Category Archives: Books

December 26, 2015

Like many people, I am always trying to improve myself and find ways to live more fully and more mindfully. This Giveaway project has been a large part of my recent efforts, one that has forced me to de-clutter my material surroundings, strengthen my relationships and hone my writing skills. Including writing as a path towards self-improvement has been a recent practice. More typically I have turned to reading the advice of others to help me become a better person, buying numerous books over the years to help me become a better parent, a better partner, a better eater, and a more thoughtful and greener consumer.

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December 25, 2015

I enjoy Christmas as a festival celebrating family and loved ones, and I particularly enjoy celebrating Christmas with our son Theo, who like most children, enjoy the anticipation of this special day of trees, gifts and songs. (Santa no longer plays a role for him now that he’s 10). But not being a Christian, I haven’t felt a real connection to the true reason for the Holiday. To my sister-in-law Judy, however, the Holiday has a very different meaning.

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December 14, 2015

Today, I attended a meeting at USC Pacific Asia Museum, where I worked for almost nine years, and with which have remained in touch to varying degrees over the nine years since I left. While I was there, I gave three books to three members of the museum’s staff. They are all colleagues who began working at the museum after I left, so I haven’t had the opportunity to work closely with them. Yet, their professionalism and warmth reassure me that this museum, which I still care deeply about, is in good hands.

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December 8, 2015

When I first joined Pacific Asia Museum as a curator in January 1998, I was very green and more than a little intimidated. It was my first job as a curator, and though I had spent the last few years studying Asian art, I wasn’t sure how well I would be able to translate my newly acquired skills into curating exhibitions and giving lectures about art.

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November 29, 2015

This afternoon I spent a lovely couple of hours folding paper with people I barely know. I had organized an origami workshop at the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden today as part of the garden’s last Open Day of the year. The idea was to offer a relaxing afternoon to people who might be a little overwhelmed by the Holiday season. Very few people attended the origami workshop – about five kids and maybe ten adults – but one group stayed for almost two hours, folding foxes, rabbits and cat faces. The workshop was surprisingly therapeutic.

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November 24, 2015

It was the summer of 1995. I had just finished my Masters at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) majoring in Japanese art. I had invested the last two years of my life and all of my savings studying Asian art. I loved what I’d been studying and was determined to make this career choice work. However, at that time there were probably literally 10 full-time positions in the whole of the UK in the Asian art field, and they were taken. The Japanese economy had crashed a couple of years before, followed by its art market, so this made my area of specialty particularly troublesome. Soon after I completed my studies, I understood it was going to take a miracle for me to become an Asian art historian. Sam was my miracle.

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