SAD TEA directed by Rikiya Imaizumi, 26th TIFF – Japanese Cinema Splash


Director/Screenplay/Editor : Rikiya Imaizumi, Cinematographer : Hiroshi Iwanaga, Sound Director : Asuka Nemoto, Music : TRIPLE FIRE, Producer : Koji Ichihashi, Starring: Seiji Okabe, Fumiko Aoyagi, Chika Uchida, Chihiro Nagai, Junya Abe, Aya Kunitake, Takuya Fuji, Yumi Sato,Tomohisa Takeda and Kayo Hoshino


The Sad Tea begins with a comical tone, showing a jogger who runs back and forth in the small park and keeps this sense of humor throughout the film. It depicts the love relationships of a group of young people, namely the film director who is two-timing with two girl friends and young man who has been in love with an “idol” star of yesteryear for a very long time.

The scene changes to the café kitchen where a young part time waitress, Tanako Aoki is confessing love to her manager, Bon-san. Bon-san’s nerdy character really starts to show that night, when he breaks this amazing news to his wife, Masako during dinner. Having explained what happened to himself that day, his frustrated wife tells him how immature and ridiculous he sounds to her. “What do you expect me to say?”

After a while, Tanako who had hots for cafe manager Bon-san is now interested in a film director, Shin Kashiwagi, who’s a regular customer of the café. He frankly tells the Tanako that he is seeing two girls at the same time. Attracted to him, she sits with him after her shift is over at the cafe. The mood of the film changes from the comical one to the love story with appearance of Shin Kashiwagi, but it never seems to really lose that touch of humour.


A young girl friend, Midori sews her dress and asks if he likes the color of the cloth while Shin types script on his lap top in the small room. He doesn’t have a good answer for her but they still enjoy listening to the upbeat music together. “If there’s a person you admire, but if you knew the person will never be yours; then don’t you wish you’ve never met?” Midori says. Being in love with a man who is two-timing her and knowing it makes Midori wish that she never knew it.

When the morning comes, Shin returns to the apartment where another girlfriend, Yuko awaits him. It’s a different life for him. The food is ready for him on the table and she leaves for work at the manicure salon.

Yuko spends the day at the work listening to another manicurist, Natsu Komoto gossip about a patron who is seeing a younger lover behind her husband’s back. Although Natsu is engaged to a man with a bad temper, she looks forward to her wedding day. She makes plans to meet her fan from the yesteryear when she was an idol star.


Each characters who appear in the film seem to take their love relationship seriously in their own ways. When you see them making decisions about how to handle their relationships, it makes you feel that modern love needs truth and honesty.

26th TIFF Japanese Cinema Splash screening info


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