, believe me, it's well worth it. You can't meet a nicer guy, and once you've warmed him up, he really shines. At 3am he looks as fresh as if he just woke up. The rest of us looked like escapees from a mental institution. His lectures were very good but over the heads of 95% of the audience, but the late night sessions were by far the highlight of our convention.
When I first was introduced to him I thought he was going to be unapproachable because he is foreign and had a relatively large entourage. Of course just the opposite was true, he is and was the most approachable magician I have ever met and the hours and hours that I spent with him over the weekend were simply fantastic. He spend hours working with me on some diffucilt sleights and was very patient and and his philosophy was as refreshing as his talent.
Late one night, on a whim he did some thimble routines and cane routines that had us all but peeing in our pants. His forthrightness and honesty is very refreshing, and I can't wait to meet him again in a few years to see how his wisdom in magic construction matures even more. Most of the stuff he performed at our late night sessions were magician foolers and were very difficult, but I'm sure there were some things that an average magician could do if published and illustrated in Genii. My understanding is that Richard has a high respect for Mr. Ogawa, and I hope I've not offended Richard (who I've not met but also highly respect as a superior cardman and also a fellow pork-dodger) by mentioning the 'other' magazine.