Thursday, November 18, 2010
Duck Under Glass
Most Japanese restaurants store plastic replicas of their food inside glass cases out front so that passers-by can get a clear idea of what delicacies (or cheap noodle bowls) await them. This duck, which was the centerpiece of an all-you-can-eat restaurant in Yokohama's Chinatown, is the largest and most elaborate one I've ever seen. There's something eerie about the plastic eyes staring back at you.
Plastic food in Japan has fascinated me since I've come here, though most of the good replicas have to be ordered directly from the manufacturer. The only ones you can buy easily are cheap keychains and tiny cuts of sushi. I want some very badly as a memento.
Two weeks ago, workmen came to gut the building and take the glass cases of food away. They are probably in a dumpster somewhere now. Part of the sidewalk is closed off, and I hear drills roaring and see the occasional cloud of dust float down as construction crews shape the building into a new restaurant with pristine replicas to greet its customers; for there is no place left in Japan for the old and faded variety.