Monday, December 7, 2009

Hellsing GIMPS Team

Join the Hellsing team, summon your beasts, and together we can find the greatest Mersenne prime number hidden in the darkness of the night.


The GIMPS project is a collection of volunteers world wide who allow their computers to run a program in the back ground or when they are not using it to assist in finding the largest unknown prime number. You might even win some cash if you find one.

Install the Software

To get started, go to the main GIMPS site at and install the software. They have versions for Linux, Windows and OSX.

Join the Hellsing team

Login your account at and, on the side bar, click join team. The quickest way to find the team would be to use the browser's find option (ctrl f) and search for Hellsing. Then click to join the team on the right side of the page and then your computer does the rest.


Guinomi is the Japanese word for the large deep sake cup. The word for the small shallow cup is sakaduki. There are several basic materials for sake cups most notable of which is ceramic clay for tsuchi-aji, an earthy feel; and the ever humble square Japanese cedar cups, called masu. Masu cups tend to overwhelm the flavor of sake and is not generally used for finer sakes.
As an art and pottery collector and connoisseur of sake I could not pass up the opportunity to acquire an authentic guinomi. Usually I shop for pottery in the plentiful state of North Carolina, but in this case it seemed more appropriate to embrace a Japanese tradition. After an extensive search looking for something rustic, original and of manageable expense, I chose the one displayed below which was handcrafted by bizen artist Suzuki Tsunki in Okayama. It is about 2.4" high and 2.9" in diameter holding a modest 3.7 ounces of fine sake. The eight-sided shape of this cup is called Rokaku-hai.Bizen pottery, bizenyaki, is known to have started in the 12 century creating unglazed pottery with wood-fired kilns. Bizen pottery is well-known as one of the 6 ancient Japanese kilns. When looking for authentic traditional pottery from this area, be sure to ask if it was wood-fired in the traditional way. There is a robust assortment of pottery available from more modern gas-fired kilns as well.

So what's the big deal, you ask? Well, to some, maybe nothing... Heck most American's I know don't even like sake. That said, the majority who don't like it have never had real sake. They think it is something served hot with sushi. True sake is served cold and has a flavor delicate and pure with fragrances sweet to the nose and complex to the tongue.This cup has a texture felt both on the lips and tongue. It adds a new dimension to the already complex product for the senses. It may not save your palate from the ravages of brewer's alcohol often mascaraed as sake nor the hangover that is sure to follow from poor quality sake. But filled with the true daiginjo-shu it may add a sensation previously reserved for the angles. True sake is a deep breath of fresh air in the midst of a feild blooming cheerie trees washed down with a mist from a cold and pure mountain waterfall. It is an experience to be cheerished to the very last drop.
I hope this article inspires others to seek out and enjoy pottery art for themselves. This cup was purchased online from Artistic Nippon. 4/12/09

Monday, April 20, 2009

Akitabare Suirakuten

While I visited some close family in San Jose, I also was researching how to transform my beer brewing experience into a new sake making adventure. While on my search I discovered the Koji Sake Lounge in downtown San Jose. Always enthusiastic for opportunities to expand my horizons I convinced some family to go with me to the lounge.

It was a lovely urban style lounge with metro art style furnishings and newage meets french music. The metro tram would periodically visit the front entrance for that extra special downtown feel. The owner, I think, was a very beautiful and very hospitable Japanese-American lady whom responded to my email inquiries.

We started our experience with the eastern flight of sake followed by the western flight. With each glass we fancied ourselves with a game of judging. Each of us drank our sake left to right waiting on the first sample of each glass in anticipation for the other to be ready. Will the next one trump the previous? To our delight, there is a great variety in the bar's selection of samples. In the midst of the sake we enjoyed many superb appetizers especially the salt and pepper edamame, tuna tartar and salmon hand rolls which were rolled with what could best be described as a seaweed snack for a very nice and slightly spicy touch.

We topped the evening off with a bottle of the Akitabare Suirakuten. "Heaven of Tipsy Delight", which words simply could not describe. If I were to attempt to describe this sake I would use words like "mist from a fresh mountain waterfall", "fields of cherry trees" and "airy mists of an angel's feathers". In all seriousness, my nose could not escape the gentle and refreshing fragrance of this sake. I pondered each drop til the last wondering what form of craft created this delicate and completely fulfilling drink. It is simply an experience words alone cannot capture.

To all who visits San Jose, please do yourself the favor and make time for this place.