The idea of traveling to a random European country and surviving by trading Red Bulls for favors might seem “crazy” to some. For Masahiro L. Kusunoki ’17 and his friends Yuta Shinohara and Yamato Aoki, crazy's just fine.
Kusunoki and his team hope to be among the 165 teams selected to travel around Europe to participate in the 2016 “Red Bull Can You Make It” Challenge. Challengers get dropped off at a random location—with no supplies other than 24 cans of Red Bull to use as currency—and must travel to another European location within seven days.
If a team encounters trouble, Red Bull sends out an emergency team to rescue them. “[We're] not thinking too much about that,” says Kusunoki. “We can make it. That’s our motto.”
To compete in the challenge, aspiring teams must post a video online and garner support. The video that Aoki, Kusonoki, and Shinohara made is, as of Monday night, the most popular video in Japan, with almost 3,350 votes. Among their supporters are famous writers, athletes, and politicians, according to Kusunoki.
The video opens with the introduction of the team members—Kusunoki, “Magician,” Shinohara, “Earth Boy,” and Aoki, “The Samurai.”
Kusunoki and his teammates first heard about the program in December while he was in Japan, and decided to film on short notice. They recruited a friend with experience as a videographer and finished in three hours.
If chosen, the team will miss a week of school in mid-April. But Kusunoki is not concerned. “I love Harvard, but there is a world outside of Harvard that you sometimes don’t appreciate enough,” he says. “It would be nice to take some time off and do something that I would never be able to do otherwise.”
Still, the group hasn't made it to Europe just yet. Aoki's still recovering from an injury, and may not finish his rehabilitation by spring. The team decided to continue with the application anyway because, at the very least, it would give Aoki something to look forward to.
“If we can’t do the actual competition, we might as well still do the qualifying round.”
Kusunoki and his team remain hopeful that they will pass the qualifying round and travel to Europe come April.
“We can make it,” Kusunoki nods. “We can make it.”