“Solitude helps you find peace. Peace helps you find happiness.” –Maxime Lagacé
With the school day drawing to a close, Nadeshiko asks Rin about solo camping, indicating that ever since their conversation about solo camping, she’d been curious to try it out for herself. After hearing about Nadeshiko’s intentions, Rin notes that there’s five major pieces to a safe and enjoyable experience: always 1) pick a campsite with cellular reception, 2) let a contact (preferably family) know of one’s itinerary, 3) thoroughly research things like the camp-site’s rules, what and when certain facilities or amenities are available, 4) ensuring one is properly prepared for the weather and looking up, ahead of time, weather forecasts, and 5) having a plan for one’s activities upon arrival. Meanwhile, Minami shares her weekend experience with another instructor, and decides to bring the Outdoor Activities Club to the Izu Peninsula, expressing a wish to thank the campers who’d looked after her students and to try their liquors out. Nadeshiko promises to do a proper job and stay safe on her first solo camping trip. After speaking with her mother and Sakura about her plans, Nadeshiko gets the green light and picks a campsite near Fujikawa, which is a ways south of Nambu. When the Outdoor Activities Club hears about Nadeshiko’s plans, they lend her the club’s equipment. Finally, on the morning of the trip, Nadeshiko sets off on her own. Quite separately, Rin has headed deep into the mountains of Yamanashi, and after sitting down for some Japanese sweets, she runs into Sakura and share a conversation before parting ways. Nadeshiko, meanwhile, has safely arrived in Fujikawa, after stopping at Fujinomiya’s Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha Temple to pray for a safe trip and the Shigure-yaki restaurant Sakura had recommended to her. She sets off for her campsite, a five kilometre walk up a forested trail into the mountains above.
Here at Yuru Camp△ 2‘s seventh episode, after the adventures that Chiaki, Aoi and Ena had in the past two weeks, watching Rin and Nadeshiko set off on their own solo adventures returns the series to the peaceful aesthetic that Yuru Camp△ has honed during its run: by this point in time, Yuru Camp△ 2 has created a clear delineation between the rowdy, energetic experiences the Outdoor Activity Club brings to the table, and the contemplative, serene mood conferred by solo camping. However, even then, owing to the pronounced differences between Rin and Nadeshiko’s personality, the two experience their adventures differently. Nadeshiko freely approaches others and creates new memories while exploring, whether it’s asking a passing family to help her with a photo or bringing a smile to the owner of the Shigure-yaki store with her enjoyment of their specialty. Rin, on the other hand, contemplates the comfort of a quiet tea shop before running into Sakura and sharing a chat with her, coming to realise that Sakura’s quite similar to her in their preferences for exploration and adventure. These differences show how people have fun on their own, and while Rin’s preference for solo camping is a reflection on her own personality, it becomes clear that Nadeshiko approaches solo camping in her own way, as well. Of course, Yuru Camp△ 2‘s seventh episode has only portrayed Rin and Nadeshiko’s trip at their respective starting poinst, and it will be next episode where Nadeshiko’s skill will be put to the test, as well as where Nadeshiko will really come to find her own reason for enjoying solo camping.
Screenshots and Commentary
- I’ve been longing for an excuse to feature such a moment in my posts for Yuru Camp△ – Nadeshiko’s smiles are always adorable, and the seventh episode to Yuru Camp△ 2 has her smile in abundance. Because there’s no Survivorman material this week, I return to my usual format of two paragraphs and twenty screenshots for this week’s post. The episode opens with Nadeshiko on a train headed towards her destination, but the actual episode begins after everyone’s returned from the Lake Yamanaka trip.
- Here, Ena recounts her trip with Chiaki and Aoi, noting that it was generally a fun time, and she’s immensely grateful that Rin was looking out for them. Nadeshiko realises that Rin had also saved her skin that time at Motosu, and realising Rin’s like a guardian deity of sorts, drop coins into Rin’s portable grill. This is a returning joke from Yuru Camp△, where both Ena and Nadeshiko initially guessed that Rin’s grill was an offertory box of sorts. I imagine Rin is very fond of this portable grill, if she’s bringing it with her to school.
- Back in the staff office, Minami begins leafing through the liquor store’s products page: she’s been curious about the Itō store since her meeting with Iida and her father during the Lake Yamanaka outing, and when another teacher, the same one who’d suggested that Minami look after the Outdoor Activities Club so he could fully dedicate his time to advising his another club, sees the products Minami is looking at, comments on things. This leads Minami to more seriously consider an outing to the Izu Peninsula.
- Back in the library, Rin shares with Nadeshiko her five-step checklist of things to do before solo camping. While what Rin suggests is common sense for the most part, the Outdoor Activities Club had previously failed to attend to step four, checking the weather and planning accordingly. While this shows that Rin does have a process, understandably, excitement and inexperience sometimes means that there are some occasions where even Rin does not fully adhere to her checklist: Rin occasionally puts too much faith in technology and runs into literal road blocks as a result. I note that Google Maps has become sophisticated enough now to omit impassible routes in pathing now, attesting to the vast amount of power doing routing for users now, although Yuru Camp△ does not portray this.
