Last update: 2010-07-16

Dan Chaon (BSS #345)

2010-07-16 Length: 47m 19s
Dan Chaon…

Dan Ariely (BSS #344)

2010-07-09 Length: 43m 35s
Dan Ariely…

Marcy Dermansky (BSS #343)

2010-07-02 Length: 41m 27s
Marcy Dermansky…

John Waters (BSS #342)

2010-06-22 Length: 39m 22s
John Waters…

Reed Cowan (BSS #341)

2010-06-18 Length: 21m 22s
Reed Cowan…

Gary Rivlin (BSS #340)

2010-06-16 Length: 56m 40s
Gary Rivlin…

Kathryn Schulz (BSS #339)

2010-06-11 Length: 52m 4s
Kathryn Schulz…

Ander Monson II (BSS #338)

2010-06-04 Length: 47m 55s
Ander Monson II…

Daniel Okrent (BSS #337)

2010-05-21 Length: 28m 49s
Daniel Okrent…

Face 2 Face

2007-04-23 Length: 3m 6s


From a Japanese Classroom

2007-03-04 Length: 1m 6s

No questions this time. Of course, it's more important to communicate in a cheerful and positive way than to worry too much about little grammar slips but can you spot any here? Not too many, I think. …

In Town

2007-02-14 Length: 1m 44s
Well...! Here are the boys I teach letting their hair down to 'In Town'... If you feel like joining in, the lyrics are In town, we buy candy In town, we get haircuts In town, we mail letters In town, we shop for shoes In town, we borrow books In town, we go to a movie In town, we visit a museum In town, we eat at a restaurant You can also hear an easy to catch version of this song which is from the Potato Pals series More of this on …

You Must be Joking!

2007-01-25 Length: 3m 40s

No questions this time. How many of these jokes you can 'get'? Good luck! …

Big Fat Lies (Not difficult: 3 mins)

2007-01-22 Length: 2m 57s

1. What type of a book is Patrick recommending? 2. Who did Patrick tell the lies to? 3. Why should kids worry about drinking milk? 4. How can kids play a film about cows? 5. What is a tomato? 6. When was the can opener invented? 7. What percentage of fishes are afraid of water? 8. What do people do with the old suns? 9. How can you make a chicken? 10. Which well-known people recommended this book? …

The Big Pig Turns 40 (Natural Speed/V. Difficult)

2007-01-10 Length: 6m 28s

1. What is Patrick's mother's hobby? 2. What is Yuko's hobby? 3. What was Sara's father's name? 4. What is Carolyn's brother's name? 5. What 3 things does Ami believe in? 6. What does Patrick like to do with his friends? 7. What 4 things are Patrick scared of? 8. Do Patrick's old students always greet him when they meet by chance? 9. What is the URL of Patrick's blog? 10. What is in Patrick's suitcase? …

A Piggy Day Out (children speaking)

2007-01-01 Length: 3m 7s

1. How is Patrick spending lots of time during his holidays? 2. What are Patrick's children's names and ages? 3. Who invited Patrick's family to go to a movie? 4. Why was Wilbur worried? 5. How did Charlotte the spider help Wilbur? 6. What did Wilbur win? 7. Kai said "Don't you ....." 8. What did they do after the film? 9. Why was this a terrible thing to do? 10. What do pigs say? …

Potato Bootlegs (music and chat)

2006-12-20 Length: 5m 20s

The background to those catchy tunes. Thanks Brian! Find out more on …

Potato Pals "At School"

2006-12-13 Length: 2m 14s

This is the song "At School" from Potato Pals Series 1 The pictures are a. My rough drawings which were magicked into b. Rie Kimura's beautiful finished potatoes The music is by Brian Cullen who I didn't have lunch with on Tuesday. The photo is not at's in the pub! …

Potato Pals In the Morning

2006-12-12 Length: 2m 8s

 This is a song from the Potato Pals series which I wrote a couple of years ago for young learners. The music is by my friend Brian Cullen, a fellow Irishman living in Nagoya. The pictures are of my daughter,Ami. There are no questions this week! You can find out more about Potato Pals on my blog at …

The Real Japan!

