First, let me clear up a few myths; I don't stop at ALL of the plastic food displays, only 95% of them. And second, what you see below is 95% of the pictures I have taken so far. And third, I submit for your review that they are all NOT the same. Look at the pix below, they range from traditional rice and sushi dished to drinks, pancakes, hot dogs, spaghetti, etc. Which is exactly why I take the so many pictures - to get the variety.
I will admit that I am as mesmerized by the plastic food displays here as I am with the actual Japanese food - I love them both. I do stop at most of the restaurant fronts that display plastic food and I do admit to slowing down our walking-progress at times.
I keep wondering if anyone has done a coffee table book on the subject. And I know I am not the only tourist fascinated by it as in one tourist store (at in the Osaka Castle), after Samurai gear and Geisha souvenirs, the plastic Japanese food aisle was the third biggest merchandise display - they had clocks, key chains, magnets and even full-on cell phone cases all made from plastic food!
My other thought was that this must be a huge business here in Japan because it is everywhere - and I'll bet while it is mass produced, it still takes some artistry to boot! Sure enough...thank you, Youtube.
P.S. One thing Suzanne and I noticed about food here in Japan is that Sushi is not as common as you would think and you have to seek it out. The primary dishes are either rice and vegetable based, or noodle dishes with fish stock, vegetables and pork. Also big is Yakatori (meat skewers) and Tempura. Check out these selections, and then check out the pics below: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2035.html