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Beauty and Chaos (Essays)
Tokyo--City of Contradictions? Yes and no!
The largest city in the world teems with chaotic energy and serene, human-scale beauty.
Want to know the real city? Writing about Tokyo for over 15 years, essayist and professor Michael Pronko opens up Tokyo life and reveals what’s beneath the gleaming, puzzling exterior of the biggest city in the world.
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
Inside the Smallest Places
If you’re traveling to Tokyo, these essays enlarge the significance and illuminate the contradictions of this fast-paced megalopolis. Part travelogue, part comparative culture, and all creative essay, Beauty and Chaos taps the mysteries of Tokyo and lets the meanings flow.
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.
“Japanese who are used to Tokyo are caught off guard by his conclusions derived from careful observation, and are struck dumb. Tokyo, the city we are so careless of, suddenly starts to become glorious. It is a wonder!” Chunichi Shimbun (Newspaper)
“Giving up the bias and seeing the city with completely different standards, you will see the unexpected, attractive face of Tokyo. This book is a guide for rediscovering Tokyo that lets us see the city with unique new features.” Nikkan Gendai (Newspaper)
Japanese version available from KADOKAWA Publishers as: 僕、トーキョーの味方です マイケル・プロンコ