The story of the wheel and flute.

Tom Romita's Italian deli and restaurant in St George's Street, Winchester has always been an international meeting place for ex-pats and local aficionados of good food and coffees. Last week, on June 6, Tom, his Japanese wife Hiromi and his son Yuichi hosted an event at the Discovery Centre for one of Japan's leading master potters, Tarouemon Nakazato and the renowned bamboo flautist, Kazuya Sato.

Why did they come to Winchester? Tom's son, Yuichi, a graduate of the University of Arts, London and a Barton Peveril College old boy, has become an apprentice potter in Kyushu, Japan with Mr Nakazato. The latter's family have been master potters in Japan for over 400 years. The family name is synonymous with the production of Karatsu ceramics.

The Master, following a video presentation of his work, answered questions from the audience, assisted by an interpreter, Naoe Foley, a Japanese pianist and long-term resident in Winchester. His bowls, cups and small dishes were on display at the Discovery Centre for some of the 200 attendees at the demonstration, to touch and feel his work.

The Karatsu potters are particularly meticulous about the materials they use. They produce clay by gathering raw materials from nearby mountains, pulverising rocks, separating particles by size and kneading them to achieve the desired consistency. They also produce glazes using ash from burned plants. The Master's pottery exhibited a remarkable degree of variation in terms of glazes, decorative elements and shapes.

The Master was followed by his friend and young protégé, Mr Sato. He is also from the island of Kyushu and was raised in Karatsu City near the ocean. Yuichi, Tom's son, is serving his five-year apprenticeship with the Master Potter near the city.

Mr Sato was dressed in a white flowing, traditional Japanese robe with a black sash around his waist containing four separate sizes of bamboo flutes. His command of the instrument was stunning, giving the audience a recital of traditional Japanese folk music: lullabies, laments and recent compositions which have won him awards in music festivals in Japan. His solo CD albums have also been much praised. He further delighted his first ever English audience with his own rendering of the traditional English folk melody, Greensleeves.

Both the Master and Mr Sato were delighted by the warm reception in Winchester on their first ever visit to England and would like to return to the ancient capital.

The poster of 'The story of wheel and flute’, widely seen in Winchester, featured Kazuya Sato in traditional costume. It was designed and set by Yoko Romita, Tom's daughter, also Barton Peveril educated, but now based, as a celebrated graphic/designer artist, in Berlin. She recently designed posters for Angela Merkel's election campaign in Germany.

John Harding