web site hit counter Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo

Availability: Ready to download

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 sle 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 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." 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." Reader's Favorite   "Charmingly conversational and hard not to find yourself drawn into, Pronko is an insightful author capable of seeing a deeper beauty in everything he writes." Self-Publishing Review   "A terrific series of essays that captures the essence and allure of Tokyo with a lot of heart infused in the work." Feathered Quill Book Reviews "It captures the nuances Westerners find puzzling about Japan and translates them into digestible, vivid insights no visitor should be without." Midwest Book Review    “The earthquake pieces see Pronko finding the human truths in a subject that could easily be discussed with sweeping generality and platitude. Groundbreaking and immensely readable.” Independent Publisher “His approach to writing is an unexpected delight, both clever and insightful where he depicts not only the blemishes of Japanese culture but also the finer things it has to offer.” Book Pleasures “Pronko’s essays are intriguing, reminding readers of the importance of immersing in other cultures beyond surface-level tourism.” Indie Reader “I loved the way each of these short stories bring curiosity, wonder, joy to an everyday moment.” Doing Dewey “That rare voice of one who has lived and studied long enough in an “exotic” environment to get it right, but is still able to present a fresh vision.” Big Al’s Books and Pals “This is another eloquent tribute to a city full of contradictions and wonders.” The Bookbag Gold Award Readers’ Favorite for Non-Fiction Cultural (September 2016) Gold Award Global E-Book Awards for Travel Writing (August 2016) Gold Award Non-Fiction Author’s Association (2016) Gold Honoree Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards Independent Book Publishers Association for E-Book (May 2016) Winner Best Indie Book Award for Non-Fiction (November 2016) Silver Medal 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards for Best Adult Non-fiction Personal E-book (2016) Indie Groundbreaking Book by Independent Publisher Book Review (April 2016) Finalist National Indie Excellence Awards for Travel (2016) Finalist Foreword’s Indiefab Book of the Year Awards for Travel (2016) Finalist International Book Awards for Travel: Guides & Essays (May 2016) Finalist Independent Author Network for Travel (2016) Semi-Finalist Kindle Book Review Awards for Non-Fiction (2016)


Compare

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 sle 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 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." 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." Reader's Favorite   "Charmingly conversational and hard not to find yourself drawn into, Pronko is an insightful author capable of seeing a deeper beauty in everything he writes." Self-Publishing Review   "A terrific series of essays that captures the essence and allure of Tokyo with a lot of heart infused in the work." Feathered Quill Book Reviews "It captures the nuances Westerners find puzzling about Japan and translates them into digestible, vivid insights no visitor should be without." Midwest Book Review    “The earthquake pieces see Pronko finding the human truths in a subject that could easily be discussed with sweeping generality and platitude. Groundbreaking and immensely readable.” Independent Publisher “His approach to writing is an unexpected delight, both clever and insightful where he depicts not only the blemishes of Japanese culture but also the finer things it has to offer.” Book Pleasures “Pronko’s essays are intriguing, reminding readers of the importance of immersing in other cultures beyond surface-level tourism.” Indie Reader “I loved the way each of these short stories bring curiosity, wonder, joy to an everyday moment.” Doing Dewey “That rare voice of one who has lived and studied long enough in an “exotic” environment to get it right, but is still able to present a fresh vision.” Big Al’s Books and Pals “This is another eloquent tribute to a city full of contradictions and wonders.” The Bookbag Gold Award Readers’ Favorite for Non-Fiction Cultural (September 2016) Gold Award Global E-Book Awards for Travel Writing (August 2016) Gold Award Non-Fiction Author’s Association (2016) Gold Honoree Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards Independent Book Publishers Association for E-Book (May 2016) Winner Best Indie Book Award for Non-Fiction (November 2016) Silver Medal 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards for Best Adult Non-fiction Personal E-book (2016) Indie Groundbreaking Book by Independent Publisher Book Review (April 2016) Finalist National Indie Excellence Awards for Travel (2016) Finalist Foreword’s Indiefab Book of the Year Awards for Travel (2016) Finalist International Book Awards for Travel: Guides & Essays (May 2016) Finalist Independent Author Network for Travel (2016) Semi-Finalist Kindle Book Review Awards for Non-Fiction (2016)

30 review for Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    Maybe third time is indeed the charm. In either case my third armchair visit to Tokyo courtesy of Michael Pronko has so far been the most enjoyable one. Knowing what to expect helped, plus I was in the mood for a lazy adventure. Pronko doesn't just know Tokyo, he loves it. And it's a good kind of love, patient, observant, forgiving of shortcomings and commending on strengths. It really comes through in his writing and it makes for a more compelling reading experience. There was a particularly we Maybe third time is indeed the charm. In either case my third armchair visit to Tokyo courtesy of Michael Pronko has so far been the most enjoyable one. Knowing what to expect helped, plus I was in the mood for a lazy adventure. Pronko doesn't just know Tokyo, he loves it. And it's a good kind of love, patient, observant, forgiving of shortcomings and commending on strengths. It really comes through in his writing and it makes for a more compelling reading experience. There was a particularly well written, moving section on the effects of the 2011 earthquake, some very interesting thoughts on the consequences of Westernization and, as always, fascinatingly striking cultural differences smartly and succinctly (short chapter, maximum efficiency, very Japanese) observed. I'm still not won over by Tokyo's dubious charms, I still have no desire to actually experience it in person, although it might be the most OCD friendly city on the planet, to me it lacks soul and charm, it's much too orderly, commercialized and overwhelming. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and reading Pronko is like viewing the city through a lens he lovingly holds up. You can see how it can be lovely and loved, even if not by you. Good quick read/ fun free trip. Recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jodie "Bookish" Cook

