Last week on KisuHama Learning (キス濱ラーニング), the Kis-My-Ft2 boys had to remember the capitals of prefectures, making their selection by eating the senbei (heavy-duty rice crackers) from their chosen city. They had to get ten prefectures in a row correct to clear the challenge, and they ultimately did. The effort took them six hours and during the course of it they had consumed 133 senbei – not a huge deal, since they previously took on a challenge where they had to eat 1000 of them in two days.


Well, I say it wasn’t a big deal, but it looks like the people in charge thought the same way, and gave KMF2 a follow-up challenge. This time, they have to carve a path from Okinawa to Hokkaido – right through the length of Japan.


Along the way, they’ll also face some familiar senbei – the toughest ones they had to deal with in the 1000 senbei challenge.

It all starts with Okinawa, and Kitayama-kun is up first. He spots the Okinawa-city senbei quickly . . .


. . . but dawdles a bit, surveying some of the senbei that have been added to the mix. The Kobe ones look especially dangerous.


Ultimately, he doesn’t pick Okinawa-shi (沖縄市) and instead goes for Naha-shi (那覇市). That’s good because if there was ever a place in Japan prone to being the different, its Okinawa, and it so happens that Okinawa city is only a relatively recent construct (founded by merging two towns in 1974), and Naha-shi is the real capital.

So, that’s one exception to the general rule that they should pick the city that matches the prefecture name. Speaking of that rule . . .


. . . Tamamori-kun is up next for Kagoshima. Now, while he gives assurances that he’ll be all right, they show clips of his failures from the last episode, where he consistently ignored the general rule to the team’s detriment.

This time, how will he do with Kagoshima-ken (鹿児島県)? Well, he once again faces two choices, and one is Kagoshima-shi. Now, is Kagoshima an exception like Okinawa, or does it follow the rule? No way to tell from the actual senbei – they’re shaped the same in the form of Saigo Takamori, who we also encountered in a recent episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare.

Trying to deflect responsibility for the choice, he shows the others the Saigo-side of the crackers (keeping the name of the city hidden) and asks his fellow members what they think. They don’t appreciate this tactic.

Finally, he does what he had so much trouble doing in the previous episode. He avoided overthinking things and brought back the Kagoshima-shi senbei.


And that was the correct choice:

The pace starts to pick up after that (or they just started editing out more and more video) . . .


. . . except for a brief moment to marvel at the bizarre senbei Fukuoka-shi cooks up:

I’m sure there was an explanation that I didn’t catch. Not only is it weird to have eyes drawn on rice crackers, but those are a strange pair of eyes to begin with.


They edit out prefectures 5, 6, and 7 (Yamaguchi-ken, Hiroshima-ken, and Tottori-ken), just giving the answers.

Then Kitayama-kun gets Hyogo Prefecture (兵庫県) and its capital is Kobe (remember those dreaded senbei he noticed earlier?). Well, he decides to hide the senbei under his red shirt . . .

. . . and then taste the shared horror as he brings them out:

I wonder if they make it so big just to get that picture on it?

Dentists watch with glee as the KMF2 guys make slow work of the Kobe senbei.

Next, they have to decide whether to go to Kyoto or Osaka. Either way, the answer’s easy, but the choice will determine the path they take to Hokkaido. They decide to go along the northern shore (there are fewer prefectures that way, because it’s more sparsely populated).

Tamamori-kun gets to pick out the capital city for Kyoto – a no-brainer if there ever was one – but appears to take his time.


Just as they’re about to answer, he interrupts and point out that Kyoto is not a prefecture, and they were about to state their answer as if it was. I don’t know if they would have been judged incorrect for that, but there’s a good chance he saved them from failure and from having to start all over.

I’ll leave most of the rest out, but here are some highlights. First, Nikaido-kun making an extended apology for something:

Why is Nikaido-kun always weak at these games? I’ve said it before, but he really needs to start working on that.

The other highlight is the dreaded folded senbei – bane to weak teeth and shaky jaws:


Did Kis-My-Ft2 make it to Hokkaido without starting over? Unfortunately, the episode’s too short to find out. The challenge will continue into the next episode, but there will also be a new one involving mayonnaise. Since the only mayonnaise-like substance I eat is Miracle Whip, it may be informative.

Well, I got what I wanted out of the episodes – a geography lesson. I don’t know if it would be that interesting to the average Japanese viewer, but for foreign viewers like myself who didn’t learn the prefectures of Japan in elementary school, and haven’t learned all about them yet, I think it’s worthwhile. It’s a good idea to have Wikipedia open and to navigate to the pages for each prefecture as they go along.