What is the closest expression in Japanese that conveys a similar meaning to the English idiom "that ship has sailed", referring to an "missed opportunity" and "it's too late (to do anything about it)"?
The English phrase to me is discouraging and has a sense of futility, so I would like the Japanese expression to convey a similar feeling.
For the context in which I would like to use this Japanese phrase, here is a conversation alternating between two friends of a bachelor with feelings for someone named Karen:
- I thought he had eyes for Karen.
- Yeah, he told me that, too.
- Well she graduated and went back to Sweden. I heard she found a good job there in her field.
- Right, I think he had wanted to propose to her, but you know what's up. She still has a life and likes living nearby her relatives in Stockholm.
- Indeed. Whatever he tries at this point may be too little too late.
- I agree; she really likes him, but I think that ship has sailed.
EDIT: @Mindful suggested 時すでに遅し, which seems to be a common expression for "it's too late" and the Webolio dictionary lists it directly under the "that ship has sailed" idiom. I can't help but feel that this phrase sounds slightly plain compared to "that ship has sailed" even though the meaning may be correct.
In contrast, I have found 後の祭り as another expression used to express a similar meaning to "that ship has sailed" and it also seems to be somewhat less straightforward than simply 時すでに遅し. Would greatly appreciate if anyone could point out the nuance between these two phrases.