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Book Review Title: Motion and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo Author: Michael Pronko Genre: Non-Fiction/Essays Rating: ***** Reviews: Just like my two previous reviews of Michael Pronko’s essays I will be reviewing these essays in parts and I believe I am going to enjoy these essays as much as the others. I also can’t wait to jump into his fictional detective mystery series as soon as I can. Part One: Surfaces This opening section has to be one of my favourites by far as Pronko moves away from the philos Book Review Title: Motion and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo Author: Michael Pronko Genre: Non-Fiction/Essays Rating: ***** Reviews: Just like my two previous reviews of Michael Pronko’s essays I will be reviewing these essays in parts and I believe I am going to enjoy these essays as much as the others. I also can’t wait to jump into his fictional detective mystery series as soon as I can. Part One: Surfaces This opening section has to be one of my favourites by far as Pronko moves away from the philosophical question he has posed in his other collection to more practical ones. It was interesting to see some of the practical elements of living in Japan as a foreigner even though he has lived there for many years and how he often engages in the language dance with others to assess whether or not they speak English and how well while the other person is often assessing whether or not he speaks good Japanese. These little practicalities are very useful insights for someone looking to travel to or live in Japan in the future. Seeing the small insights into everyday life and what this means in context is delightful like the seemingly yet impossible choice between a futon or a bed is magical to read because it forces you to consider things you saw as insignificant before but take on a whole new meaning when you see someone else’s perspective on the issue. Pronko also doesn’t come across as a true Japanese person as he often makes mistakes and in awed by Japanese people and society despite having lived there for 15 years. Part Two: Miniatures Miniatures is an interesting section as Pronko discusses the issue of space in a country like Japan which is very densely populated. While there isn’t any extra space like in the US or the UK, people who live in Japan, native or not, have learnt to fit whatever they need in the available space they have. While this may lead to some tights squeezes in restaurants, bars and trains, it is an essential part of daily life that everyone has to acclimatize to. Some of the times where Pronko talks about the shortage of space amaze me that 3 or 4 people let alone one or two dozen people can fit into them, but they do over and over again. I must prepare myself for when I travel to Japan that I might have a hard time getting into some places despite being relatively small in stature. I love the way Pronko writes and how he uses his own personal experiences to get his points across. If you need convinces you only need to read the essay Plastic City which I ended up laughing at, quite loudly I might add while waiting for a bus to the dismay of other commuters. Part Three: Constructs The opening essay to Constructs made me laugh out loud when Pronko mentions being fascinated by construction in Tokyo and his wife often tells him off calling him a little boy, which is something I do myself but with my younger brother. Constructs seems to focus on just that, how over time the city is constantly evolving and how people adapt to these changes. It is wonderful to learn some things about my favourite country in the world, from the fact that Japanese summers are extremely hot due to high humidity and even native Japanese struggle through it, how everything expands but not once inch of useful space is wasted like it is in other countries. As I have mentioned many times before Pronko injects a human element into his essays, which for me personally, makes them so interesting and exciting to read as they aren’t just pumping out facts and figures, it is coming from a man who lives it everyday and experienced everything he is written about. Part Four: Quaking Quaking was the section I was most looking forward to as they seem to focus on what happened to Tokyo and the Japanese people after the 2011 earthquake. The first essay is dated March 18th just a week after the earthquake and resulting tsunami, Pronko manages to convey in just a few pages the sheer scale of the lost and devastation and how people like him who weren’t directly affected but they feel the mourning and sorrow as a nation than individual people. The second essay jumps forwards the June 20th where 3 months after the earthquake life hasn’t gone back to normal, the news continues to report different stories on the disaster some of which I remember seeing in the United Kingdom and it devastated me. Pronko has a difficult time as being a foreigner in Japan when so many were fleeing he fought to keep his life there as normal as possible, but nothing really seems to ease the pain of what happened. The third essay again jumps forward 3 months to October 2011, where life is beginning to move on after the earthquake but Pronko realises that this is one aspect of living in Japan that he will never get used to but continues to make himself prepared for future quakes. I would react similarly as the UK doesn’t have earthquakes – well, that’s lie we have had some but there are extremely rare and usual very minor quakes while Japan located with in the Ring of Fire is prone to them, and tsunamis as a result which would terrify me. In April 2012, Pronko writes about how the mourning period is ending and the city feels more alive than ever. Even though many of making plans for the future, if an earthquake hits again but there are also people shocked into doing more with their lives, people changed job, people got married and life moved on. The final essay dated June 2015, Pronko details the events he witnessed when 3 earthquakes struck and how in the space of a few years life had completely changed for him and almost everyone else in the country. One final thing I want to mention about this part is that it doesn’t matter whether you have experienced an earthquake before, minor or major, you can feel the sorrow and anxiety that Pronko felt while writing these essay and that in itself is extremely powerful. Part Five: Serenities As we move into Serenities the final part of this collection I was wondering what on earth Pronko could write about after the earthquakes which were so raw and emotional. After reading 2 or 3 of these essays despite the light-hearted subject matter, I found it very difficult to concrete on them after the previous section. While I love Pronko’s observations everything felt a little off after Quaking but don’t let that put off reading these collections. Now I am done with these I am going to be breaking open The Last Train and The Moving Blade very soon. The only criticism I have for this collection would be that the reading experience would have been better if section 4 and 5 were reverse. I understand Pronko may have been trying to lighten the mood after Part Four, but I personally felt it was undermining the importance of Quaking and the messages behind that section and the emotions Pronko put in his writing. If Quaking had been the last section all the light-hearted essays would be grouped together and the collection would end on a more serious note and while this may not be the ideal reading experience for most, it would have been the most impactful and Quaking definitely packs a punch.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Book

