Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo by Michael Pronko

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Book Description

51VJI84JLIL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_Motions and Moments is the third book by Michael Pronko on the fluid feel and vibrant confusions of Tokyo life. These 42 new essays burrow into the unique intensities that suffuse the city and ponder what they mean to its millions of inhabitants.

Based on Pronko’s 18 years living, teaching and writing in Tokyo, these essays on how Tokyoites work, dress, commute, eat and sleep are steeped in insights into the city’s odd structures, intricate pleasures and engaging undertow.

Included are essays on living to size and loving the crowd, on Tokyo’s dizzying uncertainties and daily satisfactions, and on the 2011 earthquake. As in his first two books, this collection captures the ceaseless flow and passing flashes of life in biggest city in the world with gentle humor and rich detail.

Praise for the first collection, Beauty and Chaos: Slices and Morsels of Tokyo Life:

“A clear-eyed but affectionate portrait of a city that reaches beyond simple stereotypes. An elegantly written, precisely observed portrait of a Japanese city and its culture.” Kirkus Reviews

Beauty and Chaos is a spectacular read. Its essays are long enough to be cohesive and provocative while remaining short and sweet. The collection is masterful and unique.” Stephanie Chandler, SPR Review

“He notices the kinds of things that might be taken for granted by the Japanese and overlooked entirely by visitors.” Rebecca Foster, The Bookbag

Gold Award First Place for Cultural Non-Fiction (Reader’s Favorite Awards 2015)
Gold Award (Non-Fiction Authors Association 2015)

Praise for the second collection, Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens: Essays on Tokyo :

“As chapters flow through Tokyo cultural experiences, readers receive a rare glimpse of the structure and nature of Tokyo’s underlying psyche. It’s a powerful, intimate consideration of many aspects of Japanese culture.” D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“An insider’s view of what life is really like in this pulsing, densely populated Asian metropolis…this little book of short, easy to read essays delivers to its readers an education.” Vera A. Pereskokova Luxury Reading Blog

“Could one have a better guide? Anyone planning to work and live in Tokyo for a period of time will find Pronko indispensable.”

Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens is so much more than just a guidebook to Tokyo…it actually plunges into the minuscule details of what it is like to be a Tokyoite.”

Gold Award for Creative Non-Fiction (eLit Awards 2015 )
Silver Award for Travel Essay (eLit Award 2015 )

For more information, go to:

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“A Wonderful Tour of Everyday Tokyo Life”

Five Star Review on Amazon By Chris B.

I’ve never read any of Pronko’s work before, but after this I’m going to have to find his other essays. I’ve always been a Japanophile, and this series of stories about life in Tokyo made me feel like I was there. I appreciated his writing style, and will have to keep a copy of this on my Kindle for when I just need something beautiful and thought provoking to read. The only thing that would’ve made it easier would have been if the e-book had set up annotations/links for the various Japanese words. There is an all-inclusive glossary at the end, but jumping back and forth is annoying on an e-reader.

*I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book, through Reading Deals, so I could give an honest review.

About the Author

Michael Pronko lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. In the afternoons, he teaches American literature, film, music, and art at Meiji Gakuin University. Mornings, he writes. Fielding questions from students about Jackson Pollock or Kurt Vonnegut and then wandering through Shinjuku’s neon mayhem cooks up most of the ideas for his non-fiction and fiction, and wandering the world’s biggest city evenings and weekends does the rest. After nearly 20 years in Tokyo, what’s obvious becomes curious, and vice versa.

For more information, and a few free essays, go to his website:

His writing has appeared in The Japan Times, Newsweek Japan, the once-great city guide Tokyo Q, a weekly ST Shukan, Jazznin (Japan’s first bilingual jazz mag), Winds magazine, Jazz Colo[u]rs (in Italian!), and Artscape Japan. His website Jazz in Japan ( is the first in English about Tokyo’s great jazz scene. He also continues to publish academic articles and runs a conference on teaching literature. He has also appeared on programs for NHK (Japan’s PBS) and Nihon TV’s “The Most Useful School in the World.”

A suspense novel, The Last Train will be coming out later in 2016.

Beauty and Chaos Awards
First Place Gold Prize for Cultural Non-Fiction Reader’s Favorite 2015 Book Awards
Gold Award Winner in Non-Fiction Book Awards 2015
Gold Creative Nonfiction Elit Awards 2015
Silver Travel Essay Elit Awards 2015

Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens Awards
Gold Creative Nonfiction Elit Awards 2015 (tied with Beauty and Chaos)