Comic: Too late

comic comics cartoon texan in tokyo waiting for the mail

So, the postal service in Japan takes a bit of getting used to. We have a small mailbox (about the size of a shoebox) in the lobby of our building. Whenever anyone sends anything bigger than that tiny shoebox (like a large envelope, package, etc), they will “buzz” to our apartment, so I can go outside and sign for it. It’s the same for paychecks or any other “special” letters.

This is nice because I never have to worry about someone stealing my package off my doorstep (because that does happen in America)… but is SUPER annoying because if I miss the “buzz,” I have to go downstairs, grab the “you missed our ‘buzz’ letter,” call the number on the sheet, give them my package number, re-schedule a “drop off” time (in a 3 hour window), and then wait around the house during that 3 hour window for the package.

It can be really inconvenient when I have somewhere else to be…

Ryosuke ordered some new water filters online and we got to pick the drop-off time (3 days later). I fell asleep waiting for the water filters… Oops. And even though the filters could have probably fit in the box, they didn’t try to stuff them (which I guess is nice…?) and I had to call the company for another drop off.

See? Our mail box is pretty tiny...

See? Our mail box is pretty tiny…


Like these comics? Check out my comic books (on Amazon):

My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book


My Japanese Husband (still) Thinks I’m Crazy


Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

34 Comments on Comic: Too late

  1. In America, there have been a few times in the past where packages have been stolen, but since I moved, I haven’t had that problem only because my neighborhood has a nice system. We have tiny mailboxes in the middle of the neighborhood which is really just used for envelopes or other small mail items, but there is also a big mailbox where big packages are delivered. The neighborhood puts the key into your mailbox and informs you which of the large mailboxes has your package so that you can just take it from there and leave the key in the large mailbox. It’s really helpful and I wish more neighborhoods did something like this.

  2. SmilinSweetpea // 23 June, 2015 at 5:41 am //

    Yep, this happens in the States, also with certain delivery companies. I once had to druive out to a warehouse to pick something up that they tried to deliver 3 times.

  3. I’m sorry you fell asleep, just look to the positive side, at least it wasn’t stolen.

  4. It´s the same here in Germany. I order only via DHL – I order the parcels to the next post office (~ 100 m from my home) and fetch them after work.

  5. I don’t think the driver’s phone number thing is just the suburbs – I’m in Suginami and was in Shibuya and I’ve seen it before. But one thing that made my life easier was creating an account on the Kuroneko and Sagawa websites, and that way it’s much easier to schedule redeliveries online. I would always rather do that than call to reschedule… I also usually schedule the delivery for a weeknight or a weekend morning. I don’t have a buzzer though, and it’s hard to miss the knock on the door! One time my cat came right up to the delivery guy and he got all worried that she was going to run out the door, it was cute. :)

  6. Lol I experienced this so many times too!

  7. Anonymouse // 5 September, 2014 at 1:36 pm //

    You actually go down to get your mail? In my apartment building everyone has the mail carrier come up to them.

    Most companies I have dealt with have evening and weekend deliveries. Japan Post does deliveries 7 days a week and their latest re-delivery window is from 19:00 to 21:00. All the companies I have dealt with have had re-delivery windows going at least until 20:00.

    What kind of annoys me is that my apartment building has a locker system that allows mail carriers to put larger packages in them for tenants to pick up when they are home. In the 6 years I’ve lived here, only one package (from Amazon) has ever been put in the locker. The rest just leave the “you missed a package” notice and I have to get it re-delivered. The only thing I can think of is that the companies are super strict about getting the signature to prove the item was properly delivered?

    • Ours has a locker system too! But most of the mail carriers don’t use it. I have no idea why. Ugh.
      We don’t actually have to go downstairs, I just have to buzz the door open for the postal man (since we live in a Japanese-styled mansion).

  8. During work days, I usually pick the 6pm-9pm option. I think Japan Post and some other delivery companies deliver this late? And most do weekends too, I think it just depends on the company.

