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Outside the frame: The neighborhood shipwreck


David Guttenfelder / AP

Two elderly Japanese women and a pet dog pass by a ship that washed into their neighborhood by the tsunami as they try to make their way to search for their destroyed home in the leveled city of Kesennuma, in northeastern Japan, Thursday March 17.

AP photojournalist David Guttenfelder shares his experience covering the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

When we drove into the town of Kesennuma, Japan, we saw a massive ship and my AP colleague said, “That must be the port.” But we were far from the ocean and it just didn’t add up. As it turned out, the tsunami had deposited this ship in the middle of a suburban intersection, about 50 yards from a destroyed 7-Eleven. It was so absurdly out of context. Residents searching for whatever remained of their homes and possessions — including an elderly woman with a puppy peeking out from her backpack — stopped and stared in disbelief at the shipwreck in their front yards. I stared too, trying to make a picture that would show the scale of the ship and the strangeness of it all.