To finish off the SCK Awards, we have an interview with Kaila, who you voted as the second most Kawaii Person of 2015. With so many projects on the go and her own brand of kawaii positivity, she’s a real inspiration so I hope you take the time to read Kaila’s thoughtful answers and advice.
Introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do?
Hi! I’m Kaila Ocampo (a.k.a. Rainbowholic), a kawaii lifestyle blogger based in Japan. I am also the team leader of Kawaii PH, a kawaii community in the Philippines that promotes cute culture as an empowering movement. I’m also the founder of JapanLover.me, a website that is all about sharing the worldwide JapanLove. My current work as a Creative Director in Japonisme International mainly revolves around Japan Lover Me Store & Kawaii PH Store. I manage a lot of passion-fueled blogs / websites with friends and these are: OurKawaii.Tokyo, Kawaii-DIY.com, and Kaila-Sensei.com. As you can tell, I really like keeping myself busy and productive, hehe!
Where do you live and what’s it’s like there?
I live in Saitama, Japan. It’s an hour away from Tokyo by train. Life here is pretty quiet & simple. I really like living here!
What was your first experience with kawaii culture and why does kawaii inspire your work?
I cannot exactly pinpoint when it was but I think we can blame the anime Cardcaptor Sakura for making me love kawaii. At that time (when I was around 11-13, couldn’t remember haha), my fascination over cute culture really inspired me to do a lot of things out of love and to start dreaming about living my Cherry Blossom dreams in Japan. At around that age, I began experimenting with HTML codes, Microsoft Paint, and Notepad so I could make a “shrine” website for Cardcaptor Sakura. I’ve made a couple of blogs / websites after because I’ve always loved fiddling with codes. Years later, here I am, still creating and jumpstarting web-related projects.
Kawaii changed my life in the most positive way. I had low self-esteem and a mountain of self-doubts. I never thought that I could build my name from scratch even if my circumstances that time were really unfavorable. My childhood dream (living in Japan) felt so far-fetched during my younger years. Honestly, everything still feels a bit surreal right now.
But through kawaii and combining it with my love of sharing my work online, people started to get to know more about my passion and lifework. I never imagined that I would have the enough confidence to start “Kawaii PH” with my friends (we were only 5 in the group years ago, but now we’re over a united thousand). I never expected that people would actually appreciate my posts about my daily Japan life when I restarted my blogging hobby here. I used to be that girl who would rather prepare the slides for a powerpoint presentation during a group work and just stay at the back and let others present and talk. I had little faith in me and it was hard for me to put myself out there (100%). After embracing the non-superficial kind of kawaii and embedding it to my lifestyle and mindset, I became that woman who would initiate and collaborate with fellow like-minded people on projects that can inspire and somehow, create a difference in this world.
Based on my experience, I learned that it’s easier to look kawaii by putting on dolly-inspired make-up and wearing frilly pastel clothes than .. to actually feel kawaii internally. I’ve been there before, and I really struggled in that phase. I realized that indeed.. “kawaii is a state of mind” (quoting Kyary Pamyu Pamyu). It’s not only about the external additions or fashion. It’s about the quirky, unique, positive, and happy child-like dreamer you inside. And this is the message that I want to share through my blog entries, creative projects, and the like. That even if you love Rilakkuma and you’re already beyond 30/40/50, that fact does not make you childish and immature. That even if you are wearing a red big bow on your head (channeling Kiki from Studio Ghibli, haha), you can be a game-changer CEO and be featured in Forbes. :)