The endurance of Japan’s simple street snack

The endurance of Japan’s simple street snack

Kamatani has identified accomplishment also, but by likely a different way. For her, she felt that the snack’s outdated-school image required to adjust. “Younger gals like sweet potatoes, but they have this picture as ‘old-fashioned’ or ‘lame’, and folks believe ‘I want to consume them, but they’re embarrassing to buy’,” she mentioned.

To subvert that reputation, she centered on onkochishin – an idiom this means “finding out new tips from the earlier” – and begun her venture with a fashionable, tricked-out, pink VW campervan in 2018. Quickly-ahead to 2021, and her enterprise has moved into a lasting (and still pink) storefront in the trendy Omotesando district of Tokyo. “All of the gross sales workers, the imo [potato] women and imo boys, are influencers,” she described. “They’re neat, stylish youthful gentlemen and women of all ages.”

Even with Kamitani’s modern-day approach, she recognised the attract of people outdated-college distributors. “I you should not believe [they] will vanish,” she stated. “For the reason that they are ‘rare’, there are some shoppers who are fascinated by that sense of rarity and want to purchase from them, so there is a particular need.” 

For these ready, beginning a yaki-imo truck is comparatively easy. Contrary to other gastronomic enterprises in Japan, no food stuff licence is essential – only a permit to promote from the truck. There is certainly even a company identified as Yaki-imo Kobo (Yaki-imo Workshop) that offers facts for opportunity distributors and sells all the things they’ll will need to set up a cellular store – like cassette tapes of the yaki-imo song.

“I imagine there is a rising appreciation and nostalgia for foods sellers that will make it possible for them to keep on,” Rath reported. “The yaki-imo vendor is 1 of the harbingers of the seasons… It is challenging to envision an urban landscape without the need of them.” 

For Tanaka, the solution is simplicity: roasted sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and can be eaten straight off the coals. It is really healthy, filling and “a excellent snack different to junk foodstuff”, she said. “Yaki-imo is and generally will be a coronary heart-warming address that retains a lot of fond memories.


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