Mark Bolton

Welcome to my main online home. Mainly a site about me with some links to my photos from around Japan.

Who am I?

You have found the homepage of Mark Bolton, an Englishman currently resident in Tokyo. I work for one of the 'Big 4' accounting firms in Tokyo, and am currently scheduled to be here until at least June 2010. I live in Shibuya-ku with my wife, Lisa Gilby, and our remaining cat from the UK, Lucha. (Unfortunately her brother Libre passed away a couple of years ago.)

Working backwards, I arrived in Tokyo after ten years in London with the same accounting firm, three years at the University of St Andrews studying mathematics, of which one year was spent in Germany - at the University of Bayreuth - and school at Hedingham, Great Maplestead and Ridgewell.

If you'd like to know more, or you would like to get back in touch you can email me at mark (at) mark bolton (dot) com.

Australia: August 2008

I've been a little tardy in uploading new photographs to this site, but now plan to rectify that in quite a large way - 275 photos of Australia - its cities, landscapes, fauna and birdlife.

Lisa and I went to Australia in (northern hemisphere) summer 2008 on an independent tour we arranged with the help of Wilderness Australia - who offer "tailor made safaris" and tailored us this combination of cities, resorts and wilderness.

Our itinerary was as follows:

Nikko: 4 November 2006

Continuing my run of photographs from my travels in Japan, I have just posted a gallery of almost 80 shots from our recent day trip to Nikko. Even though it was a Japanese holiday weekend, we braved the crowds for what was supposed to be the one of the best weekends to see the spectacular leaf colours of autumn. (You can follow the progress of autumn colour in Japan on the Walkerplus site (in Japanese only).)

We ended up taking a slow train from Tobu Asakusa station as the 0712 daily express from Shinjuku was fully booked (and requires a seat reservation), and all the express trains from Asakusa were also fully booked!

Despite it being a dull day, hopefully you will see that Nikko is a spectacular place, and definitely deserves its place as a World Heritage site.

Honeymoon - Kyoto to Takayama: 21 to 28 May 2006

The itinerary

We planned our honeymoon to visit places we had both visted (Kyoto, Takayama), places I had visited and enjoyed but Lisa had not seen (Nara, Himeji) and some places that neither of us had visited but which we both wished to see (Kanazawa, Shirakawa-go). We also wanted to make it a Japanese experience, as so much of our relationship has been about Japan, with me having been based in Japan since Lisa and I first met. As a result we decided that at least some of our nights would be at traditional ryokan. In addition, we knew that our first day and a half would be spent with my brother and sister-in-law who had travelled to Japan for our wedding.

As a result our itinerary was as follows:

Of these the only real compromise was staying at the APA Villa Hotel in Kanazawa through a combination of budget (top notch ryokan are expensive) and timing of when we were trying to book.

For those who just want to skip ahead to the photographs there is of course a Honeymoon photo gallery. More details to follow.

Tokyo sightseeing: 21 May 2006

As my brother and sister-in-law had travelled to Japan to attend our wedding we spent some time with them at the start of our honeymoon. On Sunday 21 May we showed them some of the sights Tokyo has to offer. The photos referred to below are all in the Tokyo 2006 gallery. We limited our sightseeing to the area around Shibuya as we only had a short day, due to needing to catch the Shinkansen to Kyoto that afternoon.

We started by taxi to the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts but found that it is closed for refurbishment until Autumn 2009. Lisa and I had visited before it closed, and would recommend it, and particularly its garden as worth a visit when it reopens. (Edit - which it now has.) We then walked up to Omotesando, past the Prada building (2, 3) and past the shops to Meijijingumae station to photograph the cos-play action (6 to 11). We then walked around Meiji Shrine (14, 29) and got some good photos of a tradition Shinto Wedding party (15 - 19, 23 - 28).

We finished our day in Yoyogi Koen (park) watching people let their hair down and enjoying the street performers looking to get signed near NHK (30, 31)

Wedding - the real one: 20 May 2006

Lisa and I were married (for the second time) at 1300 on 20 May 2006 at St Alban's Church in Minato-ku, Tokyo. Photos of the church are available on the St Alban's homepage.

