When people think about Japan they immediately think in weird stereotypes that are far from reality, let's clarify some of these misconceptions.
The most common image of Japan that people have in mind is that Japan is a crazy place full of weird things, where there are robots and drunk salarymen everywhere, with crazy kids that read manga all day long and dress themselves like the characters and, of course, crowded with samurai and geisha that eat sushi everyday. This is simply not true, let's analyze some frequent statements and see what is myth and what is truth:
Japan is a safe place
True: Their fame of being honest is deserved, japanese crime rates are among the lowest in the world. In Japan the homicide rates are very low, so don't expect to be killed by a Japanese.
Japan is a crazy place
Myth: The ideia of a “Crazy Japan” is a very unfair myth, all over internet there are a lot of images and videos showing japanese people doing funny or disgusting things like it was something normal in country's everyday life, but it is far from truth. This bad reputation is created by people that get images of prank shows and informations from gossip magazines to profit over the natural curiosity of people about the bizzare. It's like to show some jackass videos and say that all americans behave like that or got some news from british tabloids and say that is how most of people think in UK . Actually, Japan is one of the less “crazy” countries in the world, don't trust so much on internet.
All Japanese people go to college
Myth: Not all Japanese go to college, in fact just a little percentage of them do so. The admission exams are tough and the competition is harsh, but that's not something that every Japanese will do.
Most of japanese are salarymen and have a lifelong job
Myth: Just a very small percentage of people here can fit in the stereotype of salarymen and lifelong jobs are something that became rare nowadays.
Japan is a clean place
True: Japanese language uses the same word to say beautiful and clean (kirei), they are almost obsessive with cleanness, even the big cities are incredibly clean with almost no graffiti and usually you won't have a bad surprise if you have to use a public restroom.
Japanese people eat sushi everyday
Myth: Sushi is not an everyday food for them as most people think it is, there are much less sushi restaurants than lamen and udon eateries. One can consider missoshiru or kareraisu (Curry with rice) as an everyday food, but definitely you can not put sushi on this list.
It's easy to find something related to samurai and geisha
Myth: Even though you can find ancient arts well preserved, they are not so widely practiced as people think. Traditional arts are practiced only for a very limited number of people in specific places, real samurai martial arts are practiced by much less than 1% of the population and real geisha schools only can be found in Kyoto city, it's the same for the other traditional arts.
There are a lot of Otaku (manga fanatic nerds) kids everywhere
Myth: There are not and when they walk around the cities their aren't dressed like the characters if there are not an special event taking place. Manga and Anime are popular among the kids, but the number of otaku are not much bigger than the number of comic books fans in the West as many believe and, beside that, most of otaku are not kids anymore...
Do you want to know more about Japan? Check out my other articles and if you have some question about it just ask me.