About Genkiduck

What’s in a name?

A little travel duck icon I made a long time ago.

Genki is a wonderful Japanese word that encompasses a number of things: energy, health, liveliness, happiness, and optimism, to name a few. O Genki desu ka(Are you genki?) is a common greeting in Japanese. Although there’s no direct English equivalent, genki-ness is almost like having a zest for life. I don’t always feel genki, but I’ve become attached to the idea of genki and, as a state of being, it’s something I aspire to.

Duck refers to the English word, as in, the bird of the air, land and sea. I’ve always had a love for ducks, as it seems like they always enjoy life and make the best of things… just waddling around and quacking as they go. The expression “water off a duck’s back” reflects an attitude that, it doesn’t matter how much life rains down on me, I’m just gonna keep quacking and waddling through the puddles as I go. Good or bad, rain or shine, every day there is an adventure to be had.

Who is Genkiduck?

Me in real life!

In “real life,” I go by Janelle, and am the female half of the JW duo. I am interested in way too many things and have way too many hobbies.

In university, I double-majored in Communications (writing, editing, public speaking, graphic design, etc) and International Studies (politics, development, anthropology, culture, etc). Thanks to the flexibility of Liberal Arts degrees, I also enjoyed geography, astronomy, linguistics and philosophy, and could just as easily have majored in any of those (if I wanted to stay at university forever and spend millions of dollars, that is). I spent one awesome and dramatic semester working in Ottawa on Parliament hill, I worked as a political studies TA in my final year, and also served as managing editor for our campus newspaper, the Mars’ Hill. To name just a few things!

Now that I have escaped to the other side of the planet and am not spending every spare moment reading mountains of books, writing mountains of essays, and editing the crap out of newspaper articles and freshmen political studies papers, I have more time for important things, like saving the world (or worlds, of Skyrim and Hyrule, for starters). Adventuring around Japan and East/Southeast Asia, snowboarding in winter, and reporting my adventures on this blog are also high on my priority list. Last year I added two new hobbies: aikido and taiko. And just like in uni, I wish I had more time for all of these things and more, but alas I must also eat, work and sleep! See what I mean about way too many things?

What is your dream? 

Me dressed as Luffy for Halloween,  who dreams of becoming the Pirate King.

This is kind of a silly question that people in Japan love to ask. Or, perhaps more accurately, people in Japanese anime love to talk about. “It’s my dream to become the pirate king!” “It’s my dream to protect my friends!” Stuff like that. Regardless of how childish it may sound, I think it is a great question, one that more people would be a lot better off asking themselves regularly. (Self-help book writing here I come! Or, maybe not…)

While I have lots of dreams, small things I’d like to do one day, places I’d like to see, there is one that stands out above the rest: I want to start my own magazine. Or perhaps, with the way the media world is shaping up these days, my own webzine. I want to be a voice for the voiceless, and feature articles about people, and people who are helping people, who cannot speak for themselves.

I know there are people out there doing this kind of thing already, and I know it sounds vague and maybe way too lofty of a task for one person, but I also know I’m not alone. As Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

I’ve saved Hyrule many times over, so I also want to help save the “real” world a little bit, or at least help save the individual worlds of some of the people in it. I’m hoping to launch the beginnings of this project at some point in the near future, so if you’re reading this and it sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, leave a comment or send me an email, and let’s talk about it!

If you have any more questions for Genkiduck that you’d like her to answer, please leave a comment below!


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