Uber drivers have nothing on these delivery pros.

These days, if we’re hungry, all we have to do is whip out a smartphone, punch a few buttons online, and get a meal delivered to us in minutes. That wasn’t always the case, though, and here in Japan people remember a time when soba buckwheat noodles were delivered by bicycle on the streets, in a very different style to the way it’s delivered now.

Although it’s something we’ve looked at before, the topic of soba delivery drivers in the Showa era (1926-1989) is now in the spotlight once again, following a tweet that went viral recently online.

The tweet shows a number of photos of old-time soba delivery staff on their bicycles, each one displaying an eye-popping level of skill and dexterity as they balance tray upon tray upon tray of soba meal sets on their shoulders.

The tweet quickly went viral, with people expressing awe for the soba riders of yore. Some even shared other images showing more soba towers balancing on the shoulders of delivery cyclists.

The founder of popular soba restaurant chain Yudetaro also needs to be acknowledged for his impressive skills.

As the Showa era  progressed, cyclists gave way to motorbike riders, who still used the same method of carrying deliveries as before, albeit on a slightly smaller scale.

Nowadays, soba deliveries look very different, with most restaurants choosing to use the revolutionary “demaeki” (delivery machine) in conjunction with scooters or bicycles.

The demaeki is a swinging system that attaches to bicycles and mopeds in order to keep food and liquids level, even when turning corners.

While the demaeki revolutionised the soba delivery industry, the old-school nostalgia of Showa-era soba cyclists remains a treasured memory for many. The good news is that if you’re lucky, you might still get to witness the old-school delivery style on the streets of Japan today.

▼ This image was captured in Tokyo in 2010.

Even if you don’t get to see the thrill of extreme soba delivery in real-life, it still lives on in video games!

Soba deliveries are just one of many things that have changed in Japan over the years. However, as the country continues to propel itself towards the future with modern samurai fashion and geisha-inspired sportswear, it’s good to know that old-school traditions like these will never be forgotten.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Twitter/@oShow92565091

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