One of the great aspects of downtown Gujo is the ability to walk from place to place to experience all that the city has to offer. One location in the downtown area just off the Yoshida River that offers a break from the deep cultural exploration is Sample Kobo, a silicon food sample workshop.
From the outside, it looked like a regular traditional shop but once I went inside I was greeted by a gigantic glass of beer surrounded by a sea of key-chain sized fake ice cream cones, hamburgers, sushi, and a plethora of other foods recreated in silicon.
I proceeded to toward the back of the shop past a little activity space where customers can create paraffin wax shrimp and vegetables. People were lined up for their chance to create the ultimate fake prawn dish. Further back is a workshop where I could see artists at work. Upon entering there was food laid out for display. I saw a small bushel of sweet potatoes and had to do a double-take. I approached them, picked up one and WOW! It was fake! Fake food 1, Justin - 0. Two artists were sitting in the workshop peeling oranges. They actually cover the orange in a white mesh, let it dry and then peel it off to create the image of an actual peeled orange.
After watching for a few minutes, I proceeded back out to the front of the store and around to a small tatami room where I was going to try my hand at silicon craft. Honestly, I am not an artist but I had decided to try creating a small cake out of silicon. I sat down at the front table and prepared for my study in Sample-food creating. In a box were three different forms for the crust, bags of fake fruit and white silicon in a pastry tube. Our teacher, the manager, came in and in his best Japanese, explained and showed us just how easy it is to make a cake out of silicon. “Oh, I can do this. No problem.” But then he told us something that I didn’t quite get. “Unlike regular cream, when you squeeze the silicon out to top off the cake do not pull up too quickly.” I chose the round cake. I squeezed out some silicon to make a base, put on some fruit and then topped it off. I pulled up too quickly and it went from a cake to looking like a punk-rockers head. "Oh well." I finished up my cake and put it in a special plastic box for carrying (takes three days to dry). Next time, I will go slower.
Having finshed and paid for my cakes and a few other trinkets I patted myself on the head for trying something artistic and really enjoying it.
With its great downtown location and activities, Sample Kobo is a one place where everyone can have a great time.