Woodblock prints, bonsai, haiku, Japanese calligraphy, oragami, bunraku and kabuki---all common and popular forms of the Japanese arts. However, there is one art form that, in my opinion, is not given its due justice in the line of these skilled crafts.
That is the Japanese art of realistic-looking plastic food models!
EVERY restaurant and eatery (okay, maybe not the really upscale places) has these tantalizing wonders outside of their establishment to beckon hungry mouths (especially non-Japanese-menu readers like myself). These things are incredible!! The attention to detail and presentation is so...Japanese! Every food, dessert, and even beer imaginable has been molded with loving plasticized care and is on display somehow, somewhere in Japan!
Pardon the terrible shots...trying to get reflection-free and correctly exposed plastic food shots with a point-and-shoot does no wonder for my "try and not look like a huge tourist" status.
I'm especially fond of the "floating chopstick" variety:
For those of you interested, I did a little prodding and found out how this stuff is actually made! You can check it out here: Plastic Food Factory
I love Japan!