One of the many amazing things that make it so enjoyable to live in Japan is the incredible courier service offered by most companies here.
When I first arrived in Japan I received a 'Unable to deliver' slip for an international package while I was out. Embarrassingly, I did what I used to do in Australia, and took the slip up to my local post office to collect the package. There was a lot of confusion and I walked away empty handed. The poor people who work there were so sweet and even offered to call for re-delivery for me. Now, though, I'm finally savvy with the technique and it's amazing! You just call the number on the back of the slip, type in your tracking number, and select from a range of times for redelivery.
I always thought that was such a bad service in Australia because usually the post office is only opened when you are at work so it's almost impossible to get your package.
The redelivery times in Japan are all throughout the day, with the last time slot often being in between 7 and 9pm, making it amazingly easy to get your package. And many courier companies work seven days, too, such as Sagawa (seen in the video above).
It's quite common, too, to have 'pay on delivery' here in Japan. I'm sure that exists in Australia, too, but I rarely used it. Now, when I order my zines, or stationery, or even alcohol, I usually use a courier. For instance, we just ordered some alcohol from Kakuyasu this afternoon at 3pm and it arrived via courier bike at 4pm. If you follow my instagram, you'll see that those are the same guys who delivered a free ohanami leisure sheet around ohanami time. Seriously Japan - I love you.
Another incredible service is offered by Japan Post. If you have one EMS package in your outgoing post stash, they will come and collect your post. You simply call the toll free number and select the time you would like them to come to your apartment to collect your post. I must say, this service came in handy when I was posting out hundreds of Tokyo Guide Zines!
Working from home, on certain days the couriers are the only people I see. So it's kind of a highlight when I get to say 'ご苦労様です！' at the door. They work so hard. When the poor Sagawa courier had to carry 1000 zines to my thrid floor apartment I felt so awful that I prepared a token of thanks - a can drink with a 'ありがとうSAGAWAさん’ note on it.
Often when I'm walking around Shimokitazawa I'll see one of the couriers who come to my house and we exchange a friendly 'こんにちは'. I like that sense of community.
By the way, that SAGAWA 急便 TVC at the top of this post almost makes me teary. The words roughly translate as "Even on a rainy day, even on a windy day, West or East, we will go...' and so on. Nawww Love you SAGAWA. Love you Japan.