kelly kikuchi


Lemon Hotel | Audio Script & Performance

the task

Create a one-of-a-kind aural experience for English-speaking art tourists to the Seto Inland Sea.

the client

Smiles is a Tokyo-based multi-brand company headed by visionary CEO Masamichi Toyama.  Our decade-long collaboration involves harnessing, funneling and translating his whimsical ideas into intiatives that are inspiring, intriguing and fun.
Projects on the Smiles website
I have had a hand in.

the project

Lemon Hotel is a hybrid destination hospitality/art experience on the Seto Inland Sea, an area famous for its world class art festival.

Smiles purchased and renovated a 90-year old traditional Japanese home in an area famous for its lemon groves, renovating it as a walk-through art experience. 

Below, please find the script for the audioguide (which I also performed) which helps visitors to interact with the space.

Welcome to Lemon Hotel

Here, we ask men and women to couple up.

If you are without a partner, please wait here for one to find you.

Actually, gender is irrelevant and  

If you really can’t find a special someone, a platonic pairing will do.

Just make sure not to go alone.

Once you have paired off, share an audio guide between you, putting on each other’s headphones.  Go over to where the lemon yellow cloth is, in front of the clear building. Push “1” and follow the guide’s directions.


This scene is tinted a pale yellow, as if vegetable-dyed by Toyoshima lemons. As the music starts, play for a moment with the yellow fabric as if in an ad for laundry detergent, then enter through the door.


Welcome to Lemon Hotel.

Lemon Hotel was started in July 2016.

Each day a single group of guests can have this hotel entirely to themselves.

Lemon Hotel, Lemon Hotel, Welcome to Lemon Hotel.

Piqued your interest? Make your reservations soon.


The trees here are Toyoshima Lemon trees

If you rub the leaves on them with your fingers, they will smell faintly of lemons. Both of you, breathe in deeply, imprint the memory of this fragrance in your noses.


You could even bathe nude in these hot spring baths, if you booked a stay here. Stay here at least once before your life ends.

5. The painting to the right of the bath is “Monet’s Lotus Salad” by Kosuke Tsumura. Tonight, or even sometime after tomorrow, when there’s a break in the conversation, have an intellectual discussion about this piece.

What kind of dressing is on the salad?

Did they even have salad in Monet’s time?

Is this a lotus root salad?

Please pursue this debate.


This, this is a crocodile pond.


Whatever you do, DON’T fall into this pond.

You’ll be eaten by crocodiles if you do.

Take one another’s hand and help each other cross the pond together carefully.

7. The Observatory

Climb up to the deck as a pair, with one person looking through the binoculars while the other asks softly, “What do you see?”

8. Lemon Watch Deluxe

More advanced than in the Apple era, Lemon Watch is a watch equipped with telephone functionality. The deluxe type, in modern lingo referred to as “non-mobile”, is stylishly refined and of an incomparable sense of weight. In addition, it is fitted with an amulet, a good luck charm from the evil spirit –expelling Sano Yakuyoke Daishi shrine, to prevent such accidents like your partner’s father answering the other end of phone line and so on. Good Luck!

9. Lemon Hotel Photo Studio

When you take off your shoes and enter, you’ll find yourselves in the Lemon Hotel Photo Studio. If there are more than six groups, you’ll wait your turn here.  Once inside, sit in the chair for two, face the camera and push 6. Do a Cheeky Lemon, take a selfie with your smartphone and post it to social media with #lemonhotel—that becomes the artwork.

10. Welcome to the Lemon Hotel Photo Studio

11. The piece ends here. Take off your headphones. Bet if you order a Lemon Squash or one of those trendy Lemon Sours it will surely make the memory of this wonderful journey.

Then head to the lemon grove.

If you should ever ride double on a bicycle, it will take you back to those days.

Welcome to the Lemon Hotel Photo Studio

If you are listening to this now, it means that you weren’t eaten by crocodiles, were you? Whew! That’s good news.  I mean, if you had been eaten by crocodiles, it would have definitely made someone sad. Isn’t that right?


Face the person next to you and give them a hi-five. Over and over again.

We weren’t, like, eaten by crocodiles! We’re alive! We’re alive! We’re alive!

Now gaze into each other’s eyes—it’s embarrassing.


Though you have surely already forgotten it, now really REMEMBER that lemony fragrance.

Is it sowwwwweeer? Sour?

Close your eyes.

Hurry and take a deep, slow breath.

Hug yourself.

Is there really such a thing as romance?

There is!  In other words, someday, with someone, there is romance!

Open your eyes.

Close your eyes again.

Now imagine the sky you saw when you were in high school,  or the the blackest blue of the deepest depths of the ocean, or white clouds as they swim across the sky. A Bi------g sky, a breathtaking sea white clouds just in flight. You’d like to doze off.  A breeze.

Open your eyes.

This is out of the blue, but just for now hold hands with the person next to you as if they were someone you have longed to meet or your sweetheart and do your best to convey your feelings and gratitude through your hands.

Let go.

They got it, didn’t they?

And now it’s almost time for the main event.

Here, in the Lemon Hotel Photo Studio, do a Cheeky Lemon.

Just what do we mean by Cheeky Lemon?  Cheeky Lemon is taking a selfie of  you holding a lemon between your cheek and your partners cheek. The big picture in front is of just that.

So, get your phone camera ready to take a selfie.


You ready?

Then take the lemon and squeeze it between your cheeks, then take a selfie.

Don’t get embarrassed!

Ok, here we go…lemon to cheeks…..squeeze!

And say cheese.

Yes. Le-mon!

Once more time.

Yes. Le-mon!

You got a great Cheeky Lemon there!

what i did
Narrative Performance
Kelly Kikuchi  2019