Japanese native worries about family in Misawa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Japanese native worries about family in Misawa

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HUDSON (KWWL) -- Life-changing events in Japan are leaving rippling effects on Eastern Iowans. A magnitude 8.9 earthquake shook the island country, and started a devastating tsunami across the Pacific Ocean.

KWWL received dozens of emails and Facebook messages from viewers whose family or friends are living in Japan and Hawaii. Luckily, none of them are among the hundreds dead or missing. One of those is Manami Bjorndal, who moved to Hudson from Japan about two years ago.

"I met my fiance back in Misawa where he was stationed at, and then he got out of the Air Force and we decided to move back here," said Bjorndal.

Her mother and brothers still live in Misawa. While the distance is always difficult, right now the separation is tugging at her heart. Misawa is just a few hundred miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

"It's really hard, because I'm over here. It was like, is everybody okay? Are my family and friends okay?" she said.

Her son, Tyler, turned on the TV while we visited with Bjorndal. He's clearly too young to understand the images flashing on the screen, but Bjorndal was watching, and thinking of the rural area she grew up in.

"Seeing the pictures was really horrible. The roads are torn apart, and you can see the waters going into the rice fields."

Bjorndal finally got an email from her mother Friday, saying she's okay, but things are challenging.

"She's out of electricity and out of heat -- she doesn't have any heat. And my mom and brothers are just eating off what they have right now because all the stores are closed," Bjorndal said.

Bjorndal also has comfort in her new home, surrounded by soon-to-be in-laws.

"They care about my family. They've never met before, but it's really nice that they care about my family," she added.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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