Having lived abroad for a long time, the musician Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches) returns to Hawaii. He doesn’t even know what he came looking for. There is a wordless past that can be heard in his melancholy, wailing saxophone solos. He roams forlornly until he meets Akiko, an older woman who takes him under her wing. She drives him around the beautiful green island and meanwhile talks openly about her own life. As their relationship blossoms, Alex starts feeling increasingly at home. Akiko teaches him to handle 'ha', the spirit that links him to his birthplace.
This story of an uprooted cosmopolitan who finds himself again is told in an almost matter-of-fact way. Alex and Akiko move as if weightless in a fairy-tale atmosphere that is reminiscent of Asian art-house films of the late twentieth century. Here the belief in spirits is easier to understand, and even feel.