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In the beginning of ch. 53, Chiaki comments that it is their first day in Paris. Later, in the flashback in the dinner scene, we learn that the entrance exams to the conservatoire that Nodame is going to attend were a month ago, in February. After I also saw:

  1. Nodame's demand in the morning to be taken sightseeing
  2. Nodame's comment in the "Prelude" to ch. 53, which takes place around a month before the entrance exams, that she could hold off her departure from Japan until June but would not because Chiaki wanted to leave with her and as soon as possible

I assumed that Nodame did not have to take the entrance exams in Europe, or at least not in France, and that prior to ch. 53, Nodame and Chiaki had not stepped foot in Europe. (Nodame's severe lack of French competency and her response after Chiaki tells her to look up and admire the nighttime Paris scenery also corroborates this for me. However, the former could simply indicate that Nodame and Chiaki simply were not in France for most or all of the period before ch. 53, and the latter makes sense so long as they arrived in Europe relatively recently.)

However, at the end of the chapter, we learn that Frank, who lives in Nodame's new apartment building, is French, and that he was the person whom Nodame met at the exam. As a result, it occurred to me that the entrance exams might have been in Europe — the conservatoire is in Paris, and it would thus be strange for someone already based in France to have to travel a long distance to take an entrance exam for it.

Is there actually an inconsistency, or is something wrong in my logic (particularly with how I am dealing with (2))? (If my logic is wrong, I imagine the anime adaptation, which shows Nodame and Chiaki landing and moving in in the same episode, might have played a part in confusing me.)

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In chapter 109, Kuroki says, in February, that he is taking care of Rima Namura, as a favour to his old teacher. Rima is in Paris to take a conservatory entrance exam. From details in ch. 110, we can tell that Rima is preparing for the exam in the conservatoire that Nodame attends.

With this in mind, the most reasonable interpretation is that Nodame needed to fly out to Paris to for her entrance exams, and that afterwards (and with the results in hand), she returned to Japan before moving to Paris with Chiaki in March. In her conversation with her friends then, she must have been referring to when she was planning to depart "for good". Her need to go sightseeing when she returns to Paris in March is not too implausible either: perhaps she was on a tight schedule and would not have been able to do any tourist activities while there for the exam.

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