    ‘Motions and Moments’ is the second time I had the opportunity and pleasure reading Michael Pronko’s essays on Tokyo. With ‘Beauty and Chaos’, his previous book I fully enjoyed, he managed to perfectly convey the spirit of this extraordinary Japanese megalopolis in a series of interesting, humorous and yet extremely educational essays. Or as Pronko said 'writing about Tokyo is like catching fish with a hollow gourd.' In this anthology, he presents us 42 new essays, proving that he is not only the ‘Motions and Moments’ is the second time I had the opportunity and pleasure reading Michael Pronko’s essays on Tokyo. With ‘Beauty and Chaos’, his previous book I fully enjoyed, he managed to perfectly convey the spirit of this extraordinary Japanese megalopolis in a series of interesting, humorous and yet extremely educational essays. Or as Pronko said 'writing about Tokyo is like catching fish with a hollow gourd.' In this anthology, he presents us 42 new essays, proving that he is not only the insider who knows so much about Tokyo, but someone who loves this city. Michael Pronko is the kind of caring parent who emphasizes own child’s virtues and explain flaws. Michael Pronko has lived and wrote in and about Tokyo for fifteen years. Working as a professor at Meiji Gakuin University and teaching American literature, culture, film, music, and art, Pronko is a man that rightly, regardless of his origin, can be called insider. As he nicely wrote -fielding questions from his students about Jackson Pollock or Kurt Vonnegut and then wandering through Shinjuku's neon mayhem always puts ideas for writing into his head, while teaching also keeps him searching for the heart of life in the world's biggest city. In this collection some of the motives that particularly impressed me were changes Tokyo went through brought by Western society and the consequences to Japan of fatal earthquake back in 2011. Visiting Tokyo is something impossible to forget, regardless how experienced traveler you are. Therefore, as a man who grew up in different part of the world, Pronko manages to see things not so noticeable to locals, but also usually overlooked by Tokyo tourists. He succeeds taking reader to the places you did not read about in ads, providing a broader view of this extraordinary city. I will conclude this review as I did the previous - if you plan visiting Tokyo for the first time or know someone who plan to do that, I recommend reading both of Pronko’s anthologies, because that way Tokyo would be experienced in much deeper and personal manner. I was given a copy of this book by the author for the purpose of unbiased review, while all the presented information is based on my impressions.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nick Rossi

    Adding to the burgeoning variety of reviews that Reading Other People has been posting, Michael Pronko's refreshing "Motions and Moments More Essays on Tokyo" can best be described as a cultural reveal on one of the most fascinating parts of the modern world. The piece is collectively comprised of essays that brilliantly looks at fragments that, as a respective whole, help to identify and shed light on what life in Tokyo is really like. Instead of falling into the trap of focusing on the sensatio Adding to the burgeoning variety of reviews that Reading Other People has been posting, Michael Pronko's refreshing "Motions and Moments More Essays on Tokyo" can best be described as a cultural reveal on one of the most fascinating parts of the modern world. The piece is collectively comprised of essays that brilliantly looks at fragments that, as a respective whole, help to identify and shed light on what life in Tokyo is really like. Instead of falling into the trap of focusing on the sensationalism of certain types of Tokyo life (I'm thinking the misappropriation by Americans of the Harajuku culture), Michael Pronko documents the many moving pieces of Japan's capital city and sheds key insights and revelations into the ubiquity of Japanese living. Among my favorites of the 42 essays is the state of cleanliness of Tokyo-ian construction sites where Pronko documents his experiences with the apparent constant state of cleaning in this mammoth city. In his words, it's like Tokyo has been photoshopped for optimum beauty, including construction sites. Fascinating stuff. The author isn't judging, analysing, or speculating here. He is merely an observer in a foreign country that operates on its own ideals and principles, and, simply put, is writing about what he sees without the rose-colored glasses that so often shades Western culture. Like this review? Read more like it at www.readingotherpeople.com

  5. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    Thanks to NetGalley for supplying me with a free copy of this book for review. Motions and Moments offers a wonderful insight into the cultural practices, social practices and everyday life of a tokyoite. The author is an American who has made a home for himself in Tokyo. Despite living there for years, he still feels very much an outsider to Tokyo. His observations from the outside allow the reader to experience Tokyo with all its eccentricities and wonders laid bare. Each chapter in the book dea Thanks to NetGalley for supplying me with a free copy of this book for review. Motions and Moments offers a wonderful insight into the cultural practices, social practices and everyday life of a tokyoite. The author is an American who has made a home for himself in Tokyo. Despite living there for years, he still feels very much an outsider to Tokyo. His observations from the outside allow the reader to experience Tokyo with all its eccentricities and wonders laid bare. Each chapter in the book deals with a different reflection on what it is like living in Tokyo. Dressing, gifting, commuting, shopping, dining and countless other topics are fascinatingly explored. As a reader, I felt such a mixture of emotions reading this book, I laughed, I was confused, I was intrigued and it didn't end there. I love feeling such a wide spectram of emotions when I finish a book. High praise to the author who has written a fantastic travel book that is very much a study of society.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Pronko’s third collection of essays about his adopted city is an eloquent tribute to a place full of contradictions and wonders. Compared to his earlier collection, Beauty and Chaos, I sense Pronko is now more comfortable in his surroundings, perhaps happier to include himself in ‘we’ rather than looking on passively at ‘them’. For instance – inspired by Japanese women’s perfect outfits – he consciously tries to dress better, and he’s taken to eating ramen and sleeping on a futon, just like a na Pronko’s third collection of essays about his adopted city is an eloquent tribute to a place full of contradictions and wonders. Compared to his earlier collection, Beauty and Chaos, I sense Pronko is now more comfortable in his surroundings, perhaps happier to include himself in ‘we’ rather than looking on passively at ‘them’. For instance – inspired by Japanese women’s perfect outfits – he consciously tries to dress better, and he’s taken to eating ramen and sleeping on a futon, just like a native. The highlight is a set of pieces written in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake / tsunami. See my full review at The Bookbag. (I also did an interview with the author.)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Rendon

