It was a balmy February evening in 1981 when you came to pick me up from our home. You said you were taking me to a new restaurant called Kamakurayama you had chanced upon somewhere in your neighborhood. As we drove down EDSA, the sun was setting. Traffic was lighter than expected. We made light conversation about our week. I laughed at your anecdotes.
We arrived at our destination in what looked like a residential street. Except for the discreet sign near the door, the place looked like someone’s well-lit home. We were led inside by a young woman wearing a long skirt. The entire first level of the house had been converted into the restaurant.
We passed a few occupied tables. It was early enough but the place was filling up. Over at the verandah were bigger tables where families dined. Our table was on one corner near a curving staircase. The decor was almost Old Spanish but with the name, I fully expected to eat Japanese food.
I still remember when they brought us the french rolls, still hot and fragrant. We both reached for the bread only to discover that the crust was quite tough. I ended up making a mess on the table just trying to pull the bread apart. There were crumbs everywhere on the smooth dark cherry surface. We both looked around and laughed because we felt like little kids waiting to be reprimanded by some proper parent. But no one else noticed.
They served us a clear clam broth with a few daikon sprouts, followed by some sashimi with a light green salad. This was followed by a small portion of tender beef grilled on a hot stone served with a dipping sauce. I can’t remember the rest of the food. I only remembered declining dessert. It was then that you suggested we go some place else to listen to music.
I don’t recall ever returning to that restaurant, nor bothered to find it later on. But the entire experience and the name stuck with me for a long time. It was technically, our first date. All the other times we went out before that evening were for me, two buddies getting together to catch up on each other, nothing else. But this Kamakurayama evening marked the beginning of something different.
That was almost 33 years ago. Today, we celebrate another milestone. Happy 30th Anniversary, my love!