They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I am back home from New York now, after my father’s memorial service last Sunday and an all-too-short Itoh sisters’ reunion. We got home late last afternoon, glad to be back, very tired after a long flight followed by a short one and a 2 plus hour drive.

And then…disaster. During our absence, our house had been broken into. They entered through an old side door that we were going to replace or just block up soon, and seem to have done a snatch and grab job. They took, among other things, the food processor, KitchenAid mixer, Bamix stick blender, and one of our hotplates (the more valuable one). They took the microwave/convection oven too. They left the rice cooker, probably because they didn’t know what it was. So now we have even less of a kitchen than before. Besides kitchen stuff they took the TV, my Cinema Display monitor, my computer speakers, the Wii and the few Wii games we had (but they stupidly left the Wii balance board behind), a bunch of DVDs, my Wacom tablet, the camera tripod (but they left behind our studio lighting setup) and our old and broken Nikon D70s camera. What hurts the most is that they took all of my hard disks except the portable ones that I had with me. All of my backups, all my media data including my music and ripped TV and movie collection that took me years and years to build, all gone. (It looks like I can re-download my previous iTunes music and TV purchases but not my movie purchases (bummer, and curse you MPAA)) - and now with the most recent iTunes update I can re-download my movie purchases too!

Thank goodness most of my photo files are on my portable disks. And we’re an all-laptop household so we had our computers with us.

Do I feel angry, upset, violated? You bet. One of the worst things, besides them knocking down a whole bunch of stuff, overturning boxes and drawers and dumping things on the floor, was the footprints. They stepped all over my clothes, the towels, and on my bed. There was a clear footprint on a white towel I had on my office chair, and one of my desk legs is wobbly, probably because they were on the desk too.

The footprints are small. The police think the perpetrators are kids, maybe trained kids from an organized, probably Romany (or gypsy to use the non-PC-these-days term), burglary gang. It seems they are a known problem in this area.

What made me both laugh (and thus gain back a bit of sanity) and really shake my head was that the burglars also took an almost-full but opened bottle of Omo, a clothes detergent, and a full pack of toilet paper. Toilet paper! Maybe they took that and the Omo back to Mom. Heh. And I’ve just discovered that they screwed off, and apparently took (we can’t see them anywhere) two knobs off an IKEA glass cabinet I have in my room. Who in their right mind steals pretty much worthless IKEA knobs? And just 2? (They left 1 behind.)

Last night, I was so upset that I was seriously thinking of just selling up here and moving back to Switzerland, or even back to the U.S. Or spending a very long time in Japan, even if it means barging into my mother and stepfather’s place. This morning I’m a bit more clearheaded. Burglaries occur anywhere after all. It’s not like it’s any safer in the U.S. Switzerland and Japan may be safer, but they are not crime-free either. What really helped a lot was experiencing some immediate kindness, one from a stranger. The building diagonally opposite from ours is also being renovated, into a three-story apartment. The Guy has said hello to the owner-builders, a father and son (the son is going to move in to the top floor apartment when they are done) but didn’t know them beyond that. Last night the son, without us even asking, came over and put up a big, thick board with an iron support beam holding it in place against the broken door. Later on our contractor came over to reinforce the blockage, at 8:30 on a Sunday evening. And another elderly neighbor offered to shoot any intruders if he ever saw them. (I don’t think we’ll take him up on that offer but the sentiment is appreciated.)

Anyway, we have insurance, which should cover the monetary value of the items lost, though probably not the value of the data. And we have to block up that entrance and secure the house better. I guess we’ve gotten a big wakeup call. Even in such an idyllic area, there is crime and we have to protect ourselves appropriately. We have to finish up the construction work and secure the house, and probably put in a security system.

And this week, my radiation therapy starts, to zap the remaining cancer cells in my body.

You know that old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”? Well, my times right now are sure interesting.

Hoping to return to normal programming soon…as you can understand I’m still quite a bit jumpy.

ETA: It’s now Tuesday and I’m still finding things that are gone, or broken. It’s so disheartening.

ETA no. 2: I really, really appreciate all your words of sympathy. Two things I wanted to address though:

First, let us not get into racial epithets and insults. Let’s just not stoop to that level.

Also: Several people have offered to or suggested a collection or a wish list or something. I really appreciate the sentiment but I have to say no to that. I am fine, except for the general shock and anger and having to try to clear up the mess and figure out what is missing, and all of that fun stuff. (This morning I found out that they’ve taken our mop and mop heads, cleaning bucket, some other cleaning supplies, the vacuum cleaner parts (but not the vacuum cleaner, which is a rather unusual model for this area and probably deemed too spottable), an electric drill and some hand tools. Petty theft, indeed.) We have insurance. We can afford to fix things so our house is more secure. My lost data hurts…but much of it is just irreplaceable, like some home videos and documentaries and things that were DVR’ed a long time ago. I’m sure that with time, I’ll be able to replace the movies that were on those stolen disks, that I really miss. I had my laptop with me, as did The Guy, and we did not lose our important work data. There are people that are in really dire straits, who really need help. I would feel terrible if I received monetary assistance for my relatively trivial losses. Again, I thank you so much for the sentiment. It is really helping me to cope. ^_^

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re: they even took the freaking toilet paper

so sorry to hear about your experience. I am just thankful that you or your family were not hurt. Please take care.

katnhwi | 20 February, 2012 - 12:29

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

ugh, that really sucks. Sorry to hear about that. My apartment was burglarized when I used to live in Michigan and knowing that someone was in my home and going over all my stuff was really horrible. They even did it in the daytime when we were at work!

anon. | 20 February, 2012 - 12:57

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Burglaries are a bloody nuisance. But in the grand scheme of things they are no more than that.

