I am back after my week of slow travel. I was up early last Tues to catch the first train to Takasaki. The train ride up much of the way there is quite familiar and low on inspiration - grey dormitory suburbs that supply Tokyo with its army of workers and owe their existence in part to the policy of companies paying the transport fee for workers. It's not uncommon for people to travel 90 mins or even 2 hours one way to get to work.
Greater Tokyo-ites can be roughly divided into two groups of commuters at any given point in time. Those who sleep on the train and those who play with their mobile phone (the number of people reading books has without doubt declined). Given the time, unsurprisingly most people slept. Me too.
I changed at Takasaki and again at Minakami. From Minakami the scenery became more interesting as the train entered yukiguni - snow country.