I met Frances over 20 years ago in London when we were working on our Masters degrees in Asian art at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studied (SOAS). Her main field of interest was Chinese art and mine was Japanese, so we didn’t take many classes together – only a course in Chinese ceramics, which was highlight of my Masters program. We didn’t know each other terribly well, but I believe we respected each other’s knowledge and work ethic. After I graduated I ended up moving West to California, and Frances moved East to Hong Kong, working as an editor for an illustrious Asian art magazine, an impressive position in a profession with sadly few employment opportunities.
Every few months I receive a phone call from Mr. Yajima telling me he’s in Los Angeles and would like to discuss one of the projects he’s involved in with me – usually something to do with Asian art. I first met Mr. Yajima about 15 years ago, when I was curating an exhibition for Pacific Asia Museum on Buddhist art and iconography and writing a related book on the subject called Reading Buddhist Art. At that time, he was involved with a Chinese embroidery company that specialized in Buddhist embroideries, many of them made for Japanese Buddhist temples. He kindly arranged to lend me a couple of these impressive works for my exhibition and some images for my book. When the exhibition opened and my book came out. Mr. Yajima came to my book signing at the museum and made my day by buying ten copies of my book!