Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day 16: Legal Advice

As soon as this whole mess started going down, I asked for advice from friends and colleagues living in Japan. What followed was a slew of suggestions. Most leaned to the side of, 'You should take a giant poop on the floor, that'll show em!'

File:Mr hankey the xmas poo.jpg

Of course, there was the expected 'Break everything!' tidbit. The most evil award goes to 'Milk-chicken-bomb.' Tempting.

But the one universal piece of advice was to seek legal council. Surely, when someone breaks into your apartment and illegally evicts you, a law may have been broken, and civil retribution is possible.

The Tokyo Bar Association provides 30 minute legal consultations 4 times a week. They will provide an interpreter to translate the difficult Japanese legal jargon into English. Gotta make a reservation in Japanese though.

My 30 minute, $50 consultation went as follows:

0:00 to 0:15 - Explain the situation. I wrote out a timeline with major dates and parties involved. The lawyer was pleased that I came prepared.

0:15 to 0:20 - The dreaded doshio... what do we do? Yeah, the lawyers were shocked that something like this could have happened in Japan.

0:20 to 0:30 - Advice time!

Basically it comes down to who was the legal landlord of my apartment at the time of the break in. My landlord is involved in a court battle with another landlord, the one, I'm assuming, who perpetrated this whole deal. I've been looking at it as theft this whole time, but it could also be seen as some sort of shady eviction. Shady... yet not so illegal. Anyways, if it is someday decided that my guy was the owner on June 23rd, 2011, then I can take legal action against the bastards who did this to me.

If it is decided that my guy was not the legal landlord at the time of the... eviction... then tough shit. I could potentially take legal action against him for giving me a false contract. But... it can be shown that I was aware of the situation, and not tricked by my landlord into signing false documents.

Let me try and explain. My rent was so low that only an idiot would be unaware that something was up. I know that the c'mon... is this guy serious defense is full of holes, but it was pretty obvious that something was up. How low was my rent? Facts and figures at a later date, but somewhere below 50% of the normal rent in my building. When explaining myself to police, or lawyers, or random dudes on the train, I always lose credibility when I mention the rent I was paying. Truth be told, I had a good run. I estimate that over the 2 years I was there, I saved enough to buy a new KTM 990 SM touring edition with the optional anodized luggage.


Funny though, I'm still driving the 20 year old Honda CB1000 with the bag-and-bungee-cord luggage option.

So now it's just a waiting game. How long? Probably forever. Court cases like this have been known to drag on for decades in Japan. And since I have left the apartment, I don't have much of a connection to the going-ons. I doubt I will ever have contact with that landlord again. And I need to wait until his thing is over before my thing can begin.

Is that the end of this story? No violence? No retribution? Just a pfffftttt (sound of a balloon deflating)? Could very well be. I'll be away from computers in general for over a month, doing my seasonal summer camp in the countryside. The police told me that they will start their investigation now, but my lack of confidence in their abilities towards this matter are probably with merit, and I may have heard the last of them.

Thanks for listening. Of course, advice is always welcome (non-poop advice I should clarify).

And here's a video of my new home:

Read more of this saga at Day 1, Day 2, Day 5, Day 6, Day 12, and Day 16.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Day 12: Search Warrant

Monday, July 4th.

So the cops are all set to execute the search warrant on the room next to mine. You know, the room with all of my stolen goods in it. They said they would do it at 10am. I arrive at 10am, with a rented truck, to hopefully get all the shit I own on earth back.

'We are waiting for the owner of the room to come with the key,' says the cop. What?!? The dude who possibly jacked my stuff is coming down? I don't know if that is good or bad. Anyways, he shows up 90 minutes late.

Of course, his key doesn't work.

So the cops call down a locksmith. But they also need a 3rd party witness, so we wait around for a fireman or something to show up.

It's all just more wasted time. Meanwhile the cops and owners of the room are crackin jokes like a couple of school chums, and the translator is giving me almost nothing.

Don't worry, it gets more uneventful as the day goes on.

Finally the locksmith starts drilling. I remember the other locksmith from before, dude took 2 hours. This guy took about 2 minutes. And his drill was almost silent. It just melted through the metal.

Once in, I saw all my stuff there. Relief flooded over me. There is my hard drive with 10 years of photos on it. And there are my underwears. I guess that's all I really care about. I already spent $135 for the new passport, $20 for the new bank book, and $150 for a new motorcycle key. What more do I really need?

