From: Peter Rivard
Date: Sat Nov 30, 2002 2:18:19 PM Japan
To: Newsletter
Subject: Sights and sounds

Hi, folks,

I just dropped in front of my keyboard for the first non-work moment in a while and heard the yaki-imo truck in the distance. I started to get excited before I realized that I didn't have any butter, and I didn't really want a baked sweet potato anyway. Conditioning. Often when I hear the truck I'll jump up, run outside, and swivel my head like a radar to try to localize the sound so I can figure out if he's coming my way or which way to ride if I'll have to chase him down on my bike. Hearing the yaki imo chant drift in from a mile across the rice paddies is one of the first signs of fall and winter.

The first link is to a recording of the song (by a more ambitious singer than the tape I hear around Takefu), and the second has a picture of typical yaki-imo set-up on the back of a pick-up truck, with a link to a more typical version of the chant (although it's quite brief). I don't know how long these links will be active, but as of early December 2002 they were still good.

Maybe this is only good for people who've spent time out here and have been away long enough to be nostalgic.

Peter

p.s.: The words on the lyrics--imo: sweet potato; yaki-imo: baked sweet potato; ishi yaki-imo: stone baked sweet potato; and o-imo: honorable sweet potato. That's the whole thing.

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