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Thread: Service at Japanese post offices

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Service at Japanese post offices

    Today, I went to the post office near my house in Tokyo to sent back a confirmation receipt ("accuse de reception") in French. After that I went shopping and came back an hour later. My wife told me that someone from the post office had brought my card back to my house because I had forgotten to date and sign it. This is already incredible in itself that they went all the way to my house just to notify me of that, but on top of that the paper was entirely in French and they had taken the care to double-check everything against their bilingual model. I am still in disbelief.

    This kind of service is unthinkable in Western countries, I think. I would never expect a post office worker in Europe to translate a document in Japanese just to make sure that the person hasn't forgotten anything, then walk to their house to notify them of something missing (especially that it wasn't such an important paper).

    That goes on to show how service is important in Japan, and how people would go out of their way to make sure think go smoothly - it was not even a matter of customer satisfaction, as I would never have known I had forgotten to sign, and it didn't matter so much anyway. Great !

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  2. #2
    Regular Member Jean-Francois's Avatar
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    Unlike the postal workers in New York and Montreal, Japanese postal workers have high respect for their jobs.

  3. #3
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    The Japanese Postal Service is in the news now and then in the context of their huge operating deficit (and no wonder if fully filled in customer receipts are such a priority, as they seem to be in airports, banks and elsewhere as well), efforts to privatize it or thereby somehow restructure it's operation of the Pension System. I'm not really clear on the details, but it's great with all the political & bureaucratic turmoil things on the ground are still running so well.

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    Now it's me yimija's Avatar
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    Heart postal services... somewhere else in the world

    well, sorry (just remember I'm not swiss...)
    although japanese post office is highly considered, here comes a serious opponent : the swiss post office system. They will do things such as translating papers (which is allready done as per a mandatory international postal union convention ). and they will take an extreme care of the customers too.

    But this translation business is a question of habit. Switzerland is a tiny nation and they speak 4 different languages. The are surrounded by 4 different countries and, if you take a city like Geneva and it's great surroundings, the population is : 52 % of swiss and 48% of foreigners ! this 48 % is split into more than 150 different nations ! It's the largest concentration of foreigners in one city in th whole world. Translation here takes all its meaning, no ?

    Postmans will know their area so well and most time remember the names of each and everyone the deserve. Also, in the post office itself, it's light, cleanliness and efficiency that will prevail. But that does not stop them from being friendly, specially with older people. A letter posted just before 6PM will be distributed the next moring befor 7am regardless of its destination within the country.

    One thing, though. Post office in Switzerland is expensive !

  5. #5
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ascate
    They will do things such as translating papers (which is allready done as per a mandatory international postal union convention ). and they will take an extreme care of the customers too.

    But this translation business is a question of habit. Switzerland is a tiny nation and they speak 4 different languages. The are surrounded by 4 different countries and, if you take a city like Geneva and it's great surroundings, the population is : 52 % of swiss and 48% of foreigners ! this 48 % is split into more than 150 different nations ! It's the largest concentration of foreigners in one city in th whole world. Translation here takes all its meaning, no ?
    That's funny you should take the case of Switzerland. I don't know about the Swiss postal system, but I have lived a long time in Belgium, which is even smaller (and more populated), has 3 official languages + English being widely spoken in Brussels. I believe it is more cosmopolitan than Switzerland (Brussels is the EU's and NATO's capital), with 10% of the country's population (i.e. 1 million people, as many as in Japan, which is 13x bigger) being foreigners. Then one could argue that everybody really is a foreigner as Belgium only came to exist in 1830 and was not made of people from the same etnicity and language but a European melting pot. But eventhough, Belgium is the example par exellence of lazy and bureaucratic postal service, which doesn't care much about customers and where clerks would never take the care to translate documents, even in one of the country's official languages.

    Postmans will know their area so well and most time remember the names of each and everyone the deserve.
    That's quite natural in rural areas, but it' just impossible in big cities, especially if there are lot's of apartment buildings, rather than individual houses.

    A letter posted just before 6PM will be distributed the next moring befor 7am regardless of its destination within the country.
    That's understandable, because Switzerland isn't so big (the size of Kyushu) and, after all, delivering mail on time is part of their job (while translating isn't).

  6. #6
    Now it's me yimija's Avatar
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    Heart to maciamo - belgium

    Hi, yes, but no ! Belgium is definitively not a good exemple. anyway, I've lived in a number of countries, and geneva is not the worst. quality of postal service is superior to any other country i have been in (and so is the pollution control as they are extremely severe and tough on this point in switzerland, which is very good to your lungs and nose...). but that is not the question. I think you shold come and have look for yourself, if i'm still here (working as an independant consultant for UNO's different offices I move a lot around) i'll show you what I mean. And with above 150 different nationality reunited in a small place, it's hard to beat, and brussel is far behind, even with e.e. and nato. come and have a look-see. i have excellent contacts with many of my compatriots from japan and korea who visit switzerland. i meet them at breakfast in the hilton hotel several days a week. and they all love the place (not only the hilton....) !
    you are married with a japanese woman ? you lucky guy ! we are the best !

  7. #7
    I Love Makenshi! Kuroki-Kaze's Avatar
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    the worst postal service is in australia,sometimes things get delivered opened and roughly stuck back together it sux.
    i think its so good in japan because they all try to do their job the best they can, its a totaly different work ethic so yeah.


    Ascate...yes japanese girls are the best hope i can marry one

  8. #8
    Now it's me yimija's Avatar
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    Heart kuroki-kaze

    i sincerely hope so for you, too, you will live your wildest dreams !!!

    as for australia's post office, true it not a big deal, but at least youre r e c e i v e d whatever it was. I know some post office where you never receive anything !!!

  9. #9
    I jump to conclusions mad pierrot's Avatar
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    Maciamo,

    I don't know if this is anything, but I've run across French forms at my postal office, and I'm the only gaijin living near it for miles. Specifically, I was asked to fill out a form stating the contents of my package. The only had two forms, one in Japanese, one in French. It was funny, I had to ask them for the Japanese form. Do you think the use of French might be a hold over from something else?

  10. #10
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    Over here in New York city, you have insensitive overweight postal workers. After a long wait and the loud word "NEXT", they grab your money and throw the change back to you, your parcel will be thrown to the bins behind them so that they don't have to walk. After transaction is finally completed, they won't say anything and many times the customers will still say "Thank you".

  11. #11
    Dog Youkai playaa's Avatar
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    Yeah, thats great to hear about how Japan puts service above lazyness! I know in the US everything is about how much can I do for the least amount of effort.
    "Kanpeki to chau, jinsei no shuushi
    Puramai zero da nanteba honto ka na?
    Shinu made ni tsukaikiru, un no kazu
    Semete, jibun de dashiire wo sasete
    "

  12. #12
    Hentai Koutaishi Lina Inverse's Avatar
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    Never happen here in Germany where the postal system sucks badly as well
    PO workers (at my local PO) are often grumpy and moody. The ones in the city center PO aren't grumpy, but I wouldn't call it friendly either.

    They're often not too careful when delivering stuff as well, so stuff disappearing or damage on packets isn't too seldom... here's one worst case:

    More pics
    I have no idea what the postal workers did there... run a truck over it?

  13. #13
    Now it's me yimija's Avatar
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    Heart the worst case...

    ... is a computer case !!!

    No, no truck. They probably FELL asleep on it... both of them !!!

  14. #14
    Regular Member fugue's Avatar
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    Ikiru is a good movie on the nature of Japanese public servants.

  15. #15
    Dog Youkai playaa's Avatar
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    WOW I would be mad about that case.. It could happen here in the u.s. also they suck over here also.

  16. #16
    Samurai Golgo_13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fugue
    Ikiru is a good movie on the nature of Japanese public servants.
    I bawled my eyes out at that movie.