I don't want to get started on the amount of cash I've wasted on bullshit in the past week. It's been a lot. Irrelevant.

Police dust for prints, then take mine and the owner's. By the way, he's not like the 'owner' owner, more like a manager. The room has been empty for a few months as far as I can tell.

After that, the cops let me take it away. I start ferrying it to my friend's place, which is about an hour for each load if you count loading and unloading times. So after 3 hours, it's all done.

I say goodbye, and that's it. Seriously, it was an uneventful day, aside from getting my stuff back. It seems like everything is there, though a few things got ruined because they tossed a bottle of maple syrup with a loose cap in.

I'm sure you've pieced a few things together, and realized that this was no ordinary smash-and-grab type robbery. At this time, I'm going to refrain from writing about the parties involved, or my theories, or past indicators that something like this was a possibility. There is an open investigation, and I'm going to shut up now. Sorry.

Next step? Well, my friend's place is a damn mess with all my stuff, and he comes back to Japan in a couple days. So I've got 3 different real estate connections scouring for a new place for me. I thought I'd try and just crash on people's couches for the summer, but realized that is kind of retarded and I would end up kind of being a dick to some of my closest friends.

My next post will probably be a rant about how jacked the rental system is out here, and as soon as you make terms with it, they jack you again because your skin is white. Or a rant about how old ladies watch the garbage depositories like hawks, lest you put a plastic bottle in the incorrect bin, even though it all gets incinerated anyways. Or a rant about how rad maple syrup is and that I am all out because that stuff was dumped all over my books and stereo equipment.

Here's a video of all my crap at by buddy's place. Sorry dude!

Read more of this saga at Day 1, Day 2, Day 5, Day 6, Day 12, and Day 16.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Day 6: Detective Work

Tuesday, June 28th.

So I'm sitting at work, thinking about the situation. Thinking about the police.

File:Sting ThePolice 2007.jpg

I mean the Japanese police.

File:TOYOTA 170 system Crown police car.jpg

I mean, surely they must be on the case. What would be the first step in investigating this sort of thing. Surely they went door to door in my apartment building, looking for evidence.

Then I thought about the police in this country, and realized that they probably didn't do anything.

So I thought about where to start. If Conan can do it, so can I!

The question is simple; how can they break in to my place, pack up all my stuff, move it out, and be gone in about 3 hours. Of course, I made it easier by having half of my belongings in moving boxes. Not only that, but I had empty moving boxes and packing tape ready to go for the rest. But still, they moved fast.


The answer was simple, they moved it all to another room in the building.

But that's so god damned simple. The police must have explored that route. Out of curiosity I went to check things out.


I'm in my room (which has no lock on it at the moment). I go onto the balcony. I lean out. I look in the room next to me, a room that has been empty for at least 2 months.


There's my shit! I can see some moving boxes, my desk, a bottle of Patron tequila. 100% mine. Unbelievable.


Back to the cops, explained to them what's going on, got the investigators to come down.

Getting shit done.

We went back and I showed the police.

Then, those dreaded words... doshio... what do we do? It's my stuff, stolen from my room and put into another. But, that room is owned by someone, and they can't just go smashing in. There's paperwork to be done, warrants to be signed, and procedure to be followed.

And time to be wasted.

Speaking of time, It's now day 10, and the police have finally set a date to execute the warrant. Day 12, in the morning, I'll meet them at my room, they will break in to the neighbors apartment, and I will find out if the thieves were simply using the room for storage or if they took the good stuff and left the undesirables behind. Fuckers obviously don't know how much Patron tequila costs in this country!

The police said that I have to take my belongings on the spot, after they do some minor police work like dusting for prints. Not that I would, but they told me I can't move anything back into my original room. Luckily my friend J's place is big, and he's out of town, so I can rent a truck and take it all there.

Soon... soon this chapter will be over. Then I can focus on finding a new apartment, and suing anyone and everyone I can. I've been told by legal council that in a civil court, the old owner, the new owner, the owner of the adjacent apartment, and the building management are all possibly liable. I'm not the type of person to sue, or hold grudges, or even really get upset for that matter, but I think this would be an interesting story.

Next update's gonna be a big one!

Oh, and some people sent pity money to my paypal account ( You guys are awesome! I used some of it to buy teaching materials for my kid's classes, and most of it to get good and drunk!

Read more of this saga at Day 1, Day 2, Day 5, Day 6, Day 12, and Day 16.