Oh. My. God. Dude, let me tell you… I recently joined a Discord server that was created to draw together native English and Japanese speakers in an effort to help the learners among us have access to helpful native speakers of each others’ languages, and every day has been a new, fresh hell of “no, look, I’m not good enough with linguistics to explain exactly why this doesn’t work but you actually want to say such-and-such.”
It’s almost easier to list the expressions between the languages that do work when translated directly. Tangentially, this isn’t directly related to expressionisms, but just yesterday, I tried to explain how to use the word “it” to a Japanese person, as the topic of when/why you want to include or omit the word “it” from phrases like “I understand [it]” came up, and in my efforts to do so, I came to the conclusion that English is stupid and I hate it. I mean, I always knew it was terrible in the back of my mind, but now, to quote Xenoblade, “I’M REALLY FEELING IT!!”
It’s easy to overlook the simplest of stuff that really sets the spirits of the two languages apart, like how you express gratitude to someone. There was a guy wanting to know how to thank his hair stylist and he was wondering if saying お疲れ様でした as a customer would be weird (which it would have been).
Meanwhile on the JP side there was someone wanting to know how to say an English version of マジか without inviting their conversational partner to give a reply, as according to them, this rhetorical question is less prone to actually being read as a question in Japanese than “seriously” is in English, so I ended up going over some common expletives with that person and even recording some audio of myself sitting like an idiot in front of a mic reciting common English expletives to show how one’s tone of voice can have a strong impact on whether or not a listener feels invited to reply.
この両方の言語ズはもう呆れたよ I’m so done with these two languages!