KisuHama Learning (キス濱ラーニング) features the members of Kis-My-Ft2 taking on different challenges, trying to learn things in a practical setting to see if this aid the learning process. As the KMF2 members enter the studio this time, looking around doesn’t really give them much of a clue about what they’re going to do. Looking down, though . . .

. . . looks like it’s time for a bit of Japanese geography. In particular, Hamaguchi-san plans to test them on the locations of the prefecture offices – basically, the capital of each prefecture. They learned them in elementary school (in California, we learn the capitals of the states in the eighth grade), but do they still remember?

As usual, they have to get 10 in a row to win, but have to start from zero if they make a mistake. And what’s on the table covered in red cloth?

Senbei! The heavy rice crackers that they had to eat 1000 of in HamaKisu. I bet they thought they were through with these for good after that (I don’t blame them – so did I). No such luck. But how do the senbei tie into the challenge? Well, the senbei are marked with the names of cities, and they have to pick out the senbei corresponding to the city where the prefecture office is.

The first prefecture is Okayama-ken, and 85% of respondents got the location of its office correct.

Can Kitayama-kun pick out the right city’s senbei?

There are two cities from Okayama-ken with senbei available – the two most populous cities in the prefecture. Which one is it? Kitayama-kun decides that it must be Okayama-shi, surely the most likely choice.

And so they distribute and eat the Okayama senbei . . .

. . . then they get to announce their answer:

Getting it right, they turn that prefecture red:

Next, they get to pick from Okayama-ken’s four neighbors, and decide on Tottori-ken. Seventy-five percent of respondents guessed right on this one.

Tamamori-kun is up to bat, and wonders if Tottori-kun follows the same pattern as Okayama-ken – which would mean he should pick the senbei for Tottori-shi.

But there are three possibilities for Tottori-ken, including one which surprisingly has four kanji in its name:

He decides not to go with the obvious choice, and there’s no way to soften the blow – the correct answer is Tottori-shi after all.

And so it goes. They get to start with Okayama-ken again (though this won’t be guaranteed if they fail again), and quickly manage to get five right (they just edited these out).

Then it was Kitayama-kun up again, this time to figure out the capital of Yamaguchi-ken. As usual, Yamaguchi-shi is one of the options, but not the only one.

Well, he goes with Yamaguchi-shi and guess what? It’s right. So far, the prefectures they’ve showed the selection process for have all had a capital named “Prefecture-Name city” so . .  what’s the big deal? Thinking through the fifty states in the U.S., I can’t think of a single one that has a capital with a name in that form. And they do try to trick you. Think the capital of New York state is New York City? Not a chance, it’s Albany. What about going with the most populous city in each state? You’d be wrong more often than you’re right. In California, the capital is neither the first, second, nor third largest city (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego), but little old Sacramento. Anyway, it’s a bit boring if this pattern keeps holding.

Maybe Tamamori-kun thinks so as well . . .

. . . because he spends a long time contemplating it even though there’s a Fukuoka city, weirdly placing the senbei on the map as if that’s a sensible way of figuring it out.

And sure enough, he doesn’t bring back the Fukuoka-shi senbei for them to eat.

There is much consternation afterward.

I’m not going to detail how it went after Tamamori-kun’s second failure, but I think we’ve learned something important from this episode. When guessing the capital of the prefectures, just go with the city that shares the name of the prefecture. That way, even if you’re wrong, you won’t look silly, and you’ll probably be right.

In the end, the star was clearly Tamamori-kun, without whom they would have gotten through the challenge with time left in the episode to spare. It seems like the challenges are getting easier and easier. This one was practically trivial for them. Of course, in line with the pattern set by the sushi episodes, if they happen to finish this in one episode, you can be sure that they’re going to have to do another episode of it, anyway. These are two episode challenges, no matter what.

I enjoyed this one more than the sushi episodes, though. I’ve been meaning to learn the prefecture names for a while, and this helped me out. On top of that, it was certainly possible to play along this time, even if you don’t know kanji, because for each prefecture it was reduced to a multiple-choice question, and even a purely English-speaking viewer could take a wild stab at it (and possibly still do better than Tamamori-kun).

So, I don’t mind another episode of this game at all. I hope you enjoy it, too.