An urawaza is a helpful hint or secret technique for doing something. I recently found this interesting site, the Urawaza/Ura Jyouhou Blog (in Japanese only) which has some uniquely Japanese ones.

How to stand stably on the train without a strap!

If you stand on a bus or train without the strap, most people spread their feet apart and do their best to keep their balance.

If possible, spread your feet with one forward and one back, but stand with the ball of your back foot pointed outwards and it’s extremely stable.

Also, if you relax and don’t lock your knees, it will act as a sort of cushion and the vibration won’t be a problem.

Also face the seat, and when you grab the strap or when the train starts, if you shift your weight forward, and when the train stops, shift it backward, it will support you.

Also, when the train curves to the right, shift your center of gravity to the right, and when it curves to the left, shift your weight to the left.

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Eating sushi in the right order to make it taste better.

When you eat sushi, start with the light, simple ones, move onto the boiled stuff, then to thingswith strong flavors, and finally makizushi (sushi wrapped in seaweed). The reason is that if you eat fatty foods first, the fat will stay in your mouth, and your tongue will lose its sensitivity.

Start with white fish like tai (sea bream) and hirame (flounder), and eat stronger flavors like toro (tuna) and uni (sea urchin) later. Also, after eating food with strong flavors, take a pinch of gari (pickled ginger) and drink some tea to refresh your mouth so you can enjoy the sushi again.

Then, finish up with some refreshing makizushi.

Sushi is essentially a casual food.

There are no formal rules for eating it. Of course, everyone has his own order for eating sushi, and you should eat what you want to eat first.

If you want to try various kinds of sushi, eat one piece, then eat a piece of giner, and your mouth will be refreshed and you can check out the various flavors one by one.
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Saving Money at the Post Office

The post office has a lot of services for keeping prices down. Why not make use of them?

You can send an “eco-hagaki” (Eco-friendly postcard) for 45 yen.
Regular postcards cost 50 yen, but eco-hagaki, where one-third of the address side contains an advertisement, can be bought for 45 yen. If you’re using them to enter contests or that sort of thing, it has enough space.

A mini-letter (aerogram) will save you 20 yen compared with one in an envelope.
Fold the letter in two, and glue it. You can post it for 60 yen. Each one saves you 20 yen.

You can exchange ruined postcards for just 5 yen.
If you make a mistake when writing a postcard, take it to the post office, and you can exchange it for a new one for five yen each.

Buy stamps cheaply at kinken shops (ticket shops).
If you want to buy stamps, buy them at kinken shops. They sell them in sheets, but you can buy them for five-percent less than at the post office.

Send packages of under 30 kg for a flat rate of 500 yen!
If the weight is less than 30 kg, and it fits in a special envelope (248x340mm) you can send it anywhere in Japan for 500 yen. It’s often less expensive than a courier.

Get a 50-yen discount on a yuu-pakku if the address on the label is the same.
If you send packages to the same person several times a year, you can get a 50-yen discount on yuu-pakku with the same address. Be sure to get address labels in advance!

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How to wake your legs up as fast as possible after they have become numb from sitting Japanese style

On the way to standing up after sitting Japanese-style, first, just put your weight on your toes and sit on your heels. Stay in that position for a while. It helps get rid of the needles and pins.

My former tea-ceremony teacher taught me that standing up quickly can lead to injury. You can prevent numbness by waiting a while before standing.

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How to increase  your chance of getting a Shinkansen seat when you don’t have a reservation

When you save money by buying a non-reserved seat on the Shinkansen, you don’t know if you can get a seat or not. Everyone worries about that, don’t they?

When that happens, try this method.

On the shinkansen, basically, odd numbered cars have toilets and sinks, so even-numbered cars have more seats than odd-numbered ones.

Also, passengers tend to want to get off the train at exits near the stairs.

Therefore, you can get on the train fast at exits far from the stairs.

Based on these two ideas, passengers who get on even-numbered cars that are far from the stairs have a higher chance of getting seats, right?

On top of that, unreserved seats tend to be in cars one to three, but there are sometimes unreserved seats in the back.

In that case, there is a higher chance that the seats in the cars at the back will be empty, so be sure to check the information board. It’s a matter of chance, so you aren’t guaranteed a seat, but it’s worth a try!

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How to tell if someone is still talking on the phone after you get a busy signal.

When the line is busy, you can get an audio message when they get off the line. That way, you can call your friend without missing the timing.

It’s not a secret technique; it’s a free NTT service.

With this service, when the line is busy, if you dial 159 within one minute and push 1, the number will be registered. When the call is finished, the user will be contacted, and a voice message will let you know that the call is over. One does not need to apply for the service in advance.

After you have heard the message, if you hang up, dial 159, and then 3, you will be able to call the person.

When the number is on INS Net, a toll-free number, a cell-phone, or a PHS, it is not possible to register it.
There are times when it cannot be used when large numbers of people are calling, such as for ticket reservations, etc.

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