This is the second episode of “A.B.C-Z オーストラリア縦断 資金0円 ワーホリの旅” (A.B.C-Z’s working holiday trip through Australia with 0 yen), in which the five-member idol group takes on the rigors of summer work in Australia while making their way from Cairns to Sydney.

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At the conclusion of the first episode, they were calling up possible locations for work, and finally got accepted by a car wash. The car wash was apparently caught short-handed and needed them right away.

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The guy in charge sure knows how to get his workers in line, and it’s no wonder he’s comfortable with hiring holiday travelers on the spot. He only speaks English, but makes every sentence imperative and urgent.

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He warned them that it was going to be hot, and the work would be hard. For the next few minutes, we basically watch clips of the idols learning how to wash cars, and then doing so for four hours.

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Even here, Kawai-kun is his normal comedic self, always with a smile not far from his face.

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Actually, all of them look pretty upbeat. I still don’t know whether Totsuka-kun left that spot on the wheel deliberately or not. Seemed to me they needed a bit where the guy in charge got picky about a spot to show the level of cleanliness required, and the task went to Totsuka-kun. I doubt he could have missed it otherwise.

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Fast-forwarding through most of their four hours (during most of which they were probably much more serious than in the bits we saw) . . .

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. . . we get to the point where they’re all done and take stock of their dirty knees.

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Payment is an amazing $20 an hour (the Australian dollar is approximately at parity with the American dollar). Now, I haven’t worked at a car wash, but I imagine they’d get much less in the U.S. depending on where the car wash was. Our minimum wage is less than half that, and since it’s low skill work (they learned how to do it in a few minutes, right?), I wouldn’t expect anyone in the U.S. to pay much more than minimum wage. So, my eyes sort of popped when I saw how much they were getting (though the fellow in charged seemed happy with their work).

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Is the difference between the $400 they got and what I expected due to differences between Australian and the U.S., because they’re on tourist work visas, because they’re being followed around by cameras, or all down to my lack of knowledge about car wash economics? I don’t know, and that’s a good thing – it means that the amount was not so far off that it was incredible.

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They did the 5-star pose (which I’ll leave out this time on the grounds of keeping it fresh), and changed back into their civvies:

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Goseki-kun was in charge of the money, and they wisely headed to a supermarket (instead of, say, a restaurant).

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There, the meat was tempting, but they aimed to stay under a budget of $70 . . .

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. . . and within that budget, they also had other necessities they needed to buy.

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It didn’t take them long to get close to their limit.

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That’s when they spotted something that caused a conundrum. You see, fruits are sold by the kilo, and they weren’t sure how much each weighed. Come to think of it, they used to have scales at supermarkets, but I don’t see them around as much. Anyway, that left them in a bit of suspense as they went to the counter – they had the money, of course, but would they successfully stay within their budget?

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The next order of business was to head for a camping ground.

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As usual, it was Tsukada-kun driving with Kawai-kun riding shotgun. So far, these two have gotten most of the focus in this series as the other three have been much quieter. Tsukada-kun is definitely the English leader so far, quite free about putting the language to use.

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Camping at this place isn’t free, though, and an overnight berth costs $70 (and that’s with a 10% discount based on their camper van). Can they manage to negotiate the price down?

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After they pay, they get to plug in, flip on the lights, and try out all the other features of their van (including an unexpected retractable awning which they almost broke by obstructing one side of it when they turned it on).

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Most importantly since they must be starving at this point, they have power so they can cook dinner. Once again, it was Tsukada-kun and Kawai-kun at the helm.

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Totsuka-kun chips in by handling the camera work. Actually, the camera seems to be perpetually attached to his hand when he’s not washing cars or calling up for work.

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Finally, dinner is served. How did it turn out? You’ll have to watch to find out whether the two cooks managed to serve a savory meal or if they’ve got less inspired culinary skills.

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There are some post-meal antics, but otherwise the episode wrapped up with them getting some much-deserved food.

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It’s always entertaining to see idols at work since either it’s something they’re very good at or, as in this case, something completely foreign to them. While it had a fast pace, the episode held no real surprises, and didn’t really set up the next episode, so I was sort of disappointed in that respect. In spite of that, it was a wonderful addition to the Johnny’s Journey collection – much better than a simple sight-seeing episode.

Aside from Tsukada-kun, Kawai-kun and a bit of Totsuka-kun, we’re not really getting much from the other two. Hashimoto-kun did have a potato-related comment at dinner, but is otherwise as silent as Chinen-kun was. Goseki-kun is the real mystery to me – I still have very little sense of his personality.

They’ll finally move on from Cairns in the next episode, starting their trek south. What kind of hijinks will ensue when they’re not desperate for work or under the thumb of a car wash manager? We’re going to find out.

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