I'm currently reading the デス・ノート (Death Note) manga series, which I'm really enjoying. I'm somewhere in the middle of the second volume now. I think reading manga is one of the best ways to practice reading Japanese, because it's pretty much just dialogue. Reading short stories and novels is a lot harder because there's so much exposition involved in setting the scene, telling who the characters are and what they're doing. There's a lot more to it, especially when there's no furigana to help clear the way. I've gotten through several chapters of a young adult novel titled 時をかける少女 (Toki o Kakeru Shoujo) and am really enjoying it, but it makes my brain hurt. It's far too much work to read casually, so I'm switching over to manga for now until I build up a bit more of a working vocabulary.
For now I thought I'd try my hand at practicing a bit of composition to practice it the other way around. I'm finding it a lot easier now to read Japanese than to write it, as if all of the practice I've been doing has strengthened the Japanese => English part of my brain and weakened the English => Japanese part. A little push every now and then to go in the opposite direction can't hurt, can it?
So here we go. Feel free to correct me if I've made any mistakes:
Konban wa. Nihongo no gakusei desu. Mainichi gogo shichi-ji kara ku-ju made nihongo o renshuu shimasu. Ima "Desu Nooto" o yomimasu. Daisuki desu yo. Nihongo no ongaku mo kikimasu.
Doubutsu ga suki desu. Neko to inu ga ichiban suki desu. Watashi no neko no namae wa Kage desu. Inu no namae wa Samu desu. Sennen, ferutto mo imasu. Namae wa Beera to Aabi deshita.
Konshuu no shuumatsu, okaasan to kaimono o shimasu. Mochiron, "Desu Nooto" o yomimasu. Doyoubi wa ichinichijuu nemasu yo.
Good evening. I am a student of Japanese. Every day I practice Japanese from 7 till 9 in the evening. Right now I'm reading "Death Note". I really love it. I also listen to Japanese music.
I like animals. Cats and dogs are my favorite. My cat's name is Shadow. My dog's name is Sam. Last year, I had ferrets as well. Their names were Bella and Abby.
This weekend, I'm going shopping with my mom. Of course, I'll read some more "Death Note", too. On Saturday I'll sleep all day!
(Okay, so it's really lame. But it's the best I have the brainpower for this evening....)