Sandy Edwards (Toni Collette) is a geologist in her thirties. She works for a firm that designs software for a mining company run by Bill Baird (Matthew Dyktyniski), her ex-lover. When Tachibana Hironmitsu (Gotaro Tsunashima) arrives in Perth, Australia, she is assigned to give him a tour of the steelworks and ore fields in the northwestern part of the country. They do not hit if off very well after this young Japanese businessman shows his chauvinist colors by treating her as if she were nothing more than his chauffeur. The language barrier between them is heightened by the fact that Hironmitsu is a man who does not express his emotions well.
These unlikely companions find themselves in a very dangerous situation when their stalls in the soft sand. Sandy gets upset with herself for giving in to his desire to see more of the Outback. He has a chance to prove himself to her and together they manage to finally free the car from the sand. This close encounter with death surprises them both, and they find themselves attracted sexually to each other, even though is married. Then another unexpected event turns their relationship upside down. To reveal the exact nature of this pivotal happening would spoil the story. But it is a real dramatic corker!
Japanese Story is directed by Sue Brooks with a screenplay by Alison Tilson. The entire film works well as a cross-cultural gem revealing the clash in lifestyle and background between the uptight and arrogant Japanese businessman and the tough-talking, independent Aussie who is used to looking out for herself and dealing with trouble. This drama gives Toni Collette a chance to demonstrate the full range of her acting skills. She is on screen most of the story and manages to handle a rainbow of emotions as she responds to the unsettling events that eventually tenderize her heart.
Director Sue Brooks and writer Alison Tilson provide an audio commentary for the DVD. There are also a few deleted scenes, a photo gallery, and information on the cast and crew.