  17. #17
    Samurai Golgo_13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    That goes on to show how service is important in Japan, and how people would go out of their way to make sure think go smoothly - it was not even a matter of customer satisfaction, as I would never have known I had forgotten to sign, and it didn't matter so much anyway. Great !
    For a Gaijin, no less!

    You also never hear of any fired Japanese postal workers going back with a gun and killing his former co-workers.

    Do Japanese post offices have enough security? If I remember correctly they provide savings accounts for customers which means they have cash lying around.

  18. #18
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golgo_13
    Do Japanese post offices have enough security? If I remember correctly they provide savings accounts for customers which means they have cash lying around.
    In Belgium (contrarily to many other EU countries), banks and post offices all have bullet-proof window at every counter. In Japan, I have never seen any, but there are security guards everywhere, even at a small post office. They are not armed and act mainly as a deterent. I am wondering what they would actually do if a group of armed robbers stormed into the bank or post office.

    Again in Belgium, all banks, even in the countryside, have strongrooms with 1m deep steel walls and doors, virtually impossible to perforate. In contrast, I think that most Japanese banks, even in Tokyo, don't have one (at least not for individual deposits, such as jewelry or important documents).

  19. #19
    Now it's me yimija's Avatar
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    Heart to golgo 13 & Maciamo

    hello to both of you !
    well, yes, here in switzerland, the post offices are also bullet proof protected and the open space between you and the employee is as high as... a thick envelope. if you have a parcel, they will electrically lift the window up and it will come down as soon as the parcel as gone on the other side. No mucking around !

    and they also do banking, you can deposit money and retrieve it 24h/24h, 365 days a year through machines situated outside the post office. But then post offices in europe tend to do the same.

    the best service I have seen was in Rwanda... (sorry it's not a joke) The postman was not behind his counter (which was just a table). He left a note roughly saying : "I'm away for three days, take what you need"

    Well ok. the only problem is that there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to be taken.

    Who was worried ? No one, even not me !

  20. #20
    Samurai Golgo_13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ascate
    hello to both of you !

    the best service I have seen was in Rwanda... (sorry it's not a joke) The postman was not behind his counter (which was just a table). He left a note roughly saying : "I'm away for three days, take what you need"

    Well ok. the only problem is that there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to be taken.

    Who was worried ? No one, even not me !
    Ascate,

    Hello und wie gehts. What in the world were you doing in Rwanda? I'm glad you made it out of there alive. BTW, LMAO!

  21. #21
    Now it's me yimija's Avatar
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    Heart to Golgo_13

    since I have to pay my rent, food, und so weiter....
    I went over there to work. Yawohl, Arbeit !
    Holidays is not yet recommended in this area. But I can tell you, outside the bunch of assassins, the people are adorable.

  22. #22
    Hentai Koutaishi Lina Inverse's Avatar
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    What made you go to Rwanda, of all places!?
    The terrorists are the minor problem, I'd die of the extreme heat down there

  23. #23
    Now it's me yimija's Avatar
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    dying of extreme heat, Linda Inverse...

    ... is (un)fortunately NOT the usual and common way to die, over there !

    No heat might kill one or two.
    What kills people is :

    Extravagant Madness (the ones exterminating the others and vice versa),
    Acts of total folly,
    Assasination, and murder on the largest scale as possible,

    then comes...

    A I D S and
    Epidemics of all kinds

    then

    lack of food.

    But heat, no, Heat has never killed anyone in Rwanda.


    Why did I go there ? I went there to work..

  24. #24
    Villain Iron Chef's Avatar
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    I`ve never had anything but good experiences with using the Japanese postal service.

  25. #25
    Hentai Koutaishi Lina Inverse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ascate
    dying of extreme heat, Linda Inverse...
    Urgh... that's Lina Inverse! あんた ばか! 

    Well, you clearly named enough reasons why one would want to stay far away from there... besides the extreme heat.

    Why doesn't the Japanese Postal Service expand? There are so many countries with pitiful postal services, they could make a fortune!

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