The first batch of photos from the wedding and the reception are now online. (Best viewed in full screen mode - press F11 in IE or Firefox). Meg Anderson very generously, and successfully, wielded my camera during the ceremony, while I was otherwise occupied! I then picked up the camera at the reception. Hopefully my brother and my colleagues will come up trumps with photos of things like the cake cutting that I couldn't photograph. Watch this space.

Wedding - the official one: 8 May 2006

Lisa and I were legally married at Shibuya Ward Office at 0900 on Monday 8 May 2006. This was a transactional event entirely devoid of ceremony! Shin Sakamoto and his wife Shu-Hui Chang acted as our witnesses for the legal marriage. Photos to come.

Shoto M House

Lisa and I are fortunate enough to live in a peaceful area of Shibuya ward known as Shoto. In autumn of 2005 we searched, with the aid of a realtor from Plaza Homes for our first place to live together. After looking at only two houses (compared to the 20-25 places I looked at when I first came here), we settled on a home.

Shoto M House was designed by Fujiyoshi Hideki Architects and is currently featured on their site (Japanese only).

Lisa and I have taken a couple of albums of photos (nothing spectacular) of the house, the first before we moved in, and the second just before we returned home for Christmas 2005. (Best viewed in full screen mode - press F11 in IE or Firefox).

Matsumoto and Takayama

Photos from a journey that I took with my then girlfriend (now wife), Lisa, in April 2004 from Tokyo to Matsumoto and Narai, and then over the Japan Alps by bus to Takayama. For the moment I will let the photos talk for themselves.

Feel free to send me an email if you would like more details.

Honshu: East to West

In March 2004, I managed to get some time out of the office, on the occasion of a visit from Nicki Hensley - an American colleague who I met in London (who is now based in Australia!) We decided to do a five day trip across Honshu - the main island in Japan.

We started in Kyoto, taking a stroll along the Philosopher's walk and visited a few shrines including, The Silver Pavilion (Ginkaku-ji), The Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), and the Zen garden of Ryoan-ji (picture 1 /picture 2). We were also fortunate enough to see some Maiko having their photos taken under the early cherry blossom near Kiyomizu-dera temple.

From Kyoto we made our way to Osaka, mainly as a base. From there we visited Nara where we took in the Daibutsu (big Buddha) at Todai-ji (the largest wooden building in the world (but still only two thirds of its original size) and the Kasuga Shrine. One of my favourite photos was this one of Sake barrels.

En route to Miya-jima we stopped in at Himeji-jo - rightly described as the finest castle in Japan (picture 1/ picture 2) - and the nearby garden which had an interesting selection of walled gardens within. On Miya-jima we stayed in a ryokan (Japanese tradional inn) with a most lovely old lady as its proprietor.

Finally we visited Hiroshima - a short ferry and train ride from Miya-jima - where despite the lovely weather the images in the peace museum provided a lot to think about. After that brief east to west trip all that remained was the five hour shinkansen ride in the opposite direction...

Climbing Mount Fuji

During July 2003 I climbed Mount Fuji, at 3,776m, Japan's tallest peak. Together with work colleagues, Paul Mylet, his fiancee Laura Tidbury, Edgar Cruz, Shin Sakamoto and his wife, Shu, I set out from Shinjuku by bus to the fifth station on the Yoshida Kawaguchiko route. As you can see we were not alone by any means, but these views of the sunrise made it all worth the hard work. Fortunatly the sunrise could be seen before we reached the top, as the lines of climbers meant that the last stage took an hour and a half. All of the team made it to the top, though we did opt out of circling the crater. Walking down was easier, though as we entered the clouds we got wet again on the way down.

I now have a lot of sympathy for the Japanese saying that "A wise man climbs Fuji once, he who climbs twice is mad!"

Navigation links ... once there's somewhere to go!