The full title of this show is “Johnny’s Journey – Hey! Say! JUMP Takaki Yuya & Chinen Yuri Futarikki France Juudan Kakuekiteisha no Tabi (縦断各駅停車の旅 – flying through/cutting across local trains trip). As the title indicates, it features two members of Hey! Say! Jump traveling across France in trains without any guidance. So far, their trip has been fairly straightforward, and they’ve only taken a cursory interest in what they’ve seen. Will we get unusual happenings in this episode, or will they just look at the sights and eat food again?

The show begins with a recap, then the debriefing chat with fellow HSJ members Yabu-kun and Hikaru-kun.

At least Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun actually talked in this one, unlike last time. Even better, they briefly mentioned the journey, but there was nothing substantial.

Thankfully, we quickly get back to the travelogue, and the two travelers reach Pontorson station.

It is a very, very local station – just a single platform with nobody around. There’s no information booth, so they have to figure out how to get to Mont Saint-Michel on their own.

They see bicycles:

They confirm the route with a local guy wearing a safety vest:

And they’re off!

Renting the bikes cost them ten euros. It’s too bad they had such a lenient budget – I would have liked to seen them at least sweat their expenditures like Kitayama-kun did. How good is Chinen-kun at math? Is there any chance these two will find themselves having to pinch pennies despite all the money they started off with?

The bicycle cameras worked well, giving us a good look of their expressions (Chinen’s better than Takaki’s – probably because of height) as they figured out how to get to Mont Saint-Michel.

Chinen-kun starts singing “モン・サ~ン” (mon san) as his tension rises. That was worth a smile – perhaps even a silly grin.

At 5:00 p.m., after riding for thirty minutes, they parked their bikes and gazed at Mont Saint-Michel from a distance.

It’s not in the actual show, but I thought this aerial view of Mont Saint-Michel would be helpful for context:

From here on in, they went on foot.

Seeing the interior of the fortress town was enough to make the episode worthwhile, I think. For one episode, I guess we can delay seeing if Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun can do this show properly, as we just enjoy the view.

Showing some good enthusiasm for the place, they decide it might be a good idea to find a hotel in Mont Saint-Michel (it was the late afternoon, anyway) and stay overnight. Quietly, I’m hoping it’ll be expensive.

First, they visit the pinnacle of the place – the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel.

Giving mood music to the place, there was a harpist, who apparently performs for five hours at night:

Chinen-kun and Takaki-kun sit and enjoy the music.

I’ll give them this: they showed a heck of a lot more patience than I have. I consider the harp extremely overrated.

Up some narrow stairwells . . .

. . . and they reach the main chapel.

Outside on the terrace, they have an even better view of the surrounding region, just in time for sunset:

At an expensive-looking restaurant, Takaki-kun tries his hand at French again. As someone who took French for three years in high school, I’ll call it a noble effort. The final judge was the waiter, and he clearly understood, so success!

The intent looks Chinen gives Takaki here are great (looks like Takaki-kun is the big brother, after all), and when they decided to get one of what the waiter recommended, just in case, I laughed.

This is their first taste of real French cuisine, and they had no idea what would arrive.

To their credit, they did a better job talking about the food than just doing the usual repeated “umai” and “oishii,” though they didn’t completely avoid those stock responses.

They applauded the food at the end, leaving no morsel unconsumed.

Only then did they wonder about the bill.

Here it comes:

Wow, not bad! They should consider themselves lucky, and they do. They are absolutely relieved.

I have to say, though, that it’s a shame they didn’t get stuck with a heavy bill, because not knowing the price for a meal that you ate when you’re on a budget is inexcusable, and a mistake they should have been punished for. I’ve been hoping their experiences on this trip would wipe away some of their naivete, but it looks like they keep getting lucky.

I guess . . . the universe is contriving to keep them innocent and adorable young people. While that has its plus sides, seriously, at some point they have to grow into adults . . . right?

Back in the debriefing room, it’s time for that little game where they have to answer a random question. This time, it’s Yabu-kun’s turn.

I think the question was about the most excited he’s been when meeting with another entertainer. His answer? Tamori-san. But immediately after answering, he thinks twice, remembers to mention his Johnny’s senpais, and starts rattling them off.

Honestly, I don’t care. What’s the point of these bits with Yabu-kun and Hikaru-kun if they’re not going to talk about the trip? These other things are beside the point, and don’t contribute to the main point of the show.

After that completely unrelated interlude, we went back to Mont Saint-Michel, where Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun are settling in for the night.

It’s Chinen-kun’s turn to handle the trip diary:

I sort of wish they had shown his real handwriting, just as a point of curiosity.

With that, the announcer says that the journey has really begun.

We go back to the debriefing room (this is getting a bit jarring), where Yabu-kun brought up Kitayama-kun’s trip through India, talking with Kitayama-kun, and his disbelief that Takaki and Chinen would be sent to France.

Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun had nothing at all to say to that. I swear, these debriefing room scenes are completely useless. And let me make something quite clear: it’s not the fault of any of the HSJ members. It’s all down to the people who were supposed to prepare topics for them to talk about. In the worst case, they should have talked about what it was like walking around in Mont Saint-Michel, and how there’s nothing quite like that in Japan (or if there is, say so). How could they not do something simple like that, since that was what this episode was all about?

In fact, what they talked about in the debriefing room in the three clips didn’t give any concrete indication that Yabu and Hikaru had seen what Chinen and Takaki had done on the trip at all, and that was probably the most annoying part of it for me. Did they watch the episode we were watching, or not? Don’t they have any questions to ask about the experiences? If not, then that sort of says that the trip was totally uninteresting. It’s almost like they were underscoring how boring the episode by ignoring it, instead of highlighting the best parts and increasing the viewer’s interest and engagement.

In short, I enjoyed seeing Mont Saint-Michel enough to give Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun a pass on this episode. I wish they had been taught a lesson at that restaurant, but they got lucky, and it’s better to be lucky and naïve than savvy and unlucky. The thing that really brought this episode down was the talks with Yabu-kun and Hikaru-kun for the reasons I cited above.