    Better than anything i expected. I downloaded this book for free on my kindle thinking it would have an essay or two to skim before bed. Instead, Pronko painted swaths of scenes, slivers of the city that kept me curious. I highly recommend this book to anyone with any interest in Tokyo.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nidhi Arora

    Brilliantly written. I want to visit Tokyo now and see this for myself. So interesting..

  9. 4 out of 5

    Norm Goldman

    Michael Pronko has a natural talent to spin out words and astute perceptions in concise, steady and refreshing prose wherein every word counts and nothing is extra. This is quite in evidence in his most recent tome Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo where we are taken to various areas that few have seen and savored. His approach to writing the essays about Tokyo and its inhabitants is an unexpected delight, both clever and insightful where he depicts not only the blemishes of Japanese cult Michael Pronko has a natural talent to spin out words and astute perceptions in concise, steady and refreshing prose wherein every word counts and nothing is extra. This is quite in evidence in his most recent tome Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo where we are taken to various areas that few have seen and savored. His approach to writing the essays about Tokyo and its inhabitants is an unexpected delight, both clever and insightful where he depicts not only the blemishes of Japanese culture but also the finer things it has to offer. On the other hand, as he mentions, he may be very much in Tokyo, however, he would never be of Tokyo which has never completely normalized for him. Divided into five parts, the collection covers a great deal of ground and is drawn from Pronko's later columns in Newsweek Japan that were published in the four years after the 2011 earthquake and emanate from his daily train rides, each devoted to a particular subject matter in a delicious random way providing readers with fascinating portraits of Tokyoites. A glossary at the end of the collection is provided translating some of the Japanese words that are sprinkled throughout the essays. As Pronko mentions, these words are better left in their original Japanese as they work better. Quite impressive is Pronko's familiarity with Tokyoites although he was born in Kansas City, which no doubt is a very different world. Incidentally, he has also lived in Beijing, China for three years. One of the joys in reading these essays is that the language is precisely crafted. For example, Pronko is frugal with his adjectives but nonetheless draws lively, animated and sometimes comical pictures concerning a variety of topics. These are filled with details such as finding a language to converse that “can be confusing as interpreting the dance of a honeybee,” being stopped four times by the police while biking when wearing ratty jeans and a frayed shirt, watching a young woman trying to pick up her cell phone on a crowded train where people are packed like sardines, interpreting Japanese body language, the Japanese obsession with form filling, the skill in squeezing stuff into one place and learning space conservation, plastic recycling, getting lost in Tokyo where you need more than a map or GPS to find your way and a host of others. One essay that I found particularly fascinating concerns the preoccupation with cleanliness where as Pronko states: “Forty million people in the Tokyo, Yokohama and surrounding areas should mean forty million producers of trash. Yet, it feels as if a giant vacuum cleaner and sponger are run over the city every couple hours.” Another that I can personally relate to is, “The Language Dance.” I live in Montreal, Quebec where people converse both in French and English. Very often if you are an English speaking person you can start a conversation in French and wind up speaking in English as the person you are talking to speaks a better English than your French, even though French may be their mother tongue. Pronko describes this similar experience he encounters in Tokyo where he describes the ritual language dance which entails beginning a conversation about the weather in Japanese, then a few questions as to where he is from and why he is in Japan, and gradually, the other person inserts a word or two in English to kind of test the waters, and if he catches the hint and asks a question in English then they switch to English. Splendidly produced, Pronko has provided his readers with an engaging view of Tokyo life and to quote him, “after living and teaching in Tokyo for many years he still feels that its careening meanings and beguiling contradictions continue to multiply and beg to be written about.” Follow Here http://goo.gl/rqS144 To Read Norm's Interesting Interview With Michael Pronko

