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Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan Paperback – April 2, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811862151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811862158
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

TOYKO ART BEAT
There is more to Urawaza, however, than these tricks exposed. The Tokyo-born and bred Katayama delves into the history of the craft and contributes anecdotes from her own experiences, meaning readers come out knowing that much more about life in the megalopolis. Her witty, down-to-earth style makes for a fun read while illustrator Joel Holland adds a comic book touch, and just a hint of irreverence.

"Armed with urawaza like these, you'll never need a store-bought fix again." ReadyMade magazine

About the Author

Lisa Katayama has written for Wired, Giant Robot, and Glamour, and is an editor at Planet magazine. She lives in San Francisco.

Joel Holland's illustrations have appeared in Holiday Hero as well as in Rolling Stone, Newsweek, and the New York Times. He lives in New York.

More About the Author

Lisa Katayama is a San Francisco-based writer from Tokyo. She has a blog, TokyoMango.com, and has written for magazines such as Wired, Popular Science, The New York Times Magazine, and Gourmet. She is currently an editor at Boing Boing Gadgets.

Customer Reviews

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The information is useful, practical, and low-cost.
Sharon Beverly
This book is like a fun version of Hints from Heloise...little tricks that you're surprised work, that make your every day life a little smoother.
S. Farnum
Urawaza contains dozens of cool tricks, everyday inspirations and ways to impress your friends and family by cleverly doing things better.
A. Whitney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Everyone knows how to cure the hic-ups, or to get wine stains out of white clothing right? There are all sorts of little household tricks and tips handed down via word of mouth, or from a helpful friend or parent in a time of need. The Japanese term for these is "urawaza", a word with a sly feel to it meaning a little secret that only you know about, something you discovered about a product that the producers didn't intend for you to know. Its main use is with videogames, referring to cheat codes left in by programmers who never intended them to become public knowledge.

This book is full of urawaza's, little "cheat codes" for common household objects like potatoes and old sales receipts, things that would normally never be used for more than their intended purposes. For example, magically clearing up a stuffy nose by shoving the white root section of a scallion in your nostrils, or rubbing a little egg white on your glasses to prevent them from fogging. Each tip is accompanied by a short explanation of why the process works, showing the molecules and process involved that accompany the magic.

The strange thing is, the tips actually work. I haven't tried all of them, but the ones I have given a shot work just as advertised. You might feel a bit strange at first rubbing a cut potato across your bathroom mirrors to make them fog-free, but you can't argue with the results. Want to know how to keep your bathwater from going cold using only orange peels, or how to make your dull hair glossy? "Urawaza" has what you need.

The only disappointment with this book is the lack of any real Japanese connection, aside from the title.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitney VINE VOICE on April 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Urawaza contains dozens of cool tricks, everyday inspirations and ways to impress your friends and family by cleverly doing things better.

I have tried several of the tips. My faves are using a piece of bread to pick up glass (pg. 70)--works like a charm! This weekend I made potato salad and used the super-cool egg-peeling technique (p. 96) and impressed my BBQ guests!

Urawaza is a fun guide that appeals to that part within us all that likes to simultaneously be clever & practical. The book also couples simple scientific explanations that help us understand more about our environment through. It will be a hit with Japanese culture fans, DIY enthusiasts, those who appreciate Everyman wisdom and especially young folks who enjoy exploring our world in new ways.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Farnum on July 3, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is like a fun version of Hints from Heloise...little tricks that you're surprised work, that make your every day life a little smoother. I like skimming the book, and I've gotten some good ideas from it already. Another nice thing is the explanation of why each tip works...I picked up some lite science while reading. That said, the book is a little layout heavy, with only one tip per page. If it was more packed, I think I would've given it 5 stars. Even so, it's a fun book to have around when you just wanna thumb through.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By N. Barlow on December 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
When the Dallas Morning News reviewed this book, I almost passed. I'm 66 and have had about enough of household hints, but it was a slow day and I read to the end. Paraphrasing, "To restore a wool sweater shrunk in the dryer, soak in a sink of water and hair conditioner, then block etc...." My Prince had washed in hot water AND dried my favorite garment ever...a $300 merino wool/possum fur cardigan sweater from New Zealand. No kidding,from an XXL it might have fit a 10 year old child. I hadn't discarded the sweater, thinking I might someday make potholders or something from it. So after a dip in the sink with about half a bottle of hair conditioner, a short soak, a quick rinse, a towel blot, a block and my sweater is nearly perfect. My gosh, what else is in this book? Can't wait to find out.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chris D. Baker on April 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
These tips allowed me to carry heavier things, improve my karaoke skills, eliminate excess beer foam, overclock my car battery and cure my hiccups. The tips and the instructions on how they work are so fascinating that they lodge in the mind easily--I may not need to know how to remove gum from someone's hair for five or ten years...but if I ever need to do it, I'll remember the Urawaza method.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K.K. on September 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
It's certainly about time we had something from Japan that goes beyond the famous "101 Useless Japanese Inventions" (funny, though). Now we have "Very useful Japanese tricks." I really like how Lisa tells us why the tricks work as well. And the vignettes for how the situations might arise are so funny!

I've had this book for several months now, and it only gets more and more useful and fun. It's improved my quality of life in so many areas -- in the margins, but it's these little things that make it so fun. The other day I spilled wine on some white clothing. No problem. I impressed my grandmother and family to no end by cleaning up their coffee and tea-stained cups and coffee-maker with orange peel and salt. My wife dropped an egg on the floor, and it was so easy to clean up the mess. In our household, "what does it say in the Urawaza book?" is now the standard first response to many situations. In the office, warmed-over coffee never tasted so good. I don't need to worry about garlic breath after lunch. And my plant is thanking Urawaza for saving its life, since it stayed home without me but didn't dry out.

I just wish I could hold more of the urawaza in my head so I'd be prepared for all sorts of contingencies on the road too. I've recommended this so many of my friends, who immediately rush to go get their own copy after I've recited some of the great tricks.

Definitely one for every household. This also makes a great gift! (I'm set for this Christmas season - I always have trouble finding something that's fun and useful)
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