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Asako Takaguchi

For Asako Takaguchi's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Social gifting services lower the bar for giving

Mar 12, 2014

Social gifting services lower the bar for giving

For a team of young sumo wrestlers who could do with every drop of energy that comes their way, a present of bagfuls of rice would be a godsend. Thanks to a quirky social gifting service, anyone who wants to extend a helping hand ...

Suntory researcher aims to create deep blue rose

Feb 27, 2014

Suntory researcher aims to create deep blue rose

Would a deep blue rose smell just as sweet? That is what a researcher at the Suntory Global Innovation Center is aiming to find out. “Every time I go into the greenhouse, I get nervous wondering if the bud will come out blue,” Naoko ...

Building block creator seeks to spur kids' creativity

Feb 7, 2014

Building block creator seeks to spur kids' creativity

The Japanese creator of building-block sets for children that have become popular in Asia and Europe believes toys should promote children’s healthy growth and help them communicate with their parents. Kanto Miyaji, 35, president of Xiao-All Japan Co. and a father himself, said in ...

Witty tram chief draws plaudits in Hakone

Jan 16, 2014

Witty tram chief draws plaudits in Hakone

Shinya Ochiai, 26, is a popular conductor on Hakone Tozan Railway Co.’s mountain tram in Kanagawa Prefecture. In addition to ensuring the passengers’ safety, Ochiai tells them about the main points of interest, the local history and where the best views are along the ...

Buyma site hooks up fans of luxury brands

Jan 15, 2014

Buyma site hooks up fans of luxury brands

A website called Buyma, billing itself as a “social fashion site,” is connecting individuals looking for luxury brand products unavailable in Japan with people abroad willing to buy them on their behalf. The main overseas buyers for the site, which is managed by a ...

Employers pay, entice workers to take leave

Jan 9, 2014

Employers pay, entice workers to take leave

An increasing number of companies are starting unique leave programs aimed at improving employee morale. Software developer Cybozu Inc., for example, allows employees to leave their jobs for up to six years to study abroad or take other sabbaticals, because it believes the program, ...

'Hometown' firm helps new city folk aid farm kin

Jan 6, 2014

'Hometown' firm helps new city folk aid farm kin

Mitsushi Kodama established Jimoto Co. in Tokyo in April 2012 to sell rice, vegetables and other farm products together with people who, like himself, have moved to the capital but still want to support their families. Kodama left Ueda, Nagano Prefecture, to study at ...

'Real-life' puzzle escape games catching on

Dec 11, 2013

'Real-life' puzzle escape games catching on

“Real-life” puzzle games are booming, prompting even big companies to let employees play to improve their communications and problem-solving capacities. Some 100 men and women gathered in the basement of a building in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on a recent Friday evening to play an ...