  10. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Michael Pronko's short stories about Japan's culture and oddities are the next best thing to a visit, but don't expect a travelogue, here. The pleasure of Motions and Moments (as in his other writings) lies not in the usual 'things to go/places to see/I was there' approach, but in an attention to cultural dichotomies and a depth of detail that is difficult to find elsewhere. Take the opening, for example, with begins with a note about its glossary. One might be surprised that information explaini Michael Pronko's short stories about Japan's culture and oddities are the next best thing to a visit, but don't expect a travelogue, here. The pleasure of Motions and Moments (as in his other writings) lies not in the usual 'things to go/places to see/I was there' approach, but in an attention to cultural dichotomies and a depth of detail that is difficult to find elsewhere. Take the opening, for example, with begins with a note about its glossary. One might be surprised that information explaining the glossary's importance prefaces the collection, but in fact this is key to enjoying the work, and shouldn't be skipped over lightly, because: "All Japanese words that work better in Japanese have been given in italicized Roman alphabet form, called romaji. The reader can flip back to the glossary to find those, or read on and experience the confusion of being in Tokyo. Check the back for the fun words, the crucial ones and sometimes the strange." Tokyo living doesn't just involve a light dose of inconsistency. It embraces it. Pronko outlines this right away, letting readers know that they should be prepared for a production less linear and predictable than the usual treatise on Japanese culture. This collection is in keeping with Pronko's other exquisite essays about Japan, so prior fans will be thrilled, while newcomers need have no previous familiarity in order to see how he captures the subtler nuances of Japanese living with crystal clarity. From Tokyo's own peculiar brand of cell phone addiction and how it differs from other countries to the bigger picture connecting Tokyoite decisions with how the rest of the world functions, insights are thought-provoking reflections of the particular choices this modern world makes, and their impact. From the city's unusual undercurrents of silence compared with the din of other urban cities in Asia to symphonies of sound, taste, and a marathon feel in which life seems to move faster and faster, nobody captures the feel of Tokyo quite like Pronko. His writings aren't just designed to 'show and tell', but to dissect the psyche and heartbeat of a city to pinpoint its unique culture, from business rituals and formalities to intersections where Tokyoites relax. Anyone with an interest in Japanese culture in general and Tokyo in particular must acquire Motions and Moments. More so than almost any other treatment, it captures the nuances Westerners find puzzling about Japan and translates them into digestible, vivid insights no visitor should be without.

  11. 5 out of 5

    For the Love of Books

    In his third book of essays about living in Tokyo, Japan author Michael Pronko provides an insider’s view of the city, with the perspective/respect of a one-time outsider. As an American writing and teaching at the University level and living in Tokyo for over eighteen years, Pronko has learned how to navigate the city, the customs and all of the quirks, while still being open to adventure and new discoveries. Always ready to explore and discover something new, Pronko is proud of his residence i In his third book of essays about living in Tokyo, Japan author Michael Pronko provides an insider’s view of the city, with the perspective/respect of a one-time outsider. As an American writing and teaching at the University level and living in Tokyo for over eighteen years, Pronko has learned how to navigate the city, the customs and all of the quirks, while still being open to adventure and new discoveries. Always ready to explore and discover something new, Pronko is proud of his residence in Tokyo, proud of the citizens, his students and the hustle and bustle. This hustle and bustle is explored in a deeply intimate and well thought out manner and Pronko’s perspective, often reflected through observations made at the train station or on the train, show that there is much more to the city and its inhabitants than just harried/hurried professionals running about. Motions and Moments is a collection of short essays, each focusing on a certain topic, rich in images, careful explanations of customs, the culture and all of the complexities associated with the city. There are essays on food, gifts, train rides, social norms, nightlife and more. The pride of the city and the culture is reflected in all of the essays. The author has also included a glossary at the end of the book for easy reference and the book immediately is a warm, personal narrative that allows the reader into Pronko’s life. In spite of his years spent in Tokyo, the author readily shares his own struggles or confusions about the way of life in his new home and all of his discoveries along the way. The language barriers, the small spaces, the constant stream of people, long days and more, sometimes unfamiliar and daunting, are also rather comforting. The essays discussing the earthquakes that have rocked Tokyo in recent years were raw, heartfelt and speak volumes on the importance of home, even if that home is somewhere far away or unfamiliar. Motions and Moments is not a street by street guidebook for a potential visitor or resident of Tokyo, but is instead an engaging and insightful look into a culture full of traditions, quirks, warmth and far more. Pronko’s well-crafted words show the utmost respect for the Tokyoites that have adopted him and have shared their beautiful culture with him.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Renae Lucas-Hall

    I LOVED this book! This collection of essays is just so beautifully written and it has a charming personal touch which is absolutely endearing, especially for me because I’ve lived and worked in Tokyo and I have a BA in Japanese studies. If you’ve ever lived in Japan, visited this fabulous country, or if you’re planning a trip to Tokyo you’ll definitely enjoy reading Motions and Moments. Each and every essay captures the true essence of Tokyo and its people. Pronko’s observations are completely I LOVED this book! This collection of essays is just so beautifully written and it has a charming personal touch which is absolutely endearing, especially for me because I’ve lived and worked in Tokyo and I have a BA in Japanese studies. If you’ve ever lived in Japan, visited this fabulous country, or if you’re planning a trip to Tokyo you’ll definitely enjoy reading Motions and Moments. Each and every essay captures the true essence of Tokyo and its people. Pronko’s observations are completely authentic and at the same time heart-warming. In one essay you’re sympathising with him as he struggles to circumnavigate the chaotic streets and subways in Tokyo with broken toes, in another essay you can picture his fond farewell to his students who are making the transition from gakusei to shakaijin (students to productive members of society) at Shibuya Station in front of the famous Hachiko dog statue. You can almost visualise the tears in the eyes of his students as they say a fond farewell to this author who has been their teacher for four years. I’ve always had an obsession with Japanese cherry blossoms but Pronko provided yet another layer to my infatuation in his description of the pink petals and the red sepals at the end of the cherry blossom season, but there is so much more to this book! Pronko’s essays comment on body language in Japan, fashion, the strive for perfection that permeates Japanese society, how Tokyo has changed and evolved in the past fifteen years, Pronko’s love for jazz and how this music and the jazz bars scattered around Tokyo keep him grounded, the Japanese love of forms and paperwork and how difficult it is for expats to get used to this, Tokyo topography, how frightening earthquakes really are and the psychological impact of their tremors and destruction, the fact that you never stop finding more aspects of Tokyo to step back and admire, and the difficulties and simple joys gaikokujin (foreigners) face every day when they live in Tokyo. I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to read Michael Pronko’s other books ‘Beauty and Chaos’ and ‘Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens’.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katie/Doing Dewey

