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Episode 1
The Starting point of Creativity; “Aoto” the Blue Clay
Aoto (blue clay) is raw clay mined in the Takata region. The reason why it is called as Aoto (blue clay) is the color of the clay which is dug out has a hue of blue grey.
This clay has such great properties that it can be used almost straight away just after being dug out; all you need is to dry, levigate and filter it before use. It is because of this wonderful soil as well as this region, a historically known land of ceramic ware of Japan, that Yozaemon-Kanenao Kato decided to build a klin and set up a Takata-Yaki pottery in 1616, which is not a well-known anecdote.

Episode 2
Fastidiousness about “Aoto” the Blue Clay
The whiter and more solidified porcelains have been developed in Mino region since the time of Meiji Era. Therefore, at Toubei Ceramic Studio it was once considered to create porcelain mortars as that would make the textured surface inside of the mortar become more solid and durable. However, this idea was dismissed and Aoto has been used since instead. It is said that the reason why we have kept using Aoto lies in the resistance and the kindness of the textured surface made of Aoto.
Please touch the textured surface inside of the mortar and feel its roughness. Thus one would know this feel of the roughness would create a great resistance.
This roughness stems from the properties of Takada clay as well as the way the raw clay is processed.
In the process of levigating the raw clay and filtering it to produce clay after being dug out of the mountains, larger particles are inserted between smaller particles, which creates this feel of roughness. Compared with the porcelain mortars and the earthenware mortars whose interior textures are glazed, the difference is so instant and obvious.

Episode 3
Choice out of kindness
The longer a mortar is used, the more abrased it gets over time. This abrasion is caused as the top edges of the textured surface are chipped in use. These small chips, however, are not as sharp as those of mortars made from porcelains or glass. The roughness that creates the resistance, namely the larger particles of the clay, grinds the sharp edges of small chips. This was the choice out of kindness by the predecessor who would not have wished small children to swallow the sharp edges of small chips.
Along with the kindness of the predecessor who dealt with shortcomings of the mortars, the properties of this local clay have been the driving force to keep using Aoto.

Episode 4
A mysterious white ring
The mortars are stacked and fired in the klin. The mortars are coated with material called Alumina so that they may not stick together when fired. This Alumina is a white ring found inside of mortars. During the time of the founder, the mountain sand was used as a substitute instead of Alumina. Therefore even after it became possible to refine Alumina, that is an adhesion preventing agent, unrefined larger particles of Alumina are mixed in order to have similar textures of mortars when mountain sand was used, thus reducing the white ring appearing inside of mortars.
This Alumina is one of the main components of soil and it is just extracted out of soil. Therefore, it is safe even if it is taken into the body.

Episode 5
A tool that dedicates itself to humans
ust like a newly married couple caring for each other and solidifying their love gradually together, a mortar and a pestle have a similar story: a mortar and a pestle get rubbed and worn away together gradually over time, therefore, there is something you are required to do before first use. It is said to be best to try out a new mortar before first use. That is what they call Trial Driving when it comes to cars. In the similar way, a mortar and a pestle need some trial period of time in order to be compatible to each other .

Here is how to try out a mortar for the first time: soak a mortar and a pestle into the water and get them wet. Push the whole pestle into the rim of the mortar and grind it clockwise as well as anti-clockwise. Once the thin and brittle parts between the textured interior come off, it is now ready to grind food.

Episode 6
Everything Local– A story of the pestle
Pestles are made of Japanese pepper trees since the old times. This is because of the wisdom of the ancestors who tried to make use of their medical properties. When ingredients are ground in the mortar, the pestle also gets scraped off. The reason why the pepper trees have been used as pestles is that their medical properties help to prevent indigestion and cure abdominal pain. Recently, however, most pepper tree pestles are imported as the cheap pepper trees from China are cheaply available. All imported pepper trees contain the chemical agent called methyl bromide which is used in the process of fumigation. When those pepper trees are used as pestles, as the pestles get scraped in use, this poisonous agent is also taken into the body. Therefore, we would like you to choose Japanese pepper tree pestles instead.

Episode 7
The birth of “Hamon Kushime”,
The Radial Ridged Pattern
Since a mortar has a textured surface inside, it is thought to be possible to grind ingredients with any part of the surface. The Seventh, however, cast questions about it: isn’t it only the part resisting against a pestle that is grinding the ingredients? Isn’t the rest of the surface just pushing up the ground ingredients upwards?
Therefore the Seventh decided to conduct numerous tests on the textured surface inside of a mortar from the point of beauty as well as usability. Although it took approximately 9 years, he managed to create the mortar to perfection based on the results of his various tests. As this improved design prevents ingredients from being pushed upwards of the mortar, the ingredients get ground more effectively on the spot, thus making the grinding process faster. The new design also helps to reduce friction heat as well as helps ingredients to keep their original aroma more intact. Furthermore, it is easy for elderly people to use this mortar as it does not require much force to grind.
The resistance of this textured surface can hold the ingredients to grind where they are; therefore, it is suitable for both right-handed and left-handed people regardless of the grinding directions.

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