After saying goodbye to one member and hello to another, this week’s episode of “Terrace House” is all about trying out new pairings with the housemates — and things get a little messy.

First up are Ryo and Emika, who decide to follow through with their date to a baseball game. The two try to nail down details when Emika awkwardly brings up the fact that they are not connected on the Line chat app yet. After adding each other, Ryo stares at the Line sticker Emika sent with a big smile on his face, as anyone with a healthy crush would naturally do.

After arriving late from basketball practice, Ryo takes Emika to a jingisukan (grilled lamb) restaurant in Suidobashi where the conversation took a serious turn. The pair talk about their past relationships, and Ryo says he’s not worried about age but more concerned with personality.

“Some people are young and wise beyond their age. And some older people can be quite immature as well. I don’t think maturity has that much to do with age,” he says.

Their date is quite a departure from Emika’s road trip with Ruka in Episode 18, in which their conversation was as cold as the fish they had for lunch. Her dinner with Ryo, however, is lively and they seamlessly flow from topic to topic.

Days after her perfect date with Ryo, Emika has lunch with her friends and confesses something: She actually fancies Peppe. Speaking of the Italian stallion, he’s busy going on dates with Haruka.

The two of them realize they are both secret Pokemon fanatics and love playing video games together. Peppe and Haruka head to the neighborhood of Nakameguro and ignore the area’s coffee shops and wine bars, instead choosing to walk around and catch virtual monsters with Pokemon Go. And, of course, they end up at an Italian restaurant that gets Peppe’s stamp of approval.

Haruka seems to get ever closer to Peppe when she reads his manga, but she puts the brakes on their burgeoning relationship when she essentially uninvites him to her drag race. She explains that she’ll have no time to talk to him during the competition, but tries to guarantee that they will hang out again by inviting him to check out her favorite car shop (and no doubt have her old man friends vet him).

While this week’s two dates had messy results, the house is absolutely filthy. Ryo, who has been very outspoken when it comes to love and life, calls everyone out about the state of their home and doesn’t mince his words. Everyone tries to help out by cleaning, but then the camera lingers on the bathroom where there still is a broom and several toilet paper tubes lying on the ground. Maybe they’ll get it spotless by next episode?

And as Episode 18 opened with the shocking departure of Shohei, Episode 19 closes out with the surprise graduation of Kaori. We only saw her for a few moments this week before she showed up with a suitcase and announced she’s leaving “Terrace House” and Japan before heading off to London for half a year. Kaori, Ruka and Haruka — the last remaining original cast members — sit around the table and wipe away tears as they wish Kaori farewell.

Grilling time: Emika headed to a lamb restaurant with Ryo, but later confessed her feelings for Peppe to her friends. | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT
Grilling time: Emika (left) headed to a lamb restaurant with Ryo, but later confessed her feelings for Peppe to her friends on “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.” | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT

What is jingisukan?

This week, Ryo took Emika to a jingisukan restaurant, but what the heck is that? It’s a grilled lamb dish and the name comes from Genghis Khan, as the cultural zeitgeist believes that the Mongolian soldiers ate plenty of sheep back in ancient times.

Nowadays, the dish is most commonly served in Hokkaido and is considered a must-try in the region, just as gyūtan (beef tongue) is in Sendai or takoyaki (fried octopus balls) is in Osaka.

And, as Emika complains, one big turn off from eating jingisukan, okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) or other greasy dishes grilled right in front of you, is that you walk away smelling like oil and smoke. If you visit a restaurant like this in Japan, it’s common to see a safe place to hide your bags or coats so they don’t catch a stinky smell, as well as plenty of sprays at the entrance to hose yourself down before leaving the restaurant.

The Japan Times is posting weekly recaps of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.” Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. New episodes of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020” stream on Netflix and Fuji TV on Demand (FOD) and air on Fuji TV on Tuesdays.

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