It is getting more and more difficult to send something to the United States. Several weeks ago I mailed a letter to a friend in Indiana, USA. Ordinary envelope, correct address, proper postage. It went to the US and came back to me in Japan, with a yellow sticker on it that said "not at this address". I checked my address book and I checked the return address on the last letter she sent me and they all matched. I put the returned letter in a new envelope with another letter and put the letter in my bag to mail it. When I got to the post box, I didn't have the letter! Somehow I lost it on the way. I hoped the finder would drop it in the mail box, that's what I would do.
A few days later I received a notice in the mail from the police saying they had something they thought belonged to me - a lost or forgotten thing. I knew it had to be the letter. I asked my Japanese friend to call the phone number in the notice and ask them to put the letter in the mailbox. She called for me and they told her I needed to pick up the item (the letter). It was a 45 minute walk on a hot day to the fourth floor of the big police building (not the little local koban - police box). When I got there, I was the only one needing help and there were eight people working in the lost and found office. I waited an hour for them to find my letter, which was wrapped up in plastic. I wrote my name and address on a printed form, they gave me the letter and I walked down the stairs and out of the building. I was about half a block away and one of the office workers came running after me, saying sorry sorry. I had to go back because they had given me the wrong form to write my name and address on. I did it again on the new form and quickly walked away! I put the letter in the post box and hopefully my friend will receive it.
Lost and found is very serious in Japan. When someone loses a phone or a wallet, they get the item back intact. It is amazing. I was surprised that I had to go to the big police department building though to get the letter. If you found an addressed stamped envelope, would you put it into the post box, or take it to the police station, or leave it where it lay, or something else? I'm just curious.