Saturday, May 31, 2008

Excuse me but I think there's someone living in my closet!

This actually happened in Tokyo!

Japanese woman caught living in man’s closet

(05-30) 17:34 PDT TOKYO, Japan (AP)

A homeless woman who sneaked into a man’s house and lived undetected in his closet for a year was arrested in Japan after he became suspicious when food mysteriously began disappearing.

Police found the 58-year-old woman Thursday hiding in the top compartment of the man’s closet and arrested her for trespassing, police spokesman Hiroki Itakura from southern Kasuya town said Friday.

The resident of the home installed security cameras that transmitted images to his mobile phone after becoming puzzled by food disappearing from his kitchen over the past several months.

One of the cameras captured someone moving inside his home Thursday after he had left, and he called police believing it was a burglar. However, when they arrived they found the door locked and all windows closed.

“We searched the house … checking everywhere someone could possibly hide,” Itakura said. “When we slid open the shelf closet, there she was, nervously curled up on her side.”

The woman told police she had no place to live and first sneaked into the man’s house about a year ago when he left it unlocked. She had moved a mattress into the small closet space and even took showers, Itakura said, calling the woman “neat and clean.”

So, if you're wondering how this could possibly happen and how someone could not notice a person living in his closet, it actually wouldn't be that difficult. Japanese closets aren't like American closets. Usually they have a completely separate storage unit with its own sliding door located above the main closet. People don't often open that cupboard because it's usually where they store things like suitcases or boxes of stuff. You could sort of think of it as being an attic space where you wouldn't normally be opening and inspecting it more than once or twice a year.

I can see how the woman could have lived up there. She must have had some sort of rope ladder or something that she could use to crawl up into that space and then pull it up so no one would see it.

It's interesting that the guy never noticed that anyone had used his shower, but she could have wiped it down thoroughly after each use. Like the article said, she appeared to be neat and clean.

You'd think the woman might have been caught on weekends though, when the guy wasn't at work. Although, if he's like lots of single men, he probably spent most of his time out of his apartment, but still, I'd wonder how she could know when he'd return after an absence. She must have had some close calls!

And, not to gross anyone out, but what about middle-of-the-night bathroom visits? Seems to me that any 58-year-old woman might have to, at least occasionally, do that. Maybe she had a hardy bladder.

I sure hope they find the poor old gal a home somewhere. Japan isn't well known for its homeless shelters, especially Tokyo, so I wonder what will happen to her. Maybe she's better off in a minimum security jail cell. At least she'd have a bed, toilet and hot meals.


JoeinVegas said...

Still seems like a stretch, not to notice somebody else living in the same space. And aren't Tokyo apartments smaller than ours anyway?

Absolutely Tokyo! said...

Yep, Joe, it is a stretch, but possible. There are many Tokyoites who don't spend much time in their oh-so-tiny apartments. (My first apt. there was about 100 square feet, and that included the entire place!)

While it would make me shudder to think of someone living in the upper cupboard of my closet, I have to admit that I rarely looked in there, except when I was traveling and needed to pull out my suitcases. Even if you heard a noise coming from somewhere, like snoring or coughing, you'd be apt to think it was coming from the apartment upstairs or next door. The walls are pretty thin!

タマネギちゃん said...

Yep, saw that on TV and was also quite wondering about how the woman can have lived there, even though there definitely is space up there and the closet is barely openend. Maybe i'm to claustrophobic, because I can't imagine myself lying up there with moving while the man is at home...