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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Prime Minister Abe As Mario As Coffee Foam Art

During the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympics, we were treated with the sight of watching a two-dimensional Nintendo Mario hop all around Japan and leap down into a green pipe, and then stare in amazement as a 3D pipe rose up from the Rio stage, with Mario himself slowly rising from the pipe in a crouch position.

Only it wasn’t Mario. It was actually Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (surname first), who was dressed up as Mario!

Holy cats! Love him or hate’em, Abe showed a never-before-seen playful side to himself in dressing up as the beloved Italian carpenter/plumber from Donkey Kong and Mario World video games that was created by Nintendo.

While I was there at the forefront of popular arcade video game play in the 1970s, dropping quarters into such fun stand-up fare as Space Invaders, Star Castle, Missile Command and Defender (and Gorf, Scramble, 1942, Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Robotron, (space pilots needed for sector wars, play) Astro Blaster - the first sit down game I can recall playing, Galaxian, Centipede—holy crap… I think I had a problem - and many, many, many, many many, many, many more, like Satan's Hollow, Star Wars!!!! - loved that one, Galaga, Millipede, Pole Position, Frogger, Dig-Dug, Joust (love the ostrich), Q-bert ($#%^!), Dragon's Lair and Space Ace (50¢ a shot??!!), Burger Time, Tron, Zaxxon (it sure looked 3D!), Tetris, Tapper, Spy Hunter (played the Peter Gunn theme in the background!) Berserk (intruder alert!, Outrun and Asteroids—I regularly searched the couch for coins in order to play Donkey Kong and its sequel Donkey Kong Jr.

It’s a good thing I became an expert at fishing credits with string, tape and a single quarter.

By the way, if you were ever in an arcade and saw ASS as the initials for the high score, that wasn’t me. Same with BUM or TIT. I was ASJ. Hey, I only learned to be crass as an adult.

I certainly made it a point to purchase and play Nintendo’s Super Mario World series of home video games.

Anyhow, this blog is actually about the fun coffee foam art in the image above, depicting Abe as Mario, poking his Curly Howard-looking visage out from the pipe—a tribute to the closing ceremony in Rio.

Now, while Abe in the foam looks like everybody's favorite Stooge (Me? I like Iggy!), he is not saying nyuck-nyuck - his trademark chuckle.

He is saying "nyoki nyoki", which means “to grow quickly”.

Seriously... I saw Curly in the coffee foam, read it as nyuck-nyuck and wondered what the heck the social commentary on the Olympics and Abe really was.

While I believe my mistranslation would have been funnier, thanks to Michael P. at work for the correct translation. I hope it's correct. 

I can’t confirm it, but I believe that the coffee foam artwork is the brainchild of Japanese artist Matsuno Kohei.

See HERE and HERE for a couple of blogs I produced on the coffee foam art by Matsuno.

Somewhere, there's and Italian-Japanese in my coffee,

Andrew Joseph

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