Apr 24, 2018

Yaki-imo trucks just ain't been the same ever since...

So the other day my family was returning home from a hike and we heard a familiar and welcome song: "Yaaaaaaaaaaaaakiiiiimo, ishi yaaaaaaaaakiiimo."  For those of you who have lived in Japan long enough, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about: Yaki-imo trucks that drive around the neighborhood selling stone-roasted sweet potatoes.

Yaki-imo trucks just ain't been the same ever since... photo

It's funny when you think about it: the U.S. has ice cream trucks; Japan has sweet potato trucks (kind of symbolizes a lot, actually).  But I digress.

The sweet potatoes were delicious (as they almost always are coming from yaki-imo trucks), but I have to say that I continue to be disappointed in the current generation of yaki-imo purveyors.

Is it just me, or does anyone else ever wonder where all of the singers have gone?  You see, when I was growing up, no self-respecting yaki-imo vendor would use a recording for the yaki-imo song.  In some cases, it was a guy who would sing it himself over a loudspeaker on his truck, and in certain extreme cases, it was a guy pulling a food cart just belting it out as far as his lungs could carry the tune.

I understand that singing the same song over and over again for hours on end could get a little tedious, but there was something charming about hearing a personalized yaki-imo song, even if it was a little off-pitch or downright tone-deaf. 

Yaki-imo trucks just ain't been the same ever since the singing stopped.  Am I right?



Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.

Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).