Of all the places I’ve visited in Japan–other than Mister Donut–I think I’ve visited various post offices the most. Each one carries the same stamps and postcards (for the most part), but some have better selections of gifty things than others. I have a stack of treats that I purchased from the yubinkyoku (post office) and I will share those next week. Today, I’m going to share the gifts I’ve gotten from the post office ladies. The first time Naoto and I went to Japan, we visited Okaasan (his mom) in Niigata. Much to my delight, she lived right across the street from the post office!! We stayed with her for three days, and every day I visited the post office for more postcards or stamps or something. By the end of our visit, the ladies in the post office recognized me and they appreciated my enthusiasm for Japanese stamps. On my last visit, they presented me with this tiny blue bunny–a toothpick holder–as a thank you for my patronage. I was so surprised. No one at a post office had given me a gift before…and the little blue bunny is so sweet with the little cherry blossoms on the side. He lives in my china cabinet and comes out every spring for Easter. This trip, in Tokyo, I visited several post offices, but mostly I went to the one near our hotel in Sangenjaya. They had a good selection of post cards and spring stamps and the ladies were patient with my browsing. (How many glue sticks do I need?) On one of our lasts days, I went in to buy another sheet of stamps and the woman behind the counter, who had helped me throughout the two weeks, presented me with a pink hand towel. It says “Thank you very much, [from your] postal host.”
Naoto compared the gifts to the free toaster you used to get in American banks when you opened an account. He said that the gifts are a way to thank frequent patrons. Either way, I’m thankful to the Japan Post ladies for the treats and I look forward to visiting them again next year.