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.

Favorite cartoon ever!

I just stumbled upon a cartoon I remember seeing many, many years ago and loved. Never thought to look for it on YouTube but I guess almost anything can be found there. So, here it is, starring Marc Antony and Pussyfoot.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Layoff alarm

Last week my boss announced the possibility of layoffs. Ugh. With summer sessions starting soon, enrollment is way down and we don't have enough students signed up. This will almost certainly mean that some, if not all, of the teachers will be laid off. It will be based on seniority and since I was the first full-time teacher hired, I will be the last one to go, but I'm still vulnerable. This situation seems doubly astounding since they just hired a new teacher a month ago!

To say I'm worried is an understatement as I'm my only source of income. For most of my career, I've been a writer first and a teacher second. Now I need to see if I can drum up a few writing gigs, although I've been out of the loop for quite a while, at least in the U.S.

Let's hope the layoff alarm was a false one.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Japanese version of The Office

After watching the original British TV show The Office, starring Ricky Gervais, I didn't think the American version could possibly match the humor, but Steve Carrell and the rest of the cast have done a magnificent job. So, here's a spoof done on SNL of what a Japanese version might look like.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

You're kidding, right?

Just came across these pictures that are supposedly the latest shoe rage in Japan. I don't know where anyone would wear them in Tokyo, but I suppose there are "those" places where one could use them for, um, artistic dancing or whatever. (snicker)

They make my feet hurt just looking at them, to say nothing about how I imagine my back would feel.

I am so not ready for this!

Doesn't make any difference if the temps are in C or F, they're still too high! I know I whine about this too often (as J&T would agree), but I can't help it. I'm just not a hot-weather gal, whether it's the dry heat that people here say is "not that bad" or the steamy heat of Asia. Heaven to me would be a place that never gets over 75F or has humidity over 30 percent. I'm going to try very, very hard, for the sake of harmony, to just accept it. It is what it is. . .and I don't see myself leaving Vegas any time soon.

In Celsius:

In Fahrenheit:

Friday, May 16, 2008

Recycling Las Vegas style

Our dryer, a previously-recycled model bought about 8 years ago for around $100, gave up the ghost about two weeks ago. We've been hanging wet laundry anywhere we could find a hook, doorknob, or shower curtain rod. Because it's been so hot lately, drying really hasn't been a problem and clothes dry in record time. However, it's not so easy to hang sheets and towels, so we were getting a little desperate for a new dryer. Unlike Tokyo, we don't have any of the laundry-hanging gadgets that make drying clothes outside easy. When was the last time you saw anyone using a clothesline like we used in Arizona when I was a kid?

T, the resident super shopper, found an almost brand new gas Maytag that had been returned to Lowe's and was selling for 50% off. It's so beautiful and modern looking! It's HUGE and could easily fluff comforters. It also has a drying rack inside the dryer, so you can put sweaters or canvas sneakers, or whatever, on the rack and the drum remains in place while the drying air circulates around the rack. Cool!

So, after disconnecting the old dryer and carrying it out to the curb, the three of us unloaded the new dryer off the back of the pickup and carried it into the house. It was a breeze to hook up and move into place. As long as we were at it, we decided to do a little work on the washing machine as well. It was never properly installed and the connectors to the hot and cold water were reversed. No one but me seemed to mind, but since all the cycles called for a "cold" rinse, and that meant "hot" in reality, I had to be super careful about washing anything that might shrink in hot water.

Now, everything is working perfectly and we're all very happy.

The funny part is what happened to the old dryer out on the curb. As we sat watching a movie that evening, we suddenly heard what sounded like some machinery being knocked around outside. We ran to the kitchen and looked out into the dark evening to see what was causing the noise. A pickup truck with several scavenged washers and dryers onboard was parked at our curb and our old klunker was being loaded inside. It did my heart good to see that someone could make use of the old model. In Vegas the trash service will pick up appliances, but I worried that it would go to a landfill rather than get recycled.

I hope the guys in the pickup make a few bucks. They're the recycling heroes.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What a tough life!

This is Lily. The funniest cat in the world, I think. When she's not running around the house or sleeping, she's sitting on the floor like a little Buddha. She cracks me up! The weather's turned quite warm and she's having a little adjustment problem with that big thick fur coat she has to wear. Have a look at this tired, hot kitty after a rough day of, well, mostly sleeping.

Yes, that's her tongue. Her teeth are so teeny weeny that she seems to have a hard time keeping it inside her mouth when she sleeps or plays, hence, an often crispy tongue.