"I tell ya, I get too much respect!"
On the bright side, K took me out to dinner. We went to an Italian restaurant which she discovered when she went there with a group of teachers for a farewell party, a welcoming party, beginning of school party, end of the school year party, let's try another restaurant party, or one of the other myriad dinners that Japanese teachers hold during the year.
The restaurant, located down a side street on the edge of central Kashima, is a family business and looks like a home from the outside because it is - they live behind the business. Parked close to the entrance is an small old Fiat car. In the front room , next to the kitchen, there is a large tiled oven where pizzas are baked. We ate at a table at a bay window in a larger room in which live music is played some evenings. The food was excellent - a small pizza, salad, spaghetti, and a large fresh prawn. I had a glass of the house red wine.
Dessert was a wedge of heavy chocolate cake with a poached pear slice in chocolate sauce and a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. I'm not a big chocolate fan, but this was delicious. We finished with coffee. The prices were not bad either.
As with the French restaurant in Kamakura, on this Monday evening we found ourselves the only customers there, and were waited on hand and foot by the owner and his two helpers - his sons perhaps. (I tell ya, I get too much respect.)
The name of the restaurant is a curious one - Trattoria Cinquecento. A trattoria is a kind of restaurant in Italy that is less formal and usually offers take-out. That makes sense, but "Cinquecento" is Italian for 500. Seems an odd name. The clue that solves this mystery is the little Fiat parked outside.
The car is a Fiat Cinquencento - named for it's little 500cc engine. These cars were very popular in Italy and were produced between 1957 and 1977. Fiat reintroduced an updated Cinquecento recently which has been very well received. (The new version has a peppy 1.2 liter engine and gets 67 mpg. Sorry, you can't buy them in the USA.)
The restaurant owner has two of the old Fiats - the second one is parked behind a hedge. I guess he loves them since he named his business after them.
So, Pandabonium completed another lap around the Sun and landed on "Respect for the Aged Day", but I'm not going to complain too much. It was a good day and a wonderful dinner.
There is a restaurant guide with a listing for Trattori Cinquecento with a map HERE. The owner is a soccer fan, so if you'd like to try it check the schedule for the Kashima Antlers team first - if they have a home game, Cinquecento might be closed.