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Rob Gilhooly

Rob Gilhooly is an award-winning British photographer and writer whose work has appeared in publications around the globe, including the Guardian and New Scientist. He was formerly a staff writer at the Japan Times and has contributed as a freelance since 2002. In 2004, he obtained an MA in journalism. His website can be found at

For Rob Gilhooly's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Hell on four wheels

Nov 18, 2001

Hell on four wheels

It is a bad, humiliating start to the day. Usually, I can get from my office to the platform of JR Tamachi Station in about 10 minutes. Today it has taken just under 50 minutes. There have been no detours or serious mishaps. Today ...

Nov 11, 2001

Trepanners open their minds with a hole in the head

Amanda Feilding spent four years searching for a surgeon to perform the operation. Several agreed, then backed out at the last minute, fearing the consequences if anything went wrong. Finally, she decided to do it herself. After administering a local anesthetic, she took out ...

Nov 11, 2001

Japan's trepanning history is full of holes

In his 1967 study, “Prehistoric and Early History of Trepanation,” Professor F.P. Lisowski of the University of Tasmania, Australia, cites the work of two anthropologists who suggested that trepanation might have been practiced in Japan. One of them, Michael Rykel, reported in 1962 on ...

Oct 28, 2001

Kazuo Ishiguro: In praise of nostalgia as idealism

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki in 1954, and at age 5 he moved with his parents to London, where he has lived ever since. In 1986, his second novel, “An Artist of the Floating World,” was nominated for Britain’s leading award for fiction, ...

10,000 views of Mount Fuji, rising through the steam

Oct 7, 2001

10,000 views of Mount Fuji, rising through the steam

The view from the bath is picture-perfect. Through the thick steam rising from the piping hot water, foothills dotted with lush pines and rolling fields of greens and gold give way to a turquoise-blue ocean. From the center rises Mount Fuji, its snow-dusted peak ...

Love, love them do

Sep 30, 2001

Love, love them do

Ask Kyoshi Matsushita about “Beatlemania” and he’s far more likely to wax lyrical about Lucanidae, Silphidae, Scarabaedae and Dorcus titanus than John, Paul, George and Ringo. “They’re cool, they’re beautiful,” the 32-year-old signwriter enthuses about his pinups as he strokes a fearsome-looking 120-mm-long rhinoceros ...

Dream weavers of a bygone era

Sep 23, 2001

Dream weavers of a bygone era

When made up for work, Norie is perhaps as close to the classic image of Japan as you could wish. Clad in a colorful yet demure kimono, wooden sandals and a jet-black wig that provides a striking contrast to the white makeup lavished on ...

Sep 16, 2001

Divination business thriving, for the foreseeable future

Head bowed, eyes closed, silently intoning my birth date and a prayer-like plea for good fortune; I feel a little silly, but I’m doing as I’ve been told. Sitting in a small, dimly lit cubicle beneath the streets of Harajuku, I could be in ...

Aug 31, 2001

AP boss looks back on eight-year stay

For foreigners who have never been to Japan, news wire services and other media often provide their only view of this country. Yet, for James Lagier, outgoing chief of the Associated Press’s Tokyo bureau, that view can sometimes be distorted. “There are some journalistic ...

Aug 26, 2001

Living on the edge

It’s 6 a.m. on Saturday, and Teruyuki Kato is woken at home by the beeping of his government-issued pager. The University of Tokyo professor of geophysics knows he must act fast. He calls the local police, who arrive within minutes and transport him, sirens ...