With a lot of food talk and a short story on his life.
Our fourth guest is Mr. Jumpei Takeuchi,
who is a 26-year-old Umeboshi lover, currently holding ‘UMEBOSHI exhibition.’
Why is it about Umeboshi?
Along with bittersweet memories, check the rice story.
Interview and Story by : Kazuya Karasawa


イスストーリーという言葉で、まず思い出したのが小学校2年生の頃の思い出でした。その当時の僕は、それはまぁごはんを食べない子供だったんです。少食も少食。もうね、残す残す。でも、ひとりっ子だったので、家族は食え食えと言う。それでも頑固に少食派を気取っていたんですけど、ある日、親父が「お前、断食しろ」と言ったんですね。「ダンジキ? なにそれ?」と。親父は「そんなにごはんを残すんだったら、もう食べるな。水だけ飲んで生きていけ」と。事の重大さに気づいていない小2の僕は、「うん、いいよ」と無邪気に返事をしました。


食ってすごいですよね。おいしいだけじゃなくて、思い出とリンクする。そうそう、今、急に思い出したんですけど、最近、自分が持っている食の感覚ってこれだと気づかせてもらったことがありました。それは、エッセイスト・平松洋子さんの本のタイトルなですけど『世の中で一番おいしいのはつまみ食いである』という言葉。その通りだよなぁって。僕は、Bamboo Cutというユニットで「梅干し展」などの梅にまつわる展示やイベントをやらせてもらっているんですけど、僕が梅を大好きなのもそこですもん。つまみ食い感覚で食べられて、うまい。しかも栄養価も高くて効能も抜群。三国志にも登場するんですけど、信長が梅を見ろと。兵士たちが焦燥しきっていたから、梅を見てよだれを出させて回復させたらしいんです。すごくないですか、梅! あれ? でも、三国志なのに信長っておかしいですね。信長じゃなくて……曹操だ、曹操! 曹操が死にそうだった兵士たちに梅を見ろと。うん。梅ってすごいんです、僕の記憶力はさておき(笑)。



The first memory I remembered when hearing the rice story was my second-grade school memory. At the time, well, I was a child eating like a bird. Not only did I eat very little, but also I didn’t eat them all. Nevertheless, my parents told me to eat more, as I was the only child of them. Still, they couldn’t stop my persistent obsession for eating like a bird, and one day my father said “Hey, you should fast.” I was like, “F-A-S-T? What does it mean?” Then my father said, “Don’t eat at all if you can’t finish it. Live on only water.” Not being able to read the situation, the innocent second-grade school child responded to him, “Okay, no problem.”

One night during fasting, however, my mother cooked the curry, and the house was filled with curry smell. Whatever I did, – I even hid in a bathroom – I was still able to sense the strong smells. I’m done. I’m starving to death. So late at night at 11 pm, I ended up crying and yelling at my father, saying “That does it! I can’t do any more than this!” Eating three bowls of curry that night, I haven’t left foods since then.

How fabulous food can be, as it is delicious and also reminds you of an old memory. Oh, it just reminds me of another story that I recently have an epiphany about my sense of taste, which is “The Best Food in the World is Food Sneaking” as the title of the book written by Ms. Yoko Hiramatsu. It does make sense. Currently, I’m in charge of holding exhibitions and events regarding Ume, such as ‘UMEBOSHI Exhibition’ in the Bamboo Cut (http://bamboo-cut.jp), and the reason why I’m into Ume is the same, because it is delicious to sneak Ume. Furthermore, it is one of the most nutrient dense foods. In a famed historical novel of the Records of the Three Kingdoms, Nobugana said “Look at the Ume,” as his troops were acting fidgety, he showed this Ume to the troops to make them drool, and the troops were fully recovered. What a wonderful Ume is. Hmm, wait, Nobugana in the Three Kingdoms? That’s weird. It is not Nobugana, but it should be… Cao Cao. Cao Cao! Cao Cao let the dying troops look at the Ume. Ume is marvelous anyway, even though I have a terrible memory (laughter).

And, sour – Ume tastes sour.

One of the motivations in planning this ‘UMEBOSHI Exhibition’ is that I loved this sour face in its look of a defenseless state. No matter how great you are, or you are getting through a tough break up, Ume would give you the sour face, with equality under this defenseless state. Even in just a few seconds, sour is all you can think about, and it is such a pureness. That is one appealing feature of Umeboshi.




My own sour memory?

Frankly speaking, I had a crush on someone, and that was about one year ago. At the time, however, she just decided to go on a travel for her dream. Well, I told the girl how I felt about her before the trip, but she didn’t respond. But when I saw her off at the airport, she told me that she liked me too, and handed the Onigiri – Japanese rice ball – down to me, stating “You drove me all the way up here from the early morning, and I guess you didn’t eat anything, right?” Going back alone, I took a bite of the Onigiri with a mixture of the happiness that she likes me back, and the loneliness that I can’t see her for a while, and at the time I found the ingredient of the Onigiri was Umeboshi, as she knew that I like Umebosh so much I even launch the ‘UMEBOSHI Exhibition.’ It’s embarrassing but I burst into tears. I was in tears sour-faced – pleased, delicious, sad.

I would perhaps never, ever forget the taste of the Onigiri. Because I would not cry that much if it was the salmon Onigiri I had.