Best of luck with the radiation therapy, hopefully you can finish the little malignant bastards off once and for all. まきさんがんばって!!

anton | 20 February, 2012 - 13:32

:-(

I am really sorry to hear that they came into your home. After a long flight, it's an awful way to find your house violated in this way. I understand your wish to move away, I had it too, but in the end no place on earth is 100% crimefree. As I said on twitter, I had unwanted visitors in Oct 2010 as well. They came in through a tiny window in the toilet, hence the police conclusion that the thieves also were "gipsy" kids. Every single cabinet had been searched, even the pantry. Of course, no fingerprints whatsoever. Everybody watches CSI these days and knows you have to wear gloves if you're up to no good. All in all I was luckier then you because they didn't steal that much. Living in a terraced house with neighbours at home on each side (who didn't hear a thing) and in broad daylight, it was a quick grab job and they couldn't carry away that much. The technician who came looking for prints said I was lucky they didn't do worse : he had just come from another scene where the thieves peed and defecated on the bed and sofa :o( There is always another level for humanity to sink to.

Ingrid (BentoBliss) | 20 February, 2012 - 13:47

Re: :-(

So sorry about your burglary too! One other freaky thing I forgot to mention, they went through the refrigerator even! The refrigerator! And they threw out some cold cuts we had in there and left them on the floor! I'm a bleeding-heart liberal and strictly against guns but if I had one on me yesterday and I'd seen one of the tiny-footed bastards I may have shot them, I swear.

maki | 20 February, 2012 - 16:15

Re: :-(

"A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged." Never thought it would be you, and I'm so sorry this happened to you. I was broken into twice; the cops caught the first burglars (kids with long rap sheets), but not the second. We don't have gypsy gangs where I live now, but I remember them as a kid in Pennsylvania. We have people on drugs.

Here's the deal on the radiation therapy. It is to "sterilize" the area. I had 6 weeks of daily radiation (except weekends and mid-week holidays) but that's the USA standard and yours may be more intense but shorter The object is a total amount of radiation.

It doesn't hurt, you may get a "sunburn" in the irradiated area, and you will end up tired for many weeks afterward as your body fights the radiation intrusion. I mean, you will lie down for a nap and wouldn't hear cannons going off! Don't fight it. Mine was radiation following breast cancer surgery.

I suggest coating the area daily with a heavy body lotion/cream OR with fresh aloe from an aloe plant. Just the gooey clear stuff, not the yellow inner part of the leaf. This will help your skin. Aloe is a real benefit.

Finally, laugh a lot at your situation. The more outrageous the jokes about your condition and recovery, the better. A good friend and I had breast cancer surgery 6 months apart: our friends thought we were nuts because of the terrible quality of our jokes. Laughing ourselves silly takes the scariness out of it. That's the best advice we can give you.

Meanwhile, I have made the cucumber and Asian pear salad to the applause of my friends --and other recipes from your two websites. You have touched so many of us with your recipes and the information you provide about yourself from time to time.

How many people do you know who have dear friends all around the world from the simple action of informing us about food and culture? You're a winner and you will recover. Thank you for what you have done, what you do, and what you will continue to do. We all send you lots of heartfelt love.

We're still around years later, and you will be, too!

Sylvia SBS | 22 February, 2012 - 03:26

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I'm glad you're managing to stay sane after all this. I think I would have been reduced to a paranoid, gibbering idiot for at least a week after. Seriously, I hope the therapy will go well and good luck cleaning up the house.

Mikeh | 20 February, 2012 - 14:10

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

So sorry to hear about all your troubles, Maki. I hope all of them will be over soon :)
Good luck with getting your health back on track, that's what's really important.
Also, out of all this you have found kind people whom you can trust. That's priceless and no one can take it away from you.
All the best!

Axelle | 20 February, 2012 - 14:24

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Maki,

How horrible. Know that we're all thinking of you and The Guy as you get through all of your "interesting times."

Jenn | 20 February, 2012 - 14:31

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

So sorry for your losses. I think you're due for some good luck.

Michele | 20 February, 2012 - 14:32

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I bet it was really terrible!! it's really true when they say "when it rains it pours..."! good luck for everything, hope you will got better soon
a great hug from Italy

Elisa | 20 February, 2012 - 15:21

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

You are maintaining such grace and poise in the midst of everything: What an inspiration.

I for one would love to help contribute to a rebuild fund. Would you be willing to create an Amazon wish list for things you'd like replaced by the kindness of blog-strangers? I'm sure many of us out here in the ether would love to offer you at least some little bit of your life back.

Meister @ The Nervous Cook | 20 February, 2012 - 15:29
Jen | 20 February, 2012 - 17:35

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

That's a Great Idea! Spread it, sure lots of us will be glad to help Maki there! She and Guy have helped us a lot.
Oh, I offer myself to shoot next burglars too. A bit far, but I'll do my best. Hugs, Maki!

