Motions and Moments

More Essays on Tokyo

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.


Gold Award Non-Fiction Authors Association
Indiefab Finalist Forewords Book of the Year Contest
"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." Reader's Favorite

"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." D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

"Pronko's style of writing is 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, and this collection is something to behold." Self-Publishing Review, 5 Stars
"Pronko’s essays are intriguing, reminding readers of the importance of immersing in other cultures beyond surface-level tourism. Motions and Moments captures the personality and vigor of Tokyo with its thoughtful and perceptive essays."  IndieReader

Profile Photo Michael Pronko

About Michael Pronko

Michael Pronko has written about Japanese culture, art, jazz, society, architecture and politics for Newsweek Japan, The Japan Times, Artscape Japan, as well as other publications. He has appeared on NHK and Nippon Television doing video versions of his essays. He runs his own website, Jazz in Japan ( He teaches American Literature and Culture (novels, film, art and music) at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and after discussing Kurt Vonnegut or Jackson Pollock in class is in the right frame of mind to wander Tokyo contemplating its intensity.

All books by Michael Pronko

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