MagicFest Barcelona was held from the 25th to the 28th of July. What do you all think of when you hear “Barcelona”? It depends on the person, but I would think it’s probably something like the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, the soccer team or maybe even paella and tapas. There’s a lot of people that you’ll be living it up, enjoying the wine and ham alongside Spainish cuisine, but it’s a bit tricky to call Barcelona, “Spain”.
Right now, Barcelona is part of Catalonia, Spain, but since 2010 there’s been a lot of political unrest to succeed from Spain. There are obviously pros and cons for Catalonia’s independence, but in Barcelona there were quite a lot of “Estelada” flags being flown from homes, in support of the Catalan separatist movement.
On top of that, in Catalonia they speak Catalan, which is similar to Catellano (Spanish), but many signs and restaurants only use Catalan. In Barcelona people love to speak Catalan instead of Spanish. I knew this going in, so on our table I wrote “Buying all cards!” in Catalan at the MagicFest. Lots of locals saw this are said in Catalan, “Now this is great!” It seems like such a small thing, but it’s important to respect their language and culture.
Daily Life in Barcelona
Spending some time relaxing in the sun while taking in the sites of the Basílica de la Sagrada Família or the Gaudi Buildings in Park Güell is the main spot if you’re looking at Barcelona from a tourist point of view. I’d like to spotlight the daily life of people living in Barcelona in this article.
The first thing that stood out in the city was how many kick-scooters there were. In Japan, scooters are mostly used by children, but in Barcelona lots of adults use electric scooters as a means of transportation. They’re able to blast through the bike lanes on their scooters since there’s no traffic. They’re also easy to use and without the use of gas, they’re also very eco friendly. I don’t think the day where these kick scooters become a thing in Japan is too far off, if there were more bike lanes in place.
Have you heard the term “Siesta”? It’s the custom of long lunch breaks rooted in Spainish culture; after you’ve eaten lunch, you can take a nap and just relax in general. I had known about this and always sort of thought “What a great practice! That must be so nice! You just get to take long naps and it makes your working days shorter.” But in actuality, it’s been slowly changing. In order to be in line with other European countries, the practice of siestas is slowly being abolished; speaking of which siestas was abolished for all civil servants. The building across from my hotel had a lot of people doing what looked like overtime, working well after 10PM. So maybe it wasn’t the best to assume that “working such short hours would be fun!”...
Speaking of which, the hotel had something pretty unfamiliar to Japan, another sort of toilet right next to the actual toilet… I’ve seen these several times while traveling, but always find myself thinking “what do you actually do with this thing?”; so I looked into it a little bit this time. Turns out this toilet shaped thing was a “bidet” or “foal” in French. Japan has a washlet like function on the toilets called “bidet”, but it’s a bit different from this toilet-sized bidet. They first popped up in France during the 17th century and then spread across southern Europe, to Italy, Spain and Portugal; by 1975, the installation of bidets had become compulsory. Bidets had become a part of daily life and they seem to have multiple uses, apart from the obvious. They’re used by both men and women to of course clean their lower bodies, but it seems like some people use it for things like washing their dirty feet after returning home and even bathing their babies using the bidet. In Japan we’d call something like that a “wash basin”. So if you’re traveling and you see one, just remember that it isn’t a toilet!
The Four Day Long Magicfest Bacelona
The event hall this year was on the outskirts of the city, about a 30 minute subway ride from the Sagrada Família and city center. MagicFest Bacelona was a 4 day event due to the Mythic Championship (new Pro Tour) running simultaneously. Though we weren’t in a very good spot, lots of people stopped by the TokyoMTG booth! Japanese booster packs are very popular in Europe and this time we brought a lot of Japanese Khans of Tarkir and Modern Horizon packs; which just flew off the shelves! Though there aren’t the Japan famous “Kujis” or “lotteries” at overseas events, people were opening packs at the booth and having just as much fun. Though the locations and styles are different, everyone seems to enjoying MagicFests all the same.