Guadalupe Parra | 20 February, 2012 - 19:42

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

grrrrrr.
may your times be not-so-interesting.
keep your chin up; there's a lot of us rooting for you!

jp | 20 February, 2012 - 15:42

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I'm so sorry. What an awful experience, especially at this point.

Bravo for taking it so pragmatically and getting on with the next thing. Your luck is surely due to change soon.

Nellig | 20 February, 2012 - 16:09

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Oh, this sucks in a major way!
A long distance hug.

Coming home from holidays and finding the house visited by burglars, or flooded, or otherwise "out of place" is one of my major fears.
My almost-inlaws had their house (in the Netherlands) broken into 3 times in the last 3 years, once when they were asleep upstairs...

To me it never happened so far, but once come I home from a 2 weeks holiday to discover that I had been evicted from my house (in Zurich, in January), that my flatmate/owner of house had put all my belongings in the cellar and that she did not want me back into the house starting from immediately that day....
She was having a nervous breakdown and well, she flipped major time and wanted to be alone.
I got my stuff back, eventually, and had to couch surf a couple of weeks before being able to find a new place to stay, but it has been a bit of a shock and now I'm still scared of being away more than a week from home.

Good luck with all what the future will throw at you, interesting times indeed!

stefafra | 20 February, 2012 - 16:18

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Wow, that is terrible! And sounds unlawful too. Glad you got your stuff back! And always try to be the primary tenant or have an ironclad lease I guess :(

maki | 20 February, 2012 - 18:01

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

ughhh!!!!! how terrible!!!! hope you get a stroke of good luck soon.

totokoko | 20 February, 2012 - 16:19

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I am so sorry, what a thing to come home to. Absolutely deplorable.

I've been a long-time reader and just wanted to wish you a quick recovery. We're all behind you!

Piggie | 20 February, 2012 - 16:21

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

You probably shouldn't discuss travel plans in advance on your blog. It is very easy for people to write scripts looking for keywords about travel. After that its not impossible for some more digging to find out where you live. There may even be people out there that provide it all in one package for thieves. Sorry this happened, its very frustrating.

brendan | 20 February, 2012 - 17:08

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Hmm, that is something to consider for sure. Maybe only write about trips after the fact, unless someone will be at home.

maki | 20 February, 2012 - 17:59

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I actually read once that there is a website that collects and displays Facebook statuses that state people are away from their homes.

E from the Mediterranean | 21 February, 2012 - 08:16

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I'm so sorry for the rough times you've been having... it really seems like things couldn't get much worse! I hope this means, though, that things will only get better and that you get a much-deserved lucky and happy period now!

Susan | 20 February, 2012 - 17:25

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I'm so sorry you have to go through this! And after everything else you've been going through too :(

But I'm very glad that you're safe, and hope that you have an easy treatment cycle and quick recovery! Also that insurance covers everything . . .

Cathy @ Chief Family Officer | 20 February, 2012 - 17:27

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

So sorry to hear your situation. I always think Europe is generally safer than Asia or US for theft. But I guess not.

Good luck with the renovations and future times. Hopefully your luck will change soon.

xiuxiu | 20 February, 2012 - 17:29

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I'm so sorry that happened to you! What an awful thing to come home to. I hope you have quiet times for a while now to rebuild and recover. Hugs!

Jen | 20 February, 2012 - 17:34

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I'm so sorry that you had to go through this experience! Once someone stole almost all we possessed from our car. I felt horrible, much more for the violation than the material loss (which was considerable, anyway). I remember coming home that night, with the knowledge that the thieves had both keys and address, and could not sleep.

I hope you'll find ways to recover most of what you have lost. If I were closer, I'd bring you a big pot of steaming soup to cheer up.

Caffettiera | 20 February, 2012 - 17:37

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm just glad you and your family were not there when it happened. I always hope that if I get burglarized my family and I are NOT home. Its so weird to go into someone's house and take their stuff. How strange is it that there are people like this. I'm glad all they took was stuff.

Lee G | 20 February, 2012 - 17:57

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

So sorry about this whole situation! I wish I was there to help you! You know your readers will always be here to help you with whatever you and your husband need. Just give a holler and we'll be here for you guys! Lots of love.

monica | 20 February, 2012 - 19:15

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

That's really horrible. I hope you've restored some order to your house by now, and that you'll have your kitchen up and running again soon!

As mentioned earlier, don't blog/tweet about your trip while you're away. Just write your posts during your time away, and realease them day-by-day after you're back. For us (the readers) it doesn't make a difference :)!

Also, you'll want to encrypt your harddisks, especially if there's sensitive data stored on them. You can buy harddisks which are encrypted (even with finger print authentication!) or you can encrypt them yourself. The former option would remder the disk unusable to anyone who steals it, which is a savage delight! For more info on emcrypting: http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-drive-encryption-utility.htm

Good luck with everything! I hope you get your household together again quickly!

Thomas | 20 February, 2012 - 19:15

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

----What hurts the most is that they took all of my hard disks except the portable ones that I had with me. All of my backups, all my media data including my music and ripped TV and movie collection that took me years and years to build, all gone.----

This is the part that got me. WTF did they do that for? Hard disks? Do they even know what they are???

