Alberto Pellegrini does not speak or read Japanese, a deficit that threatened to leave the Italian tourist starving in a nation famous for its gastronomic delights.
Fortunately for the hungry honeymooner, restaurants across this food-obsessed nation — where English menus range from sparse to non-existent — often display their wares in the form of intricately-made plastic replicas.
The sight of a giant hotdog slathered in condiments does not faze the average Japanese restaurant goer, and these fake food parades are often so similar to the real thing that they almost dare potential customers to take a bite.
A sudsy-looking beer, perfectly glazed sushi and indestructible deep-fried pork cutlets are a common sight on the streets of neon-lit Tokyo and even the smallest towns.
“It can really help,” Pellegrini said as he and his new wife combed lunch venues in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza shopping district.
“I point at the food and I just say “I want this, I want that.” It is easier because choosing from a list [in Japanese] is impossible.”