“Johnny’s Journey – Hey! Say! JUMP Takaki Yuya & Chinen Yuri Futarikki France Juudan Kakuekiteisha no Tabi” (縦断各駅停車の旅) has been getting better with each episode, and with the preview at the end of the show last week, it was pretty clear that this episode would continue the trend.

We last left Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun in Riom, where they had gotten stranded after mispronouncing Lyon, and after hours of searching for a place to stay for the night, they were lucky enough to find an amenable couple. Turns out, as Takaki and Chinen find out in the morning, that the place is a farm.

And that’s why the teaser last week looked so interesting – Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun do farm work! Bet they didn’t see that coming when they were told they were going to France! But to their credit, they’re the ones who come up with the idea of helping out on the farm – Takaki-kun proposes the idea to their host Claudine.

But the bales of hay are, of course, extremely heavy at 200 kg (almost twice the combined weight of Takaki and Chinen), so the two of them have trouble getting it moving.

Ultimately, they need some help from the big guy to get it rolling.

Claudine comes back and asks them to help with one more. Can they handle this one on their own (without running over a chicken)?

Success! It’s just rolling hay, but watching them do it is totally amusing. The fun continues with fowl feeding.

Looks like the chickens are happy. Next up, the pigs – especially an energetic little black piglet who’s a trick to catch.

Having success with the pig, it’s the sheep next, who drink out of a modified baby bottle (I’m sure there’s a technical term I don’t know). And they’re real eager about it, too, knocking Takaki-kun over to get to it, and then draining the bottle dry in heavy gulps.

Getting bigger and bigger in the animals they handle, it’s time to give the cows a drink. Like the sheep, the cow they take care of is entirely forceful about it, splashing some so that the dog has a chance to lap it up.

Walking the wide fields belonging to the farm, Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun are led to this fellow . . .

. . . and Claudine offers to let them ride it. Takaki-kun goes first.

He takes the camera, so this is Takaki-cam:

The sight of Chinen-kun leading the donkey (ロバ – roba) and their ways of urging it on were great. It was entirely different from the feel of Kitayama-kun and the camel, but reminded me of Don Quixote and Sancho – a whimsical sort of scene.

Chinen-kun got his turn, of course:

Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun talked with their hosts over tea. What I’ve suspected for a while is clearly evident here – they have translation help. Has Chinen-kun bothered to pull out that iPhone with the Google translator more than once since the first episode? There’s no question about it in this scene, though – there’s no way the conversation could have happened without a translator helping out – neither side would have understood what the other was saying. So, it looks like the obstacles that they introduced for the pair in the first episode – the budget limit, the language barrier – were illusory. Well, I guess they still have limited clothing, right?

Well, if a bit of translating on their behalf was what it took to make this episode happen, then I guess I don’t mind. It was certainly a great way to spend their time in Riom, and they’ve finally spent some quality time with French people – and people who live a very different lifestyle than what Takaki and Chinen are used to. That sort of interaction is hugely important to any benefit they’re going to get from this trip.

Anyway, it’s time for them to take their leave.

I somehow missed a cute shot between Chinen-kun and the llama, but here’s Takaki-kun with the charming beast:

 


They say their goodbyes to their gracious hosts (many, many goodbyes and thank yous), and take a parting picture.

As they hit the road . . .

. . . we get a debriefing segment with Yabu-kun and Hikaru-kun. I don’t mind the timing of this one as much as I did in the last episode. Last week, it came right at the height of the excitement, and broke it. This time, Chinen-kun and Takaki-kun are just headed to the train station and there’s no real tension, so it’s the perfect time for this inconsequential scene.

Umm . . . didn’t Hikaru-kun get the last one, too? Wouldn’t this be his third one (Yabu-kun and Takaki-kun got one apiece, but I don’t remember Chinen-kun getting one)? What gives?

Anyway, the question is who has an uneasy feel about them when he’s alone with them  (I think that’s what it was – please correct me if I’m wrong).

Hikaru-kun quickly rules out Daiki-kun, Takaki-kun, and Chinen-kun. I think the ultimate result is somewhat surprising:

After all this time, Yabu-kun and Hikaru-kun are still awkward around each other?

But what the heck is this graphic in the border about? I don’t dare venture a guess.

Okay, back to the main event. There’s no real drama as they get onto the train for Lyon.

They look comfortable on the train. What awaits them in Lyon?

Well, there you go: Hey! Say! Jump on the farm. They should do it more often. A Tetsuwan Dash-like show where the Hey! Say! Jump members try to tackle some sort of long-term project wouldn’t be a bad idea. They could do it on Yan Yan Jump, and still invite people over for a meal (if they insist).

I’m a little miffed by the obvious fact that they got translation help, though. You know, when the director edited the first episode, he or she knew what would happen in through the series, so it’s really dishonest to state the conditions of the trip knowing that they will be violated. Also, I still feel like they should have come up with a better frame story for the trip, like they did with Yamapi and Kitayama-kun.

Why did Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun help out on the farm? To be nice, to repay their hosts for the night’s lodging, to make the show more entertaining, because it felt like the right thing to do, because the experience would help them grow as individuals, or something else? A frame story would help us to understand why they do what they do, while it all seems random now. Even a purpose couldn’t be decided on ahead of time, they could have reflected on why they did what they did later on (you know, in the debriefing segments) and explain the significance of it. Right now, it still seems very shallow, even when it is entertaining.

But, I’ll gladly take entertaining. On to Lyon!