I hope they enjoy their toilet paper and laundry detergent. And I still don't get the point of the whole taking food out of the fridge and leaving it there on the floor. :/

Hope it gets all cleaned up soon.

kaonashi | 20 February, 2012 - 19:49

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I've been robbed a couple of times in my life. Yes, violated is the only word for it. The antics with the tp, though, reminded me more of getting divorced than of getting robbed.

I went away for a couple of days so I wouldn't have to see her and her family come with a truck. When I got back, some things I saw surprised me. They took the hanging plant. Of course. They took the screw eye out of the ceiling. Gotta have that. What I saw next though left me slack-jawed. They took the salt. 25 cents worth of salt. It wasn't even Kosher salt. How could anyone on Earth begrudge me a handful of salt?

I have never understood people.

Eddie | 20 February, 2012 - 22:40

Hugs from Vancouver

Sorry to hear that happened, but these are only things, you can replace ( I know the movies....)

The Amazon idea is great.
There are many good people out there, dear.

Making some wishes for you.

Cheers,

Kasia | 21 February, 2012 - 00:07

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Wow, you have had a challenging year. Every time I read what else has happened my heart sighs for you. I look forward to hearing what you end up cooking with that rice maker once you're back on your feet.

Good luck with the radiation and kicking the butts of at least one type of invader in your life

Ali | 21 February, 2012 - 00:55

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Oh my god im so sorry to hear Maki! Hope you and Max are doing good! I think about all the hardships you have allready endured! I cant imagine what you are going through but i sure know i would freak out if my kitchen appliances was taken away from me, not to mention the feeling of someone being in your sacred places without permission!

Hope everything works out the for the better :)

Camilla | 21 February, 2012 - 01:43

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Just terrible. So sorry to hear, and hoping that your life becomes a bit more boring very soon. All the best for your radiation therapy!!

Joyce | 21 February, 2012 - 04:22

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I'm sorry to hear about your misfortune. I hope everything improves. Just remember, there's always a little good with the bad, even if you haven't noticed it yet. Once again, sorry for the unfortunate event.

Anon | 21 February, 2012 - 06:35

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I've been robbed twice. Each time the silver flatware and silver and gold jewelry only were stolen. You never , ever get rid of the feeling of violation. Everything was on the floor; the books, the clothes, drawers...everything. You'll never forget it, but forgive, you must. Otherwise it will eat you up!

J. Itsuo Takita. | 21 February, 2012 - 06:36

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

So awful! It is so violating. I hope the cops can help find them and I am so glad your neighbors stepped in to help. A small silver lining to a rather dark cloud.

Be well and try and look ahead not back!

Maureen in Oakland | 21 February, 2012 - 06:36

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Thank God you were not there when that happen. At least you had the forethought of having insurance. So you will get most of your items back. I think the reason they look into your fridge might have been because of the myth that people leave valuables in there when they are away (jewelry, money, etc) so maybe they were looking for that? Try not to concentrate to much on the event, and instead, focus on the treatment that is coming soon. Material passes away, but your health is something you want to keep as long as possible :)

You kow maybe they took the toilet paper becaus of the nerves they felt aout stealing they knew they will experience diarhea? XDDD

Sendy | 21 February, 2012 - 06:39

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

When you mention being a liberal against guns, it made me think that our views on certain matters ARE colored by our experiences. Like the old saying, "you have to walk a mile in another man's shoes before you judge them"....perhaps others who want to keep guns do so for protection from "the bad guys". Something you now understand, sadly.

Just today, in my neighborhood, a man who does lawn mowing and yard work (he works VERY hard for his money) had his mower, grass blower, and some other equipment lined up by his truck to load up and move on to the next job. He went back to get something and a BIG van with a woman driving and someone in the back seat pulled up. The man in the back loaded all the equipment in their van and drove away.
Honestly, I have thought about it all day...how hard that man works, how kind and friendly he is, and then these wretched people who will likely sell the stuff for a hand full of drugs take essentially his livelihood. If I had seen them do it, I would have at least shot out all their tires....at least. If I shot THEM I would likely go to jail.
Sadly. My heart hurts that people can be so cruel and heartless. They have NO conscience ! Sorry for your trials.

anon. | 21 February, 2012 - 07:54

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

So sorry to hear about this! I hope the police are able to find them and that insurance foots the bill. And that your life gets way less interesting very soon!

anon. | 21 February, 2012 - 08:00

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

That is so awful! That feeling of your sanctuary/safe haven in the world being violated.
Maybe it is a little consolation that you know that these are poor kids that don't even have toilet paper or laundry detergent. Maybe.

Very best of luck with the radiation therapy - may your cancer be gone for good!

E from the Mediterraean | 21 February, 2012 - 08:10

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I am so sorry. Like my elderly aunt always says, "If it's not one thing, it is two". Just a thought, is it possible these people read your blog and know you will not be home? We don't put our whereabouts on FB, not even to our friends because you just never know who is reading it. I agree with the other readers, it is time for some good luck. Pls keep us posted on the radiation and how you are feeling.

