Come and try our food! We’ve got delicious chicken skewers
just off the grill. Chicken skewers, try them out. Hello there Ma’am. I like how I’m constantly interacting with people. My job is to serve delicious food. Yum! You’ve got to get people in high spirits
to have a successful festival. Come rain or snow, I still have to be here.
As a tekiya, I feel a sense of responsibility. That’s what drives me. Good morning. How’re you doing. My name is Takaji Tsunoda. I’m 52 years old. I started this job around 20 years ago. We travel and set up portable booths as part of
a union specializing in events catering. That’s what I do for a living. We set up during the cherry blossom season, for example. Wherever people gather, I set up shop and sell my skewers. Today’s a Sunday. I’m here early because
we’ll probably be busy today. There’s going to be a parade today
so I reckon there’s going to be a big crowd. I prepare the skewers by cooking them without the sauce. I’ll cook them 70 to 80% of the way, and then put them on display. That way, I don’t have to make customers wait too long. I got started in this business because my father-in-law was originally in this business. I became interested, and decided to give it a shot. I originally had a corporate job. But 20 years ago, when I was about 30 years old, I decided to pursue this path. We sell all sorts of stuff.
Fried skewers for example. We do it as a family, helping each other out. Standing before me are my wife’s lovely parents. My mother and father-in-law. We’ve known each other for 30 to 40 years.
We’re close. Here’s our secret sauce.
It’s been in our family for generations. It’s easy to cut corners in this business.
We could procure mass-produced skewers, for example. But we choose not to do that.
We chop up the meat ourselves, and skewer them ourselves, too.
Doing it the old-school way. I think it’s tastier this way. That’ why the tradition continues. Right now, I’m teaching my son this
traditional way of preparing skewers. In terms of the secret sauce, my son is the only one whom I’ve taught the recipe to. I never make the sauce in front of anybody else. It’s what makes us unique, so I want to
make sure that it gets passed on. And hopefully my son will keep this tradition alive. At least that’s what I’m hoping. At this point, I’m not sure whether
I’ll follow in his footsteps yet. The economy is ugly these days,
and that’s making me indecisive. I started the business around 1965. Those were the days. Business was good. We had a strong economy. I had it made. My family started with nothing.
No money, no house. So my first goal was to save money and build a house. This is when we were young. This line of business doesn’t have a good reputation. It’s not that big of a deal these days,
but back in the day… The yakuza was heavily involved in this industry. Far and wide. Now there’s the Anti-Organized Crime Law. When there are events, all the participating shops have to submit documents about who they are. Sounds like no big deal, right?
But based on those documents, certain shops are screened out. I’m not sure how many yakuzas get by this law. But if they’re caught, they’ll basically be kicked out. At least that’s what the government is pushing for. A lot has changed over the years. Kids nowadays have computers and electronic games.
It’s easy to keep to yourself entertained. We didn’t have any of these things growing up. So we got excited when there were parades.
Everybody would come to see them. Being there in person was the norm. Unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore. I hope more parents take their kids out, and come to the events that we offer. This is our culture, our tradition, and history.
We need to pass this on. But while doing so,
we also want to entertain the children, and make the community happy. We want to help local communities come together, so that we can all live in harmony. Hello there.
Our chicken skewers are fresh off the grill.