Sending a Package Within Japan

One of the first services you’ll probably make use of when you arrive in Japan is the Japan Post or any one of the other well known delivery/courier services available, and all of them are easy and convenient after the first time or two.

Lately I’ve been sending out some omiyage (souvenirs) we brought back from Hokkaido, in addition to ochūgen (mid-year gifts) to those we owe our gratitude to.

Unlike many other countries, it’s not necessary to visit the post office or the delivery service directly to send mail here.  You can practically send mail from anywhere: the convenience store, department stores or supermarkets (if sending a gift you’ve bought there), and even from the airport or some stations.  Because there are many different types of mail services offered, it can be confusing at first.  If you find yourself in a pickle, try this handy guide.

Continue reading

New Years Greetings

© illustration wanpug sozai blog

2014, the year of the horse according to the Chinese zodiac. Variations include the unicorn and the pegasus.
© illustration wanpug sozai

Now that Christmas has passed, people are gearing up for the Japanese New Year, or Oshōgatsu.  Part of bring in the new year involves sending new years greetings cards, called nengajō, to family and friends.  These postcards arrive in your mail box on New Years Day if the sender posts before the Christmas deadline.

Think of it like the tradition of sending Christmas cards, but a little more involved because your mailing list will usually include acquaintances or connections that you may hardly ever see, or consider yourself very close to at all, out of politeness.

Continue reading