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Fake plastic cheese: Google Doodle celebrates invention of inedible food

It looks like the real thing, it tastes like the real thing. My fake plastic love!

Google is celebrating the 121st birthday of the man who made plastic food big in Japan.


It's hard to imagine the same food sitting in restaurant windows since the 1930s.

But the Japanese art of sampuru -- creating life-like food out of wax, plastic or vinyl for restaurant windows -- has been practised in Japan for almost a century. And Google is celebrating the birthday of the man who made it famous.

September 12 would have been the 121st birthday of Takizo Iwasaki, the man who made a real business out of fake food. To celebrate, the Google logo has been reworked into plates of Japanese food that look good enough to eat. The doodle appears in a smattering of countries: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Australia, Hungary, Sweden, Iceland and Portugal.

The art of making sampuru had been around for over a decade when Iwasaki reworked it, making an omelette out of wax that was so realistic, even his wife couldn't tell it was a fake.

Sampuru is still largely made by hand (and it's mesmerising!), but materials have shifted toward plastic and vinyl because they last longer than wax. You can, however, still see the original omelette in Iwasaki's home prefecture of Gifu, where Google tells us most of the world's replica food is still made. An omelette even made its way into today's Google Doodle.

But what really impressed us is how six dishes so perfectly trick your mind into seeing the Google logo. You could almost say it looks like the real thing.

Update, 5:30 a.m. PT: The doodle's geographical appearances were added.