With a lot of food talk and a short story on his life.
Our third guest is the Inoue family, who tried to take a round world trip as a family together.
How about traveling the world with kids? – Shinon-chan (7 years old) whose favorite meal
happens to be ‘rice’ just like Kokona-chan (4 years old), who likes the ‘white rice’ best.
For your information, a British couple on the picture is not the Inoue family. During the journey,
the Inoue Family got a chance to meet the couple, such a huge fan of sushi, and they came to
Japan for a ‘Trip to Meet the Inoue Family’.
Hand-drawn art of an apple by Shinon-chan
Interview and Story by : Kazuya Karasawa


もともと、学生の頃からバックパッカーで旅が大好きだったんです。嫁さんの梢もバックパッカーの旅好きで、新婚旅行もインドとネパールでした。ところが、仕事に追われるようになるとなかなかそうもいかず、でも、<家族と一緒にすごす時間が少なくなっているってどうなんやろ?>とも痛切に感じていて、家族4人で世界一周をする「SAMURAI TRAVEL」という企画を思いつきまして。初めてのケースだったらしいですけど、会社も認めてくれて、1年間での世界一周を目標にしたんです。

Hello, my name is Kouichi. I am a father of the Inoue family. On February 11, 2015, we left Japan to set out on our trip, and experienced 25 countries in the world. Originally, I have been a backpacker since college and I love to travel. Kozue, my wife and also a backpacker, loves traveling, and we even spent our honeymoon in India and Nepal. However, it didn’t last long because we got stuck at work, despite our strong concern about “spending less and less quality time together as a family.” Then, it inspired us to launch a ‘SAMURAI TRAVEL’, a project of the family traveling around the world. With permission from the company – although it seems to be the first case, we set a goal of taking a world round trip within one year.

世界25カ国のなかで、ダントツ1位の食事は、マレーシアの「バクテイ」でした。マレーシア最南端のコタキナバルという街の屋台で食べたんですけど、まぁ、うまい! マレーシアは中華圏など様々な人種の方が住んでらっしゃるんですけど、その影響なんでしょうか。八角などの食材が入った漢方鍋で、豚肉の角煮っぽい感じの「バクテイ」にチリとかニンニクのトッピングをお好みで入れるんですけど、抜群にうまくて、旅の間に3回も食べに行っちゃったほど(笑)。子供たちも「おいしい、おいしい!」って、ばんばん食べてました。

Malaysian ‘Bak-kut-the’ would be, for sure, my first choice of the foods among 25 countries in the world. We tried this at a street stall in Kota Kinabalu, located in the southernmost part of Malaysia. Oh, it was really delicious! I’m wondering if many different races living in Malaysia, including Chinese people, have an impact on this in any way. If you add chili or garlic source to the ‘Bak-kut-the’, – the Chinese herbal medicine hotpot with ingredients such as a star anise, which has a flavor of the braised pork belly – it tastes so much better. We even went out to eat this three times during our trip (laughter). Our kids also enjoyed the food, saying “Yummy! Yummy!”

問題はヨーロッパ圏。25カ国のうち半分がアジアで半分がヨーロッパだったんですけど、後者の料理がね、別にいけていないわけではないんです。パスタ、ピザ、パン、どれも抜群においしい。でも、飽きるんです。1日3食続くと、NO MORE小麦粉と体が叫び始めるんですよ。そんな時、僕らの胃袋を救ってくれたのがトルコ料理でした。ヨーロッパにおけるトルコ料理の拡散の仕方ってすごくて、どの国に行ってもお店が存在している、どこでもケバブ状態(笑)。ケバブ=アジアンフードではないんですけど、必ずライスがついてくるのがうれしいんです。ほら、うちの娘の好物って「お米」と「白いごはん」でしょ? ほんまに、ヨーロッパ圏でのトルコ料理はありがたかったです。

ちょいちょい関西弁が出てしまうんですけど、出身は大阪の八尾という下町です。実は、当初の予定では1年間かけての世界一周だったんですけど、半年ほどが経ったある日、大阪に住んでいる父親が癌だとわかりまして。しかも、余命宣告では「あと半年」だと言う。すぐに日本に戻りました。僕らが戻ったからと言って、なにができるわけではないんですけど、それでもなにかできることがあるんじゃないかと。つらかったのは、親父が食道癌やったんですよ。だから、食事どころか水も飲めない。栄養はパンケーキの粉みたいなものを、直接体に補給する。親父は昭和の男を絵に描いたような人やったので、そんな状態になっても弱音のひとつすらこぼさなかったんですけど、やっぱり僕らが食事をとっているとすっとお茶の間から離れるんです。RICE STORYという連載にふさわしくないかもしれないですけど、いかに人間にとっての食事というものが、栄養補給という面だけでなく、「楽しみ」となっているかを痛感しました。


Not only in Malaysia, but also in all the Asian countries we had enough food choices. The problem was in Europe. Half of the 25 countries were in Asia, while half of them were in Europe, but the latter, when it comes to foods – well, it’s not that bad. I mean, pasta, pizza and bread, these foods are all very delicious. But the thing is that we were sick and tired of them. Once you keep eating them for three meals in a row, you may feel like screaming and shouting “NO MORE flour!” What did help our stomach at that time was Turkish cuisine. The spread of the Turkish cuisine was very extensive across the Europe, and Turkish restaurants were easily accessible in any country. Kebab was ubiquitous (laughter). Although Kebab is not exactly an Asian food, it made us happy to because it was usually made with rice. As you see, my girls’ favorite meals are ‘rice’ and ‘white rice’. We really appreciated Turkish cuisine in Europe.

As you can guess from my Kansai dialect, I’m from Yao, a small village in Osaka. In fact, although we had planned for one-year round trip, I was informed about my father in Osaka, where he is staying, had a cancer on one day after about six months of our travel. Furthermore, he was diagnosed that he had only ‘six months’ to live. We went home to Japan soon, not because we thought we could make a difference, but because we still believed there might be something that we can do. What frustrated me was that my father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, which means he had a hard time eating and even drinking water. For nutrition, something like pancake flour w directly supplied in the body. My father, an absolute Shouwa type man, had never whined, but he is gone when our family has meals altogether. I am not sure whether this story fits well with RICE STORY here or not, but I do sense that, for a human being, foods are not only for nutritional supports, but they are also for the ‘enjoyment’.

I went back to work in March this year. Well, you know, I can say that working is hard after a long break, but it seems like a piece of cake to me compared to traveling or caregiving (laughter). My daughters are also enjoying a new life in Japan. Speaking of my father, I am very happy to let you know that he is still alive and well after nine months, despite his first diagnosis of six months to live.