Yakeishi-ni Mizu (焼け石に水)
(the image of the proverb/expression)
Yakeishi (焼け石・やけいし): a hot stone; a heated stone
Mizu (水・みず): water
It would be like throwing water on thirsty soil.
It will be far short of meeting the requirement.
Do you figure out what is going on in the picture above? A boy is throwing a bucket of water to cool down the scorching hot stone table (or something?). Do you think it will work? I’d say few people think that will. So, what this boy is doing is “Yakeishi-ni Mizu.”
Here is another example. You own a business which you have started just recently. You need to hire marketing people, which will cost you at least $100,000. All you have is $50,000, so you decided to ask around to see if somebody might be interested enough to invest another $50,000. A friend of yours seems interested and you ask him if he is interested. He says, “Oh, yeah, definitely I am! But all I have in my pocket is $50.” You couteously decline his offer, saying, “That’s ‘Yakeishi-ni Mizu.’ I will have to find someone else….”