In the pre-dawn hours of November 5, a shipping truck was making its way along the Shutoko Expressway, which wraps through and around downtown Tokyo. Unfortunately, after entering the capital’s Katsushika Ward, its right rear tire, which was weathered and old, burst.
Complications from the tire problem caused a small fire to break out in the truck’s trailer, and though the blaze wasn’t particularly strong, the truck’s driver immediately began unloading his cargo onto the highway, because the shipment was extremely flammable. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to think of something more flammable than an entire truckload of wooden chopsticks.
Break-away wooden chopsticks, called waribashi in Japanese, can be found in the vast majority of Japanese restaurants, which means a steady supply of the utensils has to be coming into Tokyo on any given day. This particular truck was loaded with approximately 1,000 boxes of waribashi, which the driver began dumping onto the street behind his vehicle after bringing it to a stop at around 4:30 a.m.
Firefighters were soon on the scene to start putting out the blaze, which was completely extinguished by 6:30. Cleaning up all those chopsticks, however, took much longer, with the lane the truck was stopped in being closed to traffic for almost nine hours, although thankfully both lanes of the expressway were open again by the time the evening post-work rush hour came along.
Looking at the video and photo of the incident, many of the boxes split open when they were being quickly removed from the truck, spilling chopsticks onto the road itself. As such, it looks like most, if not all, of the truck’s cargo will have to be written off as lost in the accident.
Sources: Livedoor News/TV Asahi News via Hachima Kiko, TBS News
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