Mr. T. is a well known and highly respected company president in Tokyo. He is 60 years old, but has boundless energy and enthusiasm.
A few years ago, he was planning a trip around the world, and made arrangements for special English classes with my friend, Mr. Smith. For a period of three months, Mr. T. picked Mr. Smith up at his home two mornings a week.
The lessons began the moment Mr. Smith stepped into the car. Mr. T. did not to waste a minute. In the car, walking down the corridor, and for an hour in his office he carried on a conversation in English with his teacher.
At the beginning, Mr. Smith was hesitant about making corrections. But Mr. T. soon put him at ease. "The only purpose of these classes is to improve my English," said the company president. "If I make a mistake, I want to know about it. If I have to repeat a sentence a hundred times, I'll do it. I want to say it right."
During the three months, Mr. T. never missed a class. On the last weekend before his trip, he invited Mr. Smith to a mountain resort. The invitation was a gesture of gratitude to his teacher, but it also served as a final test for the English course.
Reservations were made at a hotel where all of employees spoke English. For three days Mr. T. refused to say anything in Japanese. Mr. T. persevered. "It'll be easier when I am abroad if I work hard now," he said.
Mr Smith stood in admiration, as he saw Mr. T. off on his trip. As head of a language institute, Mr. Smith had taught English to many students. He had never known a student he admired more than Mr.T.