Hidden Histories

Remembrance of Roy Murotsune

By Tom Izu

Month 00, 0000

A Gas Station into a Fancy Coffee Shop

I wrote this as a short message of remembrance and condolence to one of the grandkids of Roy Murotsune after he passed away. Roy had been the owner of “Roy’s Station,” that served San Jose Japantown as a car repair, gas station, and hang-out for many years. His children would later renovate and convert the station after it closed into “Roy’s Station Coffee and Teas,” becoming a new social hub for Japantown and in a new way, carrying on the tradition their father had started, of serving their community. After the successful opening of his daughters’ remake of his old business, Roy told me while shaking his head with a bemused expression on his face, “Who wouda thunk it, Tom! Who woulda thunk it?” Roy had thought it peculiar if not crazy, the idea of opening up a coffee shop at the old gas station site, but he sure acted proud as he walked around, holding court as customers including many old friends crammed into the new shop, smiling and greeting him.
“Your grandfather showed me such kindness and generosity even while acting a bit gruff with me. As a clueless Sansei fresh out of college and wet behind the ears, I had moved into Japantown to work at Yu-Ai Kai to “serve the community.” He helped me feel like I could fit in even when I didn’t feel like I could. He also made sure my ’76 Chevy Vega didn’t die an untimely death due to my incompetent care. I feel so blessed to have met him.”