Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo

Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo

by Michael Pronko


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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.

“This book sparkles and succeeds as a love letter of sorts to Tokyo. The author’s writing is a joy to read, with wonderful phrasing and vivid descriptions…As someone who knows very little about Tokyo, I loved this book. As someone who appreciates good writing, I loved this book.” 4 out of 4 stars

This is a memoir to be savored like a fine red wine, crafted with supreme care by a man who clearly has fallen in love with his adopted city -- and we are the beneficiaries of his lyrical reflections, making us want to visit and absorb the rich megalopolis of Tokyo for ourselves.

Publishers Daily Reviews

Each essay is like a self-contained explanation of one facet of life in the context of a grander conversation, and each one is a complete work in its own right… almost like a fictional novel of short stories and vignettes rather than a collection of essays.

Ryan Jordan, Reader’s Favorite

With each new essay opening yet another window into life in this magnificent city, the book vividly captures the depth and beauty of Tokyo, bringing to life the city and the lifestyle.

Faridah Nassozi, Reader’s Favorite

Each of his essays brought me closer and closer to an appreciation of the complex and complicated place Tokyo is, and the lifestyles of those who call it home. His writing style is conversational and smooth, and I found that after finishing one essay I was eager to dive into the next one right away.

Jack Magnus, Reader’s Favorite

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)

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

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

Silver Award for Travel Essay (eLit Award 2015)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781942410119
Publisher: Raked Gravel Press
Publication date: 12/24/2015
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.55(d)

Table of Contents


Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo


Note on the Glossary

Intro and In
City of Eyes

Part I: Surfaces

Why Ask Me?
The Language Dance
Urban Speed Poetry
Perfect Outfits
Don't Drop It!
Cell Screen Tokyo
Public Tightness
Tokyo Asleep

Part II: Miniatures

Perfect Forms
Fitting Things In
Fitting Me In
Small Item Heaven
Give-Away City
My Toe in Tokyo
What's in a Name?
Thousand Armed Kannons
Plastic City

Part III: Constructs

Construction and Resistance
The South Side Theory
Staying Grounded
Parting the Crowd
Double Construction
Ugliest City in the World?
Cleanliness, Tokyo-ness
Tokyo Symphony
Tokyo 24/7
The Summer Slowing

Part IV: Quaking

Are You OK? (March 18, 2011)
Shaken Up (June 20, 2011)
Earthquake Normal (October 2011)
Is This It? (April 2012)
That Was a Bad One (June 2015)

Part V: Serenities

Year-End Busy
Learning to Love the Crowd
Tokyo Comfort City
A Meal in the Hand
Tokyo's Traditional Pauses
Nature People
Jazz in Tokyo
Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
Hanami, and Just After

Arigato-s and Gozaimasu-ses


Customer Reviews