Becky | 21 February, 2012 - 14:09

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Oh, Maki, I'm so sorry about all this cr$p that you had to deal with lately. I'm really at a loss for words. I wish you and your SO all the strength you need to go through this difficult time. Ganbatte ne! (I hope that's correct.)

anon. | 21 February, 2012 - 15:13

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

maki,

i've been a fun of your site for several years now. i turn to your site for japanese recipes. i did not know you are undergoing cancer treatment...

i am a believer of Mr. Rau's Detox Diet. his book "The Swiss Secret to Optimum Health" really changed my outlook on food. being brought up in japan with cup noodles, i developed food allergies. i am still trying to figure out what food/ingredient i am allergic to..

everytime i have issues (mainly rush, itchy eyes, mucus build up on my throat), i turn to his detox diet menus..

et voila, tout va bien!

we all enjoy your blogs!! get better.

etsuko fast | 21 February, 2012 - 16:31

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Sending best of thoughts your way, Maki. I'm sure I speak for many of your friends and readers when I wish you a complete victory and healing.

Jamie in KY | 21 February, 2012 - 17:15
anon. | 21 February, 2012 - 17:32

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

SAD!!!! Hope they get some jailtime and get most of your really important belongings returned to you.

Hang in there...life is beautiful even is it sucks sometimes.

I have been burglarized 3 yrs ago and took all my money and jewelries(no insurance). My teens are upset and in shock but none of us cried...especially me.

It's just stuff...I am bigger than stress and they can't make me succumb to self pity and depression. I just started working again next day after talking to the police. I am strong like you.
Take care and hope you feel better and better.

Helen | 21 February, 2012 - 17:41

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

So sorry to hear about this and all you are going through. I can't imagine how you feel right now :( Keep us posted.

Denise in NE | 21 February, 2012 - 18:00

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

hello makiko - well y'know how they say misfortune comes in three's... let's just hope your run of bad stuff will be over now! x

SolSorta | 21 February, 2012 - 18:19

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I was burglarized once, too, by my neighbor's son and his friends. We thought this boy was a friend of my son's, but apparently not so.

For a long time, every time we misplaced something, we thought we had been burglarized again.

And we, too, felt like we had been violated, not to mention the deed being done by that Judas of a neighbor kid. Only one positive from this so many years later - I think the boy who instigated this burglary grew up and bacame a useful citizen.

thejet | 21 February, 2012 - 19:14

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

my heart aches for you. be strong. gain support from your fan base.

kitblu | 21 February, 2012 - 22:26

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Very unfortunate - life is showing you they are things. Only. We really don't 'own' anything; in life, we sort of rent it all.
It wasn't personal; don't feel offended. Get well. Move on with grace. Get revenge by living well and loving your life.

suz | 22 February, 2012 - 04:59

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

wow - as much as I know from my own life how I hated hearing the phrases "I know how you feel..." "I have been in your shoes.." and "Been there myself.." Unfortunately you're going to hear them, the people who use the statements like those mean well, and some of us really have gone away for a trip, looking forward to nothing but walking in the front door after a trip away for a bad reason (for me it was my 18 year old niece's funeral) to falling in bed after a 16 hour drive, to find the disaster of a violated home. I personally think it is good to read that you realize that bad things can happen everywhere and moving to a new home/city/country isn't the answer.

the most important thing is that you and "The Guy" are safe. the rest is just stuff, and the holes can be patched up. Make sure you contact your banks and credit agencies - a lot of time people forget about making those calls until strange charges show up on their statements or they check their credit reports months down the road. I know it's just one more thing to make you remember the violation, but it's something better to take care of NOW - than to fight 6 months from now.

Also Maki, as I have been reading older and newer posts here & on Just Bento, I have an inspirational reading that I wanted to send to you in response to your battle with cancer. do you have someplace that I've missed that would be a good spot to put it?

Jazi | 22 February, 2012 - 07:56

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Woah, mostly I'm a silent reader of your blog (maybe because my written english is crappy), but I have to say: I know that feel! Over two years ago, I moved out from my mother's place into my own apartment with a huge wooden door (with two "wings of a door", hope you can imagine what I mean, that's the translation I get from the internet) in a nice old apartment building.
In October 2010, I came home from work to find that nice huge door open. Bam. Everything was gone. Camera? Gone. Nintendo DS with 12 games? Gone. My huge DVD collection of 5 DVDs? Gone. Old cell phone? Gone. Two month old macbook? Gone. Mouse? Not gone (lolwut? It was plugged in!). Old laptop with all the pictures of my beloved cat that died in 2007? Gone. Half full package of birth control pill? Gone. And on and on and on...
Later, the police explained to me how easy it is to open these old doors, and now I have a security lock, but back then... Oh, and they said: "There's no huge chance to get these guys, that stuff is gone forever.". Ah. How nice of you. Maybe you could slap me in the face to make this day perfect?
But the best is: I also have insurance, and I thought "Ok, you never get back your pictures and documents and all, but at least you can buy new stuff with the insurance money.". Ha. It took these guys months over months to lift a single finger. Every time I called, I only heard "Yeah yeah, ok, the responsible person isn't here, but I tell her that you've called.", mails and letters were ignored. I didn't knew what to do, and wrote a letter to the director of the insurance, and surprise, I got a long and confusing apology and explanation why it all took so long, and 5 days later I had my money.

So, hang in there and don't let this shit get you down!

Anja | 22 February, 2012 - 11:25

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I am so sorry to hear the horrible experience that you had to go through. On top of monetary loss, the feeling of being violated in the home where you should feel very secure is a very bad one. I have never been burglarized at home, but I had my car broken in during a night in the car port, and it did not feel good.

