A short walk along a twisting, narrow stone path branching off a busy road through Tokyo's Yanaka district brings you to the warm glow of a small andon lamp, its paper shade mounted on a wooden frame.

There, in a square hardly bigger than a handkerchief and surrounded on all sides by wooden houses, the air is moist, cool and smells pleasantly mossy even on a sunny day. To the left is a reed screen door. If you press the bell beside it, you'll hear the rustle of movement and soon the rattle of a glazed door sliding open as Jim Hathaway, an American sumi-e (ink painting) artist, welcomes you to his nagaya studio and gallery.