Yes Its Fake but…
It’s customer satisfaction stupid. In Europe the term bakers dozen meaning thirteen breads in a dozen came into being to ensure customers don’t feel cheated. It is the same reason that is to make customers aware, that fake food industry came up in Japan.
Every eatery in Japan displays its entire menu in plates arranged neatly in a showcase outside. The neatly arranged sushi, the fresh cut slices of Sashimi, hot fried Tempura, bowl full of Ramen, everything. Only that all these are fake. They are not cooked and placed outside as probably was the case back in the past. Nowadays each item is made from wax and plastic. But what is amazing is the accuracy of the finished product. The colour, texture of each item in a recipe in a plate are so accurate that to an outsider it’s very difficult to distinguish a plate of fake food from the real.
The craft started originally near Osaka, so most of the produce is still made there. There are shops though in Kappabashi area that sell the finished products. Tourists flock to Kappabashi to buy this unique craft from Japan. Sushi on your key ring? Little bowl of ramen hanging from your mobile – nice souvenir isn’t it? You get the same kind of souvenirs in airports and tourist shops in small quantities but for the real thing with the real fakeness one would usually head to Kappabashi.
Learn to make food – fake food
Hey you can do it too! For real! You can make your own one from locally available original fake ingredients. You want folks back home see a real fresh Japanese delicatessen, you can do that if you have a spare hour or so. And there are multiple options too, at locations close to where you might stay or visit. There is an outlet in Ikebukuro. The most established one is though in Kappabashi known as Ganso. It has branches nearby in the swanky shopping malls of Solamachi, Tokyo sky tree, and in Aeon mall, Makuhari. You can look up the map, training times and also the schedule of items to be taught in their official site
As of the time of this writing the Japanese language version of the site seems to carry more details such as schedule of which items to be made in which location. You can select a date / location / item, call and make a booking. You should do booking as early as possible as the seats fill up very quickly.
Items to do vary according to seasons as well. This Summer 2015 there were variety of ice creams and sundaes to make. Alice from your Couchflyer team got the opportunity to make one in Solamachi, Tokyo Skytree. Ten students underwent one hour class to get a feel of the art. The accompanying photos show her creation with err some help from the Sensei. If you think it is nice then you should take a look at the creations by the masters. There are exhibitions held by master crafters showing intricate art that are unbelievably realistic. Read the event information here for more details. Keep Google Chrome handy as its all in Japanese.
So next time you want to experience Japan go ahead try out Japanese fake food art. You won’t regret it !