More mail woes…


Are you tired of the”Lost in Translation” issues yet?  I am… but here we go one more time! You would think that after a year of living here in Tokyo, we would have worked through all the possible issues we could have with getting our mail. But once again, I got that dreaded “Undeliverable Mail” notice in my mailbox. Right in the middle in bold print is a phone number to call, but we have already tried that route with limited success. It is difficult to find someone who speaks enough English to help us… and though we are definitely improving, our Japanese is still rudimentary at best.

As I looked at this notice, though, I also saw that there is an online option (Option 1. “PC” in the photograph), so I got on my computer to see if I could resolve it that way. As it turned out, when I put in the URL and got to the Japan Post website, there actually was an option for English! I clicked on the button, and (sugoi ne!) the homepage was translated for me. I even found the button for “Schedule Re-delivery” and thought I was home free!

But, alas, it was not so easy. All subsequent pages were in Japanese, with no option to switch to English. Well… why not?

Armed with Google Translate, I slogged my way through the form that had to be filled out in order to get my package. Apparently, the USPS Priority Mail envelope that our daughter sent to us requires a signature, and since I missed the original delivery day, it was necessary for me to go through this re-delivery process to get the package.

I finally did manage to translate most of the page… at least well enough, I guess, to put in all the correct responses to somehow manage to schedule delivery for today between noon and 2 PM. And… promptly at 1 PM, the JP man rang from downstairs with my package.

Success, yes… but still tempered with the same uncomfortable language difficulties. Baby steps. Yes, the Japanese is getting better, and we are feeling much more at ease with it. But we still only understand a fraction of the language they speak to us. I am starting to feel hope, though… maybe… that one day, I will no longer be… Lost in Translation.

Oh…  and just FYI, sending packages to and from Japan is really, really expensive. $$$$$ Best not to, if you can avoid it.

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My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

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