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 Alex K.T. Martin

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Alex K.T. Martin
Alex K.T. Martin is a Tokyo-based journalist and senior writer at The Japan Times, primarily focusing on feature stories. Previously he was a Tokyo correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.
For Alex K.T. Martin's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Feb 8, 2020
What's Japan's next food trend? It might finally be pulled pork
Barbecue pulled pork might not have taken off in Japan just yet, but thanks to restaurants like Fatz's The San Franciscan, which aserve up the real slow-smoked deal, that might be about to change.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Jan 13, 2020
Japan's rockin' pastor: Counseling those living on a prayer
No ordinary pastor, Kazuhiro Sekino wields a bass guitar like a rock star to bring his congregation together.
Japan Times
JAPAN / New Year's Special
Jan 2, 2020
Can Tokyo's soft power push ensure a positive Olympic legacy?
When the capital hosted the Olympic Games over half a century ago, it was heralded as a symbol of Japan's postwar recovery. This time around, Tokyo appears keen on trading brick and mortar for hearts and minds.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society / 2010s: Decade in Review
Nov 16, 2019
The gray wave: Japan attempts to deal with its increasingly elderly population
Eighty-one-year-old Sachiko Miura wakes up at 6 a.m. every day to prepare breakfast at her newly renovated apartment located near a large supermarket, spa and a hospital in the suburbs of Japan's third largest city.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Oct 27, 2019
Rare views of Mount Fuji: Japan's last sentō artists
A dying craft, sentu014d (public bathhouse) painting now has just three artisans continuing the art form. Can interest in Japanese culture, sparked by the 2020 Olympics, help renew an appreciation for the stunning murals?
Japan Times
JAPAN / FOCUS
Oct 23, 2019
The new norm: Japanese experts warn of more rain, raging rivers and submerged homes
The nation should expect the frequency of powerful typhoons and heavy rains to grow with global warming, says a professor at the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research at Nagoya University.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Oct 19, 2019
Food for the soul: Traditional gyōza makers and eaters in Utsunomiya try to keep the dumplings rolling
Albert Kuwano Bakonyvari beckons me inside his factory's steam chamber, where hundreds of plump, white, crescent-shaped gyōza dumplings are neatly lined on stacks of trays fitted in steel racks, waiting to be sent to the freezer.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Oct 6, 2019
The white rose that blossoms in the rain
White Rose Co. invented the plastic umbrella in the 1950s when Mitsuo Sudo was inspired by vinyl tablecloths brought to Japan by occupation forces. Now it's just one of few makers weathering the storm of cheap, mass-produced imports.
Japan Times
CULTURE
Sep 14, 2019
In the shadow of giants: Are high-rise condominiums in Japan destroying local communities?
Tsukishima is among many districts being gentrified by giant condominium projects popping up in the most populous city in the world.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 4, 2019
Spectral sightings at Zenshoan Temple
Tokyo's Yanaka district ghosts are back to haunt the public via rakugo storyteller Sanyutei Encho's collection of spooky paintings.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Jul 5, 2019
One year after deadly flooding in western Japan, disaster resonates for vulnerable areas of Tokyo
In the worst-case scenario, 2.5 million residents will be affected as five low-lying wards are submerged in water over 10 meters deep.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Jun 26, 2019
Episode 18: Is the Japanese wolf really extinct?
The last confirmed sighting of the Japanese wolf was in 1905, but is it really extinct? The Japan Times' Alex Martin talks to Oscar Boyd about chasing down the story.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Jun 14, 2019
With diagnosis and treatment lacking, nonprofit strives to raise awareness of OCD in Japan
A peer-inspired dieting competition triggered the unhealthy lifestyle, but it wasn't only an eating disorder that haunted Sayaka Hashiba's late sister.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Jun 8, 2019
Stranger things: Weird ways to get festive in Japan
Men in straw capes wearing ferocious horned masks with gleaming eyes and long, pointed fangs stare down at a group of reporters. Others donning masks of a devil, monkey and a long-nosed tengu birdman squat as they pose for photographs during a news conference on Nov. 30 — the day after UNESCO added a group of 10 rituals featuring Raiho-shin (visiting gods) to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Japan Times
ENVIRONMENT
May 25, 2019
In search of Japan's extinct wolves: Sightings of a mysterious canine in Chichibu have been captivating animal enthusiasts
It was around 3 p.m. on a chilly day in December. The sky was overcast and the scent of rain hung in the air when Rina Kambayashi happened upon a creature she had never seen before. Opening the front door to her family's gracefully weathered 150-year-old traditional wooden house, Kambayashi stepped out into the garden. She froze when she noticed a lone, dog-like animal standing among the withered shrubs growing by the rim of a small, empty, man-made pond. The distance between them was around 3 to 4 meters, the 53-year-old homemaker recalls when we meet in April at her residence on the outskirts of Chichibu, a mountain-ringed city in Saitama Prefecture.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Apr 20, 2019
Downsized dwellings: Inside Tokyo's tiny living spaces
Twenty-five-year-old Sotaro Ito lives in a 9.46-square-meter apartment with a loft in the capital's retro-hip Koenji district.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Apr 18, 2019
Japan's nōkanshi traditional morticians give dearly departed a final farewell
Yuko Nakajima says her job isn't as pretty as portrayed in "Departures," director Yojiro Takita's Oscar-winning 2008 film about Japanese ritual morticians.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Mar 23, 2019
Flower power: A Tokyo florist's decision to close his shop amid a shrinking market affects a wider community
It's 2:30 a.m. and dark outside. Tsuyoshi Hirasawa can see his breath in the February chill as he turns the key in the ignition of his white Honda minivan. The large hands gripping the steering wheel are rough and leathery from years of working with water, soil and the stems and branches of plants he sells for a living.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Feb 16, 2019
Embracing a buraku heritage: Examining changing attitudes toward a social minority
When Chie Takaiwa struck up the courage to reveal a family secret to her colleague some years ago, she was met by an unexpected response.
Japan Times
JAPAN / History
Jan 22, 2019
The Todai Riots: 1968-69
A photographer who documented the occupation of the University of Tokyo from inside the barricades half a century ago remembers the final days of resistance

Longform

Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves