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I wanted to write a sentence that means:

Okinawa and Hokkaido are different, their climate and the time cherry blossoms bloom differ.

I was wondering if this would be the appropriate way to write that:

沖縄と北海道が違い、気候とか桜を咲く時とか違います。

I want to make sure the second phrase doesn't sound like "climate and cherry-blossom-blooming time are different (from each other)"

Another way I could think of writing this is (but might have two 違い too close):

~,その違いが気候とか桜を咲く時です。

Basically, is there a grammatically different way to express "This two things are different" vs. "This two things differ on these two points"?

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I understood your question as asking whether different constructions are used to express the ideas of

A and B are different

and

X and Y are different

where the statement

A and B are different in X and Y

is true.

If my understanding is correct, I find it to be a very interesting question.

Your English sentence, which is actually two sentences connected only with a comma, can be translated as:

沖縄と北海道違います。気候と桜の咲く時期違います。

And these can be combined into one sentence, as below:

沖縄と北海道、気候と桜の咲く時期違います。

Actually, 気候桜の咲く時期 sounds more natural than 気候桜の咲く時期 because there must be other things that are also different, not just those two. However, let’s use と here so we can focus on the main difference, which is that of は and が.

Although I cannot say for sure this is a definite rule, I think that, unless A (沖縄) and B (北海道) appear in a subordinate clause, they usually don’t take the subject’s spot with the subject marker が in a sentence with 違う. That spot seems to be reserved for X (気候) and Y (桜の咲く時期), which are properties in which A and B differ.

Here is an example where A and B appear in a subordinate clause:

沖縄と北海道違うのは、気候と桜の咲く時期です。

X and Y may be used with は in a sentence that emphasizes the difference in them in contrast to similarity in other aspects of A and B.

沖縄と北海道はどちらも人気がありますが、気候と桜の咲く時期違います。

By the way,

沖縄と北海道、気候と桜の咲く時期が違います。

sounds a bit like it is meant for someone who already knows Okinawa and Hokkaido are different in some way and wants to know what’s different. In other words, the information conveyed by the first of the two original sentences is assumed to be already known.

If this is a problem, you could add で, as follows:

沖縄と北海道では、気候や桜の咲く時期が違います。

This で limits the scope of comparison to Okinawa and Hokkaido before the sentence goes on to state what’s different between them. It makes no assumption about the listener’s prior knowledge about Okinawa and Hokkaido and therefore works for anyone.

Lastly, although grammatically perfect, these sentences contain a logical issue inherited from the original English sentence. The reason why the time cherry blossoms bloom is different is precisely because climate is different. But that’s a different issue…

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Okinawa and Hokkaido are different, their climate and the time cherry blossoms bloom differ.
沖縄と北海道の気候は違い、気候とか咲く時とか違います。

Well, google translation should be improved. And people should use it with the proper word order...
So the technique, first rewrite the sentence easier and simpler.

The climate are different in Okinawa and Hokkaido.
沖縄と北海道は気候が違います
So as the cherry blossom times are, too.
そして桜が咲く時期も違います

This helps in any language. (I think I hope)

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  • While I know it would be clearer and more straightforward to separate the sentences, this question is more geared toward if there exists a typical way to use a "single" 違う to express what is different between two things. I think it would help your answer to include a sort of affirmation that there isn't a commonly used way, to justify splitting up the sentence into two. Does that make sense?
    – katatahito
    May 8 '20 at 17:09
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    沖縄都北海道では、気候も桜の咲く時期も違います If you can make it two and much easier to put them back into one, I think.
    – user34216
    May 8 '20 at 22:08

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