PARIS – In her 17 years in public relations at Louis Vuitton in Paris, June Fujiwara is often asked the same question: “Why do you meditate?” Although born in Japan, she has never practiced meditation and finds the investigation confusing, as she associates the word “Zen” with a branch of Buddhism, rather than a state of mind. .
“I don’t find myself particularly stressed, or calm, or anything, so I really don’t get that question. Until the world stopped, and I realized that maybe I have a different way of dealing with things. And it took me a while to realize that, because I think it’s like asking a fish, “Why do you swim against the tide so well?” “Fujiwara said.
When work halted during the first shutdown in March 2020 during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, she began to reflect on her identity and cultural values. That period of introspection coincided with her leaving her job and realizing her long-held dream of writing a book in French.
“Les secret du savoir-faire nippon” (“Secrets of the Japanese Way of Life”), published by Les Éditions de l’Opportun, is her attempt to explain the basic concepts of thinking. Japan and how it can help people navigate tumultuous times. While being organized plays an important role, this is not Marie Kondo’s manual.
Instead, Fujiwara highlights the benefits of slowing down and focuses on the four concepts that mean the most to her: mujō, or the concept of impermanence; wa, or harmony; wabi-sabi, temporary and imperfect acceptance, and okiyome, a purification ritual.
“I knew it had to come from within and be quite personal and authentic,” she explains. “I think the basic thing that makes you you is what stays in you, right? So I think that has never changed in me, but I’m not conscious of it.” Writing her first book was all about going back to the essentials.
“I mean the two concepts of impermanence and wabi-sabi, which are commonly known and talked about in Japan as founding aesthetic or cultural values. Harmony, wa, has never been conceptualized. But that’s the word we use to talk about everything Japanese,” she said.
“I hesitated, but I think that if I don’t explain this concept and how Japanese people live together without asserting their own individuality, there’s a lot I can’t explain,” added Fujiwara. .
As it turns out, wa, which implies putting community harmony above personal interests, is confusing to the French. After all, this is a country where a 50-day transport strike in 2019 was met with little more than a Gallic shrug.
“France has a very sacred liberal history and culture. Not at all in Japan. And people don’t really understand this part. So that’s why they would say, ‘Oh, the Japanese are so timid. They don’t have any opinions,” said Fujiwara. “And I have always hated this image, because it is not true. But the way of living together in France and Japan is completely opposite.”
The last concept, purification, is also something that is more or less taken for granted in Japan. “It’s something that people usually do, so I think some Japanese would be surprised when I put it on the same level as wabi-sabi,” she said.
“Of course, we are not monks, so everyone is stressed, tired and angry, and how do we deal with this? And I feel like in Japan we have a lot of ways to reboot ourselves, which comes from the tradition of purifying your mind, your body, which also explains a lot of why. We are very obsessive about being organized and clean,” she added.
New Year is a prime example. To start the year with cleanliness, the Japanese usually clean a large house, called an osouji. “I think this is the right time to clear your mind, so I prepare for New Year’s resolutions,” said Fujiwara. “I love this new feeling. You really take a step back and say, OK, what better can I do? ”
But don’t look to her for motivational quotes or advice on how to achieve mindfulness.
“I’m not very comfortable with that word, because I’m not sure exactly what it means. The only possible thing I can say is try to take some time, some time in your daily or weekly life, to try to be yourself, because normally we don’t have time. there, and we have some roles to play,” she said.
“We’re the perfect co-worker, we’re the perfect parent, we’re the perfect lover, or whatever, and it’s like enjoying this refreshing moment when you feel like a the kid comes back, and you’re just amazed in a forest, seeing things, or picking up rocks and thinking they’re treasures,” she continued.
“We spend our lives working, on Amazon at the same time and Delivering your dinner at the same time, doing this and that and we are proud of ourselves, because we have it all, and we have it. life is great, and we’re lucky enough to have a job, and it goes on and on. However, I think that’s why most people feel exhausted at times,” mused Fujiwara. “It’s basically me for 17 years.”
She credits this mental fatigue as the reason many people fantasize about moving to the countryside – although she believes it’s not the solution. Nor did she buy into a lifestyle overhaul.
“I don’t like these method books and guides that push you to change. I think it’s all about trying to reach within, what’s most precious within you. It’s all just there, but somehow we’ve accumulated all of this, and it’s hard to reach your selves,” she explains.
“As I wrote this book, I understood that that mindset may have come from the Japanese tradition of thinking that your soul is basically pure, and it’s there, and that’s why there are so many purification techniques in Japan,” she added.
The book suggests enjoying the little things.
“The secret of Japanese life lies in small everyday gestures such as enjoying the sunset, cherishing the moment with loved ones, enjoying seasonal dishes, anticipating the needs of guests to please them, spending time with family and friends. some time to clear your mind, relax in a warm bath, or clean the house to clear your mind,” she wrote.
Fujiwara has learned to make space in his day to simply be himself. “I told my daughter it was my time, me and me,” she said. “It can be as silly as going to Netflix and watching something everyone hates, but you just love or care for your flowers. I have few snails in my house. ”
While understandably worried about leaving her job last June, she was amazed at the response to her new endeavor, even beyond the fashion community. “It’s very weird because it’s like jumping off a cliff,” she said. “I know if I don’t do it now, I never will. It’s kind of feeling like this, I’m in my 40s, the feeling right now is of the times. Now or never, and if it doesn’t work, OK, it doesn’t work. ”
She was asked to moderate the executive boards for the Franco-Japanese Exchange Commission, which promotes trade relations between France and Japan, and is open to other business ventures. “I really wanted to expand a bit. Maybe it will do some podcasts with people,” she said. “I’ve actually met a lot more French people than I am in some way Japanese.”
Fujiwara had an idea for her next book and wanted to write it in English as well.
“Never say never, but I don’t think I’ll ever go back to work in a corporate environment,” she said, explaining that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed her perspective. “It feels strange. Stress, of course, in the sense that it’s a hygiene crisis, but at the same time, it makes me really feel that there’s another, different way to deal with the times and try to live in the present rather than working. work, work all the time for the future. ”
She is even contemplating meditation.
“I’m sure it’s a good way to take care of your body and mind, and breathing – when you think about it – is really good for your body, so I might give it a try,” she says. laughing. “But on the other hand, if you do that and you still haven’t found out what’s inside, it’s like you’re on a four-week vacation in the Bahamas, both stressed and jealous. It hasn’t changed that much.”
https://wwd.com/eye/people/former-louis-vuitton-p-r-advice-on-how-to-stay-zen-in-2022-1235026934/ A Former Louis Vuitton P.R. Has Some Advice on How to Stay Zen – WWD