We have a neighbour about a minute walk from our place. Our kids go to the same school/kindergarten, so we are looking forward to a very long relationship.
The problem is that she is extremely nosy and honestly I'm not sure how to deal with that. She shows up uninvited, plus ringing the bell is usually followed by opening our front door within a second.
Our oldest son is 7, sometimes he comes back from school before any adult. He doesn't have a key yet, so he's told to just wait those few minutes playing in the yard. Or in the winter, we do actually let the basement door open so he won't freeze outside, since it's a very safe neighborhood. (Getting to the basement is rather troublesome, since he needs to go through our parking lot to get behind the house, so anyone else but close family would raise suspicions.)
About a week ago our son entered the house through the basement, but soon went to a friend's place, locking the basement, but leaving the front door unlocked instead. Shortly after, the neighbor in question apparently showed up at our house, and actually entered it through the unlocked front door. She realized nobody's home, so she did contact my wife about it, asking what to do with the unlocked door. My wife explicitly told her to leave it like that since she would be home in an instant. Instead, she entered the house, closed the front door from the inside and exited the house through our basement. Again, against our specific instruction.
As soon as I found out about this incident I was going to go to talk to her, but my wife is the more diplomatic one in our family. Plus an important factor is that this is all happening in Japan and I'm the only non-Japanese involved in this situation. The Japanese way of dealing with things is to avoid confrontation as much as possible, so my wife is keeping a distance at the moment, without actually talking with her about the incident. But I believe that if we don't specifically tell her that even if good intentions, what she did is just not right (=confrontation in Japanese culture), next time she'll do it again.
The question is, how can we let her know that what she did is unacceptable, she can't just behave like family?
UPDATE: I'm perfectly aware of the fact that cultural differences are a big factor in this case, but I believe this goes beyond it. I did let my wife handle the situation, but my issue is that since she's so against confrontations we will end up failing at letting the neighbor know that what she did was just wrong. Culture put aside, all Japanese friends I consulted with agree that she went over the line.
As for an update, she invited the kids over for an afternoon just the day I wrote this post. My wife was not comfortable with the idea, luckily the kids weren't too enthusiastic either, so my wife came up with an innocent excuse. However, the 4 year olds have been talking at the kindergarten and our son told their son what the real reason is: "you and your mom entered the house so parents are pissed". I believe the message was escalated all the way to the mother, since we had about 24 hours of silence from her part. However, after the 24 hours things went back to normal from her part. My wife is still partly ignoring her, but can't really approach the subject.
I strongly believe that if we solve this in the Japanese way, nothing will be said or discussed about the incident, thus everyone will have its own interpretation of things. That is not good, the lines that can not be crossed will not be clear and this situation will definitely lead to other unpleasant events.
The follow up question is: how to deal with this situation, because doing it the Japanese way will not solve anything.