- Nadeshiko knocks down step two by speaking with Sakura and her mother about her plans to solo camp, and while both Rin and Nadeshiko had imagined that Sakura would object, surprisingly enough, there are no problems whatsoever, with Sakura telling Nadeshiko to have fun. With this being said, Sakura does install a tracking app on Nadeshiko’s phone, just in case. This reaction speaks to Nadeshiko’s maturing since she arrived in Yamanashi and met Rin – while Sakura dotes on Nadeshiko, her response here suggests that Nadeshiko’s become responsible enough to earn Sakura’s trust.
- The remainder of Nadeshiko’s week passes in the blink of an eye, as Nadeshiko attends classes and researches her itinerary. Chiaki and Aoi are happy to lend Nadeshiko the Outdoor Activities Club’s gear, so Nadeshiko doesn’t need to buy her own tent and other implements just yet. Here, I’ve chose to showcase a moment of Nadeshiko in the classroom while Minami is giving a lecture. Of all the characters, Nadeshiko stands out quite a bit, and I imagine that Yuru Camp△ deliberately renders Nadeshiko and Rin as being unique to make them stand out.
- With Rin and Nadeshiko’s travels taking place in parallel, now is a good time as any to note that the second half of this episode is location heavy, and as I’ve previously done, I’ll be deferring location comparisons to a dedicated post in the future. This episode’s locations were located without trouble – because Rin and Nadeshiko both name the places they visit (or at least, pass by landmarks that make it easier to find everything). Rin stops at a quite café called Shimizu-ya in Hayakawa, and immediately takes a liking to the peaceful setting, feeling it to be just like home. Here, she also enjoys a mamemochi and amazake.
- Meanwhile, Nadeshiko first visits Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha, a Shintō shrine located at the heart of Fujinomiya. With a population of 132507, Fujinomiya is located in Shizuoka at the southwestern edge of Mount Fuji, and here, residents would be afforded a particularly beautiful view of Mount Fuji. With the area’s proximity to the ocean, there are not the same climate extremes that were seen at Lake Yamanaka: Fujinomiya has relatively mild winters.
- Right out of the gates, Nadeshiko’s solo-style can be seen, and I imagine that this speaks to the sort of person Nadeshiko is: being alone helps her to meet new people and make new friends, which stands in contrast with Rin enjoying solitude to find her inner peace. Not more than a few steps in to Hongū Sengen Taisha, Nadeshiko spots an opportunity to take a photo, and being alone, she can’t readily ask her friends to do so. Instead, Nadeshiko asks a nearby family to help her take a photo.
- After praying for a fun solo camping trip, Nadeshiko prepares to get lunch, and passes by a nearby yakisoba stall. She resists the temptation to pick up lunch here, however: Sakura had another location in mind for Nadeshiko to check out. This restaurant is located about 2.6 kilometres away from Hongū Sengen Taisha and is just shy of a thirty minute walk. It speaks to Nadeshiko’s endurance and fitness that walking this distance doesn’t even faze her – in a manner of speaking, it is largely thanks to Sakura that Nadeshiko can now enjoy the activities that she does.
- For Nadeshiko’s first journey, she’s constrained to locations she can readily reach on foot and by public transportation. While Nadeshiko’s in great shape and has no trouble with shorter distances, longer trips could prove tricky for her. While talking things over with Rin, she considers getting a moped license, but Rin immediately fears the worst will happen to Nadeshiko should she get a moped. While this might’ve held true for the Nadeshiko we saw early in Yuru Camp△, the current Nadeshiko has proven reliable, willing to learn and able to know when to ask for help, I imagine that with more practise, Nadeshiko could be fine on a scooter.
- During a conversation with Ena, Rin indicates that she’s heading to the furthest reaches of Hayakawa, passing alongside a river nestled in the narrow valley. Unlike her other trips, her precise campsite is not yet determined, and I imagine that she’s got at least a few sites in mind. While exploring a spa, Rin notices a vehicle strikingly similar to Sakura’s, but imagines that it is unlikely to be the case. Moments later, Rin spots Sakura herself, and decides to tail her. This is one aspect of anime I’ve never really understood: while I’m like Rin in every other regard, when I spot someone I know (beyond any reasonable doubt), my first inclination is to go greet them.
- Upon arriving at the restaurant, Nadeshiko is blown away by the lineup in front – this is always the sign of a good restaurant. However, upon making it inside, Nadeshiko is unsure of what to order: she overhears other patrons go for the gomoku-shigure special and decides to order one for herself. This is actually a surefire way of trying out a given restaurant’s signature dish, by listening to what the locals are ordering. While the chef making the dishes appears an intimidating fellow, he’s all smiles when Nadeshiko places her order and doubly happy upon seeing her reactions during the meal.
