Handbound: Your Thursday Dose of Chronicle Craft


Say it with me: U•RA•WA•ZA

‘oo /rah /wah /zah, noun
1: a secret trick; 2: an unmapped shortcut

Check out this great video contest from this month’s Pop Culture Book Blast:


The Japanese have a way of thinking that is infused with equal parts practicality and efficiency, with a defining dose of quirkiness. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Tokyo-born journalist Lisa Katayama’s collection of urawaza (the Japanese word for secret lifestyle tricks and techniques). Everything you need to know to stay healthy, amaze your friends, spiff up your household—even boost a car battery—is all here.

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 water-soaked diaper, so it slowly absorbs water over time.

The subject of popular TV shows and numerous books in Japan, these unusually clever solutions to everyday problems have never before been published in English—until now! URAWAZA collects more than 100 once-secret tricks, offering step-by-step directions and explanations in an eye-catching package as unconventional as its contents.

And while your boyfriend might think the tennis ball taped between his shoulder blades before bed is a little weird, you’ll both sleep a lot better when he stops rolling onto his back and snoring—and you stop poking him in the ribs.

For more secret tips and tricks from Japan, check out:
Urawaza e-postcards
Author Lisa Katayama’s Web site
Urawaza YouTube Channel


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 here 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 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.

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Check out more Handbound posts.

Lisa Anne Logan
Entertainment Marketing Manager

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