    What I usually do is schedule some cleaning/chores during this time so that I’m sure that I won’t miss the buzz. I usually end up looking weird and sweaty in front of the delivery guy, but ah well. :P

  9. Many delivery companies have the driver’s cell number on the delivery slip these days, so I always try calling that first. If they haven’t gotten too far away they will often bring my package over within a few minutes, or say “I can be there in 30 min.” or, whatever. Maybe that’s more common in the suburbs?

    I get so many deliveries, because I order from Amazon all the time, that all I have to do is say my name and the delivery guy’s like, “I’ll be right over!” Sometimes it’s nice to be easily recognizable!

    • That’s handy :)
      I don’t think we’ve gotten one with the driver’s number, but that might just be because it’s crowded Tokyo.
      That’s kind of hilarious that the delivery man recognizes you, though. I love little friendships like that~

    • Anonymouse // 5 September, 2014 at 1:45 pm //

      I’m in Osaka and I don’t think a driver has ever left their number, either. Maybe you’re right about it being more common in the suburbs.

      Sometimes when I request a delivery date the driver will call before the delivery window and give an ETA. It happens mostly with larger packages and furniture, but it’s so incredibly nice to have a smaller time window than “sometime in the next three hours”.

      • It really might be something in the suburbs. I’ve never had someone do that for me either… When a man from Ikea was delivering furniture, he called us and said he would be there “sometime in the next hour,” which was helpful.

  10. How I hate it when packages get delivered. More often than not I am waiting the whole day at home just to see later in the mail box the little notification that I was apparently not home during the delivery. In Finland they are often too lazy to go even up one level to our apartment, 10m away from the mailbox :(

  11. Why do you need water filters in Japan? I thought there it’s safe to drink water directly from the tap..
    You can’t do that in India. You need to have water filters or buy drinking water separately.

    • We have a Brita water filter/pitcher. We sometimes drink directly from the tap, but my husband really prefers filtered water. I figure it can’t hurt – and the pitcher is really easy to use :)

  12. I have experienced the same when I was waiting for my digital camera. I was enjoying my bathub too much with high volume of music (Yes, I l

    • Oops, I pushed the “post comment” button before finished writing. Well I was enjoying my bathub time so I missed the post man. When I finished my bath, I found a “love letter” about “you missed your package, please rearrange the delivery time”. I felt sorry for both the postman and myself at that time ^_^

      so, I do understand your feeling Grace :D

      • Me too! I totally missed the “buzz” one time when I was taking a shower. The package was supposed to come between 2pm and 5pm, and it came at exactly 2:01pm! It was really frustrating.

        Thankfully I was able to call them back right away and get them to re-deliver in that window (like an hour later).

  13. Actually Japan post deliver until 9:00pm and private companies too. Also weekends. There is usually time table on the “u miss our buzz” note they leave.

    • Thanks, I wasn’t quite sure about the delivery times. We always pick the morning, anyways.

      Really? They do weekends? That’s surprising. For whatever reason, I remember not being able to schedule for a weekend (but that might have just been a particular company…?)

  14. realgunners // 4 September, 2014 at 10:45 am //

    Do they do the drop offs in the evenings or on weekends? Otherwise I cannot imagine it would be mighty inconvenient if both of you works full time and nobody stays at home.
    For me, I usually get a tracking number when my online purchases are shipped, then I would just call the nearest branch of the shipping company and inform them not to bother trying my gate or mailbox, just leave my parcel in the office and I will go collect myself.

    • As far as I know, most of the companies won’t ship past 7pm. Some do on weekends, but then that just means we have to hang out around the house on weekends (and I’ve missed a package or two while running errands, etc).
      I really don’t know how families do it, when both partners work.

  15. I have my computers back …. and I think I will run over to Amazon and order you some coffee so you can stay awake *ducks and runs*

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