on february 5th Munsu and I hung out in osaka. we went to the Tsutenkaku tower, and saw the movie "Penthouse" (tower bust? the one with that one actor... and the other guy. it's about a building, and there are some vehicles too). it was pretty funny but there were some confusing continuity blips. in any case, I recommend it.
last week in the english classes we did valentines activities, such as making cards and goody bags. a lot of the children gave the cards to their parents, and most of them also gave the goody bags to someone else. one boy gave his card and goody bag to his classmate/friend, who said he was going to give it to his mother. one girl also brought little boxes of chocolates to give to everyone. another little girl gave me a card that had knives stabbing hearts on it, and dripping blood. usually she's a rascal but I was glad to know that she was thinking of me. maybe she really likes english.
on the 9th, I visited four english classes in an elementary school in wakayama. (in january I had an interview with a prospective employer, Makino sensei, who runs an english conversation school and a non profit international education consulting firm. part of her job at the consulting firm is to visit area schools and advise/teach teachers how to teach english.) the purpose of this trip was to see part of what her company does. we are still working out details but hopefully I will be able to at least do an internship at the firm, and/or teach at the english conversation school. it might also lead to a full-time job and work visa sponsorship for next year.
on february 12th I went to a BB rifle battle ground in the mountains, in northwest wakayama with a friend of one of our students from the adult class, and his friend. it's similar to paint ball, but without the paint. I borrowed one of his automatic rifles. it was quite fun hiding, running around, and shooting at people with pellets. apparently I am good at hiding and shooting (who would have thought?). so now I have another hobby!
As for my language skills, they are coming along well. I am studying every day, and I understand what is on the tv very well in addition to the "local newscast" that comes over a loudspeaker phone in the house a few times a day. I have also begun to understand the local dialect better, although I think I still speak a type of standard dialect (or a mixture of standard and Kansai). I think this is best because if I were to work in tokyo or Nagano my coworkers/boss might not take well to me speaking weird Kansai countryside slang.