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Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens

Essays on Tokyo

Writing about Tokyo for over 15 years, essayist and professor Michael Pronko unlocks the doors to Tokyo life. These 48 essays reveal what’s hidden behind the gleaming exteriors and unconcerned faces in the largest, most crowded city in the world.

How to sweat politely, survive noise trucks and glance sideways are some of the many skills needed to live in Tokyo, but these tricks of daily life also contain deep meanings. Pronko’s essays muse over the minutest of details, everything from window flowers to moments of eye contact to the gestures needed to navigate crowded spaces. If you’re traveling to Tokyo, living there or just thinking of going, these essays point you toward the rich byways and fascinating undercurrents of Tokyo life.

Essay Topics Include:

  • Compact Life
  • Tokyo Exhaustion
  • The Lunch Ritual
  • Mothers and Daughters
  • Tokyo Doubled

As in his first collection of essays, Beauty and Chaos, Pronko examines Tokyo as a city, a culture and an overpowering experience. Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens explores the enigmatic sides of Tokyo with humor, delicacy and a large dose of healthy confusion.

Pronko writes about Japanese culture, art, jazz, society, architecture and politics for Newsweek Japan, The Japan Times, Artscape Japan, as well as other venues. He has appeared on NHK and Nippon Television and runs his own website, Jazz in Japan (www.jazzinjapan.com). He teaches American Literature and Culture at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and after class wanders Tokyo contemplating its intensity.

Reviews

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

Silver Award for Travel Essay (eLit Award 2015)

" This collection - along with Beauty and Chaos - should be required reading for any Westerner bound for Japan. It's a powerful, intimate consideration of many aspects of Japanese culture that is difficult to locate elsewhere." 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 about the cultural variances between Americans and Tokyoites." Vera A. Pereskokova Luxury Reading Blog

“Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens is so much more than just a guidebook to Tokyo. You can pick up any random book in the travel department of the bookstore and learn all about hot springs, famous shrines, and maid cafes. This book doesn’t have any of that; it actually plunges into the minuscule details of what it is like to be a Tokyoite.” Online Book Club

“Now, the man writes so well you will want to keep turning the pages, but I would suggest that you pull back and read one or two essays at a time. …Could one have a better guide? Anyone planning to work and live in Tokyo for a period of time will find Pronko indispensable.” Bookreview.com

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 (www.jazzinjapan.com). 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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