While cruising in a Dreamliner over Asia at this time of the year one sees nothing except a sea of clouds. Dreamliners fly at an altitude of 12 kilometers, with a cruising speed which is over 90% of the speed of sound at that altitude. At the end of July, Asia is covered in a blanket of rain clouds. So you get the best views when the flight takes off or lands. Today, as I flew out of Narita airport in the morning, the ascent to cruising altitude seemed to take twenty minutes or so. This is long enough to get a lovely view of Japan from the sky.
We took off in a roughly north-easterly direction, and then circled back south and west. We flew over Kujukuri town almost immediately. The plane was pretty low when I took a photo of the marina (top) and the stream of mud which seems to have been washed out to sea recently. Interestingly, Google Earth shows a similar plume, so this erosion seems to be fairly constant. People were still advised not to go out to sea, so I was surprised to see the wake of a boat in the lower part of the picture, near the shore.
We climbed slowly. The most striking sight I saw next was the Tone river with its multiple dams and reservoirs. I took several photos, but the one I liked most is the view over a town which is probably Tsukuba, looking north towards Mount Tsukuba in the distance. The ragged remnants of tropical storm Nangka were too far to the north to affect the weather in the Tokyo region. As you can see in the photo, there are only scattered clouds.
It was a great sunny day, and I had a lingering view of Japan as I left. We flew over Tokyo and Osaka. But by the time the craft reached Osaka, we were already above the continent wide sea of high altitude cumulo-nimbus. You feel rootless suspended between the clouds below you and the emptiness of space above you. We dropped below it eight hours later when we landed in Delhi.