Today I went with my host mom to the place where we read the picture book to the kids, a jidoukaikan (児童会館) which means Children's Hall apparently. It's like a sort of public day care / place to bring your kids to hang out and play. Today they were celebrating their 20th anniversary and quite a few parents and children came for the occasion. I'll put up the pictures and videos at a later time but basically they introduced all of the people who helped with the place, then there was a picture slide show (with the Totoro theme music playing), then some kids played recorders and danced. After that there was a rather impressive and funny juggler / magician who performed for a while. The event ended with the opening of a big gold party ball which showered confetti and released a "Congratulations" banner. Overall, it was quite a bit more fun and interesting than I was expecting. And as I said, I got some pictures and video but haven't uploaded them yet. But since I'm going to Otaru tomorrow and will probably have more to write about that I figured I should get this written up before I get swamped.
Edit: A few photos are now up in the Japan 2011 album!