The full version of the unofficial creed of the U.S. Postal Service, as it appeared in the USPS Comprehensive Statement on Postal Operations in 2001 is:
“We are mothers and fathers. And sons and daughters. Who every day go about our lives with duty, honor and pride. And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. Ever.”
A noble sentiment to be sure, but one which unfortunately no longer applies to the postal service in the U.S.
Let me introduce to you the postal service here in Japan first with a video. It’s short (less than 2 minutes) but you’ll get the idea 20 seconds in. Click here.
As it is in America, New Years Day is a major holiday in Japan. But here they celebrate it by sending out New Years cards, the way we send Christmas or Hanukkah cards, millions and millions of them. It is so important to the Japanese people that these cards arrive on New Years Day that the post office sends an army of their employees into communities far and wide to deliver them. These postal employees are working ON a national holiday.
It gets better.
A quick glance at the photo appearing at the beginning of this article shows that the full range of services of Japan Post are available 9 am – 7 pm Monday – Friday, 9 am – 4 pm on Saturday. The ATM foyer is open 8:45 am – 7 pm Monday – Friday, and 9 am – 5 pm SATURDAY and SUNDAY. Why is this significant? Because there is a window in the ATM foyer where you can still mail packages, envelopes, whatever, locally or internationally, and pick up mail being held for you at the post office, e. g. vacation mail or items which they attempted to deliver to your home needing a signature. On Saturday or Sunday.
Let me also mention that mail is delivered to each and every home six days a week, and important packages also delivered on Sunday. On a number of occasions, I have seen the mail carrier for my little village on the outskirts of town appear TWICE at my mail box in a single day.
If your mind isn’t blown already by the level of mail service Japan Post provides, let me go on to describe what else it does. Here is the entire range of services available through this efficient and valued institution . . .
- Regular Mail
- Letter Packs
- International Express Mail
- Cash Transfers
- Money Orders
- International Remittances
- Government Bonds
- Investment Trusts
- Life Insurance
- Local Government Services
- Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance
Japan Post does all of this with care, courtesy, efficiency, incredible attention to detail and a dedication to providing a good customer experience. Japan Post is among the most loved and respected service institutions in this country.
At Japan Post I can pay bills __ everything here is done electronically and I have never seen a check in my entire five plus years in Japan __ or send money to an individual. Buying on eBay or from a person selling something online couldn’t be easier.
They have gift and travel catalogs. I can select a gift (sending gifts is a national compulsion here) and mail it off anywhere in the world. I can plan and book travel adventures and vacation packages.
I can withdraw from my bank account in America. I can transfer money anywhere in the world. I can open a savings account, I can invest in government bonds, or even set up an investment trust account. I can buy life insurance, and if I drove a car, auto insurance.
All of this at the post office.
I just read that the U.S. Postal Service will be cutting back and no longer delivering mail on Saturday, starting sometime in the fall.
I can’t begin to express how frustrated and angry I get with America when I see what’s going on there. Especially when I know from first hand experience what things are like in other countries __ countries like Japan, which ignorant, bellicose commentators in the U.S. love to smugly deride and ridicule.
You may not want to read my next blog posting called . . .