GUNMA, Japan – While the coronavirus pandemic continues to harm traditional sit-down restaurants and other local business, not all has been doom and gloom with delivery services having seen a sharp rise in business as more people order from home.
One local small business owner, Bunta Fujiwara of Fujiwara Tofu, states that he has seen a significant increase in delivery orders from his tofu shop located near Mt. Akina since the start of the pandemic.
“It wasn’t unusual to do deliveries every morning, but now we’re sometimes doing up to twice as much as usual,” Fujiwara told our correspondent as he stood outside his humble tofu storefront smoking a cigarette. “We don’t rely on a lot of walk-in traffic anyway, so fortunately business has been able to continue largely uninterrupted.”
Fujiwara revealed that he doesn’t make the deliveries himself anymore, instead primarily answering the phone and preparing orders. His son now handles the deliveries using the company vehicle, an old Toyota hatchback with the business name printed on the door. With the increase in orders, Fujiwara stated that it was becoming more difficult to fit all of the tofu into the boot of the small car.
“It’s beginning to affect cornering speed having all that excess weight added,” said Fujiwara.
We were unsure what cornering speed had to do with tofu deliveries although Fujiwara insisted it was important, presumably due to taking pride in the promptness of his business’s deliveries. His son was not available to comment, having left to attend an important event in the Akina mountain pass that night.
We asked Fujiwara if he had any plans to expand his business after all the new orders to which he stated that he was looking to purchase another car, a Subaru Impreza WRX STi. The car seemed like an odd choice for a delivery vehicle although we assume Fujiwara was mainly considering its four-wheel drive system which would help prevent the tofu from breaking during mountain pass deliveries.