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. It is a magic realist/science fiction novel. 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 people who created the store, and the customers who were transformed by it. It's also about the controversies that follow. Please buy the book and leave a review on Amazon. It really helps. I'm proud of this book as it speaks to the hopeless time we are living through.
THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL is my debut sci-fi novel which was a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. I was a Top 3 finalist out of 5,000 novels submitted worldwide. No one was more surprised than me. Also 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.
Work-in-progress. BEFORE I DISAPPEAR.
Frank Ikura doesn't get out much since his soulmate was shot to death on their balcony.
And his belief systems are fiercely challenged when he comes face-to-face with a man claiming to be the reincarnation of his dead lover. For vetting purposes, he enlists the help of a shaman who specializes in soul retrievals, soul departures, reincarnation walk-ins, and cuddle therapy.
In his hometown of Chicago, life goes on under a spray of bullets.
Who knew that love and death and gun control were so complicated?
In this novel, I get to explore the possibility
of reincarnation and an end to gun violence.
August 2018: Check out the latest 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.
Readers hope that Luke and Kazu will succeed in their relationship and their store, but, more importantly, that Jada will eventually find the peace and happiness she is looking for. The book forces the reader to reflect on the idea of “what is hope?” and that inherently makes one feel hopeful. No store needed." (For full review, click here.)
Welcome to My Website
To the various services I provide, I'm happy to add CAREGIVER to the list...for seniors and people with special needs. I was recently certified for basic caregiving via an 8-hour course. I've provided support for three families whose loved ones were dealing with early dementia, cancer, and fronto-temporal dementia.
On Care.com, I'm listed as being in the Top 5% of Chicago Caregivers. Please let me know if you are seeking support. I specialize in companion care, helping clients with basic exercise and art projects, jigsaw puzzles and brain-charging games, making simple meals, light housekeeping, conversation, computer assistance, etc.