Above are links to my books available on Amazon:
CROSSING WITH THE LIGHT is my widely praised poetry book. This book includes "In Response to Executive Order 9066," one of the most anthologized poems on the internment camps for Japanese Americans. Many of these poems are regularly reprinted in textbooks and anthologies.
THE HOPE STORE is my latest book. Most of my novels are literary fiction with a trippy premise. Some might call them magic realist. I was named an "Author to Watch" by the Best Indie Book Awards in 2017. This book is about the first store in the world to sell hope over the counter, the customers who were transformed by it, and the controversies that ensued. Please take a peek at the Amazon preview and see if it hooks you. I'm proud of this book as it speaks to the hope-challenged times we are living through.
THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL is my debut novel. It's about a human embryo who is allowed to preview the world before deciding whether to be born. The book was a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest out of 5,000 novels submitted worldwide. I was thrilled and surprised. I'm represented by Affirmative Entertainment for possible movie & TV deals.
I was born and raised and continue to live in Chicago. I started writing poems in first grade because I found it too hard to write compositions. My brother Clyde Okita is a photographer. My late, great parents include Patsy Takeyo Okita and Fred Yoshio Okita. Mom was the unflappable optimist & queen of resilience, and Dad was the armchair philosopher & would-be anthropologist. They were both interned in camps during the war. Going out to the movies with my family with always a big treat. I remember once as a kid going to see "Doctor Zhivago" which was very, very long. I recall going out to the lobby to get candy and sit by a decorative water fountain for a while.
Some of the demons in my life revolve around anxieties and moodswings that have haunted me. I've been greatly helped by Buddhist chanting, an openness to pharmacology and alternative healing modalities including therapeutic cuddling. And I've been blessed to have a good circle of friends and colleagues.
After a love-hate relationship with writing, I now like it quite a lot. I have much more confidence in choosing which topics to explore. I like to write about the beauty and brutality of modern life as I and others have experienced it. I look for the funny things because the sad things will turn up sooner or later. Poetry was my first love and will forever color what I write and how I see the world. Writing stage plays taught me about creating dialogue that lives on the page and off.
I believe everything happens for a reason. When I became Buddhist, I learned that blaming people and things for my unhappiness was stupid because it never made anything better. I only have control over changing myself. If I change, my shadow must also change, and then maybe the world too.
Some novels I've loved include: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, Incendiary by Chris Cleave, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and various works by Haruki Murakami. Poets I've loved include: Carolyn Forche, Naomi Nye, Li-Young Lee, Larry Levis, Adrienne Rich. Favorite movies: Silver Linings Playbook, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Anomalisa, A Single Man, Brokeback Mountain, The Big Sick.
I write the kind of novels I love to read. Books that are a bit magical, surreal, trippy. The action of my books takes place in worlds a little bit like ours, and a little bit unlike any world we've known. The characters are often inspired by real people I love or hate or am puzzled by. Some call my novels speculative or science-fiction. I like to write books books that keep you up late at night way past your bedtime.
Rave review of THE HOPE STORE! from Windy City Reviews
(no relation to Windy City Times)
"What I liked the most about the book was the ultimate moral of the story—that even if you have hope installed in you, you still have to do something with it. That along the way we each make a million choices every day that will lead us in either a destructive or constructive direction. Okita does a wonderful job of keeping the reader in a suspended sense of hope as the story unfolds."
WELCOME TO MY EVER-CHANGING WEBSITE.
On Thursday, May 2, 2019 -- I was interviewed on the radio in South Africa by journalist Lester Kieweit on "CapeTalk"! The topic is how male cuddling can help address issues of toxic masculinity. It was pretty interesting. It will be live with call-in listener questions. ***Listen to link here.
I am certified for basic caregiving and companionship for seniors in Chicago. I'm glad to be a free agent with three ongoing care clients. It's fun to be my own boss. I've left the world of office work and am out in the field! For me caregiving offers a much happier work/life balance. I still have plenty of time to write novels, see friends and go to the movies. On Care.com, I'm listed as being in the Top 10% of Chicago Caregivers.
NOVEL IN PROGRESS
I'm currently finishing up work on a new novel,
BEFORE I DISAPPEAR.
Elevator pitch: When a stranger contacts Chicago columnist, Frank Ikura, claiming to be his reincarnated lover -- he must decide once and for all if he is a believer or not. An adventurous journey into the meaning of love, the infrastructure of reincarnation, and the ever-spiraling gun violence epidemic.
* You can seek out my therapeutic cuddling at Cuddlist.com in the Chicago area. If inquiring about my unique services or my novels, or if you just want to say hello -- leave a note in my guestbook below! I love to get messages.
For marketing consultation.
I can write press releases, assist with social media, create websites and video trailers.