Kyoto Grand Hotel and Mariachi Plaza

Megan and Annie

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4 thoughts on “Kyoto Grand Hotel and Mariachi Plaza

  1. 1. Describe your route to the location and what observations stood out the most during your travelling experience to the site.
    I took the Metrolink from the Claremont station, and from there I walked to the Kyoto Grand Hotel (now called the Doubletree Hilton Hotel of Los Angeles). I actually took a detour in between arriving at Union Station and going to the hotel; I walked a bit north first to get dim sum from Chinatown. Then from there, I walked to the hotel. What was interesting about my walk from Chinatown to the hotel (which was on the edge of Little Tokyo) was how many different cultures were packed into less than a square mile! In addition to seeing some bits of Chinese culture (even though Chinatown is not just Chinese) and Japanese culture, I also walked through Olvera street, which is Mexican. There, I saw vendors and a stage where there were performances happening. I was most surprised by how authentic everything felt; all three sites had enough mix of grit and beauty to feel like an authentic cultural experience as opposed to a glamorized Hollywood caricature.

    2. What observations stood out the most at the site?
    What struck me the most about the hotel was that everyone in the lobby was Japanese! Or, at least, they seemed to be from what I could tell from their conversations. This surprised me because even though the hotel is in Little Tokyo, the Doubletree is a very American brand, so I expected wealthy White tourists to be the main patrons of the hotel. However, I guess it makes sense for Japanese businessmen and wealthy Japanese tourists to be staying there since it was located and does have a very Japanese-style interior design.

    3. How are your partner’s travel photos different from your own?
    On a surface level, Megan’s photos are different from mine in that we went to two different places! That, and we also took two different modes of transportation: I took the Metrolink whereas she took the bus. Her pictures are also more gritty than mine; she took photos of murals on walls and a tower that Mariachis perform in. Those are spaces that are frequented by the public more easily than the spaces I took pictures of. My photos were of the hotel, the garden, and glamorous LA buildings. Those are more inaccessible spaces that are made for people with a high socioeconomic status.

    4. How are your partner’s travel photos similar to your own?
    We both took pictures that showcase the beauty of Los Angeles. The beauty in her photos lie in the architecture of the structures and in the murals on the walls, and the beauty in mine lies in the garden and the buildings.

    5. Why do you think your experiences are similar and/or different?
    I think they were different because we went to two totally different places: she went somewhere that was run by the people in the community, and I went somewhere that was run by a large corporation.

  2. 1. Describe your route to the location and what observations stood out the most during your travelling experience to the site?
    I had to take two buses in order to get to my destination, the first bus I took was the Dash transit which only costed me .50 cents. For an instance, I almost forgot how it was to take the bus. I use to always take this bus to get to my High School. The route to my other destination brought me back so many memories. I passed by a beautiful memorial of the Virgin Mary, that has been around for many years. It is a significant culture value to the community of East LA. The Dash was not so full and had older people as commuters. When I arrived to the 68 Metro bus line bus stop, there were old women who were waiting for the same bus. They were the sweetest women I ever met, they had a conversation with me until our bus arrived. When I finally got on my second bus, I observed that the 68 was more packed then the Dash. There was a mix of young and older commuters, there was only a small amount of seats available to sit on. I also observed that we passed many restaurants that have been around the city for a long time. It brought me back a lot of childhood memories, the last stop the bus stopped was in front of the White Memorial Hospital. I was actually born in that hospital, and was a little familiar with the area.

  3. 2. What observations stood out the most at the site?
    What I observed from the Mariachi Plaza was that it wasn’t full it seemed quite empty. On the side of the road there was about three vans that were lined up. On the windows of the vans they had “Mariachi” in big words, with their number in the bottom. Mariachi groups use this as a resource to advertise their business. I also noticed a café and outside the café there was tables and chairs. There was a few people drinking a coffee and chatting. The one thing that can’t go unnoticed is the tower that is in the middle of the Mariachi Plaza. This tower was given to the Boyle Heights community as a gift. As I stood in the middle of the tower I observed how people sat around the tower in benches. They were either eating their lunch, having a conversation with someone else, or reading a book. The most unique experience I had out of all this trip was recording these older men as they played their instruments. It was a beautiful moment hearing the melody these men played. They seemed like they came to the same spot every day.

  4. 3. How are your partner’s travel photos different from your own?
    My partners Annie’s photos are different from my photos because we both came from two different places. She took the Metro link and I took two different buses; she was traveling from Pomona and I was traveling from East LA. Annie captured pictures of in and outside of the Hotel she visited. She also captured pictures of a garden. In the Mariachi Plaza there wasn’t a garden around; only trees. She was able to have a different perspective on her location, she had more things to observe like the hotel, garden, and the LA buildings.
    4. How are your partner’s travel photos similar to your own?
    In the way my partners photos are similar to mine are that she took pictures of the inside of the transit, and I took pictures of the inside of the bus. Although the pictures looked different, we completed the same task. We both captured pictures from the city of LA. Although they were both in different locations they were both in the same city.
    5. Why do you think your experiences are similar and/or different?
    I believe our experiences were different because she came from Pomona and I was traveling from East LA. It took me about 30 minutes to get to my location versus Annie her travel time might have been longer than mine. Annie was able to experience the architecture of the inside and the outside of a building. She also had the opportunity to visit a garden and try some food before she arrived to her destination.

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