Take it from me Fu­ji­wara Masaki

Expatriate Lifestyle - - December - In­ter­view by Tania Jay­ati­laka


Fu­ji­wara Masaki


Pres­i­dent of KAO Malaysia



Time in Malaysia:

3 years, 6 months

Fu­ji­wara Masaki goes back a long way with Ja­pan’s top per­sonal care and house­hold prod­ucts man­u­fac­turer, KAO. Fu­ji­wara be­gan his ca­reer with KAO Ja­pan in 1989, and re­mained there for 25 years be­fore be­ing elected Pres­i­dent of KAO Cor­po­ra­tion’s over­seas sub­sidiary, KAO Malaysia – a long­stand­ing leader in the Malaysian mar­ket with brands like Biore, At­tack, Lau­rier, Liese, Curél and oth­ers.

Dis­cov­er­ing Malaysian cul­ture

I would have to say that I found the Malaysian peo­ple most en­dear­ing when I first ar­rived. Com­ing from Ja­pan, I have never truly ex­pe­ri­enced a mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety. The tra­di­tions and taboos, the food and even the lan­guages in Malaysia are all so dif­fer­ent. Yet, Malaysians learn to live co­he­sively and with tremen­dous re­spect for one an­other’s cul­ture and re­li­gion. It’s a beau­ti­ful sight.

First or­der of business

Com­ing from a coun­try with only one ma­jor cul­ture to one that con­sists of many dif­fer­ent races and cul­tures has been an eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The first chal­lenge I en­coun­tered here was in the of­fice it­self. De­part­ments in KAO were lo­cated on dif­fer­ent floors in the build­ing, which I felt dis­rupted the abil­ity to get work done smoothly. The first thing I did was to change the lay­out of floors and de­part­ments so that ev­ery­one could work closely with each other to in­crease ef­fi­ciency. It wasn’t easy, but it helped our team tremen­dously.

Favourite food

To be honest, I am too spoilt for choice here! I love the many dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of food that you can find in Malaysia. To men­tion a few, they would have to be nasi lemak, bak kut teh, pan mee, nasi kan­dar and many more. My favourite would be bak kut teh – all my guests from Ja­pan ask me to take them out for bak kut teh at least once a week.

Restau­rant rec­om­men­da­tions

Nearby our of­fice in Pe­tal­ing Jaya there’s a restau­rant called Green View Restau­rant, where they serve the best fried rice in the world – I’ve never tasted bet­ter. When it comes to Ja­panese food, I would strongly rec­om­mend ev­ery­one try these two Ja­panese restau­rants in Desa Sri Har­ta­mas: Tori­doki and Fukuda Yak­i­tori Din­ing. The chicken meat at these places is some­thing spe­cial – fresh and de­li­cious. The Ja­panese-style grilled chicken yak­i­tori served here is even bet­ter than the one we get in Ja­pan!

The great out­doors

I love na­ture, so one of my favourite ac­tiv­i­ties here is hik­ing. When I ar­rived, I signed up with the KAO Malaysia Hik­ing Club. I en­joy the many dif­fer­ent hik­ing trails here and just last month we had a great time hik­ing up to the Lata Men­dang Wa­ter­fall in Kuala Kubu Bharu.

Ad­vice on mov­ing to Malaysia

You’ve got to watch out for the food. It’s so good that you won’t be able to stop eat­ing. It’s de­li­cious but it also con­tains high calo­ries. You don’t get a chance to walk dur­ing nor­mal work­ing days so you have to work out dur­ing the week­end so you don’t gain weight! EL

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