To celebrate the new pandas that came to 上野動物園 (Ueno Zoo) in Tokyo last February, the design of the public mailbox just outside the zoo has been changed to resemble a panda starting today.
To publicize the new 「パンダポスト」 (panda mailbox), the zoo had a ceremony with children from a nearby 幼稚園 (pre-school) drop postcards into the mailbox after which a “panda postman” came to collect the cards.
Many Tokyo TV stations had news crews there to film the ceremony.
Here is Tokyo Broadcasting Station (TBS)‘s news report about the 「パンダポスト」 (Panda mailbox):
You can see the kids from the pre-school putting their postcards into the mailbox. But, as is Japanese manners, the first child says 「パンダポストマンさんよろしくお願いします！」…which isn’t easy to translate into English, but it’s close to “Thank you, Mr. Panda Postman!“.
All mail deposited into this “panda mailbox” will be delivered with a special panda postal cancellation mark over the stamp.
The zoo is hoping that many people will make a special trip to mail letters from this mailbox…and then visit the zoo.
It is now summer vacation in Japan. Many people, especially families and couples, like to visit places such as amusement parks and zoos during this time. And also, many people in Japan send 「かもメール」 (summer postcards) to friends and relatives…and I’m sure many people will use the panda mailbox to send them from now.