Ken’s roasted sweet potato stand in Sapporo, Japan

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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