David Bowen and his wife, Yoko, thought the worst that 2019 had to offer must have passed after Typhoon Faxai blew away part of the roof of their house in September.

But in a year ripe with disasters in Japan, particularly in Chiba Prefecture, the couple's problems were just beginning.

The couple, who have a 14-year-old daughter and a dog, own a cafe in a district that is a 15-minute walk from a Keisei Line station in Sakura, a city located between the city of Chiba and Narita Airport.