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Asako Takaguchi

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

Edible tableware served in waste-reduction bid

Sep 11, 2014

Edible tableware served in waste-reduction bid

Edible tableware, such as plates made of shrimp crackers and cups made of seaweed, is catching on as a safer substitute for disposable tableware by reducing the amount of polystyrene and plastic waste thrown out each day. For example, the e-tray series by Marushige ...

Firms in Japan wake up to merits of siestas

Aug 20, 2014

Firms in Japan wake up to merits of siestas

Some Japanese companies appear to be embracing the wisdom of the old adage “sound sleep, sound mind,” by letting their workers enjoy a short snooze during office hours. At Okuta Corp., a housing renovation firm in the city of Saitama, for example, office workers ...

'Gacha gacha' machines not just for kids anymore

Aug 14, 2014

'Gacha gacha' machines not just for kids anymore

Among the wide array of vending machines peddling items from the everyday to the obscure, one staple in Japan is the toy-dispensing “gacha gacha,” which is named after the handle-turning noise that precedes the release of the plastic capsule. While the majority of gacha ...

'Cosplay' craze a boon for business

Jul 16, 2014

'Cosplay' craze a boon for business

The popularity of Japanese anime around the world has triggered the growth of a variety of businesses targeting those who like to dress up as a favorite character from a manga or anime, known as “cosplay,” as in “costume play.” These range from video ...

Granpa leads high-tech revolution in farming

Apr 28, 2014

Granpa leads high-tech revolution in farming

A 70-year-old entrepreneur is promoting the indoor, computer-assisted cultivation of vegetables to establish a business model that can draw young people back to agriculture. Takaaki Abe founded Granpa Co. in Yokohama in 2004 with the aim of using technology to develop a profitable indoor ...

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 ...