Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the japan postal service

A recent article on the thought-provoking blog Cheerio Road takes on what my cousin Karen calls the demise of the US Postal Service. Woven cleverly into the article is an introduction to the art of etegami, but you must (please) read it for yourself to see what it signifies. You may even want to try your luck with the etegami coasters giveaway. : )

Do you remember what I wrote in my January 1 post about Japanese New Year postcards? I wrote: The cards ... arrive on New Years morning in a bundle fastened with a rubber band. At the top of the bundle is a greeting from the Japan Postal Service with their best wishes for the new year. I though you might like to see this year's JPS greeting card (above), with the photo of the mailman on his red JPS motorbike, riding along a path through the rice paddies in a picturesque rural area. The writing translates as follows:

Happy New Year from the JPS group. We wish to convey our most sincere appreciation for your patronage. Ours is a country where people send their hearts to one another at the start of each new year. Once again we deliver to you-- distilled in the form of New Year postcards-- the love and thoughts of the people most dear to you. Connecting people to people, community to community. We at JPS promise to re-examine what we are fundamentally here to do, so that we can better provide you with reliable services that are worthy of your trust. January 1, 2012

The sentiments expressed here are part of why I don't think JPS is going to fade away any time soon, in spite of the internet revolution. A few years ago, I wrote a post about the JPS and its relationship to the art of etegami. Dismiss it as clever marketing if you like, but the JPS really does make itself indispensable to community life.


  1. Ah! Letter writing is still an art form in Asia. I think the JPS may not go away or fail because the Japanese people have a strong sense of community and identity. The JPS also does not have to deal with a labor union and a budget, the bulk of which goes to pay for the pension and benefits of the postal worker. I know a lot of friends who work for the postal service and they hold on to their jobs for life because they know that they will have a nice pension. We also inane have laws in the US pushed by the unions, that prevent the USPS from being efficient and competitive.

    The JPS postcard is a beautiful sentiment. A nice gesture towards the people. Shows a lot of pride.

  2. I can't believe the lovely words expressed by your postal service, not to mention the way it is delivered. I love that photo card Debbie. Gives us a glimpse into life there. I don't think the USPS is going anywhere either, but cutting out Saturday delivery may be in order. Nothing better than getting a missive by snail mail. Margie

  3. I'm a romantic when it comes to old-fashioned (i.e., paper-and-writing-utensil) mail, so whether or not there is some clever marketing going on with this greeting, I still find it heartwarming. Small gestures go a long way in cultivating hope and happiness.

  4. Clever marketing is exactly what the US Postal service lacks. Some of it is their fault and some is due to the regulations that limit what they can do. How I would love to get a bundle of New year's cards with a note from the postal service though.

  5. all postal systems should be like that!

  6. Thanks so much Debbie for this wonderful post and for introducint me to you cousin Maezen. Who is actually not THAT far from San Diego. I enjoyed her blog and learning about her life.

    In an attempt not to put it off until too late, I have sent you a Valentine Etegami today.

    And Happy Chinese New Year. <3