For the first time on “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’ll be seeing the members of A.B.C-Z trying their luck on two opportunities at once – dividing up into teams of three and two. Which of the two teams will end the day contributing more money for their continuing journey to Sydney?

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Catching up to the group as they continue toward their new workplace the day before they’re supposed to work, we see Kawai-kun reminding Tsukada-kun to check the fuel. When Tsukada-kun initially insists it’s all right, Kawai-kun tells him to actually look at it and, sure enough, it’s down to the second notch bar above zero. Goseki-kun has sharp words after this third fuel-related miss from Tsukada-kun.

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As usual, Hashimoto-kun will be fueling it up. Will he be able to hit $100 exactly this time?

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Their trip to Glen Innes continues with the sun setting and another night bringing their cash reserves down.

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Desperate financial times can only mean one thing – instant ramen for dinner.

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As the others tuck in and get ready to sleep . . .

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. . . Tsukada-kun does an impromptu performance of a song called “Darkness” improvised on the spot.

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The next day, they decide that Tsukada-kun and Goseki-kun will be the pair hunting for sapphires – and no, that’s not really a job. They’re really going to be panning through dirt in the hopes of finding a precious stone. I just hope they don’t have to pay for the privilege, ’cause they’re chances of making money are slim. Miracles do happen, though. The other three will be working on a farm.

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We see the farm team get to work first, and it I’m reading the katakana right, their cowboy-hat-wearing boss is Steve Langley. Didn’t Totsuka-kun have a cowboy hat he could be wearing right now?

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Their first task is to dig holes for fence supports – tough work by any estimation.

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What about the sapphire team? Well, they seem to be in a rather boisterous mood.

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But as expected, they have to pay the guy ten dollars for the right to hunt for sapphires, and it doesn’t look like they were expecting that. Totsuka-kun should have clarified that there was really work and what it would entail beforehand, but having limited skills in a language naturally has its drawbacks.

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Goseki-kun thinks that going for proper work would be better, but Tsukada-kun totally circumvents him, accepting the offer without Goseki-kun’s consent. Looks like Tsukada-kun is aiming to have a bit of fun with the equivalent of a lottery ticket. How they’re going to be able to explain this to the other members, though . . . .

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And so they start digging and sifting.

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Steve showed them what rough sapphires look like, but will they really be able to recognize the stones when they see them?

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A dog approaches them . . .

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. . . and Tsukada-kun amusingly starts talking to it in reasonably good English, asking it to teach him how to find sapphire. The dog walks a bit and then lies down. Tsukada-kun takes this to mean that the sapphire is right there, but he has some trouble getting the dog up (really, he was just having fun with the dog, of course).

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Defiant at any negativity from Goseki-kun, Tsukada-kun insists that they’re going to find a big sapphire.

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there’s real work being done as they have to chop wood:

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This proves to be difficult initially, but Totsuka-kun eventually shows the others the trick to it, and they keep at it for half an hour to get the job done.

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After that, they had to get the horses ready. Their total work time was three hours, and we barely saw any of what they did with the horses, so it felt like a bit of a rip-off. We should have gotten at least three minutes of good video of them with the horses.

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Turning back to the sapphire hunters after seeing the farm team get paid, we see Tsukada-kun finding a sapphire so small that it barely qualifies as a sand grain.

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After that, he’s totally delusional, thinking this opaque black lump and other similar stones are valuable.

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We know they find at least one legitimate sapphire, even though it’s too small to be worth anything (because it can’t be cut and set into jewelry). But do they manage to get another one before they have to leave?

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Will they be able to face the other members with pride instead of shame?

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And where does A.B.C-Z go from here?

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The sapphire hunting part of this episode was well done, producing some excellent humor thanks to the interplay between Tsukada-kun, Goseki-kun, and also a completely unexpected dog. While the sapphire thing may have been a bad way to make money, it was good television.The farming side was good in terms of effort, but cut too short when it came to the horses – I’m still a bit disappointed by the way it was edited.

I think this was an okay episode – superb by Johnny’s Journey standards, but about average when compared to the other episodes of the A.B.C-Z series. Tsukada-kun did a good job, producing practically all of the entertainment in this half-hour with some fresh antics.

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