    Summary: I loved the way each of these short stories bring curiosity, wonder, joy to an everyday moment. Although I suspect that Michael Pronko's observations of Tokyo are possible in part because he's an expat living there, I would be just as happy to read essays he wrote about any country. I enjoy learning about Tokyo, the little details of another culture that make it unique and that are only visible to someone who has lived there long enough, but what I really love is the way the author captu Summary: I loved the way each of these short stories bring curiosity, wonder, joy to an everyday moment. Although I suspect that Michael Pronko's observations of Tokyo are possible in part because he's an expat living there, I would be just as happy to read essays he wrote about any country. I enjoy learning about Tokyo, the little details of another culture that make it unique and that are only visible to someone who has lived there long enough, but what I really love is the way the author captures moments in daily life. Every story in this collection reminds me of one of the author's earlier essays about the way chopsticks let you hold up food and savor it, something I think he himself related to the way he writes. In each of these essays, the author holds up a moment in daily life and makes us stop and think about it, instead of just consuming it quickly. I wish I could look at my daily life with the care and lack of assumptions he brings to his. Reading his essays, I feel that even if he were writing about my daily life, about things that were mundane to me, he could bring a fresh perspective and a sense of wonder. Being able to share that perspective for a moment reading his essays makes me feel that sense of wonder and often a feeling of joy at the quirkiness of the world. It's a very unique reading experience and one I'd highly recommend. This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey

  14. 5 out of 5

    Megz

    I’ve been to Tokyo, and I loved it, and I anticipated enjoying this collection of essays. Unfortunately not the case for me, although I’ve seen some rave reviews. I feel ambivalent about the writing style: it’s certainly fine, but it does not draw me in. It was nice to read about a setting that I recall, and to see its depth from someone who has lived there, but I felt that even so, it was fairly shallow. To the author, everything about Tokyo is always the superlative – the busiest, most product I’ve been to Tokyo, and I loved it, and I anticipated enjoying this collection of essays. Unfortunately not the case for me, although I’ve seen some rave reviews. I feel ambivalent about the writing style: it’s certainly fine, but it does not draw me in. It was nice to read about a setting that I recall, and to see its depth from someone who has lived there, but I felt that even so, it was fairly shallow. To the author, everything about Tokyo is always the superlative – the busiest, most productive, cleanest, ugliest (etc) city. It became a little monotonous. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was more a recounting to loved ones than a collection of essays. The thing that bothered me most is that the essays lacked, for the most part, introspection. I wanted to see how Tokyo had affected the author on a deeper level, not simply by having him purchase a futon, or walk faster in public. The section on earthquakes approached this, but only briefly. Many of the essays smack of the pseudo-philosophical, such as the machinery-sounds of Tokyo making the author more appreciative of human voices, to name but one example. It just does not quite reach the depth I was expecting, I guess. My favourite essays were those that touched upon the author’s interaction with his students, which displayed the interface between local and foreign culture so nicely, and also showed me a dynamic aspect of the author’s personality. Ultimately this was a miss for me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    J Aislynn d'Merricksson

    ***This book was reviewed for the Online Book Club*** Moments and Motions is a collection of essays by Michael Pronko, a Western transplant to Tokyo, where he teaches at university, and writes essays on life in the techno-sprawl that is Japan’s capital city. The book is broken into several sections, each with a distinct theme- Surfaces, Miniatures, Constructs, Quaking, and Serenities. Pronko's collection is a beautiful tapestry of cultural awareness. He displays a willingness to learn about and e ***This book was reviewed for the Online Book Club*** Moments and Motions is a collection of essays by Michael Pronko, a Western transplant to Tokyo, where he teaches at university, and writes essays on life in the techno-sprawl that is Japan’s capital city. The book is broken into several sections, each with a distinct theme- Surfaces, Miniatures, Constructs, Quaking, and Serenities. Pronko's collection is a beautiful tapestry of cultural awareness. He displays a willingness to learn about and embrace the culture he has chosen to live in. I love reading about other cultures, immersing myself in them. I more favour ancient Japanese history/culture than modern, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection. I will say, they did help me realise, with my demophobia, that I should never visit modern Tokyo, with its vast population, and perpetual crowds. Likewise, I wouldn't be able to cope with sensory overload. However, I enjoyed reading his accounts. I used to teach and design classes on different cultures to promote cultural awareness, learn to embrace other cultures, and often prep to visit different cultures. If I still taught, Pronko's book would become required reading. I really liked the Wallace Stevens poem at the beginning of Epigraph. It expresses a very Japanese sentiment. I did find the word 'Tokyoites’ to be very grating, though. It just didn't have a proper flow to my ears or mind.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Carter

    “What slows me are small shrines tucked alongside the sidewalks of Tokyo. These shrines are ignored by most passersby, but are tucked into small lots all over the city. I always stop to look, because I love the way they insist, against all contrary evidence, that some places in this ever-changing megalopolis remain sacred.” For foreigners, some cultures are much more difficult to immerse oneself in than others. Americans can find more in common often with some European cultures than Asian ones. I “What slows me are small shrines tucked alongside the sidewalks of Tokyo. These shrines are ignored by most passersby, but are tucked into small lots all over the city. I always stop to look, because I love the way they insist, against all contrary evidence, that some places in this ever-changing megalopolis remain sacred.” For foreigners, some cultures are much more difficult to immerse oneself in than others. Americans can find more in common often with some European cultures than Asian ones. I can verify that firsthand as I’ve lived in both cultures. However, I always found the Japanese culture the most fascinating of any I have experienced. They do many things in a very different way and for very different reasons than we would in America. Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo gives one man’s perspective about life in the Japanese culture. Michael Pronko grew up near Kansas City, but teaches at a university in Japan and has lived there for 15 years. He has written short essays about his experiences for newspapers and magazines and has compiled them in three books with Motions and Moments being the third book. I was given a copy of the ebook to review by onlinebookclub.org. Read more here: http://sarahannecarter.com/motions-an...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Tidwell

    FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own. Motions & Moments: More Essays on Tokyo by Michael Pronko this was such an impressive set of essay’s to read. I enjoyed this because I felt like got a very good idea of what it is like in Japan. It is somewhere that I would love to visit, but I don’t know if I ever would be able to visit FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own. Motions & Moments: More Essays on Tokyo by Michael Pronko this was such an impressive set of essay’s to read. I enjoyed this because I felt like got a very good idea of what it is like in Japan. It is somewhere that I would love to visit, but I don’t know if I ever would be able to visit there. This left me wanting to go because I was able to get a look at what it is like there. At times I did get confused, but I know that if I was in Japan trying to figure everything out I would be just as confused by everything that was going on around me. I was confused, but I wasn’t left worried or scared because it was just an essay and I knew that I would be able to figure stuff out later. He did have a glossary at the end of the book that explained what things were, but I didn’t even look at it until the end because I wanted to try and figure it out like I would have to do if I ever traveled there on my own. All in all, I enjoyed this book and I know I will go back and read parts of it again because I loved feeling like I was there and being able to figure everything out as I was reading the different essays.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Radhika Mundra

    A must read for Nonfiction lovers! I've never read non-fiction before and it feels safe to say that I couldn't have asked for a better start. The book is informative but it doesn't bore you. The writing style of the author is vividly imaginative and easy to read. It feels as if with every new essay, you're unfolding a new mystery about Tokyo. The revelation makes you a bystander; it doesn't plunge you right inside leaving enough curiosity for you to want to uncover it yourself. As enjoyable as it A must read for Nonfiction lovers! I've never read non-fiction before and it feels safe to say that I couldn't have asked for a better start. The book is informative but it doesn't bore you. The writing style of the author is vividly imaginative and easy to read. It feels as if with every new essay, you're unfolding a new mystery about Tokyo. The revelation makes you a bystander; it doesn't plunge you right inside leaving enough curiosity for you to want to uncover it yourself. As enjoyable as it was, this book wasn't unputdownable. There's only so much you can absorb about another culture at a time. I read it at leisure and enjoyed it thoroughly. With minimal errors, this book takes 4 stars. It's not a travelogue, mind you. It's much more than that. So, if you enjoy reading about different cultures, this is the book for you. If you enjoy balanced writing and a good narrative, this book is for you. If you enjoy non-fiction, this book is for you. For all its worth, this book makes me want to write about my city and I find that idea quite entertaining. For the full review, visit: Book Review: Motions and Moments; More Essays on Tokyo

  19. 4 out of 5

    Radhika Mundra

    I've never read non-fiction before and it feels safe to say that I couldn't have asked for a better start. The book is informative but it doesn't bore you. The writing style of the author is vividly imaginative and easy to read. It feels as if with every new essay, you're unfolding a new mystery about Tokyo. The revelation makes you a bystander; it doesn't plunge you right inside leaving enough curiosity for you to want to uncover it yourself. As enjoyable as it was, this book wasn't unputdownab I've never read non-fiction before and it feels safe to say that I couldn't have asked for a better start. The book is informative but it doesn't bore you. The writing style of the author is vividly imaginative and easy to read. It feels as if with every new essay, you're unfolding a new mystery about Tokyo. The revelation makes you a bystander; it doesn't plunge you right inside leaving enough curiosity for you to want to uncover it yourself. As enjoyable as it was, this book wasn't unputdownable. There's only so much you can absorb about another culture at a time. I read it at leisure and enjoyed it thoroughly. With minimal errors, this book takes 4 stars. It's not a travelogue, mind you. It's much more than that. So, if you enjoy reading about different cultures, this is the book for you. If you enjoy balanced writing and a good narrative, this book is for you. If you enjoy non-fiction, this book is for you. For all its worth, this book makes me want to write about my city and I find that idea quite entertaining. For the full review, visit: Book Review: Motions and Moments; More Essays on Tokyo

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul Franco

    This is the third book in a series that features essays about Tokyo, from an American who’s been living there for decades. The first two books were excellent in his examination of the minutiae of Japanese life that everyone else misses, and this third is more of the same sheer joyfulness. For example, it starts with the Japanese take on staring contests, a small everyday thing that was exactly the kind of event the author explained so well in the first two books. I would have never thought anyon This is the third book in a series that features essays about Tokyo, from an American who’s been living there for decades. The first two books were excellent in his examination of the minutiae of Japanese life that everyone else misses, and this third is more of the same sheer joyfulness. For example, it starts with the Japanese take on staring contests, a small everyday thing that was exactly the kind of event the author explained so well in the first two books. I would have never thought anyone could write so much about futons, or plastic. Every city has kiosks, but only this author writes about them, and seems genuinely fascinated by them. He even manages to find some fundamental truths about jazz, far away from New Orleans or anywhere else the style is famous. There’s even a whole section on the psychological impact of the giant earthquake and aftermath. But it’s his prose that most gets me. “When someone drops a cell phone, when the little silicon center of the universe clatters to the floor, it is like a young child falling over: everyone looks to see if the child is OK.” Moments like these show we’re not so different after all. 4.5 pushed up to 5/5

