“Recultured,” a four-part podcast series from The Japan Times, explores the impact of COVID-19 on Japanese pop culture over the course of this year. The creators describe this journey through mental states, since many of us were on similar emotional roller coasters. Perhaps these episode titles will ring some bells:

  • Collapse: A look at how 2020 ground to a halt through the lens of “Terrace House,” including the lowdown from stars of the show about its dramatic ending amid the arrival of COVID-19.
  • Isolate: Episode 2 covers what happened when the world was made to stay at home — including how one game from Nintendo provided us an escape into a fantasy land full of fishing, decorating and bug collecting.
'Recultured' podcast, Episode 1: Collapse | THE JAPAN TIMES
‘Recultured’ podcast, Episode 1: Collapse | THE JAPAN TIMES
  • Adjust: The crew discuss the period when the government lifted Japan’s state of emergency and the country attempted to adjust to a “new normal.” Pop group NiziU’s song “Make You Happy” provided an upbeat soundtrack for the summer — and hinted at bigger changes underway.
  • Rebuild: Released in October, “Demon Slayer” smashed box office records and looks set to become the highest grossing film in Japanese history. What does that say about pop culture in 2020? In Episode 4, four guests look to that phenomenon and Kyoto Animation’s “Violet Evergarden” for hope, as we all wait out the long winter for a vaccine and brighter days in 2021.

If these teasers are not enough to tempt you to tune in, check out Patrick St. Michel’s article on the whole shebang for more in-depth introductions to each episode.