2007/09/27

Move Over Rodney

Poor Rodney Dangerfield never got any respect. I recently had the opposite problem. You see, this year my birthday fell on a national holiday in Japan- "Respect for the Aged Day". Ouch!
"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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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15 comments:

Don Snabulus said...

Yeah, the land of the free is not allowed to drive lots of things. VW no longer offers a diesel passenger car in the US so scratch biodiesel off your list. No sub-1000cc engines, no Citroen minivan that gets 40 mpg, and a Smart car that gets worse mileage than a Yaris...better to be called a dumb car.

It sounds like another sublime restaurant experience, wonderful!

As the father of a feisty teenager, I say enjoy any respect you can get!

I still have my Kashima Antlers Starter jacket, so I will wear it (virtually) and say Go Team!!!

PinkPanther said...

A belated H.B'day to our respect Old PandaB. ^_^

"I tell ya, I get too much respect!", um...um...is it a problem?

ladybug said...

Love it! Of couse the "deux cheveaux" is my fav French car...

On the respect issue: I've found it's a double edged sword....

In Mexico, women (and especially if with children) are given priority on buses and in other public venues. However they are expected to shut up and put up with abusive husbands, work for less money, and dress up all the time. If something happens to you at night, well it's your fault and you shouldn't have been there....

Also, when I was working in Europe, the "respect" for the "aged" was really oppressive. The most ridiculous whims of anyone over 50 were taken with the utmost serious ness.

And this is from someone who had great relationships will all my elderly relatives, and was in fact looking forward to observe an "old-school" culture where the aged seem to be part of daily life.

Instead I found it was "old-school" in the BAD old sense; the old folks used their position like a club to grind your ego into the ground!

I resolved to give myself a kick in the pants if I ever started acting like that.

The "youth culture" of America certainly has it's drawbacks, but I'll still hopefully open to new and fun things the older I get too!

Pandabonium said...

Snabby - Happily, electric bicycles ARE available.

It was a great dinner. I'm looking forward to take out pizza from there.

Teenager - been there, twice. Wouldn't trade it now for the world.

Hey, you can wear your jacket to the restaurant when you guys visit. ;^)

PinkPanther - Thanks so much - hey! what do you mean "Old"??? Respect is fine, but not when it means accepting the label "aged". That's for wines!

Pandabonium said...

LadyBug - I can think of worse things to name a holiday for. Japan's population is shrinking (in numbers, not size) and aging - over 30,000 centenarians now. Reminding folks to think about respect and appreciation is probably a good idea. It doesn't have to be a double edged sword.

My brother had an old Citroen DS (four door sedan) back in the 60's. It had a hydraulic suspension. He had a dash plaque that read:" This car is dedicated to the hyrdaulic-pneumatic mind of Andre Citroen. " Weird car.

nzm said...

Happy Birthday PB!

ladybug said...

Panda - yes you are right! Most developing nations are developing more and more of an aging population. Perhaps I sounded too much like a grumpy young person (although I'm over 40) in my previous post...

I think it will be interesting to see how & what cultural changes this will bring.... I myself am probably going to be the caregiver for my parents (they're still working,- in their 70's!). I'm kind of doing that now, taking care of emergencies, and a few things they can't handle anymore.

I think better health, better financial stability and more community opportunities will be very important for the near future.

We'll see what this year's voting results will be!

Pandabonium said...

NZM - Vina'a.

Ladybug - Soylent Green? Sorry.

Financial stability will be more and more difficult to come by (not only because of energy depletion, but also because there are fewer young people to produce the wealth needed to take care of the previous generations), so health, family, and community will be pillars in this shift.

Martin J Frid said...

Happy Birthday and "Yo! Respect"! as Ali G (aka Borat, real name Sacha Baron Cohen) used to say.

I used to drive a small VW '72 and my father had two Renault 4. Small cars rule. Although no cars rule better.

Pizza... yum!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Where'zit? Where'zit?

Haduai gizzair??!?

Pandabonium said...

Martin - thanks. my sisters each drove vw bugs in the 60's. We're looking forward to eating at this place again - and taking home pizza.

Moody - that last part went right over my head (not hard to do).

Oh, now I get it - "how do I get there?"

Here's a map to Tratorria Cinquecento - Buon Appetito!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Sankyu beddimach!

Happysurfer said...

Happy Birthday, PandaB, and many, many happy returns.

Pandabonium said...

Moody - don't touch my mustache (douitashimashite).

HappySurfer - thanks, Happy!

Swinebread said...

Happy B day (kinda late sorry)

that Italian restaurant looks like it could be sitting on the coast in oregon