“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) features two members of Hey! Say! Jump traveling through France on trains without any guidance.

We pick up the story with the two travelers now in Grenoble, a short hop away from their final destination of Nice.

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They arrive in Grenoble late at night, and in dire need of food. But what sort of place would be open as the clock approaches midnight?

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A sushi bar!?

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Can you tell they’re both desperate for food but worried about what they might find inside?

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For the first time, they really seem to be paying attention to prices. Suddenly, there seems to be a budget issue, but unless they tell us exactly how much they have left, I’m not satisfied with this apparent concern.

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Looks pretty expensive, though:

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They definitely can’t afford much sushi if that’s how much it’ll cost per plate. Chinen-kun decides that they’ll have to stick to the cheapest stuff, which is 2.50 euros a plate.

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The result? Well, even the infamous California roll is too expensive. Well, infamous here in California, but evidently not so much in Japan. At least, Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun don’t seem to know what to make of it.

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After a few plates pass by, but none of them are the cheap orange plates, Takaki-kun whines about it, sounding like a spoiled brat. That leads Chinen-kun to play the chastising mother in response, in what was one of the cutest dialogues between the two of them we’ve seen so far.

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The first orange plate that comes their way isn’t even sushi – it’s dessert – so that leads to a change in tactic. Takaki-kun proposes that they take a plate that’s a bit more pricey, but then split it. The blue plates are 4.20 euro, and they get the cucumber California rolls after all.

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And they decide that it is good (even though it’s not Japanese):

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The tuna-avocado California rolls arrive on an orange plate, as does the salmon-cucumber variety:

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I’m sure the place does something other than California rolls, but not within their budget range. well, they decide to bust that wide open, first going for another blue plate . . .

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. . . then taking a top-price purple plate – 5.60 euros. So much for the budget limit.

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Takaki-kun picks up a red plate out of curiosity, but you don’t get to just pick up a plate and put it back, so that was another 4.80 euros. This one had egg, salmon, avocado, and cream cheese.

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I don’t think they enjoyed that one very much.

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The bill? A total of 29.2 euros. That’s . . . not really dinner on a tight budget, is it?

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At their hotel room – the cost of which is not at all mentioned even though it’s a much bigger blow to their budget than the meal – it’s Chinen-kun’s turn to do the diary entry for the day.

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It was a pretty eventful day, in which they saw some great Alpine scenery and took flight. The paraglider escapade was front-and-center in Chinen-kun’s entry, and he apologies to Takaki-kun for dragging him into it even though he was unwilling. Chinen-kun also gave room to the Mont Blancs – the mountain and the cakes:

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The next morning, they have to figure out what to do next.

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Looking at the map, they decide to aim for a spot outside Nice called Digne-les-Bains.

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After a short trip to another station just outside Grenoble . . .

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. . . they find themselves in a bijou station that doesn’t look like it receives many trains at all (except for the one they arrived on, obviously). They ask about the train to Digne . . .

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. . . but it’s not a train at all – it’s a bus!

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Hey! Wait a minute! Didn’t they bother to check whether there was actually a train running to Digne? Incidentally, if you look at the simple route map they periodically display as a graphic, you’ll notice that while there’s a rail connection between Nice and Digne, there isn’t one between Grenoble and Digne (except the one that passes through Nice first). So . . . yeah, I guess they’re going to have to change their plans, right?

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No train is no train, boys. Deal with it.

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Or not. It turns out the rail pass is valid for the bus. Well, with all the other rules apparently out the window, I guess it’s fitting that they found a way to violate the local-trains-only one, too (though it’s only a de facto violation, and not a de jure one since the rail pass works). So, at least part of their journey taking local trains from Paris to Nice will be covered on a bus, even though there was a rail line between Grenoble and Nice. I don’t need to go on any further about how I feel about this, do I? It’s false advertising, dammit!

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Anyway, with that minor triumph under their belt, they realize they have three and a half hours until the bus arrives, so they decide to wander even though there really isn’t much to see in this tiny town of 3250. Of course, it also increases the probability of the kind of encounter that made for the best moments in the series.

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They soon end up on the farm, and to my great surprise, Takaki-kun actually breaks out the phrase book, and does a pretty good job of asking the fellow on the farm what he’s doing.

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The trouble, of course, is understanding the answer – something that phrase books often don’t really help you with. I think there was still a translator hiding in the bushes ready to smooth things over here. The Frenchman, Vincent Andre, decides to hand them some fruit to show what he’s up to.

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He’s in the middle of harvesting, and they give him a bit of a hand.

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Ultimately, Vincent bids them to take a bite:

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And that’s followed by an offer of a drink, but it’s alcohol distilled from the pears, so only Takaki-kun gets a taste. It’s strong stuff according to Takaki-kun, and I have no doubt about that. Vincent offers him a second cup, which Takaki-kun accepts, and it made a burning course through his throat.

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So, pears in hand, they take their leave of pear farmer Vincent. It wasn’t a monumental meeting, but you do get the sense that they’re getting a bit better at this each time, and that’s nice to see. I think, between this meeting and the one with the couple in Riom, they probably have a favorable impression of the approachability of farmers.

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After that, we get another Gachapon talk segment with Yabu-kun and Hikaru-kun, with Yabu taking the question this time. I’m still waiting for Chinen-kun to get a turn.

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The question is about areas/things he’d like to see the other members fix or correct. He decides to take aim at Daiki-kun first. I think it was about his response to what other people’s interesting stories. Then, Yabu-kun follows up with a comment about the way Hikaru-kun says “I’m tired” too often. At least, that’s my best effort at figuring out what it was about, but I’m no translator.

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Altogether, the kind of mild critiques that you would expect from a polished leader who wouldn’t air any real grievances in front of a camera.

Back to the trip, the duo once again have to dash because they’re within five minutes of the bus departure time (leaving me wondering what was cut out, because I don’t think they spent more than an hour walking to the far, and the same back). The bus is actually one of these little extended vans:

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And we leave them on their way to Digne. By the way, why did they decide to go to Digne, anyway? I guess we’ll find out.

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So . . . sushi and pears, right? That’s what this episode was all about. Oh, and a bus instead of a train. On the upside, at least they got to talk to Vincent and the pear scene was solid. The sushi side . . . all it did was remind me about their lack of a budget. It was a half-hearted attempt to convince the viewer that they really had a limitation there, but the attempt was somewhat undermined by the bill, and then completely undermined by the failure to tell us how much that hotel room cost.

Despite the pear scene, it was a step down from the previous episode. The arc of this series is looking like a soft start, a peak with the Riom episodes, then back down for a lackluster ending. I hope they have something worthwhile to do in Digne and Nice, but I’m not betting on it.

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