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Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan
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Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  337 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Japan has a way of thinking that is just . . . different. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Tokyo-born journalist Lisa Katayama's collection of urawaza (a Japanese word for secret lifestyle tricks and techniques). Want to turbocharge your sled? Spray the bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Can't find someone to water your plants while you're away? Place the plant on a ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 2nd 2008 by Chronicle Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mary Ann
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Did you know that cleaning your toilet bowl every day is lucky and brings good fortune? Clean it by splashing a little mouthwash in the bowl and then using the toilet brush. There are dozens of great tips in this book. It was a fun read. I love creative ideas.
As a a Michigander I was excited to know I can stay warm this winter by doing deep bows. And I can keep my feet warm by putting chili peppers in my socks.
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Los trucos son útiles, aunque el libro está muy poco aprovechado (muchísimo espacio en blanco) y los dibujos dejan que desear. Vamos; que a la que te dibujan dos manos el trabajo es tuyo para decidir cual es la izquierda y cual la derecha...
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Ecch, if only the tips didn't sound so low-rent and ineffective. A mildly amusing, quick read, but I don't think I'll be putting anything into practice. And I have to say that the mint green-red cover may feature the most hideous color scheme known to mankind. This is not okay.
Adrien Caudron
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun little book full of useless, and other sometimes quite useful tricks

The trick about using a sliced potatoe for preventing windshield fogging is one of my favorites. Overall the book seems to have been written for a more female audience (not too many dudes will fix their lipstick with an air dryer) but still it is a very fun and sometimes intructive read. I wish it would have more anecdotes on the Japanese culture though.
Funny and to the point about explaining the different tips and why they work. I picked this one up because I happened to flip to the silver tarnishing page. I've been meaning to clean my silver jewelry for a long time but kept putting it off. The solution in the book is to boil water with aluminum foil in it, add baking soda and salt then add your silvery jewelry so that it touches the foil. After a few minutes the tarnish came off! I guess the solution creates a tiny electric current that turns ...more
Chas Bayfield
May 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Hmmm. I love the idea of this book but it feels like it's trying too hard to justify itself (or be cool). I guess if I was a 25 year old girl living in the Bay Area I would connect to it more but I'm a 47 year old bloke from the south west of England. Many of the solutions were for problems I don't have. I'm at a different life stage which isn't the author's fault, but a book of fixes should have more universal appeal than people born after 1990. A few towards the end were pretty good, though. T ...more
Glenda Lynne
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is really not much of a book, per se. It reminds me of one of those tiny little paper booklets that you could buy in stores for about $.25 back in the day. It is basically a list of old wives' remedies from Japan, and it probably took less than hour to read. Some of the remedies, like putting green onions in your nostrils are crazy sounding, and others are similar to ones I've learned from my parents and grandparents here in the U.S., but the author gives the science behind each remedy, and ...more
Jul 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Urawaza is Japanese for a secret trick or an unmapped shortcut. This book shares 100 examples of Urawaza that can help your body (stop hiccups), your fun (make your sled go faster), your house (pick up broken glass safely), your cooking (how to make clumped white sugar grainy again), and your outdoor activities (how to keep mosquitoes away). It's a fun, quick read that might be useful if the tips work; some seem a bit too weird to try (rubbing egg yolk on your eyeglasses to prevent them from ste ...more
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Super cute and helpful, this book has awesome illustrations and tips for everything from running faster to getting drunk more effectively and uses for everything from eggshells to used tea bags. It also tells you WHY these things works which is a pretty nice bonus for books like this.

I can personally vouch for several tips, including using hair spray to help write on a t-shirt with out it crinkling and smudging.
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Sure, you can run out to the store to buy any kind of cleaning product. You can pay someone to give you a manicure or a facial. You can toss out those tiny scraps of soap or coffee that’s gone cold and bitter. But it’s a whole lot more fun (and even entertaining) to try out some of Katayama’s ingenious little tips.

Read the full review on
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I liked this book :P It was an easy read...I mean there is no story just useful tips..Some are wacky and some you'd never think of. I bought this book while it was on sale, I admitt I'd probably never pay full price for it.

