There is one thing that I am absolutely amazed about in Japan. Let me tell you a story:
It is not a secret that bureaucracy in France could be quite frustrating. It happened so that a few months after my move to Japan, I still had some unresolved issues with one French company. So, one day my patience (and I am a patient person, trust me!) got to a point where I sat down and wrote a complaint letter. Kind of polite, but not really in line with all the French norms for official letters (from my experience I can say that it does work!).
During lunch break I go to a post office next door and send it out via registered air mail. About one hour later, when back in the office, I suddenly find out that the issue has been resolved in the meantime.
OK, what now? In my mind I am going through all the bold and beautiful statements in the letter I have just sent. Is it possible to cancel it and get it back? Given that I was in the post office just an hour or so ago, the letter should not be far, I naïvely think. So I get one Japanese speaking colleague to help me.
And so the story goes…We call the post office, just to find out that the letter has been already delivered to the regional post office. Well, that was fast! We call the regional post office…just to find out that the letter has already been sent out to the central hub in Tokyo, all in just a bit less than two hours! I get the feeling that it is being delivered towards the plane as we talk. We call the central hub in Tokyo. Luckily, the letter has not yet been loaded onto the plane and they can stop the shipment. What a relief!
I go to the post office again, file a form (i.e. let the officer do it for me as it is only in Japanese and it is not too difficult to convince that I have absolutely no clue what is it about). I do pay again to get my complaint letter delivered back to me (after all, I am a nice person, in case you had any doubts). Here comes another beauty of a Japanese post service. If you are not at home when the postman tries to deliver your letter (this applies to registered mail only), you get a notice in your mailbox, like anywhere else.
I may have already mentioned that being a postman in Japan is extremely challenging job, primarily because the buildings are not numbered in any particularly logical order, but as they were built. Despite all the inconvenience, they do go above and beyond to provide you the best service possible. All you have to do is to call an English speaking service line and tell them when you can be available, for instance, between 8pm and 9pm and only on this particular day. Et voilà! Your letter will be redelivered to you free of charge at your selected day and time.
I am definitely going to miss this, though in the meantime, feel free to write me a letter! I love it! 🙂
P.S. No complaints though!