At the inn, there is still much hard work to be done before dinner. Sakamoto's mother, Fusako, who is in her seventies, takes charge of the day's milling, which is done a couple of times a week in a large shed near the inn. "I'm impatient," she concedes, as she cleans and polishes the grain. "My son would spend twice as much time on this part." Then she pours the soba into the grinder. Only soba makers who mill their own flour, like the Sakamotos, use the ipponbiki (single grind) method: Whole grain is ground, sifted, ground, sifted, and ground, gradually removing as much of the hull as possible, and combining almost all of the resulting flours. After about two hours, her work has produced a pile of coarse husks to fertilize the kitchen garden; a tasteless dusting flour called uchiko; siftings to feed the inn's chickens; and a modest heap of silky, pale brown flour for the noodles.