Shushō o hinan suru ni wa ataranai. (There’s no need to blame the prime minister.)

Situation 1: Two work colleagues are chatting.

三田: 今回のコロナウイルス対策では、首相の動きは遅すぎるよ。台湾とは大違いだ。

セレ: 確かに、台湾の迅速な対応は素晴らしかった。だけど、これは世界で初めての事態なんだから、首相を非難するにはあたらないと思うよ。

Mita: Konkai no koronauirusu taisaku de wa, shushō no ugoki wa ososugiru yo. Taiwan to wa ōchigai da.

Sere: Tashikani, Taiwan no jinsokuna taiō wa subarashikatta. Dakedo, kore wa sekai de hajimete no jitai nan da kara, shushō o hinan suru ni wa ataranai to omou yo.

Mita: With these latest coronavirus measures, the prime minister’s moves have been too slow. Such a big difference from Taiwan.

Sere: Certainly, Taiwan’s rapid countermeasures have been superb. However, this is the first situation like this in the world, there’s no need to blame the prime minister, I think.

The pattern “Xに(は)あたらない” can be rendered in English as “there’s no need to” or “it’s not worth,” with “X” as a noun or, more likely, a verb in its dictionary form. The structure can sound rigid or formal, and it tends to be used to admonish someone. Therefore, in Situation 1, Mr. Sere is suggesting Mr. Mita is being a bit too harsh on the prime minister. The verbs that are used in this pattern usually express the speaker’s feelings such as 驚(おどろ)く (to astonish), 悲(かな)しむ (to mourn, regret), 非難(ひなん)する (to blame, criticize) and 賞賛(しょうさん)する (to praise, extol).

Situation 2: Mr. and Mrs. Shiba are at home on a national holiday.

夫: ちょっと熱があるけど、このぐらいなら医者に行くまでもないな。

妻: そうね。家で様子を見るしかないね。

Otto: Chotto netsu ga aru kedo, kono gurai nara isha ni iku made mo nai na.

Tsuma: Sō ne. Ie de yōsu o miru shika nai ne.

Husband: I have a little fever, but with this amount it’s not at the point where I need to go to a doctor.

Wife: That’s right. We can do nothing but keep an eye on your condition at home.

Similar to Xに(は)あたらない is the pattern “Xまでもない/までもなく.” While the former points out something not worth doing, the latter emphasizes that the unnecessary thing — “X,” a verb in its dictionary form — has a low degree of importance. You’ll often see this structure with the verb 言(い)う, as in 言うまでもない (needless to say):

言うまでもなく、一斉(いっせい)休校(きゅうこう)のときは、ゲームセンター遊園地(ゆうえんち)には行かないでください (Needless to say, please don’t go to the game center or amusement park during the school closures).

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Mita is trying to do some calculations at the office, the trainee Adam is with him.

三田(みた): 79,800円(ななまんきゅうせんはっぴゃくえん)の7倍(ななばい)だから、えーと、電卓(でんたく)、電卓…。

アダム: 558,600円(ごじゅうごまんはっせんろっぴゃくえん)。

三田: アダムくん、ぼくはまじめに計算(けいさん)しているんだから、冗談(じょうだん)言わないでよね。

アダム: ぼくも、まじめに計算したんですよ。558,600円。

三田: えーと…、あっ、合(あ)ってる。電卓も使(つか)わないで、どうやったの?

アダム: ぼくが子(こ)どもの頃(ころ)、アメリカに鈴木(すずき)功二(こうじ)博士(はかせ)という日本人(にほんじん)がそろばんを教(おし)えに来(き)たんです。世界(せかい)のいろんな言語(げんご)で教えることができる有名人(ゆうめいじん)で、もちろんそのときは英語(えいご)で、そろばんと暗算(あんざん)を教えてくれたんです。それからぼくはずっと続(つづ)けているから、このぐらいの計算(けいさん)だったら、電卓を使うまでもありませんよ。

三田: すごい!アダムくんがそんな天才(てんさい)だとは知(し)らなかった。


三田: そうか…。そろばんは日本(にほん)の文化(ぶんか)だったのに、日本ではあまり見(み)られなくなったなあ。アメリカのソロバンマンたちに負(ま)けないように、日本人も頑張(がんば)らなくちゃ。

Mita: It’s seven times ¥79,800, so um, calculator, calculator….

Adam: ¥558,600.

Mita: Adam, I’m calculating seriously so please don’t joke around.

Adam: I calculated it seriously. ¥558,600.

Mita: Let’s see … oh, that’s right. How did you do that without using a calculator?

Adam: When I was a child, a Japanese guy called Dr. Koji Suzuki came to the U.S. to teach the abacus. He was famous, able to teach in various languages of the world, and taught us abacus and mental arithmetic — at that time, of course, in English And I’ve been studying it since then, and it’s not even necessary to use a calculator for calculations in this degree.

Mita: Great! I didn’t know that Adam was such a genius.

Adam: Not a genius. It’s no surprise at this level. Advanced abacus users can easily do seven-digit mental arithmetic.

Mita: I see. The abacus was a Japanese culture, but it’s rarely seen in Japan. The Japanese have to do our best to keep up with the American abacus men.


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