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Jilai

Connecting Hearts in Solamachi

How often is it that you do something random like sleeping over at a friend’s  house with uncertainty or finding out if you’re legible to donate blood or not the moment you wake up? How about sending post cards and letters for no specific reason at all? You might think the latter  is a thing of the past and it’s so outdated it would make you puke.

Nah. That’s an exaggeration. Nevertheless, my point is that, wouldn’t it be nice to go back in the past and see how people lived without the convenience of the Internet and phones? Or is it just me that finds this amusing. I hope not. Or else what’s the point of sharing this you, right?

So this all started with a plan to celebrate our 2nd year anniversary in Japan. A big pat in the back to my fellow Batch 1 teachers, Nice and Jami! And here’s a picture of us looking two years older enjoying good Mexican food somewhere in Daikanyama.

 

 

After dinner, I thought that it was too late for me to go home so I decided to sleep over. The next day, I randomly thought of checking out a blood donation center in Oshiage before coming home. I’ve been meaning to come and visit but it has been less of a priority so I’ve kept on putting it off. Procrastination, is what you call it.

 

 

And so this is how that day went down.

I took a peek of my favorite spot ( the one you can see above ) before checking out the blood donation center.  I went two floors higher and found the center. To my surprise and confusion, this is what welcomed me at the door.

 

“Kind reminder for visitors. This room is reserved blood donation. Please do not enter.”

Unfortunately, I took a crappy photo so you can’t clearly see the text so I added it in the caption.  I mentioned this to one of my students and she said that there might have been a main door besides this one that I saw. I haven’t confirmed this yet but I’ll get back to you once I find out. Detective Conan on the move. But yes, I wasn’t able to share my blood to the world.

 

But, I still considered myself lucky because when I went down a floor lower, I found this!

 

 

The Postal Museum of Japan right under my nose! Without any hesitation, I decided to drop by this awesome place. Many of you may not know, but I do have this secret obsession for these babies ever since I first stepped foot on this land.

 

 

So, just go straight and you’ll find the reception with the jolly staff and this ticket vending machine. There’s a language option so it’s basically foreigner-friendly. The ticket only costs ¥300 so it won’t really make a dent.

 

To commemorate your visit, there are tons of souvenirs outside.

 

 

The staff will be able to guide you in English, I suppose. However, I kind of wanted to practice my Japanese so I just let them speak to me in their native tongue. I thought it was going to be a disaster, but it wasn’t that bad. Gestures can do miracles!

 

 

One of the awesome features of the postal museum is their huge collection of stamps from countries all over the world. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to take pictures of them for security purposes. I did manage to find the stamps used in the Philippines from the year 1936-1996. Among all the stamps I saw, one thing caught my eye. There was actually one that says “United States of America” on top with a picture of General Douglas MacArthur and  “The Philippine Islands” was written below.

 

 

The trip to this museum was so special for me despite the fact that it was by chance because I got to see how a simple yet important part of history of a country I consider my second home all started.

 

 

Old carriages used to deliver the mail.

 

We all know how Japan is a leader in technology and some may not bat an eye on learning the roots postal service history in this country. And that’s why I’m here!

 

 

In case you’re wondering, the picture on top are the first two types of mail posts that they used. The staff said that they changed it since the brown and black ones were confusing for people at that time. They finally settled with the red orange ones that I completely adore!

 

 

And lo and behold! The only red old-school mail post with an opening that you can turn around. The staff explained a lot of stuff, but I was already having a mental breakdown so let’s get going.

 

 

 

This is where the parcels are being weighed in.

 

And what about the fashion and accessories of  Mr. Post Man in the old era of Japan? Scroll down to view them all!

 

Lamp posts used to deliver the mail before the sun rises.

All the backpacks used by the Mr. Postman.

 

Outfit worn by postmen of the past.

 

Gun control? Leave it to Japan. Here’s a pistol used by postmen to defend themselves from thieves.

 

 

For some modern twist, there is a video game that you can play for free. You can pretend to be a postman and make deliveries with a scooter. And if you ask me, I’d say I was just born to write letters, not deliver them on a scooter. I failed. Terribly.

 

 

As you can see here, I just finished failing at the delivery game so I look like a geek ready to give up on life. Please disregard my disheveled look. I’d like to end my blog by saying that the world has become so small and everything revolves around so fast, but we all should stop and pause. Take a moment to send our hellos and well wishes to the ones we care the most.

Typing is fast and easy and it is in such irony that you’re reading this on a screen, but I do hope we will all reminisce the past with a smile. But don’t stop there. Send a card. Say how you feel in English or in Japanese. Let’s connect our hearts like the way we connected to the sky, the earth, the mountains and the world like our ancestors did.