2006-12-08 Length: 5m 7s

1. Where was the speech contest held? 2. According to the first speaker, what is the number one reason for Snoopy’s popularity? 3. What did the first study say was a danger associated with left-handedness? 4. What did the second, more positive study of left-handedness say? 5. What are the speaker’s cousins like? 6. Where had the third speaker been? 7. What are all teenagers interested in? 8. What Japanese things were the Europeans interested in? 9. What is the third speaker’s advice to the listeners? 10. What are some of the things manga girls can do for you? …

Letters (Intermediate/5 mins)

2006-11-22 Length: 4m 33s

1. How did Patrick find people to write to? 2. What 3 things did Patrick’s students write in their letters? 3. Where did the first letter come from? 4. How did the class read the letters? 5. What had the girl from Thailand done? 6. How did they learn about Turkish food? 7. What 2 things did the English girl send? 8. Where in London does the English girl live? 9. What was the problem with the last letter? 10. What does Patrick hope will happen? …

Happy Halloween

2006-10-30 Length: 3m 6s

1. What ghost do Koreans find most scary? 2. What does she look like? 3. Why did she become a ghost? 4. Who does she haunt? 5. What does a gumiho look like? 6. What does a gumiho change into? 7. What does a gumiho do to its victims? 8. What do gumihos wish to be 9. What do many Korean and Japanese ghosts have in common? 10. What two theories does Patrick have about this? What do you think? …

Mirror to Japan (advanced/ 3.5 minutes)

2006-10-17 Length: 3m 30s

This story is about a questionnaire we sent to some foreigners asking for their thoughts on Japan. We got a good range of answers. 1. How many questions did the students write? 2. Who had met the Emperor? 3. What was the second question? 4. How did Patrick’s male friend answer the second question? 5. Who is the new prime minister? What did people know about him? 6. What things had people learned about Japan at school? 7. What was the fifth question? 8. What did everyone mention in their answers to the fifth question? 9. What was Patrick’s Scottish friends image of Japan on the world stage? 10. How did Patrick’s students feel about this project? …

The Violence of the Goats (pretty fast/ 5 mins)

2006-10-07 Length: 4m 57s

This week we had a terrible my junior high school English conversation class!!! 1. Where does Patrick teach? 2. What did Patrick want to introduce his students to? 3. What lived under the bridge? 4. Why did the goats want to cross the river? 5. Why wasn’t the little goat eaten? 6. How many boys were in a group? 7. What injuries did the boys have? 8. How did the accident happen? 9. How did the other students feel about the accident? 10. What did Patrick have to do after the accident? …

A Lucky Break! (3.5 minutes. Advanced)

2006-09-26 Length: 3m 51s

In which I get lucky and end up becoming an ELT author. 1. What country did Patrick come from? 2. When did Patrick move to Japan? 3. What was the name of the first language school that Patrick worked for? 4. What did the school owner do to help the teachers? 5. What was Patrick’s assistant’s name? 6. Where did Patrick meet the editors? 7. What is Series 1 about? 8. What is Series 2 about? 9. How many Potato Pals characters are there? What are their names? 10. Where are Potato Pals books being sold? …

The Magic Bus (3 minutes)

2006-09-18 Length: 3m 10s

You had better believe in miracles. They do happen sometimes. 1. What is one reason that Patrick loves being a school teacher? 2. How long did Patrick spend ion Europe? 3. Who came from Japan to visit Marlborough? 4. What did the visitors do every morning? 5. How far was Patrick’s sister’s house from Marlborough? 6. What did Patrick do when a car or truck sped by? 7. How long did Patrick walk in the forest for? 8. What question did Patrick ask the bus driver? 9. What kind of bus was it? 10. Why had the driver stopped the bus? …

August (upper intermediate/5 mins)

