Are snowclones common in Japanese?
A snowclone is a neologism for a type of cliché and phrasal template originally defined as "a multi-use, customizable, instantly recognizable, time-worn, quoted or misquoted phrase or sentence that can be used in an entirely open array of different variants".
An example of a snowclone is "grey is the new black", a version of the template "X is the new Y". X and Y may be replaced with different words or phrases – for example, "comedy is the new rock 'n' roll". The term "snowclone" can be applied to both the original phrase and to any new phrase that uses its formula. Many Internet memes are snowclones: for example, the meme "obvious troll is obvious" has been generalized to many other statements of the form "X Y is X".
If I use snowclones myself, am I likely to be understood (all other things being equal), or will it just cause confusion?
EDIT: To expand a bit on the definition given above, a snowclone is a phrase pattern cliche. Unlike most cliches which use the same words every time, a snowclone is a cliche whose parts can be replaced to make a new (but recognizable) cliche. The term was requested, and eventually coined mainly for terms journalists use.
"X is the new Y" is a comment on fads/fashions, indicating that "everyone who was excited/worried about X is excited about Y now", regardless of what domain X and Y are in. (It's not limited to pop culture, I've heard "Portugal is the new Greece" in reference to the EU's economic issues)