In Japan, there is a traditional kind of idioms called 四字熟語, yojijukugo, four-character idioms. They all consist of four kanji expressions, that either originally has Chinese influences or even are directly taken from Chinese.
You can use them in ordinary sentences, such as “kare wa kakkoyokute atama ga ii. Kekkon suru no wa hontou ni isseki nichou da yo”, “He is both handsome and bright, marrying him is truly killing two birds with one stone”.
Learn a couple and impress your Japanese friends by using them at well chosen occasions.
||Pronounciation||Literal translation||Meaning or English counterpart|
|晴耕雨読||seiko udoku||clear sky, cultivate, rainy, reading||Farm when it’s sunny, read when it rains.|
|十人十色||jūnin toiro||ten persons, ten colors||To each his/her own. / Different strokes for different folks.|
|悪因悪果||akuin akka||evil cause, evil effect||Sow evil and reap evil.|
|大同小異||daidō shōi||big similarity, small difference||Similarities outweigh the differences.|
|一石二鳥||isseki nichō||one stone, two birds||Killing two birds with one stone; Doing 2 things with one action.|
|雲散霧消||unsan mushō||scattered clouds, disappearing mist||Disappear without a trace.|
|我田引水||gaden insui||pulling water to your own rice paddy||Doing/speaking about things in a way to benefit yourself.|
|夏炉冬扇||karo tōsen||Summer heater winter fan||Something which is out of season and therefore rendered useless.|
|起死回生||kishi kaisei||Wake from death and return to life||To come out of a desperate situation and make a complete return in one sudden burst.|