2006-07-10 Length: 4m 29s

In which I spend a lot of sleepless nights. 1. Why did Patrick start working in restaurants? 2. Why did Patrick want to work as a waiter rather than a dishwasher? 3. How did Patrick get a job in U2’s restaurant? 4. Why did Patrick sleep through his lessons at university? 5. Why did U2’s restaurant go out of business? 6. Why was the new all-night café called ‘August’? 7. What was the busiest time every night? 8. Why didn’t Patrick make much money? 9. What did Patrick do when he got tired of running his restaurant? 10. What was the happiest thing that happened in the history of the restaurant? …

Snow (intermediate/4 mins)

2006-06-30 Length: 4m 31s

1. Where did Patrick’s grandmother come from? 2. What is Patrick’s uncle’s name? 3. What was the artificial snow for? 4. What is the capital of Denmark? 5. How did Lars get the idea to make pillows out of snow? 6. Why did Lars make a pillow and snow factory in Ireland 7. Why couldn’t we run the snow machine during the day? 8. What did Patrick wear while making the snow? 9. What did people say when Patrick told them about his job? 10. What happened to the pillow and snow business? …

Mungo Park (Upper Intermediate/ 4 minutes)

2006-06-22 Length: 4m 40s

1. How many years after Patrick's father's death did his mother remarry? 2. Where does the name Mungo come from? 3. Where did the original Mungo Park travel? 4. What was the name of the river he went to explore? 5. Which modern-day countries does this river flow through? 6. What 4 things gave Park trouble? 7. In what year did Park die? 8. What was the book which Patrick's stepfather gave him about? 9. How old was Patrick's stepfather? 10. What does Little Mungo do? …

Father's Day.

2006-06-18 Length: 3m 46s

1. What year did Patrick’s father die? 2. What was Patrick’s mother wearing? 3. How did Patrick know his mother had been crying? 4. What had happened to Patrick’s father? 5. What was Patrick’s father’s job? 6. What company had Patrick’s father worked for? 7. Where had he been going? 8. How many people had been on the airplane? 9. How many years later was Patrick’s son born? 10. What was Patrick’s father’s name and what is his son’s name? …

Whoops (Lower Intermediate/2.5 minutes)

2006-06-12 Length: 3m 55s

1. What is Patrick's daughter's name? 2. How old is she? 3. What was the first thing they thought of buying as a present? 4. Why aren't flowers a good idea? 5. What two pets did they think of buying? 6. How much was the parrot? 7. How many colours was the parrot? 8. What did they eat and drink when they visited their grandmother? 9. The next time they spoke, what question did they ask their grandmother? 10. What had their grandmother done? …

Tortilla! (4 minutes/intermediate)

2006-06-06 Length: 4m 3s

1. What is another name for tortilla? 2. Where did Patrick learn about tortilla? 3. What 2 kinds of vegetable do you need? 4. What kind of oil should you use? 5. How do you make sure not to burn the ingredients? 6. How many potatoes do you need? 7. About how long does it take to make? 8. What do you use to turn over the tortilla? 9. What does Patrick like to drink with tortilla in the evenings? 10. What does Patrick hope that you will do? …

Parrots in Pakistan (4 mins/intermediate)

2006-06-01 Length: 5m 53s

1. When did Patrick visit Pakistan? 2. What do some people in Pakistan do for good luck? 3. What is Patrick's Pakistani friend called? 4. How many parrots did Patrick buy? 5. What happened during the night? 6. What lie was written on Patrick's sign? 7. What did the lucky man give to Patrick? 8. What happened to the parrots as the day got hotter? 9. How does Patrick feel about this business now? 10. What is he worried about? …

On Yer Bike (4 mins/intermediate)

2006-06-01 Length: 3m 19s

1. Where was Patrick heading at the start of the story? 2. Who was he with? 3. What unusual thing did somebody ask him to do? 4. What was the relationship between the women? 5. Why did they need help? 6. What was Patrick surprised by? 7. How long did she stay on the bicycle? 8. Why did she want to get off? 9. Who did he tell about it when he got home? 10. What did they say? …

About this podcast:

The Pig's Ear

These stories will help you improve your English listening skills. Listen as many times as necessary. I am speaking at a natural speed so don't worry if you can't understand everything. Please feel free to leave comments or questions about the content. Or even post your answers and I'll check them for you!

The Pig's Ear