“Terrace House” is shutting its doors, for now. The big news this week was that, according to the show’s official Twitter account, production would be shut down due to the current outbreak of COVID-19. That means this week’s episode is the last new one we’ll be seeing for a while, so savor each sip of matcha and make every high five count.

Newcomer Reo the surfer is already making waves on his second episode. With his sunny smile and tanned good looks, he’s sweeping the girls off their feet and lighting a fire underneath the boys to ask out their crushes before it’s too late.

Reo has made the most headway with Vivi after fetching her a glass of water during the previous episode. He steps things up this episode by making her a coffee. Vivi explains that she doesn’t usually drink coffee, but uses it as a pick-me-up for when she’s lacking energy. “Since you don’t eat sugar, you might feel foggy-brained often,” Reo says, and Vivi looks at him like she’s thinking, “Wow, you really get me.” To echo what Alyssa wrote previously, Vivi’s past crushes must have been pretty lackluster if this is all it takes to impress her.

Later, Reo talks to Shion about how he has been getting along well with Vivi and, speak of the devil, she pops by the boys room with a belated birthday present for Shion — two self-help books and a postcard with a message written in English. Shion takes the bold step of asking Vivi out right there and then to a museum right in front of Reo. Maybe Shion isn’t the shy guy we thought he was.

The two boys clear the air by going out for a friendly dinner and Shion tells Reo he looks at him like his aniki (older brother). Then, they talk about love and relationships, agreeing to pursue the girls without holding back, though Shion does point out that he thinks Toshiyuki may not be into a romantic free-for-all.

Shion also reveals that receiving gifts is his “love language.” “I’m a sucker for gifts,” he says, referring to his birthday present from Vivi. Before Shion makes a move, however, Reo swoops in and, on a whim, invites Vivi for a day trip to Zushi, Kanazawa Prefecture, a popular beach area south of Tokyo. Being a surfer, Reo already knows this area like the back of his hand, so whipping up a romantic date with little prep is no problem. He first takes Vivi to an upscale restaurant on the sea for lunch, before parking his car near the ocean with only Mount Fuji and a sunset in the distance. Vivi is wearing a denim jacket with a scene from Snow White on it — has her Prince Charming arrived? “I’m so happy, I could cry,” she says.

Picture perfect: Vivi (right) and Reo snap a selfie during their date at the beach on 'Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.' | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT
Picture perfect: Vivi (right) and Reo snap a selfie during their date at the beach on ‘Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.’ | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT

Next up, it’s Shion’s chance to impress Vivi. The two originally agreed to visit a museum, inspired by a Vincent Van Gogh postcard she gave him, but Shion throws those plans to the side and takes her to Asakusa, a district in Tokyo famous for its traditional aesthetics, to attend a tea ceremony lesson. Shion and Vivi ditch their duds for kimonos before making matcha under the guidance of a kind instructor.

The couple obviously had fun together, but Shion came off looking more like a gaijin hunter (a Japanese person who only dates non-Japanese people) than a genuine romantic suitor, especially when he brought up wanting to learn English several times during their very Japanese date.

“It shocked me that he would treat her like a foreign tourist,” panelist Yama-chan says. “(Going to get tea) is on the first page of a textbook of activities for initiating foreigners. It was such a stereotypical move!”

While having dinner with Hana back at the house, Reo and Shion talk about their respective dates, but keep details to a minimum, with both simply saying they had fun. Although Shion admits he can’t goof around with Vivi easily, while Reo says their conversations are as smooth as butter. Oh, brother!

Vivi isn’t the only one being pursued as the moment. After striking out in Kyoto, Toshiyuki is planning on taking Yume to her hometown in Hokkaido for a weekend of who knows what. Yume is keen to show him around her old stomping ground but Vivi and Hana are concerned about the trip being an overnighter. “Will you be safe? I’m worried for you,” Hana says. Toshiyuki repeatedly attempted to kiss Yume during their previous weekend trip, so what if he tries that again? “I’d have to go with however I’m feeling in the moment,” Yume says.

If you were confused when the boys tore through the house wearing oni (ogre) masks while the girls threw soybeans at them, yelling, “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi” (“Demons out, fortune in”), don’t worry, they’re just celebrating Setsubun, a festival that marks the end of winter. (I would be more weirded out by Toshiyuki busting out an ab workout in the middle of the festivities — why are you like this, bro?)

Inner demons: While celebrating a festival that marks the end of winter, the girls banish 'demons' from the house by throwing soybeans on 'Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.' | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT
Inner demons: While celebrating a festival that marks the end of winter, the girls banish ‘demons’ from the house by throwing soybeans on ‘Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.’ | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT

Afterward, Toshiyuki and Yume head to the playroom, turn on Episode 32 of the show they’re starring on, “Terrace House,” and watch a scene of past Vivi making out with former housemate Ryo. Instead of making a crude joke or attempting to reenact Vivi’s past make out session, Toshiyuki settles for a hug. Well, it’s more like he squeezes Yume close to his chest.

He continues his “nice guy” strategy by waking up early to make Yume some tea and offers to give her a ride to work. As she exits the car, he gives her a high five and blows a kiss. As several housemates and panel members have already said, the two are acting as if they are already in a committed relationship.

Since they are technically not dating just yet, Reo thinks he still has a shot. During this episode, he says he wants to go on a date with every girl, including Yume, but he just needs to find the right moment. When the gang gathers in the playroom to play Super Mario Bros., Reo and Yume end up sitting next to each other. Toshiyuki’s competitive side is out, but Reo doesn’t take the bait and stays chill when his character, Luigi, dies in the game. While Toshiyuki shows off his dexterity in the game, Reo turns to Yume and asks her out for drinks. “Watch yourself now,” Toshiyuki tells the game. Reo finalizes his plans with Yume in the background. “Oh my God,” Toshiyuki says. “I will never forgive Luigi.” I don’t think he means the video game character. Could it be game over for Toshiyuki and Yume? Will we ever find out?

Game 'ogre': Toshiyuki shows his competitive side while playing video games and pursuing Yume on 'Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.' | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT
Game ‘ogre’: Toshiyuki shows his competitive side while playing video games and pursuing Yume on ‘Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.’ | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT

No one’s home at “Terrace House”

Everyone, gather around the kitchen table because Alyssa and I have an announcement: While the show is going on hiatus, we are not. Yes, yes, we all would have liked to have seen the housemates under lockdown, the tension at two meters apart while our panelists chime in via Zoom to share their zingers and jokes, but safety comes first.

That said, we still need our “Terrace House” fix so we will continue to write about the show from the safety of our own homes until (fingers crossed) the show returns.

Also, we want to hear from you! If you have a favorite moment from “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020” so far, let us know in the comments section below.

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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