Having worked his way into the record books and the hearts of Japanese filmgoers with his phenomenally long-running Tora-San series, master director Yoji Yamada continues his Gakko run about unusual schools and unusual students with this youthful road movie. Daisuke (Yuta Kanai) is the very model of the troubled teen that blanket Japanese news stories. Withdrawn, alienated, and utterly uninterested in school, Daisuke is constantly on the receiving end of hectoring tirades by his workaholic father (Renji Kobayashi) and guilt trips by his bored housewife mother (Yoko Akino). At one such confrontation, Daisuke packs his bags and decides to thumb his way to Yakushima island off the coast of Kyushu to see the famed 7,200-year-old Jomon tree. The first truck driver who picks him up berates him just like his dad, so Daisuke tells him to sod off. Dropped off at a rest stop, he meets hard-drinking hard-driving Sasaki (Hidekazu Akai), who treats him with respect and gives him a couple thousand yen for helping him unload his truck. Later, he meets a tart-tongued rangy middle-aged woman (Rei Asami), who also works as a truck driver and who takes Daisuke under her wing. She lets him crash at her abode along with her corpulent son and her spunky teenage daughter. Daisuke feels strangely at home here, but he continues his adventures until he finally makes it to that fabled tree.
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