A spin off of this seems to be the way in which customers here are lured into eating establishments by the displays of imitation food outside the restaurants and cafes. This is a never-ending source of delight and amusement for foreigners visiting in Japan as well as being an easy way of ordering when one cannot read the menu!
Models of food were first made out of wax as early as 1917 and made popular by a famous Tokyo department store in 1923 resulting in a big jump in revenue as it displayed its menu in wax imitations.
These days the food models are made from plastic rather than wax and almost every restaurant employs this method to attract customers.
The plastic food factory first obtains the real food prepared by the client and each piece is put into a molding box and silicone poured in to make a mold. When the mold has hardened the real food is removed and thrown away and liquid plastic poured in. The casting is then heated in an oven to harden it before being painstakingly painted by hand.
In restaurants in other parts of the world I have sometimes ordered something from the menu only to think “This is not at all what I expected!” when it arrived at the table. With the display of funky plastic food outside the restaurants this almost never happens in Japan. Gotta love the foody culture of Japan!