Please come again

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An experimental documentary short exploring the collective and personal memories of three generations of Asian women, a narrative journey of navigating the themed rooms of Japanese love hotels as a metaphor for the female body.

Love hotels originated in Japan and it is a type of business unique to Asia. These hotels allow for a wide variety of fantasy “sets” for erotic experiences in very crowded cities. Besides the pressure of conforming to regulation of public morality laws , Japan’s love hotels are motivated to change their image for two reasons: one, women are less inclined to go to love hotels since they have been the depicted in TV shows, manga, and literature as a place of crime and nefarious activities; and two, woman, are increasingly the ones deciding the love hotel they want to go to. Concurrent to recent rise of women entering the workforce, choosing careers over the traditional homemaker role of marriage, women in Japan are exploring their sexuality and identity in increasing numbers. Just as women are demanding to be the one to choose the love hotels in the relationship, they are proclaiming ownership of their bodies, demanding fulfillment of their desires and pleasure. They are rejecting the prosaic attitudes that women’s bodies are in servitude to their husband, family, and society.

Design trends were constricted by “public moral regulations” and the current popular fantasy of sexual desires. The film set quality of extravagant appropriation of Western culture cliché and sexualized space of the 80s are fazed out in favor of a more minimal, luxurious, spa resort design. What remains the same is the exotic appeal of the otherworldliness, a safe and private space to explore love, sexuality, and intimacy. When the social expectation of being and interacting is dependent of group mentality instead of individuality, there is no real dedicated space for individuals to authentically occupy. Perhaps this is one of the reasons love hotels are necessities in Japanese culture but not needed in Western cultures. Although an inauthentic environment, love hotels tries to fill in the gap by manufacturing images of both home and rootlessness, nostalgia and unfamiliarity to give permission for being yourself.

I immediately identified with this sentiment of dislocation. Being an Asian American, I am either seen as a foreigner in America, or regarded as white-washed in my homeland of Taiwan. I inherited both cultures and an incongruent identity, a collage of Asianness and Western cliche.