The Guardian

'Looks good enough to eat': inside the home of Japan's fake food industry

The town of Gujo Hachiman is the centre of the replica food industry now worth an estimated $90m
This picture taken on January 18, 2017 shows Noriyuki Mishima, a craftsman at Fake Food Hatanaka, spraying paint on a plastic food replica that restaurants across Japan put in their display windows to lure hungry crowds, at the company's studio in Tokorozawa, a suburb of Tokyo. They may look good enough to eat, but Japan's mouthwatering food replicas are only for show as restaurateurs compete for the attention of hungry customers. / AFP PHOTO / TORU YAMANAKA / TO GO WITH AFP STORY JAPAN-FOOD-LIFESTYLE-CULTURE,FEATURE BY KARYN NISHIMURA-POUPEE / Getty Images

With a gentle swish through hot water, and some deft tearing and shaping, Kurumi Kono turns a rectangular sheet of white and green wax into what, improbably, is quickly coming to resemble an iceberg lettuce.

Kono makes it look deceptively easy. “Place it in your hands and pull out the edges like this,” she says. “Then roll the remaining wax into a ball to make a small lettuce. Place it onto your hand and, starting

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