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Matt Alt
For Matt Alt's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Sep 23, 2020
[Bonus episode] The making of the Walkman
This episode is based around an extract from the audiobook of 'Pure Invention.' We join in the middle of chapter 5, which is all about the invention of the Walkman.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Jul 15, 2020
Episode 57: Has Japan's pop culture conquered the world?
From the karaoke machine and the Walkman to Hello Kitty and the Game Boy, Japan's cultural influence can be felt almost everywhere.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
May 21, 2020
Episode 50: How the 'murder hornet' got its name
The Asian giant hornet is common to Japan and regularly terrorizes the country's residents during the summer months. So how did end up being known as the 'murder hornet'?
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Mar 24, 2018
Good libations: Examining the evolution of Japan's rich cocktail culture
The art of the cocktail is indisputably non-Japanese. The word itself is old American slang for a pick-me-up, referring in modern parlance to any mixed drink containing liquor and at least one other ingredient. Even if you aren't a drinker, chances are you can name quite a few: the martini, the Manhattan, the gin and tonic. They're more than just libations, they're part of the Western vocabulary for relaxation.
Japan Times
CULTURE / TV & Streaming
Jul 16, 2016
Ultraman: Ultracool at 50
Ultraman has been defending humanity against monsters and aliens for half a century. We examine the superhero's enduring legacy.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Feb 15, 2014
Miyuki Miyabe's latest puts the history in Japanese horror
Better known for her crime and fantasy writing abroad, precious few of the prolific Miyuki Miyabe's tales of terror have actually made it into the English language. Haikasoru's publication of "Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo" addresses this oversight. Capably translated by Daniel Huddleston, this collection of short stories is set against the exotic backdrop (to foreign readers, anyway) of old Edo — essentially Tokyo before it became Tokyo, in the early 19th century.
Japan Times
CULTURE
Jan 9, 2014
Will Cool Japan finally heat up in 2014?
After years of talk, 2013 marked a watershed moment in the government's Cool Japan campaign. Which begs the question: Is Japan cool?
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Aug 15, 2013
Dōmo arigatō, giant robotto
My name is Matt, and I have a problem: I'm a grown man who thinks way too much about giant robots.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Jul 21, 2013
Summer brings out the creepy crawlies
Now that the tsuyu (梅雨, rainy season) has ended and the dreaded heat has descended upon the city, most of us have taken refuge indoors, camped out in front of the eakon (エアコン, air-conditioning) in a desperate attempt to wick away some of summer's sticky mushiatsusa (蒸し暑さ, humidity). The summer months conjure up images of being sushizume (すし詰め, packed in like sardines) in crowded trains and bishonure no ase (びしょぬれの汗, sweat-drenched) commutes through the blazing sun, leading to stress and even, in worst-case scenarios, necchūshō (熱中症, heat stroke). In fact a great many Tokyoites spend the summer months praying for the first days of fall.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 17, 2012
The art of making monsters
Good news for monster fans: Not one, not two, but three separate tokusatsu exhibitions are stomping their way through downtown Tokyo as you read these words.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Apr 30, 2012
Urban safari in the concrete jungle reveals Tokyo wildlife
Tokyo is a city of many things, but "nature"? Not exactly a word that most associate with the metropolis. When it comes to the city's animal life, most Tokyoites think meiwaku dōbutsu (迷惑動物, pests) rather than yasei-dōbutsu (野生動物, wildlife), associating animal encounters with mischievous karasu (烏, crows), skittering gokiburi (ゴキブリ, cockroaches), and the occasional dobu-nezumi (ドブネズミ, sewer rat) scampering by.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Oct 31, 2011
This Halloween watch out for yūrei of all kinds
Urameshiyā! (うらめしやぁ!)

Longform

Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?