I agree with someone who suggested not to discuss traveling plans online. I am not sure if those people knew you were gone through your blogs, but it does definitely happen in the US when someone posts the vacation plans and thieves break in during the absence.

You mentioned Japan is safer, and it is true. But do you know that the break ins during someone's funeral happen often there? I had to go home last December because my younger brother died unexpectedly, and my mother was very nervous about that. Because people still pay almost everything in cash in Japan, and because it costs a lot of money to have a funeral and burial in Japan (or any place), thieves know that many people keep tons of cash at home during the funeral. How one could go so low as to steal from someone who just lost a loved one is beyond me, but while I was there, the family of a famous (and recently deceased) person was burglarized. All I can say is terrible!

Yoko in the US | 22 February, 2012 - 19:38

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I am sorry to hear about this accident! I got robbed five years ago, while I was sleeping in my bed. Luckily enough I didnt wake up! Later, I had nightmares, of being robbed again...
Well, I wish you all the best!
Greetings from Berne, Switzerland

dalin | 22 February, 2012 - 22:40

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I'm very sorry for your loss. Many years ago we were burgleriaed. My husband was in the Navy and went out to sea for a month, and I went to visit my parents during that time. I came home to find that the intruders basically lived in our home while we were away. Besides the things that were stollen, we found drug paraphernalia, dozens of stollen purses, stollen credit cards, etc. They even took apart picture frames looking for money, and even stole our telephones - I had to go to a neighbors to call the police. It was tramatic, but we were fortunate that no one was hurt. You may not appreciate that now, but it will come in time. May your recovery (all of them) be swift.

Hallie Ann | 23 February, 2012 - 02:01

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

How awful. :( So sorry to hear about all your recent hardship. I hope things start looking up for you soon.

ali | 23 February, 2012 - 06:08

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I know exactly how you feel. My apartment was broken into when I lived in New Jersey. Like your theft ours was probably kids. We arrived home and probably scared them away when we unlocked the door (they had gotten in by breaking a window in the kitchen), and we found the patio door open and a pile including cameras and a pillow case in the middle of the floor. The drawers were pulled out of the bureaus and stuff was everywhere. They took my jewelry- mostly nothing special except for a pre-Columbian gold pendant (legal at that time) and my grandmother's engagement ring which I still miss. They took liquor and the vacuum as well as the tv. Aside from the outrage of having lost our possessions, I never got over the sense of violation from having those creeps rooting around in my clothing and underwear. We moved as soon as we could.
I hope that this incident does not ruin your enjoyment of your home and that you can put this behind you quickly.

anon. | 23 February, 2012 - 18:19

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Oh, I empathize. When I lived in Baltimore, this happened 3 times to me in as many years. After the first event, I had ordered bars for the 1st floor doors and windows, and before those were installed, it happened again. 2 years later, they scaled the 3-storey deck I'd built on the back of the place, and I ended up barring every blessed door and window in the place.

What is fortunate is, I was asleep all 3 times, and never saw the intruder. Also fortunate is that the insurance covered the stuff, and nothing of great sentimental value was taken. But the damage was psychological. I never felt safe in that house again, and fortunately was able to move away shortly thereafter.

I doubt your area has anything like the crime rate in Baltimore, though. Some good sturdy doors and lockable windows ought to deter roving bands of hooligans. Maybe get a motion-sensitive camera too?

Carla B. | 24 February, 2012 - 18:11

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Maki--

So sorry to hear about this recent bit of bad news, i.e., the burglary. My family has shared this experience, and it is awful, leaving a creepy feeling of intrusiveness and lack of security, even at home. Again, sorry this happened to you and your family.

I've been wanting to write for some time to thank you for your work and the quality of your thinking and writing about food. I haven't been to Japan in years, and we live in rural Vermont, so Japanese food is something that we dream about and long for. Your recipes and commentaries are fabulous. Many thanks for all you do and good luck in the days ahead. You will be in our hearts and prayers.

James A

james arisman | 24 February, 2012 - 19:48

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Hi Maki, so very sorry to hear about this. It has happened to us too. I felt so violated. They did finally catch our criminal, he was a visiting relative of our neighbors, nice! It took me months to feel safe in our home. Our idiot didn't take anything. He just rummaged and made a mess, looking for cash I think. As a result, we got a dog. The police told us it seems most burglars are afraid of them. It is one of the nicer things that came out of our experience. Something to think about...

Pegs | 25 February, 2012 - 19:52

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

My boyfriend and I helped a friend (his coworker) clean up after a break-in last year. The thing that stuck out to me were the foot prints on the door. They had laid down on their backs on her patio to kick in the door over and over with their feet, below the level of the door handle. They just kicked away at it, one full set of foot prints over another, with two different pairs of shoes, so they must have taken turns! I would have had to congratulate them on their tenacity if the circumstances had been different.

I'm glad you and your husband were out of town when it happened, and that you are both okay. Thank goodness for insurance as well. I know you'll end up with a lovely home, and it sounds like you have some wonderful neighbors. Good luck to both of you.

I also just received your cookbook in the mail--I ordered it at the same time as my new Zojirushi rice cooker. Thanks for inspiring my cooking, as well as so many others.

