The story of the tortoise and the hare is well known all around the world. It’s an old story and often repeated and for good reason- it’s moral is timeless and true. I hesitate to call it an axiom, but it is almost so- go slow and steady and you will find success. I have been studying Japanese for six years. Six years. Every week, twice a week, for six years. You might think I’ve finished several textbooks, maybe you think I’m fluent, expert, all-knowing. No. Not even close. In fact I haven’t even finished 1 complete textbook yet. To be precise, I’m on chapter 35 of 50 in Mina No Nihongo, the most popular and widely used textbooks for foreign learners of Japanese. I study at a very slow pace because I want to understand everything I learn, I want to know how to use it and I want to use it correctly. I take my time, I am the tortoise and at the end of the day the hare is peaking quickly but poorly, whilst I am speaking slowly and limited, but without mistakes and most importantly, with confidence. To me, confidence is the most important thing. So I say to you, 2nd language learners of the world, take your time, go slow and steady. I am often complimented on my Japanese, limited though it is, because of it’s cleanliness and naturalness- two points I am proud of. My vocab is limited, as is my grammar knowledge, but the vocab and grammar I know, I know deeply. I hope that my student’s of English as a foreign language will continue to come on a regular basis, once or twice or three times a week, for many many years, because that’s what it takes to become a confident speaker. I hope that my students will be tortoises.