The University of Iowa

UI Student a World Away From His Family in Japan

March 11th, 2011

By Mark Carlson, SourceMedia Group News

Shaw Akutsu lives in Iowa, he grew up in Iowa, and the only place he wants to be this spring break, is in Japan.

“I honestly just want to be over there, just so that I know where my parents are and that they are safe,” he said.

Despite never living in Japan, Akutsu calls the country his home. His parents moved from Iowa back to Japan shortly after Shaw was accepted into the University of Iowa.

“I stayed here, but they went back there because it’s their home.” he said “My whole family lives there.”

Friday afternoon Akutsu was still having trouble getting in touch with his family.

“I talked to my Mom at two o’clock in the morning, but I haven’t been able to talk to my father,” he said. “I am sending him emails hoping he will respond.”

Akutsu said his mother lives on the western part of Japan, near the city of Shiibata. His father, however, lives closer to the Epicenter where he is a professor at the University of Morioka.

“He is in the mountains so I am not worried about the tsunami,” he said. “I am worried about the earthquake.”

As thousands of students left the University of Iowa for spring break Friday afternoon, all Akutsu could think about was his family.

“Everything is scrambled up now, and I just got to keep checking the news and trying to get a hold of my parents, and make sure my Mom and Dad are okay.