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Ken’s roasted sweet potato stand in Sapporo, Japan

2 min read

In warm weather, the beautiful rolling hills of Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido burst with flowers while, in cold weather, they literally glisten with snow.
In any case, a loyal and friendly sentinel stands guard in the island’s major city, Sapporo. This is Ken-kun, the proprietor of the Inu no Yakiimoyasan sweet potato stand, a steadfast salesman that greets visitors and welcomes them to sample his signature roasted sweet potatoes, even though a sign outside the stand reminds visitors that he can’t give you change…because he’s a dog.

The stand has been around for several years, reliably offering locals in a Sapporo residential district the popular street snack. Ken-kun, a Shiba Inu, rocketed to global fame after a viral tweet early in 2019. Of course Ken-kun can’t actually roast the sweet potatoes or handle the money, but his owner roasts the potatoes and leaves them in a plastic container, then comes around several times a day to count the cash in an honor-system money box and walk Ken-kun. But for the most part of the day, the dog is an independent business man.
Ken-kun enjoys the enviable status of the only known dog currently manning a Japanese food stand….

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