Malaysia Tatler - - STYLE -

The ja­panese have long been cap­ti­vated by the in­vis­i­ble but ob­vi­ous power that ex­ists in nat­u­ral cre­ation. And, this spir­i­tual con­nec­tion cre­ates a sense of car­ing and re­spect to­wards na­ture. The Shi­seido Fu­ture So­lu­tion LX is based on the con­cept of liv­ing, en­er­getic beauty which har­nesses na­ture’s vi­tal forces and merges it with tech­nol­ogy. Azby Brown, a New Or­leans na­tive is an ar­chi­tect, artist and au­thor liv­ing in Ja­pan. Well-versed on the sub­ject, he was in­vited by Shi­seido to give us a rudi­men­tary les­son on Shinto and Bud­dhism; we were for­tu­nate to visit the Ise Shrine where we ob­served the Shinto tra­di­tion in prac­tice. We find out what his thoughts are on beauty and how to lead a pro­duc­tive, happy life.

What made you fall in love with the Ja­panese cul­ture?

I first be­came fas­ci­nated with Ja­pan while I was in univer­sity. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing, I be­came a pro­fes­sor and started writ­ing books, both about the tra­di­tional as­pects of Ja­pan as well as con­tem­po­rary Ja­pan. I’ve been here a lit­tle over 30 years, so Ja­pan is re­ally my adopted home, and I’d like to give back what I feel the cul­ture, the coun­try, and the peo­ple have given to me.

Do you see some­thing in com­mon be­tween all these Ja­panese beauty brands?

I have to ad­mit, beauty is not a world that I’ve re­ally been a part of. I know it mainly be­cause of my wife, and she’s like many Ja­panese— she takes re­ally good care of her­self, wash­ing very care­fully ev­ery night, and I see what she uses, so I no­ticed the Ja­panese brands. Shi­seido, of course, is one of them. So I guess the com­mon­al­ity I see is a cer­tain kind of so­phis­ti­ca­tion that they try to con­vey in the im­agery and the pack­ag­ing—some­thing that’s sooth­ing, sub­tle and so­phis­ti­cated.

Do you think it comes from their roots of em­brac­ing na­ture?

I think it’s all con­nected with that; I think it’s also con­nected to the idea of what it means to be beau­ti­ful. What is beauty? And that beauty, it has to be in­nate. Beauty is not some­thing that you stick on your face, it’s some­thing that comes from in­side you. If you’re not healthy, you’re not tak­ing care of your­self, not get­ting good rest, for in­stance, then you’ll never re­ally be beau­ti­ful, so I feel that’s very con­nected.

Have you tried Shi­seido prod­ucts your­self and which one is your favourite?

Truth is, I haven’t, but I will say, I’m re­ally im­pressed by what I’ve seen with the Fu­ture So­lu­tion LX. My wife started to use it when I got in­volved with this project. She found the pack­ag­ing beau­ti­ful, and said to me, the next morn­ing she woke up, ‘This stuff re­ally is good!’ She looks young, she has good skin, she takes care of it, all the time, but she thought it was great. And she’s a very picky per­son, so this is prob­a­bly very good, from her point of view.

Over the years how has Ja­panese phi­los­o­phy changed your per­sonal life?

I find I’ve be­come a lot more pa­tient, and this started with that tem­ple car­pen­ter [whom he ap­pren­ticed for], where I had to wait three days be­fore he would meet me. I went ev­ery day and waited out­side, and then he fi­nally talked to me, and I feel I’ve be­come very pa­tient, and that is part of be­ing com­fort­able, hav­ing a kind of in­ner peace, and not be­ing so wor­ried.

With the young peo­ple com­ing out into the world, what ad­vice can you give them?

I would like to ad­vise them not to be in such a hurry. And I see that with my own son; he’s 21, he thinks he has to be suc­cess­ful im­me­di­ately, whereas I know life just goes on and on, there­fore peo­ple should take their time. I also would ad­vise young peo­ple to trust oth­ers; even though we see lots of bad things hap­pen­ing, the only good things hap­pen is when we trust peo­ple and es­tab­lish that un­der­stand­ing and shar­ing. So that will be the two big ones—not hurry and to trust.

QUIET CON­FI­DENCE If there’s any les­son that Azby Brown has learned from his Ja­panese mas­ter, it is to be pa­tient

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