“I’m a Senbei or Japanese cracker seller, especially one type of Nambu Senbei called Pon Senbei. My father had been doing it for 50 years, and I had been helping him since I was young. I inherited this business from him. So, I have been doing this for 20-30 years now.
I love meeting new people, selling is only a little part of my day, talking with customers is very important for me. This specialty is only available in Aomori. If you go a bit further away from this city, you could find small stores selling it, but again you can only get it in Aomori city.
During the Edo (Tokugawa Shogunate) period, the countries that were on the far north of Honshu Island (Japanese biggest island) were divided by the Nambu Line. Before the creation of Aomori prefecture, there were two countries in this area: Nambu Domain (Nambu Han) and Sugaru Domain (Sugaru Han). In that period, this cracker was called Ousama Meibutsu (Ousama means king, Meibutsu means famous) in Nambu, and it’s that country’s famous snack. Therefore, it’s called Nambu Senbei (Nambu Cracker). Inside it, is mizuame (liquid sugar) and it is called Sugaru from Sugaru Domain (Sugaru Han). This traditional snack is unfortunately not widely known. Here, the people like to eat by having the mizuame (liquid sugar) between the senbei, like a sandwich – it’s like the unification of Nambu Han (cracker) and Sugaru Han (liquid sugar) that creates Aomori.
I’m the last generation in my family. No one will continue after me. There are only five people in Aomori city selling this snack. So, only five people left in all over Japan. I hope we can still produce, and never lost this cultural heritage.”