Michael Pronko

Michael Pronko
Michael Pronko
Beauty and Chaos: Slices and Morsels of Tokyo Life
Whether contemplating Tokyo’s odd-shaped bonsai houses, endless walls of bottles, pachinko parlors, chopstick ballet or the perilous habit of running for trains, the 45 essays in Beauty and Chaos explore Tokyo from inside to reveal the city’s deeper meanings and daily pleasures. In turns comic, philosophic, descriptive and exasperated, Pronko’s essays have been popular with Japanese readers for more than a decade.

Essay Topics Include:
Waiting to Blossom Cherry Tree Maps
The Shout of English T-Shirts
Hanging Menus
Inside the Smallest Places
Standing Libraries
Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens: Essays on Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan
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 (jazzinjapan.com) 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.
American literature
American culture
Tokyo and Japan
Essay and creative writing
Education

“Be careful how you interpret the world; it’s like that.” Erich Heller