« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Amy Dalrymple, Published August 18 2013

Faces of the Boom: Knot one to complain

WILLISTON, N.D. – Former Kentucky man Kaz Matsubara followed up a complete career change with a move to North Dakota.

Matsubara, 63, Lexington, worked in the auto industry for a company that supplied parts to Toyota, Honda and Nissan assembly plants.

Every day, customers complained that the product was too expensive or wasn’t delivered quickly enough.

“Every day, apology,” said Matsubara, a native of Japan who moved to the United States at age 22.

After retiring and losing his wife to cancer, Matsubara decided to go back to school and re-enter the workforce. But this time, he wanted a job that would bring praise rather than complaints.

“I thought I should do something people appreciate,” he said.

Matsubara went back to school and became certified as a massage therapist. He began working in his new profession in Lexington, but the slow economy there made it difficult to attract customers.

Then he watched a news story about the oil boom in Williston on “60 Minutes.”

“I thought, ‘I’m a crazy guy. The city is crazy. So, maybe I will have good vibrations,’” Matsubara said. “My guess was right.”

Matsubara moved to Williston in October 2011 and began working as a massage therapist almost immediately.

He’s had a steady stream of customers for the past year at Jackie’s Therapeutic Massage & Day Spa in downtown Williston.

About half of his clients work in the oil industry and the other half are local residents.

Now, instead of looking forward to the weekends, Matsubara looks forward to work on Monday mornings.

“The way they comment after a massage. Oh, it’s so great,” Matsubara said.

Dalrymple is a Forum News Service reporter stationed in the Oil Patch.

She can be reached at adalrymple@forumcomm.com or (701) 580-6890.