The Kimono Mom is more than just your ordinary momma
Interview answers translated from Japanese by Yuka Tamura
It was about a year ago when Filipino YouTuber Paolo de Guzman posted a video on A Day in The Life of a Japanese Mother and Baby in Tokyo. The mother and child duo on that video garnered about 12 million views and almost 30,000 compliment-filled comments.
But Moe, the youthful 30-year-old Kyoto-raised mother based in Tokyo, has a story that’s beyond your typical mommy journey. She’s a unique woman of culture who once lived the secretive life of a Japanese geisha. Recently, she’s opened up to the culture of sharing the experiences of a full-time Japanese mother on her YouTube channel Kimono Mom, with over 700 thousand subscribers.
Her new passion is all about sharing her life and Japanese cooking to international viewers.
Manila Bulletin Lifestyle was able to get in touch with her for an exclusive interview. Here, Moe shares her story with us.
Best of three worlds: Geisha, mother, and YouTuber
Whenever Filipinos think of geishas, we think of kimonos, cultural entertainers from the lands of the east, and a quite secretive lifestyle with many gaps filled in by question marks. In the old days, in fact, geishas were often used as spies. The life of a geisha is quite difficult and requires a lot of training, which does not often show beyond the makeup and the colorful kimonos.
Recalling her days as a geisha, Moe remembers it to be a difficult period in her life. It was a very busy time. This all changed, however, when she decided to become a mother to her daughter Sutan—who happens to also be dubbed one of the cutest babies on YouTube today.
“I thought that [being a geisha] was a difficult job that kept me very busy,” Moe tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. ”However, I soon realized that no job was as taxing and as difficult as being a mother.” She adds that she thanks her mother for having raised her to be the way she is today, allowing her to do what she truly loves.
For many of her viewers, the first glimpse of Moe was through Paolo de Guzman’s YouTube Channel Paolo from Tokyo. She says that although she hasn’t been in contact with the Filipino-Japanese couple, she had always been appreciative for being given the opportunity to grow her channel.
Many have been curious of why and how she started her channel. She says that she was a full-time housewife raising her daughter, until she soon was interviewed on YouTube. Her experience made her realize that YouTube can be a job for her, side by side being a parent. This somewhat filled a gap in her heart where she felt lonely and impatient. She says that it was “as if she was disconnected from society,” before she was on YouTube.
Her passion to connect with society from the comforts of her home was the drive for her to pursue being a vlogger as a profession. “One week after my interview, I was already filming my first video on my iPhone,” she says.
Her YouTube journey
Just a few days ago, Moe celebrated reaching 700,000 subscribers and the first anniversary of her YouTube channel. We wanted to know how she feels about this milestone, what has changed now compared to when she started her own channel.
Shooting, editing, and putting English subtitles were all new to her at the start. “I was trying to do these things while searching how to make and edit videos on the internet,” Moe explains. She was also worried after she posted a video for the first time, but she was glad she received warm comments from viewers, with some giving advice on how she could make her videos even better.
Seven hundred thousand subscribers later, our humble Moe feels even closer to every single one of her viewers, just as she did when she started—especially that she knows that they try her recipes and have been following her daughter grow up with her family.
A Kimono Mom’s take on parenting
In truth, Moe was hesitant to put the adorable Sutan on the internet at first, when she was but a 10-month-old baby who kept crying on the side. This eventually convinced Moe to vlog together with her daughter.
We had to ask her what her take was on traditional Japanese versus Western parenting, and what she applies to her daughter Sutan.
Moe says that she doesn’t think of raising children following any textbook method. It’s also her first time raising a child. “Since we have spent so much time together since I was pregnant, I tend to feel like I am one and the same with my daughter, but I must always remember that we are independent personalities,” Moe says. Parenting, she adds, is really about making sure she helps her daughter become an independent woman someday.
With Sutan now one year old now, Moe believes that it is very important to treat her daughter with much love. She thinks that it is crucial for a child to feel confident, cared for, and loved.
Moe admits to struggling with English these days, so she wishes that her daughter would be able to speak better English. She wants Sutan to be comfortable with the language but she and her husband don’t feel the need to enroll their child in an international school in Japan.
How does Moe find the time for all she does as a full-time mother, YouTuber, and loving wife to her family? It’s all become natural to her.
For YouTube, she gets to do a lot of cooking and daily life vlogs. She gets to bond with her husband while managing the channel, talking about potential future content. Many YouTubers and video editors know that it takes a lot of time to edit videos. Moe usually does editing work when her daughter is asleep. She doesn’t have much free time for herself, but she’s working on it for the future.
Kimono Mom Moe hopes to visit the Philippines soon, as she and her husband love beaches. She’s also been posting on her Instagram stories that she wants to meet her fans all over the world soon after the pandemic.