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Japan: Blogging from a locked room

What if you found yourself trapped in a room of your house with the door lock broken and few tools with you? This is what happened to Fumiko Fumio.
Equipped with a camera and his faithful laptop the blogger diarized his adventure as he lived it. Asking advices on twitter (collected here) and reading the comments on his blog, he managed to find a way of escape.

Note: The post was translated with permission from the blogger. All the pictures are by Fumiko Fumio.

1月16日17時半。14時半から実家の書斎にとじこめられている。外出間際に物音がしたので書斎に入ったら、そのままドアが 壊れて外に出られなくなった…。書斎代わりにつかっている小さな部屋でカラダが抜けられる窓はない。六畳間で南にドア(壊れてあかない)、北に窓(鉄格子 があってでられない)、東が壁、西にクローゼット。 携帯は部屋の外、電源と繋がっていないノートPC(バッテリー残一時間半/無線LANでインターネット接続は可能ですが電波が微妙)、デジカメ(バッテリー微妙)、プラスドライバー、仕事で使っている部屋なので定規やペン、紙といった一式の筆記用具が手元にあります。いい脱出方法はありますか?寒い。

January 16, 17:30. I am locked in my house's study since 14.30. I heard a noise coming from outside and I entered in the room. Then the door jammed and I couldn't get out…In this six mat size room that we use as a study the window to the north is barred preventing y body to escape. To the south there's the door (which is broken and can't be opened), to the east the wall, to the west the closet. My mobile is in another room, then I have my laptop which is unpowered with battery life left of 1.5 hrs. It can be connected to internet trough a wireless LAN but I have a poor reception. The .camera has little battery left. I have a screwdriver and, since I work in this room, I have a ruler – pen- paper and the usual stationery. Have you have any good escape plan to suggest? It's cold!

 

18時追記。パソコンから現状を家族の携帯にメール。「家族で中華街で夕食会だから帰りは早くて22時くらいになる」とのこと。近隣在住の親族は中華街で食事をしている模様。僕はどうやら家族に含まれていないようだ。自力で脱出しなければならない。男の意地だ。

18, p.s. I sent an email to my family's mobile to ask for updates on their plans. “We are having dinner all together in China town and will get home around 22″ was the answer. It feels like a neighbour’s family having a meal in China town as apparently they don’t include me in “family”. So I'll have to escape relying only on myself and It's my pride as a man.

deleteall1

ドライバーで、ドアノブを、外してみました。

I tried to take off the handle with a driver.

deleteall2

さっきまで若干動いていたドアのなかの金具がまったく動かなくなりました。

The metallic part that I could move a little bit earlier will not move anymore.

deleteall3

 18時20分追記。見取り図を書いた。

18:20 ps. I sketched a plan of the room.

南にドア。ドアの前には廊下。東は壁。壁の向こうは台所。西はクローゼット。北には窓。鉄格子あり。窓の外は庭。その先の垣根の向こうに隣家のイトウさんの家は灯かりが点いていない。留守のようだ。

South: the door. In front of the door the corridor. East: wall. On the other side of the wall, the kitchen. North: a barred window. Outside the window, the garden and fence. The light in the house of Mr. Ito, the neighbour across the fence is off. He must not be home yet.

deleteall4

東。壁。僕が描いた絵がかけられているだけ。

East. Wall. The only thing on it is one of my drawings.

deleteall5

西。クローゼット。スーツやコートを収納。

West. Closet. Storage for suits and coats.

deleteall6

北。 窓。ブラインドでわかりにくいけど、泥棒対策の鉄枠が外側に取り付けられている。外は庭で、垣根の隙間からイトウさんの家がわずかに覗ける。窓をあけて大 声を出してみたけど反応はなし。通りとは逆側にある部屋なので人通りは期待できない。使える道具はドライバー、定規、財布くらいかな。さて、どうやって脱 出しようか。

North. Window. You can't see it because of the blind but there is an iron grating outside to protect us from thieves. Outside in the garden and through rom the chinks of the fence you can peep into Mr. Ito's house. I tried to open the window and yell but no reply. Since this room doesn't open onto the street I know nobody is going to walk by. The only tools I can use are the driver, the ruler, my wallet and nothing else.
So how do I get out of here?

deleteall7

19時20分追記。道具をならべてみた。

19:20 p.s. I lay out the tools I have.

deleteall8

左上から時計まわりに、財布(各種カードもはいっている)、小銭入れ(百円玉、十円玉が三枚ずつ)、ドライバー(プラス、マイナス)、綾波レイ(リボルテック)、消しゴム、鉛筆、ボールペン、化粧水、竹の定規、ipod。画像をみてもらえるとわかるようにドライバーの柄(?)の部分が短くて使い勝手が悪い。なにかアイデアありますか?

