In Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo, longtime Tokyo resident Michael Pronko discusses what makes the city unique. The stories themselves are like snapshots of daily life in a city that is far from anywhere I’ve ever been. Each essay covers a different aspect of Tokyo life: how little space there is in the city, the way people treat their cell phones, or the fact that everyone dresses to impress. It was interesting to learn about the different customs and behaviors that define daily life in Tokyo. As with all short story collections, I did like some more than others, but for the most part, I did really enjoy them.
As a college professor living in Tokyo for eighteen years, Michael Pronko has a unique perspective. However, his narrative voice was not my favorite. I won’t deny that he’s a good writer, but his tone leaves something to be desired. As the stories in Motions and Moments are of Pronko’s own experiences, they are obviously subjective, which is works well. The problem I had is that Pronko often comes off as somewhat condescending and superior. I honestly wouldn’t say that I think that’s how he views his fellow Tokyo residents, but there was a pretentiousness to his tone that definitely detracted from my reading experience.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book because it was so different than anything I’ve read before. I just wish I’d been able to enjoy it more. If you’re looking for a glimpse of life in Japan, it might be work a look – the Kindle version is relatively inexpensive.
P.S. Sorry about the short review, I didn’t really have much to say about this book (and I didn’t want to spend time going through all of the stories individually).
This book was sent to me for review.