how to get something redelivered (online) from Japan Post

There it was again. That red and white notice in my mailbox letting me know I had missed a package. I'd gotten them a few times before, along with notices from other delivery companies (such as Yamato and Sagawa). Everytime they'd come before, I'd shove the notice in my backpack and pull it out at work to show the coworker next to me. She'd offer to call for me and arrange a redelivery time. After three or four times bringing her my notices, she said, "did you know you can do this online?"

That may have been her subtle way of letting me know I didn't need to keep bugging her about it. Though, when we looked online, I had to sign up for an account, and I felt I shouldn't have to do that... (This is before I realized you need to sign up for accounts to do almost anything online in Japan).

Later on at home, I pulled up the site for Japan's postal system. (There is also an english version of the website, but it is more limited as to what you can do from it). Of course, you can also bring the notice into the post office and give it to the clerk, but I was never able to make it to the post office before it closed due to work.

The Japanese site overwhelmed me - as kanji swam everywhere on the page, looking like nothing intelligible to me. My first thought was to find a way to translate the Japanese, so I could find the "redelivery" link. Now, there is a simple way to do this, especially if you use the Firefox browser. In Firefox, you can install widgets to the browser, and one particular one I use is called "FoxLingo". Now I can click "AutoTrans" (auto translation) whenever I come across a site too complex for me to decipher. (Alternatively, you can use Google Translate in the Chrome toolbar, or any preferred translation service).

Another very useful resource I have used for translating is "Google Translate". Copy a word, sentence, paragraph, or even the website's url and paste into the box. Make sure to choose the language you want to translate to (in this case English). As long as a website isn't image-heavy or fully reliant on Flash, most of the text will translate into English (although the translations are not perfect, and sometimes make no sense.)

I relied on translate so often when I first arrived, so I was able to do a lot more online than others with a similar language ability as me. Now, though I still use translate, I also can read more kanji, just from using the same websites over and over, and can fill out an order form entirely in Japanese without looking up words. So, it's a great way to study and learn Japanese!

Now, back to Japan Post. If you've translated the website, you should be able to find the "redelivery" link. However, here it is:

You'll see it is the third column over, under インターネトサービス (intaneto sabisu; internet service). The kanji are: 配達のお申し込み. Whenever you need to find redelivery, on any website, look for the first two kanji, which are usually in any words that have to do with delivering.

Click on the kanji: 配達のお申し込み. This page will come up. Notice the labels have English in gray next to them. Enter your zip code, the item number (listed on the redelivery notice), and the date of the notice.

Scroll down, and choose the mail type. If it's something from the U.S., then it's probably EMS. However, check your redelivery notice, the mail type is marked (in the bottom half of the slip).

Next is where you want the package redelivered. The first option, 自宅, is your home. The second is somewhere in the neighborhood. Third, 勤務先に配達, is your place of work. The last two I never use, but you can have it delivered to other post offices.

Finally, click the button at the bottom of the screen:

If you chose to have it redelivered to your home, then you will be taken to a screen to choose the day and approximate time. Unfortunately, I can't access that now since I don't have a redelivery form, but there is an example of how to do all this in Japanese. So, using that, the screen looks like this:

Luckily, the month and day are listed in case you don't know the kanji for the days of the week (however, you can translate them if you aren't sure!) As for time, the horizontal bar, the first option means whenever. The second is anytime before noon. The rest are two hour time slots, and of course, on military time. You do the math.

Click the button the bottom of the page (on the right, it looks like the one you clicked on the first page).

Obviously, if you chose to have your package redelivered at work or elsewhere, you will need to do additional steps to fill in that particular information, which I will skip in this tutorial.

Next, you'll arrive here:

Again, the english is listed under the kanji. Type in your zip code and click the wide button to the right of the field. This will help you automatically fill in the prefecture, city and town (machi, cho). Type in any additional address information such as neighborhood number, apartment building and unit number. Finally, enter your phone number. (Don't worry, it's not likely that anyone will call you).

Last, enter your e-mail address twice. At the bottom of the page, click the button on the far right. You'll be taken to the "review" page. Check your information and make sure it is correct. If not, click the button on the left. If it is, click the button on the right.

The last page is the "confirmation" page. Click the button on the bottom of the page and wait for the confirmation e-mail. If you recieve an e-mail, congrats! You successfully complete the redelivery process. If not, go ahead and try it again.

To be honest, I botched it the first time. I thought I had done it right the first time but never received the confirmation e-mail. The package wasn't delivered the next day like I had specified. So, I went back and did it again and it worked the next day. Also, Japanese websites can be particular about the kind of characters you use. You can use regular english for you name, but some sites need you to use what it will call "full characters." I find the only way to do this on my computer (a Mac) is to change the language to Romanji (Roman letters used to spell out Japanese words) and type them in that way. Or use the character input menu I have. The rest I type in hiragana or katakana (the lettering systems in Japan). Since I use a Mac, it is easy for me to turn on those languages and switch between U.S. English and Japanese. From using PCs at work, I have to go into the control panel and change settings to switch to English, so it is a bit more complicated - although I'm sure it depends on what system you are using on a PC. For the sake of length though, I won't go into more detail about that in this post.

There you have it, a basic turtorial of how to get a package or letter redelivered without asking someone else to do it for you, or calling the post office and awkwardly stumbling through your Japanese as they have no idea what you mean and talk incredibly fast so you have no idea what they mean. (By all means, please practice your Japanese, but this certainly saves a lot of time, and even when I was in the U.S. I did most things via the internet anyway - depends on your preference!)

Again, this is for Japan Post, not other delivery companies. The process is similar, except you have to sign up for an account first. Which is due for another post.

まったね! Until next time!

*Note*: You can also arrange a redelivery over the phone in English, if you prefer (though I find online to be the most convenient and fast). Or, learn how you can arrange a redelivery from Yamato (Kuroneko).

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Anonymous said...

I recommend using the Rikaichan addon for firefox. It's the best way to translate webpages, and will help you learn japanese on the process.

Ashley said...

Hi Anon,

Thanks for the comment! I agree, Rikaichan is great, although difficult to use for longer blocks of text and sentences, or whole webpages. Probably not the best for absolute beginners, but helpful nonetheless.

I actually didn't have firefox at first, and not everyone does, so in that case, they may need other tools. Once I switched to firefox though, I found it very helpful!

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