Clockwise from left, a wallet (with various cards inside), coin purse (3 100 Yen coins and 3 10 Yen coins inside), reversible driver, [the action figure of ]Ayanami Rei (Revolteck), an eraser, a pencil, a pen, some body lotion, a bamboo ruler, ipod. As you can see from the picture the handle of the driver is very short and not very useful. Do you have any ideas?

[…]

20時20分追記。ブコメ参照した。
  ゲームじゃないので壁に掛けられた絵の裏には隠しスイッチはなかった。クローゼットは上下二段に分かれていて、下段のほうからは脱出できそうもない。上段 から天井に抜けられるかもしれないけど、上段の間口が高いところにあるのと、長いあいだ(数年)開けていないせいか引き戸が固まっていて開けられず中の様 子がわからない。今、上段と下段のあいだを突破しようとトライしたが柱と梁?と衣服をひっかけるパイプが密集していて抜けられず断念したところ。クロー ゼットの中にあった母親のコートを重ね着して寒さ対策。トラ柄のコートなんていつごろ着ていたのだろう。この格好では死ねない。寒い。そして、激しい尿意が!

20:20 p.s. I checked the bookmark comments. Since this is not a show for TV there is no switch hidden behind the picture on the wall. The closet is divided in two, up and down, and it's very unlikely I can escape from the lower part. From the upper one it seems I might sneak away but the aperture is in a very high place and since I have haven’t opened it in years maybe it's blocked and won't open. Now I have just tried to break through the upper and the lower part but maybe the pipe where the clothes are hung and the crossbeam are too close to each other and I ended up giving up without being able to escape..
I am using my mother's coats I found inside the closet, wearing them one on top of another as countermeasure against the cold. I wonder when she used to wear this tiger patterned coat… I cannot die dressed like this! It's cold..and what's more… I need to piss!

[…]

22時25分追記。ブコメ、トラバで示された方法は試してみた。PCの電源コードを引き出しから発見。あとお隣のイトウさんが帰ってきた(声を出したが聞こえなかったようだ)。家族からのメール。「カラオケ一時間延長した。お土産の肉まん楽しみにしてて」。…。
カー ド類をL字型に加工する方法は試してみたが、隙間が狭くて手持ちのカードでは紙製のものしか入らず断念した。蝶番も外れない。クローゼットの上段から天井 に抜ける方法が無難だと判断した。机を移動してその上に椅子を置けば届くと思う。がそれを行うには尿意を処理しなければならない。窓からダイレクトに放尿 するのが手っ取り早いが、僕の声を聞いたイトウさんが窓側から接近する可能性があり別の事件に発展しかねないので却下。というわけで制汗スプレーの容器と ビニール袋を利用して、

22:25 .ps. I tested a method I found in the bookmarks and in the trackbacks. I managed to find the pc cord in the drawer. The neighbour Mr. Ito has come back, I tried to call him but he didn't hear me. I got an email from my family. “We are at karaoke and are staying one hour more. Wait for the nikuman we have bought for you”…
I tried to open the upper closet door with a card made into an “L” but the chink is too narrow and only a card as thin as a paper can enter, so I gave up. It’s then I realized it's probably impossible to escape through the upper part of the closet into the ceiling. I moved the table and put a chair on it trying to reach over the closet but my need to urinate became pressing. Urinating directly from the window would be no doubt faster but there's the chance that Mr. Ito may come here after having heard my voice and I'd rather avoid creating other problems. So I decided to use the container of the deodorant and a vinyl bag and made a piss container.

deleteall10

尿瓶を 作成した。これに放尿して、窓から廃棄。それから先ほど発見したウエットティッシュで手を拭いた。僕は、過酷な状況下で人間の尊厳と健康と衛生をついに 守ったのだ!(画像は使用前です)。なんとかなると油断して昔のアルバムを眺めているうちに昼寝しちゃったのがよくなかったな…。ひと休みしたら机を動か して僕は、天井界へ、抜ける。

I can urinate in it and then throw the contents outside the window and clean my hands with a wet tissue I found earlier. Even in stressful circumstances I can say I have kept intact my human dignity, health and hygiene! (The pic shows the container before use).
In the meantime I got distracted and fell asleep while looking at an old album, this is not good…. After resting a little I will move the table and escape to the world above the ceiling.

