Travelers from Japan touch down in Chicago

March 14, 2011 3:14:09 PM PDT
More people were arriving in Chicago from Japan Monday. Some had faced delays trying to leave the country.

As people arrived at O'Hare off of a flight from Japan, they brought newspapers with headlines that talked about utter disaster and of the death toll rising.

"This is Miyagi prefecture. They estimate over --how much-- 10,000 people maybe died," said Koja Kubota.

American tourists were returning home to Chicago after feeling the massive earthquake. Some left for fear of possible meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

"Just, why take the risk?" said passenger Chris Bush said.

Other tourists were delayed, and Monday was the first day they could get a flight back to Chicago. They were, however, able to get word to loved ones in Chicago that they were OK, despite the communication problems in Japan.

"Luckily, we had cell phones that worked. He was on Twitter pretty much constantly. I was on Facebook. My dad was calling the state department just to see if we were going to be able to get back or have to evacuate, especially after the nuclear scares," Sara Oberg said.

Thirty professional Japanese musicians arrived Monday morning with instruments in tow, ready to play a five-stop tour in the United States. Instead of cancelling, they decided to come play the dates, including one performance at Carnegie Hall. They say they their families are ok, and they want to share their music in America.

"The music gives us a lot of energy to overcome the situation. We really wanted to be strong against this situation," Masaakai Suzuki told ABC7 Chicago.

Many of the Japanese arriving Monday said they were in town for business. They said they had a very hard time leaving their families behind in Japan because the country is struggling with water and electricity.