Licensing

The garden at the New Otani Hotel is a small half-acre of land that is located on the third floor of the New Otani Hotel. It is for this reason that it is called the "Floating Garden", because when one looks out from the garden it appears as though you are magnificently perched among the downtown skyscrapers. The garden at the New Otani Hotel is actually a half-acre version of a 10 acre, 400 year old garden at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo, Japan. The garden consists of (among other things) cherry trees, azaleas, numerous stone lanters as well as some red boulders from the late Yonetaro Otani, the founder of the Otani Hotel line.
The New Otani garden is modeled to be a traditional Japanese Stroll garden. There are three general types of garden in the Japanese style, the Zen Garden, the Tea Garden, and the Stroll Garden. The general characteristics of a Stroll Garden include the use of a pond in the center and a pathway that runs through it. In addition, everything used in the garden (ie. rocks, trees, flowers) is representational. A Stroll Garden is supposed to allow the visitor to visit many destinations while remaining in the garden. Therefore, rocks can represent entire mountain ranges, a tree can represent a forest, and the pond, an ocean. The path is very important for the Stroll Garden as it represents the journey, through which the visitor travels to the different destinations.
Although I was unable to visit the garden, my group mates informed me of how they felt that the garden was very inauthentic. They felt that it was forced, like it was presenting what an American would want to see. To be fairly honest, upon visiting their website I got that very same impression. The first line on the website is, "A Japanese Garden is a many splendid thing" (www.newotani.com/garden), and this instantly read to me as a cheesy Americanized stereotype of "Zen proverb". From there, it continues to go on in that same tone, using terms such as graceful, simplicity, and Zen. To me, this made the garden totally unappealing because I felt like the website was trying to force down my throat all of the things that I perceive to be "Asian". Even though to me, all the things they presented I felt were cliché and stereotypes of Asian and Japanese. The website was portraying exactly what we discussed earlier this year in regards to collecting. All those ideas that we as Americans have collected to define "the east" is what was represented on the website.
The garden is located at 120 S. Los Angeles St., LA, CA 90012. They can be reached at (213)-629-1200. For more information on the New Otani Hotel and Garden please visit www.newotani.com

kmammoser — Last modified Mar 30 2011 8:01 p.m.

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New Otani Garden

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