In “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), we last left the idol group A.B.C-Z in the dark of an Australian summer night desperate for fuel. They still have some money left from their first job, so that’s not a problem – they just need to find a gas station that’s open.

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They’re 52 km from Townsville – their destination – so they probably can’t make it with the gas they have left.

Fortunately, they spot a gas station in time, but then the question is how much gas they can afford. With $198 left, and the need to keep $70 for a camping spot, they decide they’ll have to forego a $30 dinner to keep enough buffer after getting $100 worth of gas.

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Kawai-kun volunteers Hashimoto-kun for the duty of pumping the gas. In his first starring role of the series, Hashimoto-kun manages to hit $100 exactly while also engaging in the kind of banter expected from a gas station attendant. Good job!

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They managed to get a berth for the night in Townsville for $60. For dinner, they broke out the bread and SPAM. You have no idea how happy I was to see them going for the SPAM, which is underrated in terms of what you get when you trade-off quality for convenience and reduced cost. Not the healthiest of meats, of course, but a good addition to noodles. Hashimoto-kun was responsible for making the dinner as well, and I think he got high marks.

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The next morning, they had to get to work at the zoo (Billabong Sanctuary), which meant preparing themselves for possible animal mayhem.

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Right as they entered the staff gate, they spot a pack of kangaroos. The guy in charge seemed a bit more easygoing than the car wash guy, but he seemed more particular about making sure they didn’t waste time – giving them four minutes to get into their uniforms.

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Their first responsibility was to rake the paths, clearing them from debris to make the place presentable. Kawai-kun tried to talk to the camera for a bit, but couldn’t get away with it for long.

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Meanwhile, Tsukada-kun and Totsuka-kun had to carry branches of grey gum – eucalyptus punctata – for the koalas to eat. Koalas are, of course, extremely fussy eaters.

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That was easy compared to the raking the other three had to do. Kawai-kun, Goseki-kun, and Hashimoto-kun were all feeling the downside of not getting proper meals. Fortunately, they made it through and got celebratory elbow-bumps from their leader (I think her name was Sarah).

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Tsukada-kun and Totsuka-kun continued to get the cushy jobs, feeding the koalas and cleaning up the area. Lots of cute koala footage here.

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To their delight, the five members not only got a lunch break, but they also got fed:

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Hamburgers are always welcome. During the meal, their employers/hosts asked what they do in Japan (as if the video cameras and translators didn’t give it away) and Tsukada-kun once again gave his amusing “we are idols . . . we are very famous” spiel. It never gets old.

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To prove that they’re really famous idols, they decide to perform for their employers (think of it as dancing for their meal). I have to say that Kawai-kun looked a bit iffy at the start, but it got smoother once the acrobatics kicked in.

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The show editor decided to speed through their remaining work, which largely consisted of cleaning and preparing food for the animals. They had to slow it down when the time came for Hashimoto-kun to carry a wombat, though. It had the best expression of delight on its face (which you’ll have to watch to see).

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Finally, at four-thirty in the afternoon, they got their pay. I’ll leave the amount out as a surprise for those who haven’t watched since the director is so careful to give no hint of it until the end even though it must be agreed upon before they start work.

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While thrilled after successfully navigating their second job, the members decide to do a little reality check. They’re near the end of day three, but they’ve only covered a tenth of the total distance to Sydney. If this is going to be anything like the other Johnny’s Journeys, taking around ten days, they need to get a move on. So, they decided not to stay any longer in Townsville, though they still stopped for a six-pack of soda.

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I think it was a nice, solid episode. Anytime a half-hour variety show can get koalas and wombats in with idols dancing, we’ve got to call that a good show, right? There certainly weren’t any dull moments – if there had been, they could have given more time to the kangaroos. I bet there’s tons of great animal-related footage that won’t even make it into the DVD.

On another positive note, it looks like Hashimoto-kun got a boost in this episode. Now, what about Goseki-kun?

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