No bad news

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warningnotice.jpg

After hanging up this sign on Sunday cautioning the neighbors to be careful, the lobby staff called me to complain that they were mazuii (yukky) and I was giving people bad feelings. They took the sign down; apparently it's not acceptable to let the neighbors know about the robberies.

That makes no sense to me; if my neighbor had been burgled I would want to know so I could take extra care to lock my doors and watch for strangers. I wonder what else has happened in the building that the management has swept under the rug.

13 Comments

Thats unbelivable.

Was that sign posted somewhere where only stamped certified posts are allowed?

Considering the time frame, it could be an "inside job". Sorry to hear this happened twice- it does seem amateur, you may not have to worry too much about the cash card info skimming. Those pros won't hit the hard cash twice.

Although I, as of yet, have not been to Japan, I have learned a good deal about it's people and custom norms. Actually I have learned a good bit from you, through your blog as well. I am not surprised that they took the notice down, At first glance your graphic does look alarmist and not in keeping with the polite, quiet, society in which you live. Perhaps if you began with, "Dear Neighbors" and a polite apology for asking them of their time to read your note. No bold red type. followed by letting them know of your concerns, as well as your concerns for them. And your last statement could have been a request out of concern and respect. It kinda comes off as a 50's style monster movie radio broadcast statement. "Please Stay Inside, And Lock Your Doors. Don't get me wrong, I feel horrible for what happened to you. For that to happen to anyone, but I really do believe that you know the society in which you reside. When in a shy, timid Rome, do as the shy, timid Romans do.

Well, if the crime wasn't unbelievable enough... The lack of logic did make me feel quite natsukashii though.

there are reasons for yr "WARNING" sign to be felt to be "mazui":
-there is undoubtedly a residents committee at yr building. you really should have at least spoken with the head of that committee and sought her/his guidance on how to help other residents understand the current level of danger. did you? an announcement board requires express posting approval, especially in a matter that is as serious as this. a warning of this kind should never be posted unilatterlly.
-this sort of announcement is actually most common and very frequently posted by residence committees, or, neighborhood groups (jichikai). so, it is not unusual to see such signs at all. they really are common these days. but the wording used in these announcements is important. i think it would be a good idea to get a native japanese who can word it more like you would want it to sound in native japanese. the current version is not native, and not appropriate
-a report should be made to the local police station (not koban) and a policeman should be requested to come to yr building to do an assessment of the possible route the thief used. the police could very well help you and yr neighbors by providing valuable information on similiar incidents (if there are any) in other buildings in yr neighborhood. they can supply statistics and help you and yr building committee take steps to be more on yr guard.
-finally, yr having asked for a policeman to come to yr building would work in yr favour to get the building manager to realize you are trying to make a serious attempt to help the other residents, and even if she/he felt that such an announcement would not be wise, the police will not take such an opinion. this will help you to get yr notice posted

PS. I mean no disrespect to the people of Japan by my use of the words "shy, quiet, or timid". I respect Japan as a strong and brave country, that is outwardly reserved. I would rather the U.S. were more like the Japanese in this respect. There is nothing more obnoxious than the loud, brash image America has come to personify and export through the media. But that is another story. Good luck with your investigation.

I agree with filmtunes -- really, it's so obnoxious to be posting such a warning that clearly states the nature of the problem and gives them a recommendation on how to avoid it. As someone not living in Japan, but being an avid fan of the beautiful and delicate Japanese culture, I am an expert at how you should behave. I will, therefore, tell you what to do.

You need to construct a response that is appropriately discreet and allows your diaphanous, etherial neighbors to gently discover the shades of meaning in the ephemeral world of layered symbols through which we -- by which I mean the Japanese, and those of us who adore them, but not my stupid fat American neighbors, who would _never_ understand "Rashomon" -- move. To that end, I recommend sneaking around the apartment building at 3 in the morning and stealing money from your neighbors genkans. Trust me -- they will appreciate your subtlety.

I am so sorry that you were burgled. It sucks no matter how you translate it.

Just for the record, if our building has a residents' association, it is invisible. We've lived here 3 years and I've never caught wind of it. No meetings, no notices. There are only 19 apartments and the building is not fully occupied.

We have a passing acquaintance with three of four of our neighbors; one is a French family and two others are bilingual. These people are not "typical" Japanese, I feel.

There is no notice board in the building; I hung my sign next to the mailboxes. Tacky, yes. Awkwardly written, yes. But meant in the community spirit.

I would not have minded at all if the buliding management had replaced my notice with a better written one from their office. But they didn't. They simply want to hide the crime.

I will ask the police to visit, of course. Perhaps they can talk some sense into the management.

You are smart and kind. I've never such a sign at any apertment.

Kristen, a few thoughts- how about putting copies of the letter into each person's mailbox?

Definitely having the police swing by is important. You have to bully these idiot Japanese building managers who dont want to be told that there's problems in their building.

Don't expect the cops to really follow up on their words even if they say they'd be dropping by. Whatever they say about themselves, Japanese cops are lazy. They are sometimes even reluctant to accept Higai Todoke (damage/crime report) from a citizen if the said crime is petty and only increases their workload.
Where I live has strong community thing going, the super communicates crime info and such to neighbors, once he put up a captured photo on the notice board from the elevator surveilance cam when some suspicious characters came around knocking doors. But about one third of the resident body actually owns their flat for 20 years or so, so maybe it's not really surprising.

OH!
It's too bad, you should talk to the boss, not the old employee as a "kanri-nin". He's just a hired hand, he doesn't know anything. Or you should write a letter to the management company.

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Recent Comments

  • motoyes: OH! It's too bad, you should talk to the boss, read more
  • Kimura: Don't expect the cops to really follow up on their read more
  • Gen Kanai: Kristen, a few thoughts- how about putting copies of the read more
  • Mieko: You are smart and kind. I've never such a sign read more
  • Kristen: Just for the record, if our building has a residents' read more
  • Jennifer: I am so sorry that you were burgled. It sucks read more
  • peterb: I agree with filmtunes -- really, it's so obnoxious to read more
  • filmtunes: PS. I mean no disrespect to the people of Japan read more
  • niji: there are reasons for yr "WARNING" sign to be felt read more
  • redhed: Well, if the crime wasn't unbelievable enough... The lack of read more

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