The skies have turned grey over Hokkaido, matching the urban landscape.  Last night as we left Kushiro I thought the factories belching smoke matched the sky. 

Now, as we run down to the south the flat grey sea is barely distinguishable from the featureless overcast sky. In between silhouettes of grey and brown houses, factories, abandoned pachinko parlours without their neon adornments. 

Separating us from the mirror sea is a stretch of green. Sometimes we go deeper inland through mountains, forests and farms, but much of the beauty of this route, and it is scenic, lies at the coast. 

If I could keep my eyes open long enough to observe it. 

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