So on the third day of our Yakult media trip to Japan, i get to be a…. Yakult Lady.
What is a Yakult Lady?
A Yakult Lady is a woman who delivers Yakult products to customers’ homes by push carts, bicycles, motorcycles or cars. There are more than 40,000 Yakult Ladies in Japan, and over 2500 centers.
Did you know that there are also Yakult Ladies in Malaysia? I didn’t! I was very surprised to learn about that.
Little did i know, Yakult Lady is actually one of the most important part about Yakult. They sell more Yakult through Yakult Ladies throughout Japan than they do in the supermarkets. Impressive!
So let’s take a look at what they do.
We arrived at one of the many Yakult Lady centers in Tokyo at about 8:30 AM.
To welcome the special visitors (ie: us!), the center put out welcome signs on the door!
All the ladies were already busy preparing their boxes with Yakult products. They worked super super fast.
Diana and i also changed into our Yakult Lady uniform and getting ready for our first experience!
Morning briefing. Blend in well? lol
The uniform was a little too big for me but i like it!! It looks so professional (although some thought it was a school uniform haha) and i wish Malaysia has more cute uniforms like this.
The usual Japanese culture, gift sessions.
With the Yakult Team.
Did you know??
Most people have an image of Yakult Ladies being all obasan (aunties), it is mostly true, because the job is so suitable for housewives as they work less hours (they generally get back home by 3 to take care of their families), and there are over 1000 Yakult day care centers they could entrust their children with!
But! Take a guess about the youngest and oldest age in this center?
It’s 24 and 80.
EIGHT YEARS OLD. (She wasn’t on shift that day.) Can you imagine a 80-year-old grandma riding a bicycle carrying a big truckload of products to sell to her customers?? Apparently she is doing this out of interest, because it makes her healthy.
Apparently in other centers there are even older ones, like 85 years old or something. I have concluded that Japanese people are immortal. Or aliens.
But i must agree that it is a very healthy job.
Most of the Yakult Lady travel by bicycles like this around the neighbourhood of the center, from about 9am to 12am. That’s 3 hours of cycling exercise!!!
Ready to go!
This is Saka san, my “senpai”. And i was just an intern following behind her and help her deliver products.
I have my own bike too!!
If you notice, it comes with a hand cover, which protects you from sunburn in summers, and also winter chills. So all Yakult Ladies have beautiful hands lol.
We cycled around the neighbourhood, it was a quiet area spotting lots of quaint little houses with beautiful flower plants and bonzai outside. The weather was amazing (25 degree celcius?), it was breezy, and it felt so good.
I couldn’t help but start to think if i ever lose my job and have to live in Japan, i can always be a Yakult Lady. XD
Honest! It’s an amazing job to do!!
A Yakult Lady does not just sell the products. It is their job to communicate with their customers, help them fully understand the benefit of the products, and most importantly form a good relationship with their customers.
My senpai Saka san visited about 10 houses, she explained that i was from Malaysia and was here on a field trip and then handed them their orders. I was super amazed that she remembered what each and every customer ordered without even referring to her notebook. The customers (mostly housewives and elderly) all seemed pleased to meet her, and she is always super polite and smiley, and then i thought, no wonder everybody loves the Yakult Lady.
It’s like me meeting the ice cream man or the roti man during my childhood.
Anyway, because of you guys, i requested a few pictures as evidence. She had to go through the trouble to explain to everyone what this strange gaijin (foreigner) is doing in front of their house, and apologize profusely for the sudden interruption.
I had no luck with the ladies because they were reluctant to have a photo without putting on make up (and possibly in perfectly coiffed hair), which i totally understand.
But i got two pictures with the ojisan!!
This ojisan was particularly pleased to have a picture and was very chatty. His surname is literally “White Bear” in Japanese.
It’s all for you.
You are welcome.
I felt very achieved lolol. The last uncle bought one pack of Yakult and he gave her all 10 and 5 yens wtf. (that’s like 10-30 cents. Cuz Yakult is so affordable!!) Saka san patiently counted every single coin, and took out her own bag full of coins and gave him change. (Got change summore lolol).
Saka san also politely informed all her customers that she will come 15 minutes late next week due to her family schedule (and then apologize profusely).
I was really touched how they take their job so seriously. I want to be a Yakult lady when i grow up.
We returned to the center and that was the end of my internship. Was a fun experience, and i don’t mind doing it again!
That’s all for today. Bai!