This Japanese Artist Makes Ultra-Realistic Animal Lollipops

There's not much art to yanking the wrapper off a Tootsie Pop (nor in counting licks to the center, frankly). While spun-sugar decorations may top the exquisite desserts of America's top pastry chefs, they pale in comparison to the creations of Japan's renowned sugar artists. The "candy goldsmith" behind the impressive work above is Shinri Tezuka out of Asakusa, Tokyo. A master of the ancient Japanese art of amezaiku, Tezuka crafts remarkably lifelike animals and other figurines out of sugar. But, you know, Peeps are neat, too.

Impossibly minute details like the slight "pop" and sheen of fish eyes and the natural mottling of skin and scale color are what make these pieces ultra-realistic and entirely unique. Like any fine art, the skills require years of highly specialized training.

A matter of a few degrees can mean the difference between a piece still in the works and one that's finished whether you're done etching, stretching and bending or not. Tezuka creates sharp-beaked birds, glossy frogs and tranquil landscapes, all using notoriously temperamental edible materials. Peruse his works, then go back to your Mickey Mouse waffle iron and sigh wistfully.