Take It From Me: Fujiwara Masaki

Fujiwara finds Malaysia's multiculturalism intriguing, enjoys trail hiking and has a soft spot for bak kut teh.

by / Published: 19 Dec 2017

Take It From Me: Fujiwara Masaki
Photo: KAO Malaysia

Occupation: President of KAO Malaysia
Nationality: Japanese
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 Medang 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!