The Genki Summer Challenge

When Chris and I lived in Japan, was when I was first introduced to energy drinks. They had them in vending machines (as they had everything from porn to oxygen). But they didn’t call them “energy drinks.” They called them “genki drinks.”

The traditional greeting of “How are you?” in Japanese is “O genki desu ka?” Which, literally, doesn’t mean “How are you?” but instead means “Are you genki?” And genki has a fairly specific meaning, which is basically “healthy, energetic, and bursting with life-force.”

So in Japan, you more or less greet people with “Are you bursting with life-force today?”

Of course, our “goodbye” is a shortened version of “God be with you.” and I’m sure lots of people aren’t literally intending a benediction when they part these days.

Still, in my hyperfocused effort to write and/or publish a ridiculous 12 books this year, I have let my physical health go to an extent I didn’t intend. I’ve been thinking about genki a lot lately. The whole concept of health as not just a lack of illness, but radiant wellbeing. I love that the concept of genki includes mental and emotional health, as much as physical fitness.

So, after six months, the learning curve on my epic unexpected new job is no longer completely kicking my butt. I’ve gotten into a nice writing groove after a late spring/early summer doldrums. It feels like I can handle thinking about something else in addition to all that. So I’m starting, this week, the Genki Summer Challenge.

The Genki Summer Challenge is about improving my health and quality of life through good nutrition and fun, healthy activity.  I picked up a pair of neon and black L.A. Gear running shoes (because apparently, the 80s have returned for a visit. I WELCOME YOU BACK WITH OPEN ARMS, FASHIONS OF THE 1980s!)

I’ve started running at Buffalo Trace Park, which readers will recognize as the setting of one of my eBooks. I’m ridiculously slow, but as the Facebook meme says, I’m still lapping everyone on the couch. I ran track in middle school and high school, till theater and chorus ate my brain and I became the 80s version of a Gleek. Running is something that I’ve historically enjoyed.

Chris has been researching paleo/primal/caveman eating paradigms. I figure I’ll just keep it simple and say “How about let’s eat real, actual, recognizable food?”

I’ll try to check in over the rest of the summer, with anything that seems interesting. The writing experiment is going pretty well. I hope this one is also the beginning of some long-term quality of life improvements. The stronger I am, the more I can offer the world.

Bring on the genki!


Here’s a cool video with a guy who teaches Japanese on YouTube, talking about genki.


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