This film chronicles a summer in the lives of a quirky, artistically inclined Japanese clan: Yoshiko (Tezuka), a retired animator, has decided to ply her trade again, which causes her husband Nobuo (Miura), an apprentice hypnotherapist practicing his skills on the family, some consternation. Meanwhile, their son Hajime (Sato) is coping with a school-age crush, and their 8-year-old daughter Sachiko (Banno) is disturbed by the inexplicable appearance of a giant doppelgänger. Then there's the highly musical grandfather Akira (Gasyuin), a bizarre but insightful old man who resides in a world of pure imagination.
Ishii's low-key, affecting look at the most eccentric family this side of the “Royal Tenenbaums” gets a lot of mileage out of the richness of its characters, including Japanese heartthrob Tadanobu Asano, the uncle who returns to deal with unresolved feelings for a girlfriend he let slip away. But there are elements of pure fantasy, too, especially around Sachiko’s encounters with her ghostly double. The Harunos emerge as a loving, compassionately drawn family dealing with conflicts beyond their control. Bring home “The Taste of Tea”!