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sonali Agarwal

    Read full review : https://sonalify.com/2016/09/08/revie... If somebody give me a chance to rename this book I would like call it ‘To Tokyo with Love’ because this book shows the immense love of Author for his beloved city Tokyo. Thanks to the Author, Now I know a lot of things about Tokyo. From the Tokyoite’s obsession with English slogan T – shirts to ‘ fitting things in’ to a coffee shops with names carved on the walls to a great jazz bar; While reading the book I felt like I was there in the Read full review : https://sonalify.com/2016/09/08/revie... If somebody give me a chance to rename this book I would like call it ‘To Tokyo with Love’ because this book shows the immense love of Author for his beloved city Tokyo. Thanks to the Author, Now I know a lot of things about Tokyo. From the Tokyoite’s obsession with English slogan T – shirts to ‘ fitting things in’ to a coffee shops with names carved on the walls to a great jazz bar; While reading the book I felt like I was there in the Tokyo City. Now I feel like I have just completed a small research on Tokyo City. Author has sprinkled Japanese words through out the book but thankfully they didn’t interrupt the flow of reading. I liked all the essays but the explanatory section of aftereffects of the 2011 earthquake and the’ Ugliest City in the world’ were my favourites among all. More on : sonalify.com

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christina Brummett

    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 wor 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.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Misty Walker

    I very rarely listen to this type of book, preferring fiction but this was given to me so I turned it on and was transported to Japan. I loved hearing all of these short stories and really felt entertained as well as gaining some knowledge. It was excellent. The narrator was great as well. The tone and inflection in his voice kept my attention and kept me involved in the stories.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo by Michael Pronko is a delightful book for those that like to travel and those that are interested in Tokyo culture. The essays are well detailed, concise and clear. There are many subjects covered, from futons and t-shirt slogans to earthquakes and language. The essays afford an in depth look into the culture and life, all from the perspective of an American who started out as a tourist. This book certainly has made me feel like visiting now, sounds lik Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo by Michael Pronko is a delightful book for those that like to travel and those that are interested in Tokyo culture. The essays are well detailed, concise and clear. There are many subjects covered, from futons and t-shirt slogans to earthquakes and language. The essays afford an in depth look into the culture and life, all from the perspective of an American who started out as a tourist. This book certainly has made me feel like visiting now, sounds like a fantastic place. I would recommend this.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ilana

    A collection of fine, simple yet deeply observations about the everyday life in Tokyo. Each essay has the grace and strength of a Japanese letter, the result of the almost two decades of expat life experiences of the author. It is one of the few contemporary books about Japan and especially Tokya I'd read recently witnessing the curiosity and interest of the author towards the Japanese culture, instead of haughty outline of the difference 'we' vs. 'they'. Disclaimer: The publisher offered me the A collection of fine, simple yet deeply observations about the everyday life in Tokyo. Each essay has the grace and strength of a Japanese letter, the result of the almost two decades of expat life experiences of the author. It is one of the few contemporary books about Japan and especially Tokya I'd read recently witnessing the curiosity and interest of the author towards the Japanese culture, instead of haughty outline of the difference 'we' vs. 'they'. Disclaimer: The publisher offered me the book in exchange of a fair review

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kishan Swain

    Motions and Moments book by Michael Pronko is a collection of essays about Tokyo. Though being an American, having stayed in Tokyo for a long time he has captured the essence of Tokyo in his descriptive essays. These essays are collection of monthly columns he wrote for Newsweek Japan. He gives a bird’s eye view about the lifestyle of Tokyo and how the city continuously reinvents itself to cope up with the fast advancing world. Read more about the book on my blog http://levyingkishan.blogspot.in/ Motions and Moments book by Michael Pronko is a collection of essays about Tokyo. Though being an American, having stayed in Tokyo for a long time he has captured the essence of Tokyo in his descriptive essays. These essays are collection of monthly columns he wrote for Newsweek Japan. He gives a bird’s eye view about the lifestyle of Tokyo and how the city continuously reinvents itself to cope up with the fast advancing world. Read more about the book on my blog http://levyingkishan.blogspot.in/2016...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Seán

    Of all the countries in Asia, Japan is probably the most insulated and difficult to understand for a foreigner. Pronko has 15 years of slow observation. Sometimes the best drama is not in tumultuous events but in the small idiosyncrasies of a city and its people. This collection, on topics like Japanese naming conventions, late night travel, cleanliness and perfectly dressed women, makes for an interesting and enlightening read. His mindfulness over many years is to be respected.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicki

    This is the second of Michael's books of essays on Tokyo I have been lucky enough to read. Our visit there this year fell through, so I enjoyed these even more than usual. Really the next best thing to going there as they are so descriptive and nicely written. I could very much relate to the failure of homemade onigiri too. That chapter made me smile. Very enjoyable reading about everything from changes in the city to ohanami. This is the second of Michael's books of essays on Tokyo I have been lucky enough to read. Our visit there this year fell through, so I enjoyed these even more than usual. Really the next best thing to going there as they are so descriptive and nicely written. I could very much relate to the failure of homemade onigiri too. That chapter made me smile. Very enjoyable reading about everything from changes in the city to ohanami.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This book shines in so many ways. It is a series of essays written by an American teacher/writer living in Tokyo for many years. Informative and interesting, the book is a crash course of sorts on Tokyo culture.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pomme-Violette

    I received this book this morning as a goodread giveaway. I will post a review of it in April (I am really busy at the moment with exams).

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.