You’ve Got Mail!

Unexpected things in the mail are always a concern. “Oh no, what have I missed? It’s not a bill, is it? Or worse, overdue tax payments? Heaven forbid I have to make a phone call in Japanese…” Today we take a look at a standard postal note to help you deal with stuff like this.

There’s a lot of good Japanese in this one, and especially for you keigo lovers out there, very good use of the honourific. Since there’s a lot of text, we’ll only be looking at several of the more useful parts of the note. Feel free to look up the readings or extra words using Rikaichan or a handy online dictionary. You can ask questions in the comments if you feel any parts are in need of further explanation! Alrighty then!


(In hiragana: にほん ゆうびん おかざき してん からの おしらせ)

A notice from Japan Post Okazaki Branch

The next part with 様 (さま) is where the recipient’s name would be written. さま is used for clients, customers or anyone you wish to show a lot of respect for. It’s also used as the de-facto suffix when writing names on letters, as in this case.


(はいたつ にちじ)

Delivery time

Very useful word to remember here. 配達 is used in many different situations, from receiving standard mail to ordering goods online and directing delivery men. You’ll notice the date and time written after that, as well as the word ころ, which means ‘about’ or ‘roughly’.

Here’s the main chunk of text. We already know the note is from the post office and is talking about delivery times. It doesn’t take a lot of guess work to figure out that the rest of the note is going to be about something similar. In this case, it’s politely explaining that you were not in when the letter needed to be signed for.


You were out when we came to deliver your parcel, so we have put a ‘held item’ notice in your door post box.

There’s a lot of formal Japanese being used here, so don’t feel too bad if it’s over your head. The first steps are becoming familiar with certain expressions so that they don’t scare you when you see them. Take:


(はいたつに うかがいました)

This is literally: (We) came to deliver. 伺う is the humble way of saying 来る or 行く – coming or going somewhere. It can also be used instead of 聞く, when asking a question. The aim is to lower oneself to show respect for the other person. In this case, because we are the customer receiving the package, the company is showing humility towards us in order to be polite.

That's not all! Log in to see the rest of this lesson.
Or if you aren't a member yet, please consider signing up.

9 Responses to Gakuu. Studying with Real Japanese

  1. Sabrina September 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    This is pretty cool! Right now I’m studying on Textfugu which is great! I belive Gakuu can be really helpul too. What I like most is that its for pre-intermediate to advanced level students. So you can’t say its the same thing over and over again… students can actually improve their knowledge here. Thank you very much for creating this site. Have a nice day :)

    • Gakuranman September 30, 2010 at 1:09 am #

      Hi Sabrina! Thank you for your comment :).

      That’s definitely our aim. I love Textfugu for beginners and really getting students a solid grounding in the language, but afterwards (and even while) studying the basics, it can really help to encounter raw Japanese material. You don’t have to understand everything at first, but feeling challenged and picking up little bits here and there that are extra to your learning the basics helps expand your mind. Let me know if you have any more questions! More demonstration material will be up soon! We are currently having a special launch sale price for early adopters, so check out the pricing page if interested :).

      • Sabrina September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

        Thanks for your reply. :) Unfortunately I’m even still miles away from the intermediate level. But I’ll definetly return to Gakuu when I get to this point. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the extra demonstration material. :) Keep up the good work.

        • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 12:21 am #

          Sure thing :). Let me know if you have any other questions or suggestions for things you’d like to see on Gakuu!

  2. missingno15 October 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    When I looked at this, I first thought to myself, “aw hell no, gakuranman is doing the same thing as koichi…even the website layout is similar”. But then I realized “it’s aimed at pre-intermediate to advanced level students” which is perfect for my situation right now because I now really want to excel way past beginner. So basically, Gakuu really complements Textfugu. Can’t wait for more lessons to see how this is gonna be like so I can decide if its worth getting.

    • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

      Hey there! Thanks for dropping by :). No way – Koichi and I are buds. I’ve always loved teaching the more advanced stuff so it worked out perfectly. I’ll be adding more stuff in the coming days, so please stay tuned!

      • Lee Aloy October 23, 2016 at 5:20 am #


        I am sorry to ask this silly question. Are you Japanese?
        am hoping to find a Japanese friends here please shot me an email:

  3. DumbOtaku (percent20) October 3, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    This is really cool. I am glad to see more online content going beyond just teaching hirigana and katakana. That is what I try to do on my blog, but with to little consistency. Glad to see an expert do it, btw already a signed-up paid member now. :)

    • Gakuranman October 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

      Glad to have you man! Look forward to hearing any suggestions you have for the site and future lessons :)

Leave a Reply

Need a break? Have an adventure on