Friday, July 5, 2013

So, 44 Is It Now?

I had my birthday last week. Very neat number, 44; nice and symmetric. And it's just on the cusp to "real" middle age. From next year I'll be closer to 50 than to 30, and can start complaining about kids these days. Looking forward to practice my "grumpy old man" routine.

Summer Afternoon
I'm relaxing on our spacious (well..) balcony, wearing my new hat and shirt. In another few hours we're on our way to dinner.

We celebrated on Saturday. Ritsuko gave me a cool Hawaiian shirt and a summer hat. I've come to appreciate hats ever since my "receding" hairline turned into a disordered rout. The summer sun is strong here, and burning your bald spot is no fun, not to say potentially dangerous.

As we usually do for our birthdays, we went to dinner, this time at "Restaurant Hamburg", not too far away from home. It's a quite authentic-feeling German restaurant in a relaxed pub style. Lots of heavy, meaty foods in other words, but it is quite delicious. The beer list is not large but well selected; I don't get to drink a real Altbier too often.

Birthday Dinner
Your humble correspondent enjoying an Altbier at restaurant Hamburg.

Unfortunately the authenticity extends to dim, yellowish lighting that gives the place a good ambiance but makes photography difficult. We had soups — my pea soup was delicious; sausage plate; fried pork cutlets with pasta-like dumplings; lamb-chops; and a berry compote with ice cream. A great evening.

The restaurant is in the Karahori district, just east of us. The whole area is filled with old single-family buildings, dual-use homes with shop-fronts on the bottom level and small apartment buildings in a maze of narrow streets and alleyways. It's becoming quite fashionable, but retains a quiet, homely vibe to it that I really like. It's close enough that we chose to walk home rather than take the subway.

Guitar Lessons
A blackboard advertises "Karahori Guitar School" at the entrance of an alley. Neighbourhood alley entrances like this one sometimes go through the first floor of a street-side building like this, with up to a dozen homes on the other side.

A karahori side street with a shrine at the end.


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