This 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) and it features two members of Hey! Say! Jump traveling across France in trains without any guidance.

At the end of the last episode, the pair once again showed why they might need guidance, because they exited a train heading for Lyon at Riom instead. Once again, I have trouble with the idea that they could be this silly, but we’re establishing a pattern here, and someone deliberately concocting trouble for them wouldn’t have come up with basically the same problem twice. For that and other reasons, I’m beginning to believe that Chinen-kun and Takaki-kun really are this clueless. Will they show improvement by the end of the series?

We start back at Nevers, where they started their journey to Lyon. Looks like we’re going to see how they managed to get to Riom in greater detail (it was only teased at the end of last week’s episode).

The lady at the information booth was nice, but she spoke quickly and they didn’t ask any questions. Have they really gotten the language down so well?

When they’ve boarded the train, they note that they’re ahead of schedule, and how close they’ll be to Nice once they reach Lyon. Takaki-kun shrugs it off, basically saying that spare time isn’t a problem.

They transfer at Moulins, so they were on track on the first leg.

Takaki-kun is totally enthusiastic about Lyon because of it’s reputation for food, as the home of French cuisine.

As the train pulls into station, they immediately see that there’s something wrong (unlike in the Orleans situation) because there’s no sign of a big city outside the windows.

They disembark anyway, and it looks like this one was on Takaki-kun. Chinen-kun sees immediately that Lyon should start with an “L”, and realizes the mistake, but Takaki-kun seems to be weaker on the alphabet.

We get a flashback to the information booth at Nevers, and an explanation of the difference in pronunciation between Lyon and Riom. That’s confusing, sure, but shouldn’t someone have checked the ticket?

Back to the fun, it looks like they’re really in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully this will turn out more interesting than the Orleans detour, where they just boarded another train headed in the right direction.

Takaki-kun complains about being hungry, and wanting to get to a hotel.

Chinen-kun points the way, but to where? All the shops are already closed, and it looks like Riom isn’t used to visitors.

They wander the darkening streets for over an hour, and find everything empty, like it’s a ghost town.

Eventually, they have to take a seat by the roadside, with Takaki-kun looking extremely despondent. Chinen-kun, as usual, is extremely restrained. At times like this, his level-headedness is a credit to him.

Then, Takaki-kun sees a car pull into the station behind them. They rush to try to get directions to a hotel.

Unfortunately, the man in the car answers that there aren’t any hotels in the vicinity.

Looks like they’re finally in a real pickle! I’ve been waiting for this for ages, and finally, halfway through France, it’s happened. Now, what are they going to do?

For the first time in this series, I feel like we’re getting to something properly spoilerish – something with serious suspense behind it. A real struggle.

Before we get too far on that, though, there’s another debriefing segment with Yabu-kun and Hikaru-kun. This time, Hikaru-kun takes a question/request from the box. But . . . hasn’t he done one already? You mean they’re just going to keep grabbing questions from that thing every time?

The question this time was completely trivial – who’s the most narcissistic among the Hey! Say! Jump members? I mean . . . France! Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun went to France! They’re lost in the middle of Riom with nowhere to spend the night and why aren’t you talking about that? Why!?

I’m sure ardent HSJ fans will be eager to find out who Hikaru-kun thinks is narcissistic, but isn’t that the sort of thing you find out by reading idol magazines? Does it really have to take up valuable airtime? It’s almost like they’re afraid of letting Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun reflect on their experiences in case doing so might make them smarter and more mature, so they fill their heads with the usual, inconsequential stuff instead.

Well, after that segment, we’re back to Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun in Riom, where all their struggles were apparently no big deal because it was more important to talk about how narcissistic Yamada-kun was instead. Sorry, but the interesting the actual episode is, the more irritating the Yabu-Hikaru segments get, and the main show is getting better and better every time.

Trying to find a place to spend the night, they discover the language barrier is way more significant, as they can barely make themselves clear or understand the answer.

I’ll leave whether they find a place a surprise. It’s nice to have something worthwhile to leave out as an enticement to watch the show.

There’s also the matter of what Chinen-kun writes in the diary this time, especially after reading Takaki-kun’s entry last time. Remember, Takaki-kun pointed out that Chinen-kun failed to apologize after sleeping on the train. How will Chinen-kun respond to that gentle chiding, not to mention the Riom situation?

Well, I can say that he responds quite well to it, and is extremely complimentary to Takaki-kun for taking the lead in Riom.

By the way, Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun encounter some real surprises the next morning, but you’ll have to watch to see those, too. Would you believe a 10-year-old llama?

This was a great episode, continuing the upward trend in quality. From the ending of this one and the preview of the next episode, I’m certain it’s only going to get better next week. You already know my one exception, so I’m not going to belabor the point.

I always knew that they’d have the most fun once they got away from the tourist spots – all the usual places a travelogue would bring viewers to – and Riom is proving me right about that.