From: Peter Rivard
Date: Sat Nov 30, 2002 2:18:19 PM Japan
Subject: Sights and sounds
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.
Most yaki imo guys just play the standard tape of the song, but here are a couple of special efforts. Here's a slightly localized version of the usual song, and here's a guy clearly singing it live and changing it on the fly--he might have been going at this a little too long, from the sound of him. I don't know how long these links will be active, but as of July 2021 (last update) 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.
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.