What happens when large bugs get trapped on crowded Tokyo trains? How does allergy season affect Tokyo’s millions? Ever wonder why Japanese love to take photos together or how everyone feels during rainy season? How is Tokyo made so compact and made as much from imagination as from concrete and steel?

Tokyo life is equal parts trial and joy. This collection offers up essential skills for living in the vastest, most crowded city in the world—sweating politely, suffering noise and glancing in mirrors–and muses over the minutest of daily details—window flowers, eye contact and small gestures of thanks.

If you’re traveling to Tokyo, these essays point toward the undercurrents of life and if you’ve ever considered visiting Tokyo, these essays will give you more reasons to go. If you live in Tokyo, you know all this, but you can always know it again. Tokyo’s Mystery Deepenstaps into the enigmatic sides of Tokyo with humor, delicacy and a large dose of healthy confusion.


Part One: Essentials of Tokyo-ism
Apology Speed
Looking Away
Walking Shoji
Tokyo Lights
Tokyo Brain Navigator
Testimony in Red
Wiping Away the City
Window Poetry
All Together Now
Detailed, Orderly and Unread
City of Small Gestures
A Little to the Side

Part Two: More and More Mysterious
Motion Sickness
What Do You Think?
Truckloads of Noise
Imagine a City
Uniformly Confident
Rush Hour Traitors
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Twins’ Mystery
Where There’s Smoke
Tokyo in a Bottle
Tested to the Limits
Strange Exits
Forgotten Spaces
Double Tokyo

Part Three: Seasons in the Labyrinth
So Close Yet So Far
The Torture of Spring Breezes
Seasons of Sickness
The Grey, Green Season
Beer-ing the Heat
Sweating It
Fall Changes
Autumn Hanami
Illuminated City
Ambient Places

Part Four: Deep Inside the City
Bugs on the Train
Sports Center, Story Center
Compact Life
Down in the Basement and Right at Home
Closest and Warmest
People Unstrung
A Different Pace
Tokyo Lunch World
The Soil of Tokyo
City of Souvenirs
Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo
After Words



Gold Award for
Essays/Creative Non-Fiction

(eLit Awards 2015)

Silver Award for
Travel Essay

(eLit Awards 2015)


Five Star Review from For Novel Lovers

Five Star Review from For Novel Lovers

I wanted to say before I begin this review is going to be slightly longer than some of the other ones I do …I really loved being about to learn more about the cultural and social side of my favourite country in the world, some of the things Pronko talks about like the hanko, slight hand gestures and social awareness I never knew before but reading this book has helped me understand better… Continue Reading

Review from Midwest Book Review

Review from Midwest Book Review

If Michael Pronko’s prior Beauty and Chaos captured the exquisite essence of the urban heartbeat that is Tokyo, then this follow-up essay collection, Tokyo’s Mystery Deepens, is its soul, offering up pieces of Tokyo’s psyche through the observations of a visitor who became immersed in its culture. Continue Reading

4 out of 4 Stars Online Book Club

4 out of 4 Stars Online Book Club

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. Continue Reading

4 out 5 from Luxury Reading

4 out 5 from Luxury Reading

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. Continue Reading

Excellent Rating from

Excellent Rating from

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. Tokyo—all the different Tokyos that we meet—takes a bit of getting used to. Continue Reading


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