The members of A.B.C-Z are getting ever closer to their goal of Sydney. Amazingly, despite having to work their way down from Cairns, they’re only on their eighth day – I was sure that they would take longer on this trip than the previous Johnny’s Journey travelers did.

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But at the end of the previous episode, they only had $225, and at the start of this one they already have to get gas.

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Thanks to Hashimoto-kun’s efforts, the gas cost them the usual $100, leaving them with $125.

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As Kawai-kun points out (looking quite tired and worn out), that’s not enough money to carry them all the way to Sydney, since they’ll need to fill up again on the way and also stay somewhere for the night.

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Pulling into Tamworth, they try to hunt for work again. There are plenty of shops and restaurants . . .

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. . . but they are turned away time and time again. Really, just popping into random places asking for work hasn’t gotten them any success – it’s always been the job listings that gave them the real leads. Besides, while some places might be able to use an extra hand or two, seeing five guys walk in at the same time all asking for work can be a bit off-putting.

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I’m not sure why they showed us this Totsuka-cam video of a guy telling them he had no work for them, considering they only filmed his belly and below.

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But just when things seemed dire, they spotted this scene . . .

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. . . and recalled when they performed for the ladies at the zoo five days ago.

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So the thought emerged – why couldn’t they do their specialty here for money? All they needed was $50.

They wisely picked a spot in front of a place up for lease/sale so that they wouldn’t catch any flak from the store owner.

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It took them time to get warmed up and coordinated. Totsuka-kun offered up his cowboy hat to hold the earnings. I don’t know whether they should have primed the hat with some coins, but they didn’t.

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Their initial performance was . . . lackluster. It sure didn’t get them any money, and it didn’t bring out the special skills that set the group apart.

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Despairing, Tsukada-kun shouted “I’m hungry!” I guess if people weren’t sure if the boys were accepting donations before, there was no doubt after that.

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The boys finally pulled out all the stops, putting the acrobat back into A.B.C.:

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This met with more success, but would it be enough?

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Well, until they got their $50, they kept going. I would love to know exactly how long they were really out there for.

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In the end, they passed their goal by a dollar before quitting, but this was the first time we weren’t told how long earning the money took.

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Back in the camper van, it was time to break out all the food they had left, including the cheap squash/pumpkin they picked up early in the series.

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Totsuka-kun had the camera ready to record to opening of the gourd.

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Inside the camper van, Kawai-kun and Hashimoto-kun prepared the rest of the food . . .

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. . . which basically meant slicing up the Spam and placing with corn over instant ramen.

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Eventually, things started to get really mixed up.

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Hungry as they probably all were after a long week capped off by a street performance, I’m not sure I’m going to believe them when they say this mess was “oishii” or “umai.” Besides, I don’t think they were all on the same page about the taste.

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The episode ended on a quieter note as they had a post-dinner discussion.

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There’s no question what the highlight of this episode was – doing a street performance like that was a genius way to round out the series before the arrival at Sydney. Strictly speaking, it would have been better if they had ended the episode with that instead of having it in the first half while leaving with a slow ending, but there were practical issues preventing that kind of editing. This was certainly a huge improvement on other penultimate episodes we’ve seen in Johnny’s Journey. In the previous seasons, the show was really dragging and winding down by this point.

I’m sure A.B.C-Z fans would have to consider the people of Tamworth quite lucky, getting an up-close performance from the idol group like that. Probably quite a substantial number of fans would have each gladly paid $50 for the privilege of seeing it in person.

As this season of Johnny’s Journey comes closer to its end, I sure hope its successors (I assume there will be successors, though I haven’t gotten any solid info on the next season) will try to mimic all the things that went right with this A.B.C-Z version.