In Japan you can enjoy your favorite anime, cartoon and video game characters as more than simply visual entertainment. They’re also available as sweet treats. These kawaii confections are a form of wagashi (和菓子) called nerikiri (練り切り). Made from white bean paste and rice-based dough, nerikiri are often tinted and molded similar to how marzipan is prepared in Western desserts.

These pop culture-inspired nerikiri were all made by Japanese Twitter user Otakumi at a wagashi shop called Kuramoto Hinode, which is located in the Tokushima Prefecture of Japan’s Shikoku island.

Follow Otakumi’s Twitter feed

You can also try your hand at making your very own nerikiri. Click here for the recipe.

[via Kotaku]

Oh Japan, you’ve done it again. Perhaps the only thing better than eating yummy slices of toast is eating toast shaped like an adorable teddy bear that cheerfully sits up to greet you right before you devour it.

Called the Ernest Bread Pop Up!, this delightful product is the work of Japanese company Tokyu Hands. It even comes with three interchangable facial expressions so you can customize your scrummy toast bear before you send him to your belly.

[via Bored Panda and the Huffington Post]

Do any of these photos make you hungry? If so, we really hope you brought your own lunch, because nothing that you see here is actually food. These images are part of a still life photo series by Melbourne-based artist and photography student TQ Lee. Entitled Inedible, each photo depicts a tasty meal or enticing treat made of indigestible ingredients such as LEGO bricks, telephone cord, papier-mâché, makeup pads and hot shaving cream. After happily not feasting on any of it, you can refuse to wash it all down with glasses of Betadine, turpentine or waxed rolled socks.

Here Lee describes his series:

"As a child of the 80s I grew up with fond memories of still-life, photographic prints of breads, pastas, fruit and vegetables captured in the literal style of the era. The pictures hung in the houses of my family and friends and I would spend hours identifying all the ingredients and looking at every detail.

Nowadays, the humble still life has grown out of favour. Instead, colourful, reprinted advertisements of vintage European beverages add smiles to kitchen walls across Australia. And so, I challenged myself to put a contemporary twist on the food art trend of the 80s. This resulted in my series Inedible - photos of food made from unconventional ingredients.”

Head over to TQ Lee’s website to explore more of his playful creative endeavors or follow him right here on Tumblr at tqlee.

[via Laughing Squid]

Hold the phone, there’s even more going on in the world of wonderfully weird produce than we thought. Last month we shared the discovery of incredibly creepy “happy/joyful doll pears" in a Beijing supermarket. Today we learned that Chinese farmers aren’t just growing spooky blissed-out babies. They’re also growing green bottle gourds, called Hulu (葫芦) in Chinese, that are shaped like Chairman Mao, Jesus, Santa Claus, Maitreya, the God of Fortune, a fire-breathing dragon and more.

According to a spot on Youku, a man named Xie Lyu Zhi visited the Thousand Year Temple in Sichuan, China and a Buddhist monk told him a dream he had about a gourd shaped like a famous deity. Xie decided this meant he should create artistic gourds.

Like the nightmare pears, these gourds are shaped by growing them inside plastic molds. In China, bottle gourds are very auspicious symbols, associated with good fortune, happiness and good health. These molded gourds appear to be an evolution of the long-standing tradition of decorating the gourds by carving and painting them.

Visit RocketNews24 for additional images.

[via Kotaku and RocketNews24]

"I’m so hungry I could eat a horse the world!” This weirdly enticing fried chicken burger is served on a blue and green planet Earth bun. It’s on the menu at the Orbi Yokohama science museum, a collaborative creation by the BBC and SEGA located in Yokohama, Japan.

We already love learning about and doing science, but the opportunity to have science-y fun while also eating some unnaturally blue food is practically worth the price of the plane ticket.