I think if you've friends who are interested in Japan or wacky 'tricks' for your life then get them this book as a treat.
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I learned a lot of cool things from this book, like how to calm a screaming baby (yet to be tested), how to de-stuff a stuffy nose (works. you look really silly, though), how to pick up small pieces of glass from the floor (bread), and other easily applicable time/money savers. Yay for skinflint thriftiness!
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Neat life hacks with a definite tinge towards things-that-happen-in-japanese-life! Covers the gamut, but not as long as i thought it would be. Most of the space in the book is wasted in okay art. I enjoyed the content, but its probably something you can just google as well.

So not perfect, but I learned the pressure point to go to the bathroom.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, japan
Fun little book with tips on problems or dilemmas we face in everyday life. I will definitely be trying some of these out. Alas, there was no solution for getting food coloring out of carpet! My husband is skeptical about whether these will work or that gives me extra incentive to see if any of them work.
Nov 18, 2009 rated it liked it
I expected too much of this book, so I was a bit disappointed. Lots of the tips are pretty helpful, though and the little step by step guide how to find your own urawaza helped me to get rid of icecold toes while outside in the snow :)
Jun 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The only reason this book doesn't get 5 stars is that not all of the "remedies" stated in here are actually more useful/more convenient than things we already use. But, most of them are. Think Hints from Heloise gone to Japan.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Japanese life hacks. My favorite: stick green onion bulbs up your nose to clear your sinuses. A fun read. I appreciate the Why This Works section. If you can rationalize a crazy idea, it makes it more reasonable...right?
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Alma by: Online
An excellent book filled with helpful ideas to solve daily problems. From health tips to beauty tips, household hacks to things to amaze your friends, this book gives practical advise it a way Americans might never discover themselves.
It's good for families and singles.
Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it
A cute book. Some of their "how to solve this problem" tips flat-out don't work, because I've tried them, and some seem like more work than the result warrants, but quite a few were revelations for me, and I enjoyed reading it in part just for the cultural illustration it provided.
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Eh, it was ok. Some of the tips are okay, but it's not nearly as good as the show it's based on, 伊東家の食卓 (Ito-Ke no Shokutaku). I was hoping for a translation of one of the many books from the show. Also, the illustrations are truly awful.
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
I thought that this was a pretty cool book. Some of the tips are a little out there and I wouldn't have thought of it on my own but it's always good to know. I think I might try out a few of these pretty soon.
Feb 03, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a fun book with tips on how to get by in a pinch. Instead of buying leather polisher, polish your leather coat with the inside, then outside of a day old banana peel. Things of that nature. Some of them are quite interesting, others are pretty gross. A fun read.
Amanda Buffington
this might be one of the only book i want to keep forever! it has sooo many cute little tips for everyday problems and such! i love it! im going to keep it in my purse! lol for little tips if i need them! :P
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: be-smarter
A small collection of quirky Japanese tricks for everyday problems and solutions such as using citrus peel to clean tea stains off mugs. A handful are quite interesting ones I will try but others are plain too weird (putting leeks up your nose?! opening an umbrella in your bath?!).
Dan Mozgai
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Useful, humorous and inspring.
Mar 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: lifestyles, 2011
There were some tricks in here I didn't already know, but there was also quite a bit I grew up with. It's a great starting point if you're new to these types of lifehacks, though.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Fun and Interesting Reading, with some great tips too! I've never heard of using a mustard..
Popular remedies and some ingenious uses of everyday things from japanese culture.
Aug 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Awesome tricks to do everything better.
Liz Neves
Jan 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Fun tips & tricks for daily living with silly illustrations. I already knew a few of these and I think I may only use a handful of those in the book that I didn't know.
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Lisa Katayama is a Japanese-American author, journalist and blogger. She's best known for her columns in Wired magazine, her Japanese pop culture blog Tokyomango, and her book Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan.
More about Lisa Katayama...

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“WHY THIS WORKS: Trousers and other things fall off your hangers because of two factors—imbalance and slipperiness. When you cross one pant leg over the other, you are solving the imbalance problem with evenness on both sides. Also, the friction between the two pant legs prevents slipperiness, allowing your pants to stay put and hanging.” 0 likes
“DILEMMA: You thought it would be romantic to take your date hiking off the beaten path. It didn’t occur to you that your path was unbeaten because of the abundant poison ivy bushes beyond the “Do Not Enter” sign until you were red and itchy all over. SOLUTION: Spray or slather old-fashioned white shoe polish on the problem areas and you’ll feel its soothing effect in no time. Plus, you’ll be shiny and white like a pair of new kicks.” 0 likes
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