Not a stamp collector yet? That’ll change in a few months!
Last winter, while people in Japan were getting ready to send their nengajo (New Year greeting cards) to family and friends, Japan Post did something amazing. Instead of releasing just any ol’ stamp for the Year of the Sheep in 2015, they made what was obviously a continuation of the stamp from 12 years prior. You see, in 2003, there was a darling sheep knitting a scarf on one of their special stamps, and in 2015 that same sheep was proudly wearing the finished product.
The story was a nice, feel-good moment for many, and people starting wondering whether this was a one-time occurrence or if Japan Post was going to continue this “stamp story” two years in a row. We are happy to say that they appear to be starting a tradition, as the Year of the Monkey is also getting an adorable back-story!
On 30 April, a joint announcement was made by Apple, IBM and the nation’s private postal service Japan Post regarding a new project that aims to change the lives of Japan’s aging population.
The three companies are combining their expertise to develop a line of iPads with specialized apps for senior citizens. Designed by IBM in conjunction with elderly care services in the works by Japan Post, it is hoped that the tablet computers will help to reduce the burden on younger generations as they care for an increasing number of aged family members.
Earlier this year as the Japanese government enacted a sales tax hike, the cost of mailing a letter also increased. As a result a new 2 yen stamp had to be issued to fill the price hike, and in an effort to quell public anger, Japan Post put a picture of a cute fluffy bunny on it. Surely that’d do the trick, right?
Of course it did! In Japan, cuteness is a rock-solid commodity and the bunny stamp was a huge success. It was so popular that people came out to buy some even though they had no mail to send. And so, Japan Post set a mandate to make all of their stamps pretty before fiscal 2015.
Although offering up high-tech features and services to their customers seems like an obviously good idea, businesses must always be wary of alienating the less technologically inclined. Such is the case with Japan Post (JP) who once had to come up with a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem.
It’s common knowledge that in order to mail something, you’ll need to know the name and rough address of the recipient, even if you’re lacking a couple of minor details. But what if, let’s say, the intended mailing destination is not in a building, but on some random corner of a street? Chances are, your mail is going to be left undelivered. Unless, it seems, you live in Japan!
Japan Post’s dedicated workers successfully delivered mail to someone whose location was “on the street”, leaving Japanese netizens in awe of their dedication and skill! But how did they do it?
As you might expect, people in Japan don’t send out Christmas cards. When you’re spending the month of December preparing for the 25th, the most romantic day of the year in Japan, who has the time to write cards for a foreign holiday? Instead, people from Sapporo to Naha send nengajyo, traditional New Year’s postcards. When every single card is guaranteed to be delivered on the first of the year (if sent out by December 25), the post office has to get serious. What better way than with an army of motorcycle-riding postal workers?
The Internet is full of sample sentences and letter structures to use when writing business mail, cover letters, or press releases. They’re an invaluable resource if you wish to be taken seriously, especially when you’re not used to writing letters for professional purposes.
Now, the Japan Post is extending their helpful how-to section to include more than just business examples. They’ve got sections for season’s greetings, ceremonial matters (such as invitations and notifications), and even personal letters! Apparently, the art of letter writing is so lost on Japanese people that they require a standard format to follow for the confidence of writing to one another. There are 19 categories outlined in the personal letters section, including advice, requests, and even marriage proposals! It’s like Japan has been taken back to the days of passing notes in middle school! “Do you like me? Check yes, no, or explain your decision using the standard letter format outlined by the Japan Post.” Read More
A widespread discussion was ignited among Twitter users of Japan recently over the act of delivering pigeons through delivery services such as Yu-Pack, the courier of the Japanese post office. It started – as these things often do – with an award-winning manga writer taking a hike through the mountains.