Abstract words that are literal translations


#1

It seems astonishing how many words in Japanese representing abstract concepts are nearly literal translations of the same word in English.

There are loads, but for example I just learned 本流 (mainstream). Whoever would associate a thing that is considered usual in society (mainstream) with a stream? More specifically, the kanji 流 seems to be associated both with flow of water and with school of thought.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this

Is it just by chance?
Is it because the languages have an ancient common root?
Is it because (in this case) I misunderstood the Japanese meaning?
Is it because it got literally translated from one language to the other at some point?

I have seen many examples, and this is not necessarily the best. Can any of you recall some of the others?