Yaki-imo potato seller in Akihabara electronics district

Monday, October 15, 2012

Akihabara is arguably Tokyo's most cutting edge district, in two ways. It is the heart of Tokyo's electronics retailing, and it is also mecca for anime, gaming, manga, doujinshi and cosplay nerds. Yet walk through the streets of Akihabara and by no means everything you will see is "cutting edge."
Yaki-imo roast sweet potato van in Akihabara Tokyo

I was ambling through Akihabara last Sunday shopping for a particular adapter plug, an SD card and a new electric razor. I was on the street parallel to and just west of the main Chuo-dori that runs north-south through Akihabara. This side street is well-known for its multitude of small- to medium-size shops selling mainly computer parts, second-hand computers, and electronic bric-a-brac.
Yaki-imo van in Akihabara, fire burning, firewood stacked.

Then through all the neon and cosplay girls handing out fliers and life-sized character figures trying to attract customers to shops, though the ambling crowds, trundled a yaki-imo (roast sweet potato) truck with its red lantern, and its charcoal fire oven on the back, flames leaping within, a pile of firewood next to it, wailing its traditional yaki-imo cry through the decrepit loudspeaker mounted on the roof.

Akihabara character antics with the yaki-imo truck passing through
The yaki-imo truck was sadly ignored, it seemed. Not once in its perambulations round and round during the hour and a half or so I was in the area did I see anyone hark to the plaintive cry and hail the driver to purchase his steaming wares.

Life-size character in Akihabara with yaki-imo truck in background
Follow the progress of the yaki-imo (roast sweet potato) truck in these pictures snapped on the backstreets of Akihabara.

Yaki-imo truck outside Tsukumo DOS/V Pasocon Kan computer shop

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