Handled with care and delivered in perfect condition.

Customer service in Japan is known for being second to none, with “God-like” attention paid to the needs of customers everywhere you go, from train stations to restaurants and even amusement parks.

Recently, another heartwarming tale of excellent customer service in Japan has come to light, this time involving the Japanese postal service. And while the postal system here is already widely lauded for its efficient, reliable services, this particular encounter is so impressive it’s even come as a pleasant surprise to a lot of Japanese people.

Twitter user and university professor Hajime Ishikawa (@hajimebs) shared their experience online, uploading three photos with the following message:

“A leaf arrived in the post box. Properly stamped with a postmark.”

▼ The photos shared by Ishikawa show a leaf with a 120-yen (US$1.10) postage stamp on one side…

▼ …which has been stamped with a postmark by the post office.

How did the leaf arrive in Ishikawa’s mail box? Well, because he sent it to himself, writing his name and address on the underside of the leaf.

This wasn’t a pure act of mischief to mess with the postal system, however, as the leaf was sent as part of the Tarayou Project (“Ilex Latifolia Project”) to spread awareness about the Ilex Latifolia tree. The leaves of this evergreen tree, a species of holly native to southern Japan and eastern and southern China, can be written on, in the same way that certain palm leaves were used for writing by ancient Indians.

The Ilex latifolia tree has become a symbol of SBC (Student Build Campus) located in β Village on the Shonan Fujisawa Campus of Keio University in Kanagawa Prefecture, and the Tarayou Project aims to share the wonders of the tree with the world, even setting up a website and Instagram account to share their activities online.

▼ “About Tarayou, the Postcard Tree.

As a professor at Keio University’s Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Ishikawa is keen to introduce students and the wider public at large to the wonders of the Ilex Latifolia tree, not only for its unique qualities but its potential as a sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional stationery. 

It would be great to see tarayou leaves take on as a new postcard movement, but Ishikawa does, however, want to remind everyone that fresh leaves may become damaged or stain other postal items, so anyone considering sending leaves in the post should consult with postal staff before sending them, as they’re outside of the standard mail usually handled by the postal service.

▼ Ishikawa’s leaf was delivered in perfect condition, and received over 100,000 likes online.

It’s heartwarming to see Japan’s postal workers handle the mail with such care that even a single leaf can make it through the network without any damage. It’s just one example of the many reasons why we love Japan’s postal system, along with their cute Pokémon stamps and exclusive KitKat boxes!

Source: Ilex Latifolia ProjectHajime Ishikawa Lab via Twitter/@hajimebs
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Twitter/@hajimebs

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