Opinion from Japan: Chill out, The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Wasn’t a "Wash"

Opinion from Japan: Chill out, The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Wasn’t a "Wash" - AkihabaraNews.com

The following are the views of Contributor Shannon Saruwatashi and are not necessarily though they could be somewhat parallel or at least tangential to our views maybe. Actually, we don’t think op-ed pieces need a trigger warning, we just wanted to make fun of trigger warnings, which may or may not be how we really feel.

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In step with much of the online world’s Facebooking YouTubers, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has made a ‘splash’ in Japan.

Big names like Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, Nobel prize-winning scientist Shinya Nakayama, J-pop singer Ayumi Hamasaki, among others too numerous to mention, have taken part in the latest fundraising craze.

[See Videos Below: even SoftBank’s Pepper robot had a role to play]

The challenge, which has been ongoing for several months but really took the Internet by storm in August, has been both lauded and criticized. Citing it as an opt-out from charitable contribution, critics protest that the Ice Bucket Challenge deters people from actually donating money. Others claim that some of the $100 million that ALS Association has received through August 29th (more than forty times what they received for the same period in 2013) might have been donated to other worthy causes had it not been for this challenge. Well.

Let me break down for you why the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is the greatest viral phenomenon since the rise of Grumpy Cat:

Yes, there are plenty of worthy causes that deserve your money. Yes, the progressive neurodegenerative disease ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig`s Disease) - in the United States, for example - affects only 30,000 people at any given time compared to the 1.7 million Americans diagnosed with cancer in 2013. That`s even less astounding compared to the 61.5 million Americans who experience mental illness in any given year. But does that make those 30,000 lives less important or worthy?

If anything, both the positive and negative press given to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has generated debate around the world about charity, which is never a bad thing. Participants who dumped ice on their heads but couldn't afford to make a donation have still done something truly great: they've spread the word. And thanks to the wonder that is the Internet, the whole world is now talking about charitable action.

This challenge now has everyone thinking about all those affected by mental illness, the millions diagnosed with cancer every year, and countless other diseases or causes that need our attention. I do agree that the only downside to this challenge is the wasteful use of water, especially after seeing pictures pop up all over the Internet of thirsty children in Africa with very little or nothing to drink. But thanks to the challenge, that too is now a hot topic. Plus, thanks to Mr. Matt Damon who opted to dump toilet water on his head, the world is now aware of just how effective these awareness promoting activities can be.

I accepted my Ice Bucket Challenge several weeks ago, and while it was a feeble attempt in my cramped little bathroom, I did it nonetheless.

Family and friends went before me and have continued after me. Some have praised it; some have criticized it. With the start of a new month the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge may slow down and eventually fade away, but it will not be forgotten anytime soon. The Internet has made a huge impact on how we raise money and discuss issues.

With that in mind, I would like to nominate Akihabara News’ own Reno J. Tibke and any other Contributors situated in Tokyo. You have 24 hours to find a very public place in which to dump ice water on yourselves and film it. Bottoms up!

Thanks. And sorry, it has to end somewhere!

Pepper Assists with ALS IBC:


SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son ALS IBC:


Nobel Laureate Shinya Nakayama ALS IBC:


J-Pop Singer Ayumi Hamasaki ALS IBC:


Contributor Shannon Saruwatashi is Superwoman; she chases after her two small girls for most of the day, heads up the Nagasaki International Women`s Association (NIWA), teaches English, and is big into all things Japan. Thanks to her eldest daughter she is somewhat of an Anpanman/Youkai Watch expert. She’s crazy about variety comedy shows and hopes to become the fourth member of Mori Sanchu one day. Her hobbies include photography, blogging, and too many musical instruments to learn any of them properly. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in the Japanese language


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