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Thursday, June 10

Japanese Peculiarities #11

If there is one thing I know about, it is junk mail.  I truly say this in the most loving way.  Prior to my charades in Japan, I spent many, many hours, days and years creating it.  Of course, the much nicer name is 'direct mail'.

This isn't one of those careers that you choose.  It chooses you.  If you are lucky enough, like I was, you fall in love with it.  No joke, but I used to look forward to checking my mailbox to see if there were any cool letters and ideas in there that I could replicate, or better, one-up, for my clients. As you can imagine, this made me extremely curious to see what would show up in my Japanese mailbox.  Would I be able to use any of these new finds from my foreign box and translate them into something grand in that past/future career? 

There answer has been a resounding no.  I have spent four years checking through the stacks in my mailbox here and there ain't nothing half as cool as what we created at my old agency.

First of all, unless it is a bill or a statement, they rarely bother with envelopes.  This makes perfect sense in a culture where sorting trash for its particular recycling day is a huge issue.  Why give more to throw out when the goal is ultimately less to throw out.  The problem is that one of the coolest parts was the envelope.  There is so much that can be done with an envelope!  I know I am sounding like a huge dork here, but I am dead serious.  In direct mail, if the envelope isn't cool and appealing for the appointed audience, then you fail from the get go.  They never open it and you never get your message across.  In Japan, with no envelope and a writing of which the average American like myself can't read, you are left with nothing more than a chaotic-looking flier.  On top of that, they are rarely even folded like a real letter is.  Although, I won't complain on this note as I would just have to unfold them to put them into the tied recycling pile.

And that below is exactly what I pull out of my mailbox on a daily basis.  A big old mess that I leaf through and then throw directly into the recycling bin.  I dare one of my previous coworkers to make something out of this week's worth display.  Please do let me know if you find something... and I promise to steal the idea from you too.

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