Kayako Hoshino’s studio is a simple, almost austere, combination of timber and concrete. She sits quietly on a wooden stool by her workbench on which stands the subject of our interview – the piece she loved so much that she kept it for herself. As cameras and recording equipment are checked and rechecked she waits patiently, enveloped in an ineffable sense of calm. She is quiet, elegant and gracious. Her studio, where our interview will take place, is flooded with light from encircling windows, with views that spill out across the great expanse of Lake Biwa before sweeping over brilliant green rice fields and upward to steeply forested mountains. It is a beautiful setting.