Nokko | 26 February, 2012 - 06:02

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I'm sorry you had to go through that. Whenever I have something like that happenn (not on that scale but i frequently don't have a lunch at work cuz it gets stolen) I just remind myself that they must have really needed it to not have a lunch with them and to not have money to buy anything out of the vending machine. (across from the cooler at work and we have a catering company that fills the vending machine with fresh food so its not that). I've recently gotten into having bentos all the time so i just leave it at my desk and one of my coworkers now has her lunch stolen all the time. too bad for the person who takes it cuz she does report it.

Jenn | 26 February, 2012 - 18:37

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Oh my God! I am so sorry for everything you've gone through in the last year. (((((((((hugs)))))))) I can't even think of an appropriate thing to say except that I'm sorry. And that I hope the robbers are run over by a BUS. Hang in there, and know you've got people pulling for you all over the globe.

The Cheap Chick | 26 February, 2012 - 19:13

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I am so sorry. The violation of person items is more upsetting to me than the actual loss of stuff.

You can replace your missing items but it is more difficult to regain or confidence in a safe haven.

I wish you the best on your medical issues and always enjoy your blog.

NanGreen | 27 February, 2012 - 00:51

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I know whatever I write won't make you forget the feeling of violation when your house was broken into, things taken and your possessions handled by strangers. But I can see you've already assessed what is truly important, and are attempting to move ahead. My thoughts are with you and the Guy.

Soos | 27 February, 2012 - 05:03

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Total bummer. Knowing that you live in S. France, I will just say that the only time I have ever been the victim of robbery was while in the South of France (knock wood). Also likely to have been a gang of thieves operating under the guise of a small store with a VERY BIG parking lot. So sorry to hear of your troubles.

James

anon.James | 27 February, 2012 - 15:33

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

So sorry about your robbery too! This is a major holiday area, with lots of 2nd homes (that are often vacant for months), holiday campers, and the like, and it's likely they thought our house was a vacant holiday home too. (It looks a bit rough from the outside since it's in the middle of renovations.) Hoping the security system we're having installed plus some other security measures will deter them from trying again.

maki | 27 February, 2012 - 20:16

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I haven't read all the comments to this post and I don't want to start a troll war. But my immediate gut response is to question the son of the contractor. It's not good in these situations to point fingers and shout "witch!", and, in the end, there's not much you could really do about it anyway. Having said that, as it sounds, this seems to be a crime of opportunity: i.e. someone tangentially related to you and your surroundings, with an interest in the architecture in your vicinity (willing to have a look around), who also approaches you first to ensure nothing happens again. I'm sure he and his father are lovely people, but I do know of *2* similar cases in NY, only one confirmed (family's in NYPD). The most you can do is keep a watchful eye in future. And it's good that your perspective isn't being diminished at all by this extremely unfortunate and ill-timed occurrence. Inner strength will get you through.

M

Michael | 27 February, 2012 - 20:32

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Nah, it's definitely not the son of the contractor. He's bigger than his dad and has much bigger feet than I do, and the shoe prints were quite a bit smaller than mine. (Not that I ever thought it was him.) And his brother...well he's 2, kind of early to get started in a life of crime.

The side door by which they entered was actually a concern before, since it's facing away from where the neighbors can easily see it to the side, with single-pane glass. We were going to replace it or just block it up anyway - and now of course, that's definitely happening.

maki | 27 February, 2012 - 20:59

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Hi Maki - I'm a first-time commenter and just wanted to offer my sympathy along with so many of your other readers. That bites. Hope you will be given the strength to move forward in all of the challenges you're facing this season. As you're able, keep up your excellent work here! Your blog is a gem.

Charissa - The Gifted Blog | 28 February, 2012 - 07:44

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Yuck! I just found your bento site a few weeks ago and your recipes have brought so much joy to my afternoons stuck at work. I hope that somehow the joy you have brought me returns to you to help you, if only a little, get through these challenges!

It seems like sometimes disaster strikes to show us what we are made of. Maybe you are just at the brink of something awesome and you are being giving one last batch of tests to help you grow. : )

Lisa B | 28 February, 2012 - 15:19

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I'm so sorry for your break-in. I had a minor one about 6 yrs ago (I was upstairs sleeping) and all they got was my purse ... with all my govt ID, credit cards and a lot of other crap that I had to replace.

I got a replacement back door out of the deal but lost a lot of unpaid work time and things that had to be replaced but which were never fully reimbursed. The stress was difficult to deal with on my own.

It sounds like your dealing with things in the most sensible way possible. All the best.

A_Boleyn | 28 February, 2012 - 23:23

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

My father was a contractor and very well known in our area, our house was broken into the day after he died while we were away at his funeral, people knew he had expensive machines and building materials, I was more upset about the lack of sensibility than about the robbery. On the weeks after they stole our portable generator and even our detergents. Afterwards we found out that some of the things got stolen by our neighbor, the man I'd been making dinner for for months (he lived alone and had a drug addiction)

Francheska | 29 February, 2012 - 21:32

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

So sorry to hear about this. I know how awful it is...not only does it take away your material assets, it takes away your sense of security as well. We haven't been burgled in many years, but I'm still slightly paranoid everytime I go for trips out of town or see a lot of door-to-door groups nosing around (perfect cover to scout out vulnerable homes).