[…]

deleteall9

1月17日0時10分追記。日がかわってしまった。もう十時間もここにいる。家族からのメール。「カラオケのあと〆のラーメン食べているから~」
イトウさんは眠ってしまったようだ。ラジカセをオフ。窓をしめて体力を温存中。予想外の事態。机と椅子で台をつくりクローゼットの上段の引き戸を開けることには成功したが、そこには

January 17, 00:10 p.s. It's another day and it's now 10 hours I have been in this room. I got an email from my family.”We are eating ramen after the night at karaoke…”
Mr. Ito must be asleep by now. I turned off the radio cassette recorder I had found and closed the window trying to keep up my physical strength. It's an unexpected situation. I climbed onto the chair placed on the table and managed to open the door to the upper part of the closet.

deleteall11

お びただしい数のエロビデオ(言葉どおりの「ビデオ」だ)とエロ本。あ、圧倒的じゃないか。で、考えている。腰痛をこらえてこれらを床におろし、クローゼッ トから天井に潜入したところで本当に脱出できるのだろうか。一階と二階のあいだに隙間があるとしてその先に出口はあるのか。最悪は天井裏でさまよっている ときに家族(母、弟)が帰宅、部屋をあけたときにこの、大量のエロビデオとエロ本を目撃することだ。もしかしたら他の親族も駆けつけるかもしれない。その 場合、僕の地位は、夕食会に誘われない現時点よりも、墜ちる。それはいやだ。それなら天井裏で餓死したほうがいい。
で、考えた手順がこれだ→1.エロ本とエロビデオを床に降ろす。2.天井への血路をひらく。3.天井裏に場所を確保したのち、床からエロ本とエロビデオを天井裏へ輸送する。4.手順3の繰り返しで天井裏にエロ本とエロビデオを隠蔽。これならお釈迦様も気付かないだろう。さいわい、愚かな家族たちは遊びほうけているから時間的な余裕は十分ある。というわけで今から作業にとりかかるとする。いくぜ。

In there was a huge quantity of porn videos and books. Oh my God! It's overwhelming. I stop and think. My pain in the lower back doesn't stop and if I drop these on the floor and managed to reach the ceiling space from the closet would I really be able to escape? Even if there is room between the upper and the lower part of the ceiling is there any exit? In the worse case, I can imagine that when I am up in the little space over the ceiling, my mother and my younger brother) come back. They open the door and find all these porn videos and books on the floor and maybe other relatives are with them. In that case my status would fall to something worse than not being invited to have dinner with my family. No thank you, I'd rather starve in the room above the ceiling.
This is what I’ll do: 1-I drop the porn videos and books on the floor. 2- I find my way into the ceiling and, while I am making sure there's enough room, I hide all the videos and books in the ceiling. I hide all the videos and books so that not even Buddha would notice. Fortunately I have plenty of time to do it given that my silly family is having fun out and about.
No sooner said than done; I start to put my plan into action. Let's go!

[…]

3時30分追記。ブコメとtwitterは読んでるよ。ありがとう!家族からメール「疲れたから横須賀のおばさんの家に泊まるかもしれない~うっそで~す」酔ってやがる…。
ラジコンのアンテナでドアの金具を動かそうとしたが、まったく動かない。ドアノブを外すときに強引にやったのが悪かったのかもしれない。バキって音がしたし…。母は泥酔しているようだから助けは期待できない。現状を説明すると、

3:30 p.s. I'm reading your comments and twits, thanks! I got an email from my family. “We are tired. Thinking to stop at aunties’ house in Yokosuka tonite …. it's a joooke!” they sound drunk…
I tried to move the metallic lock of the door with the antenna of the radio control but it doesn't move. Maybe I did something wrong when I forced the handle taking it off. It made a sound like “crack”. My mom seems to be quite drunk so I don't expect her to help me. This is my current situation…

deleteall13

こんな感じで手詰まり。あと経路あるかな?新聞配達のバイクの音がするので、近づいたら部屋の電源を点滅させてみたりしている。

I ‘m stuck as you can see. Is there any other route? I hear the sound of the newspaper guy's bike, when he gets close to the room I'll try to turning the light on and off.

