Urawaza is a great holiday gift! Buy it.

0811862151_normIt’s been a while since I pimped my book Urawaza on TokyoMango, but I really think you should buy it for someone — your mom, your brother, your friend, a White Elephant party — for the holidays. It’s green and red, colors reminiscent of Christmas Trees and Santa hats, it’s not heavy reading, you’ll learn lots of cool quirky tricks, and it’s 30% off on Amazon and at Chronicle Books’ web site with the discount code Family — which brings the grand total cost to about $10. Totally affordable holiday fun!

Buy Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan

Urawaza at my neighborhood travel store


I was at the lovely Get Lost travel bookstore on Market Street in San Francisco just now looking at travel books, and was pleasantly surprised by Urawaza being displayed right by the cash register. By the way, if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile and you still don’t own the book, you should maybe get a copy. It’s a great time suck if you need an easy read on a beach vacation.

Urawaza, my Japanese tips and tricks book, on Amazon

Video: Me and Urawaza on View from the Bay

I hesitated about putting this up on TokyoMango-a LOT-because it’s kinda embarrassing to see myself on TV, but here it is: a clip from my appearance on ABC’s View from the Bay in July 2008. I’m actually also on their new digital network show, Home with Lisa Quinn on Live Well HD, but I haven’t seen that yet. Don’t laugh!

Buy my book, Urawaza, on its 1-year anniversary


I just realized that it’s been exactly one year since my book, Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan, was published. And I think that’s a great time to re-pimp it, and encourage those of you who haven’t bought a copy to get one now. Here are five reasons why:
– It would make a great Easter gift.
– It would make a great last-minute birthday gift for people you forgot about until Facebook reminded you.
– I will forever be your fan.
– You can learn how to do 108 cool things.
– I’m really close to earning back my advance and any help is much appreciated.

Urawaza on Amazon

Urawaza in the New York Times

9780811862158I was quoted in the New York Times yesterday, in an article about low-tech fixes to high-tech problems:

Today’s shaky economy is likely to produce many more such tricks. “In postwar Japan, the economy wasn’t doing so great, so you couldn’t get everyday-use items like household cleaners,” says Lisa Katayama, author of “Urawaza,” a book named after the Japanese term for clever lifestyle tips and tricks. “So people looked for ways to do with what they had.”


Urawaza is a great Christmas-colored holiday gift

By the way, if you haven’t done your Christmas shopping yet, and you don’t want to spend tons of money on stuff you don’t know if people will like… my book, Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan
might be a good gift for your quirky, hard-to-please Japanophile friend. You can tell him you met the author on the Internet.

Look, it even has a Christmas-colored cover!

By the way, I’ll be doing a holiday card giveaway contest later this week. Make sure you check back in for a chance to receive an awesome Japanese pop art postcard from yours truly.

Buy Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan

Me at the FCCJ, tired. Hungry.


That’s me after my talk at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on Monday. 30-40 people came, an interesting mix of journalists and my parents’ friends and some others. I think it went well! I talked about the challenges of writing about Japan for a US audience. I didn’t eat the chicken-and-avocado dinner that was served to me before the talk because I didn’t want to be bloated while I talked.

Come to my Urawaza talk at the FCCJ in Tokyo next Monday

I’ve been asked to talk about my book, Urawaza, at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan’s Book Break on Monday, October 20th in Tokyo. I am planning to talk about the book a little bit, but also about why writing for magazines is sometimes harder than publishing a book, and about blogging and writing about Japan and all kinds of other fun stuff. Since I’m pretty sure I will run out of things to talk about after a half hour or so, I’m hoping to turn it into a discussion on writing about Japan. So please show up if you can!

Get more info on the event and on how to sign up on the FCCJ Web site. 1850 yen includes dinner.

UPDATE: I just found out that you need to be on my "guest list" to sign up. So if you want to come, email me with the subject line "FCCJ Guest List" and include your name and phone # and commitment to pay 1850. I’ll email back a confirmation. Thanks!

Urawaza: Me on Daytime TV Doing Tricks


I was on TV today, on a local ABC show called View from the Bay to promote my book, Urawaza. Lisa Quinn‘s the host—she’s like a bad-ass Martha Stewart. I thought I’d feel like a monkey doing tricks in front of the camera, but it actually wasn’t that bad.

You can watch the clip by clicking on the image above or by following this link.

Pics from my Book Signing at Double Punch


I had a book signing yesterday at Double Punch. It’s this super cute toy store in North Beach with an art gallery upstairs (featuring Piximix, an art collective specializing in awesome characters like a deviled Pikachu saying "I hate you.") A few friends came, some fans, and one guy who came to yell at me about how some of the tricks advocated morally bad things. (I explained that it’s not a moral book, but a fun book. He eventually left.) Pics after the jump.

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How to Cure Constipation With the Push of a Finger

If you’ve ever gotten a shiatsu massage, you know that a finger in the right spot can make soreness go away. Many Japanese also believe that the same method—that of finding the tsubo, or pressure points, in your body—can cure everything from eye strain from excessive computer use to constipation. Here are a couple examples. Check out a couple of examples below from my Urawaza book.

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Urawaza: How to Make a Baby Stop Crying

My cousin Joy and her daughter Gracie show us how to make a baby stop crying using the sound of the "mouthfeel" stage of wine-tasting. We spent all Sunday afternoon on the couch, and it was amazing how well this worked! Sometimes it even made her bust out laughing. And no, she did not end up taking a sip at the end.

For more Urawaza videos, click here.
Pick up your own copy of the book here.

The Story Behind My Book, Urawaza


I’m really bad at self-promotion and publicity and all that blah blah, but I think it’s time to remind you guys that if you haven’t already, you should buy my new book, Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan. It’s a great gift idea for a birthday or Memorial Day or a very belated Mother’s Day. Basically, I researched over 100 weird tricks—like how to clear your sinuses using scallions or how to run faster using rubber bands—and wrote up real-world scenarios of when you might need them, and scientific explanations on why they work. My publisher, Chronicle Books, did a great job with the design—it’s like a pretty miniature coffee table book.

The first time I wrote about the urawaza phenomenon was in the October 2006 issue of Wired. That was back when TokyoMango was just a month old! One of my editors at Wired, Rob Capps, had been watching these strange YouTube videos at work, and I did a little research and found out it was from a Japanese TV show. Hence the magazine story, and then a Chronicle editor contacted me, and here we are.

In the intro, I write about how the concept of urawaza evolved from being gamer geek lingo to a more universal household term. I also tell stories about getting in trouble in grade school and an important lesson my mom taught me in adulthood.

Curious? You can get it on Amazon. And I’ll make sure I tell you guys when my next book signing is. (I did one at Maker Faire, but I forgot to write about it. Did I tell you I was bad at this publicity stuff?)

Announcing the Chronicle Books Urawaza Contest

Picture_2My book publisher, Chronicle Books, is having an Urawaza contest via their weekly newsletter. Check out the rules!

The first 10 readers to submit a video will win a free copy of Urawaza. Also, one lucky winner, selected by Lisa Katayama, will have the chance to share their urawaza with our readers as a guest author on the Chronicle Books Blog.*

To enter the contest:
1. Create a video of your favorite lifestyle trick in action and post it to your YouTube account.
2. Describe your video and tag it with Urawaza, Chronicle Books, DIY, and anything else you’d like.
3. Send the link to webmaster@chroniclebooks.com with your name, city, and Urawaza in the subject line.

Now go get tricky!

*Winner will be selected from all entries received by June 15, and will be notified by email. By entering the contest, you agree to all credited reuse of your video by Chronicle Books and author Lisa Katayama.