mortar; millstone; hand mill
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Newly added to the Joyo set (probably because it's a radical), 臼 gives us an entry point into the earthy world of grinding crops. Through 臼 we learn about the mortar and pestle, the original (and best?) way of making mochi (and the basis for a saying about how men and women need each other). The essay also introduces medical terms, including one for "molar." After all, "mortars" in the mouth grind food!
Apr. 5, 2013: Fixed a dead link on p. 10 and a typo on p. 10.
Sept. 19, 2012: Added 7 photos to pp. 9 and 12–14.