Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I Was Robbed!

I am expecting a registered letter, so yesterday I went home briefly after work was officially over. At 4:30pm, the letter had not arrived, and there were two kerosene containers in front of my house. One full, one empty.

I went back to work, because I didn't need to be at home (and at work, there's COFFEE, and I can study Japanese and drink coffee and play go^W^W^W). Eventually, I finished everything for the day (except studying Japanese, that's never finished), and around 7:30pm I went home.

At 7:30pm, the letter had not arrived, and there was ONE kerosene container in front of my house. Empty.

I had been robbed! IN JAPAN! How is this possible?

First of all, you couldn't see the kerosene containers from the road. Or anywhere else, you basically had to be standing next to them to see them. So, why did the thief come up to the door in the first place? And what prompted them to then steal?

Second, I leave my front light on (so when I come home at 8pm I can unlock the door). So the thief took the kerosene in plain view. I'd ask my neighbors if they saw anything, but I don't speak enough Japanese yet (hence, the never-ending studying).

Third, a full container of kerosene isn't exactly light. I can't quite imagine anyone lugging it down the road for any length. So who drives up to a house, loads the kerosene in their car, and drives away?

Fourth, a full container of kerosene isn't exactly expensive. At ¥49 a liter, and 18 liters a container, were only talking about $8.35 (plus the cost of the container, so let's make it a round $10). If you're going to risk getting caught stealing, why something so small?

Anyway, even though I don't hope to recover the kerosene, I reported the incident to the local police, so at least they know what's going on in their neighborhood. That was a fun experience, especially when the police described a current fad in Japan: stealing kerosene and using it to LIGHT THE BUILDING ON FIRE. Maybe if I hadn't returned home when I did... So it could always be worse. I am greatly indebted to the English teacher from school that happened to be working even later than I was that accompanied me.

What really bothers me about this is...my landlord. (WHAT?)

I have two bikes now, and a sudden fear of them being stolen. I'd like to store them in the garage, but the landlord has his own stuff in there, and there's barely enough room for my tiny tiny car.

Also, the landlord sometimes goes into the house. Sure, he owns the house, but still. When he leaves, he often fails to secure the door. He may lock the door, but leave it partially open (so what's the point of that?). He also turns off the outside light. Note that I've repeatedly asked him to not do this. Alas.

I think the landlord comes in to the house ostensibly to get something of this. After all, every closet and cupboard is filled with his stuff. With my newly disillusioned view of the relative safety of Japan, I think I must demand that the landlord:
  1. Remove his belongings from the house and garage.
  2. STOP coming into the house while no one is there!
Sigh. So that's how my day was yesterday. How about you?


  1. I've solved the mystery Phoenix! Your landlord is stealing kerosene so he can set the house on fire! It's the only explanation...

  2. Aha! Well, if he were planning an insurance scam, I wish he would have told me first. Note to self: get insurance on my new "Rembrandt" painting...

    Wait, does this mean that even though I put the kerosene inside, it's still not safe? He has a key!

  3. Face it my friend, you'll soon be homeless. You'll be lucky if he waits until you go out before he strikes the match.

    By the way, is your painting by the famous Dutch master, or the one-hit wonders "The Rembrandts", the band who penned the theme tune to Friends?

  4. You know, when I first moved in, the landlord's wife expressed concerns about the combustibility of the house... Enough to make sure that I didn't smoke (there's no smoking in the house), and I even went out and bought new fire extinguishers.

    Perhaps she was trying to tell me something...

    "Gee, this is a nice house. It'd be a shame if it burned down..."

    I was actually referring to the painting made using only different flavors of Rembrandt toothpaste. There's a band too? And a famous Dutch master? Huh. Whodafigured.

  5. They didn't tell you about all the secret cameras positioned around the house?