I'm flying to Seoul in less than two hours, and fortunately Kansai International Airport has some free internet (surprising \ly very rare in Japan) so I can finally offer an update here. It's now spring break for me, so I have eight weeks without class. Spent the day yesterday wandering the "gaijin district" of Osaka, had a fantastic Vietnamese lunch and then to a great Canadian pizza parlor for dinner, where somehow I had Hawaiian pizza with Canadian bacon (and as a side dish some poutin, a Canadian delicacy consisting of fries soaked in tasty gravy and loaded with cheese). Having lived in Kanazawa for over four months now, some "real Western food" is a hell of a treat!
For the next three days I shall indulge my senses in Seoul, trying not to die of capsacin overdose. It:s gonna be awesome. I learned Hangul yesterday morning, with some additional practice today, and I was very happy to learn that it's way easier than it looks, though the vowels can be a bit tricky to pronounce.
Anyway, finally I've updated here, and of course I have more time these days so there's a lot to catch up on. I've got to go board the plane now (ever heard of Jeju Airlines?) so this will be it for now, save for a couple of links I had found before, concerning a few more small points of interest regarding the life of foreigners in Japan. Pictures and more to follow!