It's normal to feel like "getting out" of an area that has been hit, but you were right to reassess after a cooling down period. There really are no impervious areas these days. A friend of mine lives in a quiet, upscale suburb and twice now people have been robbed (at gunpoint) in their own driveways as they prepared to leave for work in the mornings. :(

Sandy | 2 March, 2012 - 06:56

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Argh that really sucks! Feel free to PM me if you need help getting some of your music collection back, I have a pretty extensive collection myself (english, japanese, korean, chinese, etc), and would be happy to send you some if you like! I know i would be really depressed if i lost all my media in one go, after years of collecting them. >.<

rhea | 13 March, 2012 - 01:05

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I was actually able to recover most of my music. I had a backup disk containing a backup from about six months ago with me (I was going to reformat it and use it for something else...thank goodness I never got around to it). Plus, with the iCloud I was able to re-download all my iTunes purchases...and these days that's the main way I acquire new music, movies and such. And my audiobooks are all downloadable from Audible. Thank you Apple and Audible ^__^

maki | 13 March, 2012 - 11:01

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

It's hard enough dealing with a loss, and then to come home to a burglary, just awful!

You should start a "Chip In" page so your readership can help you rebuild, after all, we all benefit from what you've got in the kitchen!! :-)

The site is http://www.chipin.com/, I'm sure there are others too. Let us know so we can help!!

<>

RachaelRei | 13 March, 2012 - 17:55

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Thank you for the thought, but I've explained in the last paragraph why I won't do that. ^_^

maki | 14 March, 2012 - 00:49

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I stumble upon your blog while searching for japanese dishes, had fun reading the post about your handmade mochi until I went up to read your last post. So sorry for everything that happened.. My husband's aunt had been robbed twice as she often came back to her country, but fortunately the gangs aren't as smart as the one who violate your apartment.. I hope you recover from the shock, it might be the most important thing. take care! I'll come back to learn more of japanese cuisine <3

siany | 15 March, 2012 - 13:27

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

OMG that is horrible, you are actually not the first person I have heard of that got there house broken into where they took everything (even laundry baskets!) hopefully they will catch whoever did it!

Kindra @ wickfreeforever.com | 17 March, 2012 - 23:51

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

So sorry to hear about what happened to you but thankful that you are holding up well.

I am a long-time reader of your helpful blogs. Your writings are like sunshine piercing through the clouds on a grey wintry day.

Remember 'Tough times never last, tough people do.' I don't recall where I read about this saying, but it has helped me through numerous trying times in my life.

My prayers and thoughts are with you and your loved ones.

Geo G | 29 March, 2012 - 02:32

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Hi,

I am so sorry to hear this. This happened at such a horrible timing though.

I wanted to let you know this also happened to me 3 weeks ago. I was home and in front of the burglars when they broke in. They ran away quickly after seeing me.

There have been many bad things happening to my family recently, but we are still looking forward!

A positive attitude is the way to go!

Mike | 30 March, 2012 - 14:00

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

When I was 16 my mom had a big stroke and was in the hospital for about a month, so during that time I was living with my dad in his apartment (they'd divorced two years prior), and like a week after I had been staying with my dad we went back to the house to bring some stuff over, like my computer, clothes, etc. But, we found out that it had been broken into and my stuff stolen. I was most upset that they stole my electric full-length keyboard and my computer, because it had all of my songs and stories I'd written and stuff on it. >:(

Macchan | 6 April, 2012 - 18:18

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I feel for you. I've been the victim of theft a few times in my life. I'm a much angrier person for those experiences.

Losing possessions hurts, especially things with sentimental value. But what's worse is having your privacy violated. In my experience, it fosters mistrust that starts gnawing away at your sense of security until your neighborhood no longer feels like home.

Are you not disappointed in your neighbors at all? It's nice that someone helped with the broken side door, and stuff. How long did it take the thieves to loot your place? Is it really possible that no one saw anything suspicious?

Then again, I'm a petty person.

anon. | 8 May, 2013 - 01:29

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Well, we were burglarized more than a year ago. And I barely think about it now to be honest. We've put in a security system, and put in some other safety precautions.

And no I'm not suspicious of our neighbors. The burglars got in through an out-of-sight door on the side of the house that we were going to block up anyway (we did so soon afterwards).

I'm sorry you've gone through so many burglaries.

maki | 8 May, 2013 - 04:42

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

Please feel better!! You are an inspiration to all of your students. I understand your anger but well... they took the toilet paper... no use for tears ^_^
I really do wish you the best and thank you so so much for being the fascinating teacher you are! I really do enjoying reading the site.
Whenever I get hungry, I come to your sites... learn how to cook!!

ありがとう!

Roari | 23 May, 2013 - 15:19

Re: They even took the freaking toilet paper!

I know its already late but I felt you so much here.Last time my brother gob robbed and they even took away the freaking drawers.All of the drawers, not the closet, not the clothes but the god damn drawers

EI | 5 September, 2013 - 08:51

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Just Hungry is a site about Japanese food and home cooking, healthy eating, the expat food life, and more. [log in] or [register]

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maki Just Hungry is a site about food. There are lots of recipes and much more. You may want to read about Just Hungry, or contact the site owner, Makiko Itoh. To dive in real deep, try the site map.

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