Bodies are strewn among the knotted skeletons of entire towns.
Military helicopters clatter overhead.
Survivors who lost everything huddle under blankets in schools-turned-shelters as foreign governments dispatch aid and urge their citizens to flee.
After years spent reporting from desperate and war-torn corners of the world, the scenes I've witnessed here are unsettlingly familiar.
It's the setting that's not.
Image: Japanese military helicopter sits among debris at Matsushima air base of the Japan Air Self-Defence Force, northeastern Japan, on Saturday, March 12.
Text: Todd Pitman, Associated Press
AP Images (Any unauthorised reproduction is strictly prohibited)