[via Kotaku]

This exquisitely, scrumptiously detailed Library Cake was made by Kathy Knaus. One side features the entrance to the brick library building, flanked by potted plants. The other side reveals the library’s cozy interior, complete with countless books lining its double-decker shelves, a large globe, and a wonderfully cluttered reading table accented with gum drop lamps.
Libraries are awesome places and cake is one of the best things ever, so this sweet, edible library is extra-mega-super-duper awesome.
[via That’s Nerdalicious!]

This exquisitely, scrumptiously detailed Library Cake was made by Kathy Knaus. One side features the entrance to the brick library building, flanked by potted plants. The other side reveals the library’s cozy interior, complete with countless books lining its double-decker shelves, a large globe, and a wonderfully cluttered reading table accented with gum drop lamps.

Libraries are awesome places and cake is one of the best things ever, so this sweet, edible library is extra-mega-super-duper awesome.

[via That’s Nerdalicious!]

Today the Department of Awesome Parenting travels to Japan where a creative mother, who goes by the name Sasariri on Twitter, creates beautiful bento lunches that are both delicious and educational. Each of the meals pictured here are edible geography lessons, each one identifying a different Japanese prefecture by both shape and name.

Sasariri says she’s now made a bento lunch for every single prefecture, complete with countless kawaii details. Visit RocketNews24 to view many more.

[via RocketNews24]

What could possibly be better than a pile of LEGOs, each tiny piece so full of potential? How about LEGO bricks made of mouthwatering chocolate? Yep, that’ll do it. These awesome, completely functional and 100% edible Chocolate LEGO bricks are the work of Japanese illustrator and designer Akihiro Mizuuchi.

The bricks are made by pouring melted chocolate into precisely designed molds. After the chocolate has cooled, the edible LEGOs can be popped out of the molds and used just like regular LEGO bricks. That is, until you’re overcome by the urge to start eating them.

Now we’re one step closer to living in a Land of Chocolate.

[via Colossal]

The Department of Outrageously Overindulgent Bloody Marys just gained a new member, thanks to Sobelman’s Pub and Grill in Milwaukee, WI. This awesomely excessive Bloody Mary is called the Chicken Fried Bloody Beast. It features 13 different garnishes (cheese, sausage, pickle, olive, onion, mushroom, asparagus, scallion, shrimp, lemon, Brussels sprout, tomato, and celery), 2 baconadoes (skewers of bacon-wrapped jalapeño cheese balls), and 1 whole fried chicken.

The Chicken Fried Bloody Beast costs $50 and serves 2 to 4 people. $5 from each sale will be donated to Milwaukee’s Hunger Task Force.

[via Nerdcore Uproxx and Mark’s Scrapbook]

Sculptors Lisa Hein and Robert Seng constructed a wall out of colorful Jell-O bricks. Part performance art, part site-specific installation, the pair have now done this more than once. There’s something awesome about a wriggly, jiggly wall that you could lean in an take a bite out of, that is, if you’re careful not to break a tooth on the gypsum mortar that holds the Jell-O bricks in place.

Hein and Seng were commissioned to create this particular wall at Seattle Center in Seattle, WA in 2012 for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Seattle World’s Fair. They used 500 lbs of Jell-O bricks, each of which was prepared on-site using a hot plate and then chilled in a large plastic mold inside a small fridge.

Once set, the Jell-O bricks are stacked on the top of the wall. As you might imagine, the bricks start to deteriorate pretty quickly. Seng says it creates a sort of “construction in reverse,” with just the mortar remaining at the bottom of the wall.

This particular wall was built over the course of two weeks and, once finished, stood about 5 feet tall and measured 12 feet long. That is, it stood for a little while. As you might imagine, Jell-O brick walls are very temporary creations, but that’s one of the things that Lisa Hein likes so much about them:

“They have the lifespan maybe of cut flowers, each of the Jell-O bricks. You do it for a short term and you do it very colorfully,” she said.

Click here to watch a brief video of Hein and Seng building a different Jell-O brick wall back in 2008.

[via CollabCubed abd KPLU]