The LA Times put together a handy Venn diagram that shows what Americans (specifically, Los Angeles residents, or 'Angelenos') think to be Japanese food, and it's been compared to what native Japanese include in their own cuisine.
Sushi restaurant mainstays – like California rolls and mochi ice cream – were popular votes among Americans, as was teriyaki chicken, which is often served alongside the sushi at the same place.
Look at what the Japanese include in their own cuisine, though, and you'll find a few surprises. "Hamburg" is basically a hamburger patty served on its own and topped with a sauce. "Curry" is the same in substance to the Indian variety, but the flavor is closer to a beef stew than Chicken Tikka Masala.
"Omurice" is a play on "omelette" and "rice" – it's just an omelette served on top of a pile of rice, often with a sauce. "Nabe" is a soup pot that's frequently cooked at your table.
A few dishes are found to be in common and have been available on the West Coast for a long time, such as ramen, tempure and yakitori (chicken skewers).
Quoth the Times:
The middle of the Venn Diagram was clear, as Angelenos tended to suggest the same Japanese foods repeatedly. Tempura, ramen, udon and soba were by far the most popular choices. Though they're a fraction of the huge scope of Japanese foods, kudos to responders, as these are all regularly eaten in Japan.
via LA Times
1. You only need two words of Japanese to treat yourself to a feast.
2. Raw eggs are safe to eat in Japan.
3. The best dinner will be the one that you get lost trying to find.
Find more facts about eating in Japan now: follow the Konnichiwhoa Guide to Japanese restaurants.