- It turns out that the house special is okonomiyaki with yakisoba noodles, a Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki: this dish is so named because it’s grilled just the way one likes it, being a savoury pancake topped with tempura scraps (tenkasu), cabbage, and pork belly slices and condiments such as okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, dried seaweed, and dried bonito flakes. The result is a veritable explosion of flavour: I had okonomiyaki for the first time while in Osaka during a layover, and it was every bit as delicious as Nadeshiko found hers to be. While the ongoing health crisis means no travel (and correspondingly, no okonomiyaki), this hasn’t stopped the home cooking from getting creative: a few days ago, we ended up whipping up a sirloin and prawn ramen using the leftovers from Family Day’s dinner that proved delicious.
- I’ve long felt that Sakura was essentially an older version of Rin in personality, and a more mature version of Chiaki in appearance. Sakura does seem to have a talent for unintentionally intimidating those around her: during Yuru Camp△‘s first season, Chiaki was frightened by Sakura’s expression after making hotō noodles, only to learn that Sakura had been enjoying them greatly, and here, Rin becomes nervous about the silence. When she remembers Moped’s Journey, a show that Nadeshiko mentioned Sakura was fond of, Sakura immediately opens up. I imagine that Moped’s Journey is probably the in-universe stand-in for Kino’s Journey, and if true, the parallels between Rin’s solo camping and Kino’s experiences in Kino’s Jounrey would be deliberate, with the later inspiring the former.
- It turns out that Sakura, while no camper, is incredibly fond of driving and visiting the places that she sees in various travel shows. In this regard, Sakura is quite similar to myself; unlike Nadeshiko, neither of us are campers, but we still enjoy the open road and the rush of visiting places of note. Rin realises that speaking with Sakura isn’t any more difficult than it is with Nadeshiko, and when Nadeshiko sends them a photo of her post-grocery shopping, the pair enjoy a smile together.
- After Sakura promises to remind Nadeshiko to lend Rin the Moped’s Journey DVDs, the two part ways to continue their own journeys. Being Nadeshiko’s older sister, the only constant about Sakura that we viewers know is that she’s a few years older than Nadeshiko. Beyond this, very little about her is known: she’s home often (and being enrolled in post secondary would mean she’d have to move to a city for her education), and consequently, she’s quite mysterious in this sense.
- Sakura is considered to be beautiful in Yuru Camp△, and while the anime makes this particularly tricky to discern (everyone looks nice), this moment of her relaxing in the onsen shows that she’s got a good figure. With this in mind, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Sakura make more appearances in Yuru Camp△, whether it be guiding Nadeshiko and her friends along, or even helping drive the others for a camping trip.
- To further accentuate the idea that Rin and Sakura are more similar that they’d thought, the episode shows Sakura enjoying a soak in the onsen on her own, but finding it to be a little cooler than expected. It is the case that onsen have different temperatures, but I wonder if the remark might be more of a symbolic indicator that Sakura might also be interested in going on her adventures with someone else: the framing of this scene suggests that she’s the only one making use of the women’s baths, and by pulling the camera back to include the interior, it creates a sense of space.
- Having now purchased the ingredients for dinner, Nadeshiko heads off for her campsite: 野田山健康緑地公園 (Hepburn Nodayama Health Green Space Park). Yuru Camp△ names the park as Fujikawa Health Green Space. The name found on Google Maps is unwieldy, Nodayamakenkoryokuchi, but inspection will find that despite the differences in name, these camp sites are one and the same. With this post in the books, I’m caught up with Yuru Camp△ 2, and on the anime front, I’m looking to write about World Witches Take Off! soon, now that the sixth episode’s out. Blogging has been busy this month on account of Jon’s Creator Showcase, and while the large number of submissions means a productive, active blogging community, it also means lots of material to review. I’ll do my utmost to balance this on top of my real-life obligations, of course, and Yuru Camp△ 2 has certainly been a factor in keeping my resolve and morale high.
At this point in Yuru Camp△‘s first season, Rin and Nadeshiko had finished their camping trip together on the shores of Lake Shibire, after an eventful evening where they would encounter their future instructor, Minami Toba. This was a turning point in Yuru Camp△, marking the first time that Rin invited Nadeshiko out, and back then, Nadeshiko’s shown as being able to appreciate both the quiet that Rin prefers, as well as her own natural ability to get along with others. However, until now, Nadeshiko’s never attempted solo camping before, and always had the company of her peers. Being able to see how Nadeshiko goes about pitching her tent and setting up dinner will provide viewers with a glimpse of how the group activities have helped her to mature and be able to begin appreciating her hobby from a new-found perspective. Episode seven also has Rin experiencing a change to her perspective: since the first season, Sakura’s only been seen shuttling Nadeshiko around, and Rin never had a full conversation with her (ignoring the events of the second OVA). Here, Rin discovers that Nadeshiko’s older sister is, in fact, very similar to herself, and both have the shared commonality of worrying about Nadeshiko’s well-being, as well. This seventh episode also foreshadows that a large trip to the Izu Peninsula is in the works, and while it’s only Minami expressing an interest in the trip right now, it does feel like Yuru Camp△ 2‘s grand finale will be a journey to behold. For now, however, there’s still the remainder of Nadeshiko’s solo camping trip that needs to be covered, and this is something to look forwards to, as well.