You're right, of course. I should have said "new".
It's a shame about the quality. I bought mine (1997 printing) REALLY new, and the spine did started cracking a couple of years ago. I handle my books carefully, so it's not a big problem, but it's disappointing in a $50 book.
edit: for typos
Edited: 2010-10-04, 1:45 am
Regarding broken book spines...
If you like doing DIY, it's possible to repair most book spines.
I use shoe glue: just cut a piece of card to the required shape (usually a long thin strip, say 1 cm wide and length about the same as the book's height), cover one side with the glue and apply to the crack.
Practice on some non-precious books first to hone your skills, and it's possible to make the repairs near-invisible.
Hardbacks are easy because the back is usually not attached to the spine: just slip the glued strip between the two and put a strip of plastic (e.g. cut from a plastic shopping bag) behind it while it dries. The book can then be closed while the glue is drying.
Softbacks are a bit harder to fix. The front, back and back cover are usually all one piece of card, and it's mostly easiest to cut the whole thing off first, then apply the glued strip, then reattach the cover.
I use shoe repair glue, and after experimenting with a few brands my favourite is "セメダイン シューズドクター". I repaired a dozen or so books (including NJECD) about five years ago and they've held up perfectly.
Okay, I think I just need to hold off the doubting until something actually goes wrong. So far, Heisig's been fun, and very effective.
Quick question, though, after I'm done, are there any dictionary-type resources out there that are/can be organised into Heisig order? It took far too much time when I was unsure to check various possible meanings of just a few kanji, so what's it going to be like when I've got 3,000 to look up?
Don't learn kanji by Heisig order. If you really want to learn words systematically by kanji then get yourself the beginner set of White Rabbit flashcards, which has the ~300 most common kanji and a handful of vocab words for each.
For quick kanji lookups, download Rikaichan for Firefox.
I meant if you are going to learn by kanji rather by something like frequency, don't learn by Heisig order, as in don't go through learning the readings/vocab associated with kanji like 旭, 胃, 呂 and so on before you learn the readings/vocab associated with kanji like 長.
If anyone needs a copy of RTK 1 to 3, contact me, I might be able to help out.
I haven't seen this question addressed anywhere so I am posting it here.
Learning kanji with Heisig's method, attaching stories to the kanji (sometimes weird or even obscene I've read in the forums) doesn't influence the way you read japanese and understand japanese? For instance: we learned the kanji 'employee' imagining the weird scene an office building full of employees with a clam attached to their mouth. Wont' that image pop up in some way every time you read that kanji?
Most of the stories eventually fall off! That's what they're supposed to do, Heisig explains that later in the book (lesson 31 if you're eager). Eventually you just remember the characters and their primitives.
After you've got better at reading Japanese, while reading the kanji for which you know readings very well, you won't even have their keywords come to mind. You've had their readings been repeated so many times, you're just gonna see the character and think of a reading.
When I read 員, I only think "in", because I'm used to reading that character, and イン is the only reading it uses. The word "employee" doesn't come to mind, because in practice, the real meaning of the character is more close to "member" (or something in between those) anyway, a lot of words that use that character will have something to do with members. And I only really recall the image with the clams on the mouths if I stop reading to think twice about the character. When I normally read a word that contains 員, none of those things come to mind, and I just read the word (if I know it) and move on.
That's the end goal. I know even Heisig himself has said that all the characters are "just Japanese" to him today.
Edited: 2011-09-17, 11:13 am
This is a great system. Is there an easy way to look up the Japanese words after you learn the symbols? Or is it better to just study Japanese and just recognize the kanji from that?
Although if you're asking how to learn words, you don't want jisho.org.
So let me get this straight, RTK will basicly teach me how to write all the kanji and recognizing each 1 of them and also the meanings of it even though the last part isn't important ?
RTK's purpose is to split the learning of kanji into multiple steps so that you don't have to learn to recognize/write/pronounce a kanji all at once.
The first step is to familiarize yourself with their general meaning and how to write them. The second step is you learning vocabulary and pronunciations for them through the course of your normal Japanese study.
The idea is to give you a leg up with kanji the same way that Chinese students have when they start to learn Japanese. You really should read the introduction to the book. I think it explains the rationale quite persuasively.
There's a lot of people who've learned Japanese without RTK, but the people on this forum tend to have found it quite helpful in their studies. I would not have been able to learn Japanese without it, and it teaching me that kanji are not scary or hard helped remove a really big mental stumbling block for learning Japanese.
Edited: 2013-08-26, 7:46 pm
I finished RTK1 a few months ago and never looked back. I think it's a great system. In the majority of cases the keyword is the main meaning of the character. You learn a keyword for each kanji.
When I look at any Japanese reader I recognize all the kanji (even if I don't know the on and kun readings). That's a huge help.
I didn't read the whole topic, but I just want to share my thoughts of the purpose of RtK1.
I think the main purpose is that you aren't afraid anymore of the kanji, that you have a basic meaning of the kanji and that you have the ability to write them. That sounds maybe short and a bit useless, but it helps a lot.
I'm 50 away from finishing RTK1, and some of the genius of the system finally dawned on me.
He states early, only study keyword->Kanji, not Kanji->keyword. Which felt weird, because my recognition of the kanji itself to keyword was basically non-existent.
It just occured to me that there isn't any point doing so. The kanji isn't always a real word, so it's only recognition of the kanji in context to the real meaning that's important. The keyword is a throwaway.
So the whole point of separating the learning from writing from everything else (recognition, meaning, word usage) is what it really does, but along the way it helps recognition too because they stop looking like they're all the same. I may not know what everything means yet, but I can pretty easily pick out one from the other, or even recognize ones I haven't seen before.