Submitted by Tornado Dragon

While Boyd (Dave Boyle) is out and about one day, he crosses paths with Mai (Rachel Morihiro), his only English language student whom he is developing a mutual attraction to (but who apparently doesn’t know that she is his only student). As they chat, Mai offers to help him out with his Tiger Industries company by working in the advertising department, and he gladly accepts. Later, they stop outside Murakami’s (James Kyson Lee) bookstore in Japantown, which Boyd has been banned from after Murakami repeatedly caught him trying to sell his book, the Power of Words (which teaches Japanese people how to improve their English language skills and make American friends), in there without his permission. Mai goes in while Boyd waits outside, and she fails to notice the “Warning: No Boyd” sign that Murakami has posted on the door. Having seen them from the checkout, Murakami asks Mai if Boyd has just sold her his book, and when she replies that he has, he goes out to confront Boyd, thinking that he sold it to her outside the store just now. He first chastises Boyd for returning and for “bothering” another Japanese person, then tells him in the harshest tone possible that he is not Japanese and never will be, no matter how good his Japanese language skills are or what social customs he observes, and then he orders him to get out of Japantown. Mai then exits the store after having heard what just transpired, and Boyd directs her attention to the warning sign. He then returns to his apartment alone, and once there, his frustrations over his inability to achieve anything significant for Tiger Industries finally boil over, which results in him trashing the apartment and ripping apart all the copies of his book that he has. Meanwhile, his roommate, Jerome (Jayson Watabe), visits his Mexican-American friend, Andy (Drew Knight), at the Japanese restaurant where he works, and he eventually talks to him about how frustrated he is over how he has always felt too American to be Japanese, but too Japanese to be American.

Later, Mai pays Boyd a visit at his apartment with Murakami’s warning sign in her possession (presumably, she had told Murakami all about how helpful Boyd has been to her), and she and Boyd burn it outside. As they watch it go up in smoke, Boyd confesses to Mai that she is his only student, and she replies that she knows this. However, she tells him that she still wants to continue her English lessons with him, so they agree to have another lesson on Friday at 8:00 p.m. However, on the morning of, Boyd gets a call from Mr. Ozu (Michael Yama), the president of Sanzuo Imports (whom he sold a copy of his book to at the start of the movie), requesting the use of Tiger Industries’ translation services. He explains that his company is going to be buying a factory in Mexico soon, and his representatives will be meeting with the factory’s owner, Mr. Gonzalez (Pepe Serna), at a Japanese restaurant tonight to talk about matters pertaining to it, so he needs a translator who can speak Spanish. Though this jeopardizes his date with Mai, Boyd agrees to come to the meeting with a translator. He then finds Andy and asks him to serve as the translator, and Andy agrees to do it for half of the proceeds that Boyd will be receiving. The two of them then go back to Boyd’s place, and Boyd tells Jerome that they finally got a translation gig, but it is scheduled to take place tonight, and he might not make it back here in time for his English lesson with Mai at 8:00. He ends up getting Jerome to agree that, if he does not return by 8:00, then he must teach the lesson until he gets back.

The meeting goes past 8:00, primarily due to the businessmen getting drunk on sake, and when it finally concludes, Boyd dashes back to his apartment with Andy trailing behind. While all of this is happening, Mai arrives at Boyd’s apartment at the scheduled time, and Jerome greets her at the door and tells her that he will be teaching tonight. However, it turns out that she is not alone; she has brought along 13 other Japanese people who are also eager to learn how to improve their English. Jerome eventually asks everyone if they don’t mind learning English from a Japanese guy, and they all reply that they are fine with that, with one person telling him that he is a bridge between two cultures and that he should feel very lucky about that. Boyd arrives shortly afterwards, and after seeing the turnout, he exchanges smiles with Mai.

Some days later, Jerome is shown doing his sumo training in a more proper fashion, and both he and Boyd get invited out to play golf with Mr. Ozu, where Boyd tells him that the meeting with Mr. Gonzalez went quite well. When Boyd and Jerome have a private chat with Mr. Ozu after the game, Mr. Ozu tells Boyd that he wants his translation service to work full-time for Sanzuo Imports, plus his company wants to order more copies of The Power of Words. Boyd later arranges a private party between Tiger Industries and Sanzuo Imports to celebrate their new partnership, and he holds it at the same Japanese restaurant that the earlier meeting with Mr. Gonzalez was held at, plus he invites his father to come to it. Jerome, Andy, and Mai also attend the party, and Boyd gives Mai an Employee of the Month award as gratitude for helping him get more students. She then sits shoulder-to-shoulder with him, implying that their relationship will officially become romantic.

Boyd is then shown at Murakami’s bookstore doing a book signing, and a Japanese-American man comes up to him with a copy of The Power of Words and introduces himself as a businessman, like how Boyd does. As the credits roll, we see numerous people featured in the film reading Boyd’s book (including Murakami), and the last shot we see is of Boyd and Mai taking a pleasant tandem bicycle ride together.

01 hours 26 minutes