4時30分追記。ブコメとtwitterとトラバは全部読んでるよ。ありがとう!30分ほど前に弟の車と思われる音がしました。
車が走り去る音がしたあとで直後に鍵を開ける音。直後にスリッパの足音。助かった。と思いきやこの部屋に足音は向かってこなかった。おそらく、

4:30 p.s. I am still reading all the comments, twitter and trackbacks. Thank you! 30 minutes ago I heard the sound of my brother's car.
After that I heard someone opening the door with the key and immediately afterwards the sound of slippers. I'm safe, or so I thought, but nobody came in this direction.

deleteall12

泥 酔した母親は、この赤い矢印のように直線的な軌道で寝室に向かったと思われる。完全に僕は忘れられているらしい。ドアを叩き、大声を出してから、様子を伺 うと激しいイビキが遠雷のように聞こえる…。駄目だこりゃ。疲れたし冷えてきたのでクローゼットのなかから衣服を取り出して羽織り、マシュマロマン状態に なった。今からカーペットを布団にして眠ろうと思う。床が冷たいのであまり眠れないとは思うけどすこし休んだらまた動くよ。おやすみなさい。

Maybe my very drunk mother went directly to her bedroom like the red arrow in the sketch above and it seems she forgot about me. After I pounded on the door and screamed I heard a very heavy deep breathing like a distant rumble of thunder…No way. I'm tired, it's cold and putting on all the clothes I found in the closet, I now look like a marshmallow man. I think I'm going to make a blanket of the carpet and sleep. I don't think I'll be able to sleep much since the cold penetrates from the floor but its better I take a rest before deciding what to do. Good night!

7時55分追記。起きた。ブコメとtwitterを見終えたところ。底冷えで寝てられない。デジカメの電池切れで画像はないよ。
カーペットを布団がわりにしたら、床に、収納スペースがあるのをみつけた。引き出し式の取っ手がひとつは外れて紛失、残っている一方は錆びていて動かないので、ドライバーでがりがりやっているところ。こんなのあったんだ…。母親はまだ寝ているようだ。

7:55 p.s. I am awake. I've just finished reading the bookmarks and twitter. The flooring is too cold and I can't sleep. The battery of my camera is dead so I have no pictures anymore.
When I was making a blanket of the carpet, I found a box room under the floor. One of the handles to open it is missing and the other is rusty and it doesn't move. So I tried to lever it up with the driver. I didn't know such a space existed… My mother seems to be still sleeping.

8時25分追記。物音がする母親が起きたようだ。携帯を持ち歩いていないせいか、メールが返ってこなくなった。
床の蓋はあいて、床下に降りられたけど、脱出路にはなりそうになかった。今から、天井を母親の部屋まで這っていって、僕の存在を思い出させようと思う。密室からの脱出じゃなくて、家族の絆を回復するために。では。

8:25 p.s. I heard a noise, my mother is up. She doesn't have the mobile with her so she's not replying to my emails anymore.
I opened the trap in the floor and got down but it doesn't look like I can find any way of escape down there. Now I'll try to crawl along the ceiling to my mother's room and remind her of my existence. It's not only because I want to get out of this locked room, it's also because I want to renew ties with my family. Get going!

9 時30分追記。状況は一変した。道具はノートパソコンとドライバー一本に制限された。母親とはコンタクト取れた。策を講じた。密室に閉じ込められているの を悟られないように、扉を開けさせればいいのだ。手順はこうだ→1.母親とコンタクトをとり外側から扉をあけさせる。2.床に開いた収納スペースに身を潜 めて母親が書斎から消えるのを待つ。3.母親に発見されないように書斎から脱出。やれそうだ。
天井を這ってリビングにいる母親と 会話することに成功。「もしもし俺だけど」「あんた何やってるの」「大掃除、天井裏やらなかったから今やっているんだ」「どうしたの急に」「大人だから ね。ところでさ」「何よ」「書斎の扉が建てつけ悪いからちょっと開けてみてよ。たぶんカードか何かで隙間をいじれば開くと思う」「銀行のカードしかない わ。カード入れ車のなかに忘れたみたい」「銀行のカードと孝行息子の言葉はどちらが大事よ?」「銀行のカード」…。というやりとりを経て、僕は天井から床 の収納へ身を潜めたのだ。いつ扉が開くかわからないのでパソコンを持って。
あっさりと扉はひらいた、らしい。足音が頭上まで来 た。なにかゴソゴソと物音がしてそれから足音が書斎が離れるのを確認。よし、と収納から脱出と思ったら、蓋があかない。正確にいうと、少しは押しあがるの だけど、なにか圧力がかかってそこから上にあがらない。机を元の位置に戻すような物音はしなかったから、どうやらカーペットを上にかけられたようだ。今、 僕は床下に閉じ込められている。足下が寒いけど、母親のセーターで足首を包んでビニールをかぶせた特製靴下があるからまあ大丈夫。

