“Wild Boar”, Free Audio Book by Anthony Friedl
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For something a little bit different, here's a free audio book, “イノシシ” (“Wild Boar”), story written by seven-year-old Anthony Friedl. Unabridged reading for you today by the author himself.

Click <a href="http://regex.info/i/Anthony-Inoshishi.mp3">here</a> to listen
Anthony Friedl's “Wild Boar”
Read by the author. Run time 12 seconds.
( Download here )

I'm really impressed with the quality of the recording, both in technical terms, and in Anthony's clear reading voice. More on the recording later in this post.

The Story

First, here's the story (unabridged! :-)), with my attempt at a translation:

Wild Boar
A wild boar was hit by a car
tire's flat
car is totaled
other cars go zipping by
only I am left behind

This morning before school, I asked him to draw a picture to go along with the story (though he says it's not a “story”, it's a “silly”), and here's what he came up with a minute later:

&#8220;Wild Boar&#8221; illustration by the author -- Copyright 2010 Anthony M. Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- Anthony M. Friedl
“Wild Boar”
illustration by the author

I'm not entirely sure why he wrote this... I think it was for some school project. It was what happened to be at hand when he decided to record something, as I describe in “The Recording Session” below.

The genesis of the story, besides the imagination of a seven year old, is that when Anthony is heading out on his own, Fumie bids him farewell with a “Watch out for wild boar!”. On his trip to school each morning he has to cross four streets, and navigate sidewalks filled with people and bicycles, so of course we worry — first graders are not known for their attention span, even when their own safety is at stake. But she knows that if she bids him farewell with “Watch out for cars and bicycles!” that it'll soon become an ignored part of the morning pattern, rather than an active reminder, so she figures that making it silly will keep it fresh while still evoking what little attention we can expect from a kid his age. It seems to work. Wild boars... who would have thought? Brilliant.

The Recording Session

I've got a project cooking for which I need to do some high-quality audio recordings, something I know nothing about. A week or so ago (before a nasty cold stole a week of my life) I bought a Zoom H4n Handy Recorder, which is an amazing little device, much better than the last time I bought an audio-recording device (a cassette deck 30 years ago, I suppose). It's got tons of features that I have no idea how to use, but it's simple enough to press “record”, “stop”, and “playback”, so Anthony had fun playing around with it, recording the washing machine, his toys, interviewing Mommy, etc.

A few days ago, in a lull of relative health between the worst part of my cold and a subsequent bout of hellatious insomnia, Anthony and I were playing with it, and he decided he wanted to read something with it. So, I set it in a bowl on the dining-room table that allowed the built-in microphones to point up at him, and he grabbed something and read it. That's the recording above.

(He then read another somewhat longer story he wrote, “cockroach underwear”, which I will spare you.)

As I said, I'm really impressed with the quality of the recording. (If you're not, grab whatever audio-recording device you have lying around, and record a kid at the dining-room table, and see what kind of clarity you get.) It's the Zoom unit... it's just amazing. I've got a studio microphone on order to use with it, but even the built-in microphones are pretty good. Then there's Anthony's reading voice... so clear! I couldn't read that clearly.

All 10 comments so far, oldest first...

The idea of, “watch out for wild boar”, is really wonderful. Nice one Fumie.

BTW, I am starting to become a fan of Anthony’s creativity. No doubt he won the creativity prize at school.

— comment by britto on February 24th, 2010 at 1:10pm JST (14 years ago) comment permalink

Now that was awesome!

— comment by Andrew on February 24th, 2010 at 5:05pm JST (14 years ago) comment permalink

I share your amazement at how well Anthony read that – exceptional.

— comment by Peter in Wales on February 24th, 2010 at 6:27pm JST (14 years ago) comment permalink

Any chance of him doing an English version for the U.S. market? (Especially the U.S. Cousin Market).

That was fantastic sound quality. Did you do any tests – was there a perceptible difference from when you had the recorder in the bowl as opposed to just holding it? Or will these tests have to wait until the polypharmaceutical haze fades?

There was no test or anything… he wanted to read something, and I didn’t want to hold the thing, so I grabbed what was within arm’s reach (a fruit bowl; we were at the dining-room table), set one end in and the other over the edge of the bowl, saw that it pointed in about the right direction, pressed “record” and gave him the “go” sign. I don’t think we’ll be doing an English version… too much would be lost in translation (as my translation shows…. it’s not at all cute, but the Japanese is exquisitely so). Anthony is taking the time to learn his cousins’ language… can’t they be bothered to do the same for him? —Jeffy

— comment by Marcina, USA on February 24th, 2010 at 10:55pm JST (14 years ago) comment permalink

Now that was so sweet! His voice and presentation is very good. It sounds very sing song like. I am tempted to learn Japanese now 🙂 It is too good.
I also like the “watch out for wild boars” reminder. I give so many “be safe..” and such to my 6 yr old and I feel he is not listening. I will try something from Ben 10 or Gormitis. Thanks!!

— comment by Sonal, MN on February 25th, 2010 at 12:34am JST (14 years ago) comment permalink

that’s a great idea!!
we do have exactly the same problem with the girls on their way to school. they have to cross only 1 major street, and the traffic in our suburban village is by far less than the traffic in kyoto – but anyway there are a lot of interesting things which could get much more attention than cars, bicylces and the else.
every morning we remind them: ‘watch out for the cars!!’.
their reply couldn’t be more desinterested :-((
way of ‘stop boring us … NOW!!’
we’ll try the wild boar soon …

ps: i have just finished reading a very nice book about japan. written by a german guy who lives in japan since 1995. certainly you know him very well. according to his own book he is very often invited to the japanese tv (koko-ga hen-dayo! nihonjin with takeshi kitano). there is a chapter about bicycles on boardwalks in japan, it exactly describes your fears with anthonys daily walk to school. i really recommend his book to you, i have read the book within just 1 day, it was extremely interesting (iketenai-nippon nihonjin-no honto-no tokoro). his url is: noiman.com

— comment by Thomas on February 25th, 2010 at 1:43am JST (14 years ago) comment permalink

So nice to hear Anthony’s voice! I agree, the Japanese version is better. A great “silly.” As a very beginner Japanese student, it is great to hear Anthony’s pronunciation. I even learned a new kanji for かるま! (車)
どうもありがとございます Anthony (& Jeffrey)!

— comment by Gary in GR on February 25th, 2010 at 2:34am JST (14 years ago) comment permalink

Hmmm, I wonder if that wild boar would fit in my smoker…

— comment by Steve Friedl on February 26th, 2010 at 1:35am JST (14 years ago) comment permalink

I like that the story has a haiku-like rhythm to it. His japanese speaking voice sounds neat.

— comment by Eric Mesa on February 28th, 2010 at 12:39am JST (14 years ago) comment permalink

Cute! No dad can possibly do more for his kid than you do.

— comment by Anne on September 21st, 2012 at 4:22am JST (11 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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