Beauty and Chaos

Slices and Morsels of Tokyo LIfe

Non-Fiction - Travel
190 Pages
Reviewed on 03/21/2015
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Author Biography

I have lived, taught and written in Tokyo for fifteen years. I work as a professor at Meiji Gakuin University teaching American literature, culture, film, music, and art. Fielding questions from my students about Jackson Pollock or Kurt Vonnegut and then wandering through Shinjuku’s neon mayhem always puts ideas for writing into my head. Teaching keeps me searching for the heart of life in the world’s biggest city.

I have written for many publications in Japan: The Japan Times for a dozen years, the once-great Tokyo Q, a learner-oriented weekly ST Shukan, Winds magazine, Jazz Colo[u]rs (in Italian!), and Artscape Japan. I have run my own website Jazz in Japan ( for almost a decade. I also helped found Japan’s first bilingual jazz magazine, Jazznin and continue to publish academic articles and run a conference on teaching literature.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

Beauty and Chaos - Essays on Tokyo Life: Slices and Morsels of Tokyo Life by Michael Pronko is an exciting book that sheds light on Tokyo. The book takes readers on a trip into the heart of the city, exploring areas in and around Tokyo that add to its exotic charm. The author has captured the beauty of the city, sharing all the nuances and minute details with readers. The book makes readers familiar with everything about Tokyo and the description of the place is so evocative and visual that it is like being on a sightseeing trip there. The book also reveals the author's love and passion for Tokyo.

I enjoyed the book thoroughly because it not only captures the beauty of the place, but also the culture and essence of the society. Every small thing that makes Tokyo what it is gives the book a unique and special tone. Whether it is the cherry blossoms, the bars and restaurants, the standing libraries or clothing, the author has researched the place well and revealed to readers a Tokyo not captured so intensely by travelers. The author's love for the city is evident in the manner in which he has explored the place and soaked up every small detail that covers everything about life in Tokyo. It's a good book to read before traveling to the city. An exciting book that takes readers on a sightseeing trip of Tokyo, the place, its culture and essence.