9:30 p.s. The situation has changed. Now I only have one laptop and a driver as tools. I managed to get in contact with my mother. I have a plan. In order not to let her know that I have been locked up in this room I just need to make her open the door. In this way –> 1. I get in contact with my mother and get her to open the door from outside. 2. I hide myself in the store space under the floor and wait for my mother to go away. 3, I get out of the room without my mother noticing it. I can do it!
I had success in speaking to mom crawling along the floor to the living room. “Hey, it's me””What are you doing?””I decided to clean everything up. I didn't clean this area so I'm doing it now””Why all of a sudden?””I'm an adult. By the way…” “What?””The door of the study is clapped out, could you open it? Maybe if you try with a card or something in the slit it opens”.”I only have my bank card. I think I forgot the others in the card””What's more important to you? A bank card or your dutiful son's word?” “the bank card!”…
After this dialogue, from the ceiling I dived into the box room under the floor. I took my pc with me, since I didn't know when the door might be opened.
Apparently the door opened smoothly. I heard my mom's footsteps over my head then I heard an unidentified noise and realized that she had gone out of the study room. When I was ready to get out of the box room, the lid wouldn't open. To be precise, only a part of it would open if I pushed but it felt like something was weighinging on it. Since it didn't sound like she had moved the table back to its former position I guess she had moved the carpet over. Now I am locked under the floor! My feet are cold but I wrapped them with my mom's sweater and I have special socks, covered in vinyl so I'm fine.

[…]

11時10分追記。脱出に成功した。完結篇はちょっとだけ待って。コーヒー飲んで一服させて。

11:10 p.s. I succeeded in escaping! Please wait and I’ll tell how it ended. Let me drink a cup of coffee first.

[…]

10時30分過ぎ、床下の収納に

(Back to 10:30 now)

deleteall14

閉じ込められた僕は、軒下の穴の 近くを捜索して局面を打開しようと思ったが、かなわず、収納スペースへの撤退を余儀なくされた。

I thought I could find a way out and I tried to understand what was at the end of the hole under the floor. But it wasn't a success so I had to get out of the box room.

[…]

蓋をクソ力で持ち上げるとカーペットを掴むことに成功。便が漏れないように、腹痛に耐えながら、慎重に、ゆっくりとカーペットをずらしていった。蓋の辺の半分ほどまでズラしたところで

I grasped the carpet pulling it to one end of the lid. I controlled myself despite a terrible stomach ache and, prudently, I moved the carpet very slowly. I shifted it more than half of the length of the lid of the box space

deleteall15

便 が漏れないように細心の注意を払いながら、蓋を押し上げると、開いた!速攻で、穴から飛び出し、書斎を離脱、トイレに突撃した。こんなに真剣に物事に取り 組んだのは初めてだ。さいわい、母親は二階で洗濯物を干していて僕の一連の行動に気付かなかったらしく、僕の消息がどうなったのか気にならないってのは親 としてどーよ、とか思ったけれど、命に別状はなかったし、エロ本とエロビデオは天井に隠蔽できたし、ま、いいか。さすがに、「お土産の肉まんチンして食べ なって」言われたときは脱力したけどさ。

Controlling my increasingly urgent need of a toilet I pushed the lid and it opened! Then I immediately rushed outside the hole, got out of the room and went to the bathroom. It’s the first time I commit myselff to something like this. Fortunately, my mother was on the 2nd floor hanging out the laundry and she didn't notice what I had been up to. Honestly I was a bit perplexed…what about a mother who doesn't seem to care if I’m OK having any news from me?! But I wasn't in danger and I also managed to hide in the ceiling the porn magazines and videos. It's ok this time but when she said “There's the nikuman I bought you. Warm it up and eat it!” I just felt exhausted.

[…]

で、あれこれシャワーを浴びたりして書斎のドアがどういう状況なのか確かめようと書斎にいくと、母親によってドアは

After I took a shower I went to the study to check the door and my mom

deleteall16

いいかげんな修理がされていた。オカン、ノブの付け方が逆だよ!

had fixed it in a very sloppy way. Mum, the handle must be attached the other way round!

僕はロックだけれど、ロックされないように生きていきたい。そう、強く思った。

I Rock, but my desire is to live with no Locks!
I thought intensely.

4 comments

  • Brenden

    Amazing how that 1.5 hours of laptop battery held out, eh. 日本の技術すごいわ。

  • Early on, it says he found a PC cable in a drawer.

    • Brenden

      Yes, it says that 5 hours after he initially posted from the laptop with 90 minutes of power. That’s without ever considering who lucky he was to find a (compatible) PC cord where he had no expectation of it being. The time stamps in the pictures also seem mildly inconsistent.

      All in all a well written story, mind you… just not sure I’d take in on faith :)

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