Welcome to Episode Ten! Which means nine came before it. If you haven’t watched all ten episodes, I will suggest it now. Because these hills have Spoilers. Let us begin.
The Izu Camping Trip officially begins in this episode after the girls made their preparations last time. On that morning, Nadeshiko, Ena, Aoi, Chiaki, and Aoi’s younger sister Akari all pile into the mini-van Toba-sensei is borrowing from her younger sister Ryouko. They start heading to Izu to visit geo-parks and eat local food before settling down to a camp at the beach. Nadeshiko was so excited about going camping that she couldn’t sleep, and hence, she sleeps throughout the entire car journey. She misses a fair amount of experiences. This includes the casual consumption of Wasabi Ice Cream. However, their trip is lengthened by a traffic jam created by the Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival.
Rin (who left her house at three in the morning in the last episode) is on her way to Izu. And even experiences many of the planned sightseeing moments long before the rest of the party arrives. They were all to Rendez-Vous in Shimoda. To which Rin appears far earlier than them. On top of this, we also get a slight reenactment of the show’s opening.
When Nadeshiko finally wakes up, she experiences a prank that I think everybody has gone through at least once in their lifetime; Aoi and Akari tell Nadeshiko that camp is finished, and everybody is going home after a fun weekend. Nadeshiko, in her sweet naivety, didn’t stand a chance. They stop to eat what is known as the Shimoda Burger: A fried Alphonino Fish Burger patty covered in Camembert cheese and sweet-and-spicy sauce in a bap with some salad dressing. It looks genuinely Amazing (both in the show and in real life) and could be well worth the 1000 yen price tag for a special treat.
Afterwards, they go shopping. Which includes Nadeshiko wanting to get some dried Alphonino for the Camp Dinner. Toba-Senpai considers getting some too, after seeing a man enjoying it with Sake. This plays into her temptation, as this is her twenty-fifth day in her fast from alcohol. It is here where we learn about Operation Shrimp. This is a cunning plan cooked up by Chiaki to make a special birthday surprise for Aoi and Nadeshiko (who are cooking on the first night while the rest of the girls cook on the second night). As it turns out, eating Alphonsino with Spiny Lobsters brings good fortune, and since both sea creatures are technically fine dining, they are expensive. So the plan was to get Toba-Sensei to give up drinking, and with her evident increase in disposable income, can buy the spiny lobster. To the girls’ surprise, Toba-Senpai buys the spiny lobster anyway and then informs Chiaki and Rin that Ena suggested getting the Spiny Lobster as a surprise.
Afterwards, we experience our first real problem (other than Nadeshiko sleeping the whole way there) – the camping location suggested by Toba-Senpai had to be changed. After suggesting that the site would be available between November and May, she finds out that the site’s new landowner had banned all camping in general. So they tour around anyway. Even seeing Tawaraiso Beach, which I could best describe as a Japanese answer to the Giant’s Causeway. And like many other right-brained children who have seen the Causeway – the girls envision the formation like it was a handful of uneven pencils.
So while taking in the view, they try to look for another campsite on their phones, knowing that if they left it alone – the girls could end up with an experience like Lake Yamanaka again (where the administrator went home early and they end up sleeping in Toba’s car). With a phonecall to the Lida Liquor Shop, they find out that Nishiizu City has a beach suitable for camping. And so the stage is set for the next episode. But before that, they see more sites and plan a detour.
I will be honest the twenty-three minutes that made up this episode flew by very quickly. I didn’t notice it go. If there’s one thing this has shown me, it’s how much some parts of Japan remind me of the North Coast of Northern Ireland. It was a pleasant surprise and one that makes me want to explore more when this Pandemic is all over (as of writing this).